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By Robert Rapier on Jul 2, 2012 with 27 responses

Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures

In the first installment of this series, I reviewed U.S. and global oil reserves according to the 2012 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The second installment covered oil production, and the third looked at global consumption trends. Today, I look at the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions since 1965. A great deal has changed over the past 46 years.

Major Worldwide Growth in CO2 Emissions

In the U.S., the public is bombarded with messages about climate change. One may get the impression that if we only stop the next pipeline and slow down the growth of Canada’s oil sands, we are one step closer to victory. But this is really akin to fighting a small local skirmish while a war rages on the other side of the globe. But the skirmish does not change the outcome of the war. I am going to take up this theme in a follow-up column, but for now let’s examine what’s going on in the world.

First, here is the global carbon dioxide emissions picture:

The graph shows that the growth rate in emissions over the past decade is faster than that of previous decades — indicating carbon dioxide emissions have accelerated in recent years. Prior to 2002, the incremental annual increase had never reached 1 billion new metric tons of carbon dioxide. Since 2002, 1 billion incremental tons have been added three times: In 2003, 2004, and 2010.

In fact, 2010′s addition of 1.58 billion new tons globally is the largest annual increase on record. The incremental increase over the past decade was at least 0.87 billion new tons on 4 other occasions. Only once during the decade — in 2009 in response to recession — was there a measured year-to-year decrease.

Breakdown by Region

One reason I think climate change advocacy has been so ineffective is that most advocates are misinformed about the present mixture of global carbon emissions. The next figure tells the tale:

This figure closely resembles the coal graph from World Energy Consumption Facts, Figures, and Shockers because in fact global coal consumption is the largest contributor to rising carbon dioxide emissions. Asia Pacific is the source of 45% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and is on a growth trajectory to reach 50% by the end of the decade. In the U.S., coal consumption is on the decline because new supplies of natural gas are displacing coal in power plants. The change has been so dramatic that since 2006, the U.S. is the world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions:

US emissions have now fallen by 430 Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions. This development has arisen from lower oil use in the transport sector … and a substantial shift from coal to gas in the power sector.

One bit of irony here is that some environmental groups are seeking to stop fracking altogether, or have otherwise fought against the expansion of natural gas. However, if they were successful this would in the short-term absolutely mean a return to coal and an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. (Wind and solar will make large contributions long-term, but in the short term can’t displace idled coal plants). So emissions in the U.S. have declined despite misguided environmental obstructionism.

The next graphic shows the picture in the rest of the world:

While each region’s total is far less than Asia Pacific’s 15 billion tons of emissions in 2011, the trends are the same. Developing countries are increasing their emissions as they increase standards of living.

One question that often comes up concerns the historical U.S. contribution to the atmospheric carbon dioxide inventory. Developing countries will point to historical U.S. emissions and argue that these emissions enabled U.S. development. They don’t believe it is in any way fair to restrict their development since developed countries have already emitted huge quantities of carbon dioxide.

There is truth to this argument. From 1965 through 2011, U.S. cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide were 255 billion metric tons. That is enough carbon dioxide to raise the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the past 46 years by 18 parts per million (PPM) from just the U.S. contribution. (See Footnote for calculation).

As a region, Asia Pacific has added even more cumulative carbon dioxide than that since 1965 at 287 billion metric tons. EU countries added another 203 billion tons. But as far as countries go, the U.S. has by far the highest cumulative emissions since 1965. China is in 2nd place at 133 billion tons, but no other country even breaks the 100 billion ton barrier. Globally, cumulative emissions since 1965 are 1.0 trillion tons, which should have increased (according to the calculation in the footnote) atmospheric carbon dioxide by 73 ppm. And if we cross-check the data from the Mauna Loa Observatory, we see that atmospheric carbon dioxide was about 320 ppm in 1965 and is just above 390 ppm in 2012.

Per Capita Emissions

The U.S. also has much higher per capita emissions than developing countries and EU countries. In 2008, the U.S. had the 12th highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions, but due to decreases in recent years are probably further down the list of countries now. Based on the newly-released BP data, here is how the U.S. compares to other regions of the world:

 

We can see that despite the decline in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., we are still far above the EU and the developing world. Therein lies a problem. While we can acknowledge our historical emissions, and recognize that we still emit a lot of carbon dioxide per person, how exactly does this help the developing world? One answer I sometimes hear is “We have to provide the blueprint.” It is one thing to imagine that developing countries could develop without increasing their use of fossil fuels, but the reality is that even the developed regions have not shown that it can be done. We are so accustomed to our way of life and the high carbon emissions that it entails that we can’t begin to imagine how to show a country that emits 1/10th of what we do how to improve their standard of living without increasing their emissions.

Developing countries seek the same modern conveniences—dishwashers, televisions, computers, and cars—enjoyed by the developed world and which are currently powered mostly by fossil fuels. We can imagine that they can improve their standard of living without increasing their fossil fuel consumption, but what do we have to point to in order to show that it can be done? Even Iceland — which many believe to be a country that is largely running on renewable energy — has carbon dioxide emissions in line with the rest of the EU, and far above those of the developing world.

Conclusion

It is a quandary, and I not only see no easy answer — I see no viable answer period that doesn’t involve shutting down development in developing countries. This is why I am extremely skeptical that carbon emissions will be reined in. I might feel differently if there was not such a wide gap between the developed world and the developing world, but I believe over time that gap will close as the developing world’s emissions continue to increase. Given that overall emissions from the developing world are already much higher than those of the developed world, small increases in the standard of living have the potential to hugely increase global carbon dioxide emissions.

Footnote: According to this analysis, the average amount of CO2 emissions that causes an atmospheric increase of 1 ppm is 14.138 billion metric tons of CO2. The U.S. contribution of 255 billion tons over the past 36 years would then contribute 255/14.138 = 18.1.

Link to Original Article: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures

By Robert Rapier

  1. By Ed on July 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Not to worry! Problem solved.

    The Sierra Club has just released a new report: “Locked In: The Financial Risks of New Coal-Fired Power Plants in Today’s Volatile International Coal Market”. The report concludes that coal prices are rising, renewables prices are falling and coal is no longer competitive. Surely China, the world’s largest and lowest cost producer of solar and wind equipment will stop building new coal generators and continue its economic development based on solar and wind generated electricity; and, will lead the rest of Asia to do likewise. Ultimately, the unenlightened developed countries will see the error of their ways and follow suit. (sarc off)

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  2. By Christopher Haase on July 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Now that China releases more CO2 than North & South America combined… what is the role of G8 in lowering global levels (India is also in the rear view mirror)?


    Even “IF” CCS worked & the entire G8 converted over in a decade (halfing all their combined & controllable emissions), the continuing NON-OECD CO2 levels added in that same time would still have global levels ever increasing  (primary energy demand growth is 90%  non-OECD economies).


    And IF everyone stopped tomorrow it would still take 100′s – 1,000′s of thousands of years for current CO2 levels to dissipate 1965 levels.

    -Elephant in the room




    We need everyone at the table discussing better plans that including everyone benefiting from tangible, cost effective and prosperous options… otherwise, wasting further trillion$ on hopeless policies will kill the economies still left standing and put us decades behind solving anything.  

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  3. By GreenEngineer on July 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    One answer I sometimes hear is “We have to provide the blueprint.” It is one thing to imagine that developing countries could develop without increasing their use of fossil fuels, but the reality is that even the developed regions have not shown that it can be done. We are so accustomed to our way of life and the high carbon emissions that it entails that we can’t begin to imagine how to show a country that emits 1/10th of what we do how to improve their standard of living without increasing their emissions.

    Speaking as one who believes that the US has a moral and practical obligation to take a leadership role on climate change, I would like to disagree with your statement.

    I can’t disagree, but let’s put this in context:  ”even the developed regions have not shown that it can be done” while attempting to maintain economies based on infinite growth, while providing financial returns based on expectations set during two major market bubbles in the last 15 years, and without accepting – either at the level of leadership (any western country) or of the population (in the US specifically) that climate change is real, or is a threat.

    It’s very much as if, after Kennedy’s famous speech, America had blown up three Redstone rockets on the pad, put one monkey in orbit, blown up two more rockets, and then declared that reaching the moon was impossible.

    I agree that the West has failed to provide leadership, or to set an example, or to prove this thing can be done.  But I assert that we cannot claim it is impossible because we never really tried.  As a culture, the West has yet to take the problem seriously.  As a nation, the US has been operating in frank denial that a problem even exists.

    You are probably right – any realistic perspective on our culture and politics would have to say that there is no way, no how, that we are going to control our carbon emissions.  But the realistic perspective also says that we are in the process of committing cultural and infrastructural suicide, and that we will continue to do so in pursuit of short term profits until we’re all used up.  So I have to question the value of speaking or thinking in terms of what is “realistic” – perhaps we would be better off embracing and pursuing unrealistic goals, while freely acknowledging them as such.  There’s really not much upside to being “realistic” at this point, in terms of goals.  (We do need to be strictly, absolutely realistic in our assessment and deployment of solutions.  But the setting of goals and the engineering of solutions are necessarily different processes.)

    At any rate, we should not allow ourselves to take comfort in the belief that failure here is OK because we’ve been asked to do the impossible.  If we fail – when we fail – we will do so as a result of a collective choice (or failure to choose), not because of any inevitability.  Maybe the task at hand really is impossible.  But as it stands now, we will never know.

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    • By Robert Rapier on July 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      Hello GE. It has been a while. What have you been up to?

      It’s very much as if, after Kennedy’s famous speech, America had blown up three Redstone rockets on the pad, put one monkey in orbit, blown up two more rockets, and then declared that reaching the moon was impossible.

      Not really, because there was a credible plan for how to achieve the end goal. I have yet to see anyone put forth a credible plan that stops the growth of emissions in developing countries. So I am not saying that failure is OK or that we stop trying — I just see no viable solution.

      Using my hurricane analogy: If I said that a hurricane headed toward landfall is an imminent threat, the solution to that threat would not be to change the trajectory of the hurricane — because we have no real way of doing that. To acknowledge that is simply to make a factual observation.

      But beyond that, there is the issue that because many environmentalists are completely misinformed about the source of present and future emissions, they can’t develop any sort of effective action plan. So they make a big production out of trying to stop an oil pipeline that won’t stand out from the noise in the global picture.

      RR

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      • By Engineer-Poet on July 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm

        Developing countries are burning coal for the same purpose that the USA and China do:  to generate electricity.  If e.g. David LeBlanc’s DMSR concept was developed and rolled out at Manhattan Project speed, those countries would have an alternative.  A very attractive alternative, because nobody really wants their air looking and tasting like Beijing’s.

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      • By GreenEngineer on July 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm

        Hi Robert.  I’ve been kept pretty busy with work (green HVAC) so I haven’t commented very often, but I’m still lurking.

         

        Not really, because there was a credible plan for how to achieve the end goal.

        Based on my knowledge of the history of the space program, I have to disagree.  When we set out on that road, we had managed suborbital flight (a publicity stunt with a dude on an ICBM) but we had not managed to even make it to orbit.  The Apollo program was audacious almost beyond belief.  There was certainly nothing that could reasonably be considered a plan in 1961.  There were some obvious next steps, some obvious challenges, a whole bunch of ideas, and a mixture of engineering thought and frank speculation to tie it all together.  But early on in the process, they did not know enough to make a plan.  They largely had to make it up as they went along.

        I think that a transition to a renewable economy is in a similar state of development, and I have to reject your hurricane analogy.  With renewable energy and with 1960′s rockets, we understand most of the physical principles at work, and some of the engineering ones, and a few of the economic ones.  Whereas we don’t have the first clue about controlling a hurricane – we don’t even know where to start.

        We’re really much further along than that down the renewable energy path.  But there are lots of engineering details to work out, and in this case the “details” are analogous to the “detail” of not blowing up your rocket on the pad: big, critical problems which at least partially obscure subsequent steps in the process.

        We only managed to succeed with Apollo because there was an essentially unconditional mandate to do it, and we kept trying stuff, having it fail, and trying something else.  (The program was not stopped by three on-pad fatalities.  Consider that reality in the modern context.)  Certainly, if they had waited until technology advanced to the point where they could lay out an end-to-end plan for the project, they would have missed their decade deadline – and we would likely still be waiting.

        I think that achieving a global (or even national) renewable economy would require a similar level of effort and (more importantly) determination, to keep trying things (and spending money) until we find out what works.  Absent that level of will then, yes, it is probably impossible.  Which is to say, we don’t collectively care to bother trying.

        The other point is that what you are asking for is, in itself, impossible, and it’s a bit of a red herring.  A credible plan that stops the growth of emissions in developing countries cannot be developed in the current context, any more than they could have designed the lunar lander and return package in 1962.  There are too many unknown unknowns between here and there.  The only way to discover and address them is to take the first steps down that road in the full knowledge that we don’t know what the final steps will look like.  First we need to get our own house in order, and build out a domestic renewable infrastructure.  With that done, we’ll be in a much better position, both technologically and politically, to tackle the global problem. But if we wait for a clear path to a global solution, we will be waiting until it is far too late to implement such a plan were it to emerge.

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        • By Robert Rapier on July 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

          I think that a transition to a renewable economy is in a similar state of development, and I have to reject your hurricane analogy. 

          You misunderstand the hurricane analogy. It isn’t because we don’t know how to do renewable energy; it is because we don’t know how to show developing countries that they can develop mainly with renewable energy. And even if they could, China and India are going to use everything they can get, which as we have seen includes lots of coal. 

          I guess the biggest difference in the Apollo Project is that we didn’t require the cooperation of a wide range of developing countries. Had that been that case, it is hard to see that the program would have every gotten off the ground. In fact, the developing countries are where the biggest issue is, and that’s what makes it such an intractable problem. 

          RR

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          • By GreenEngineer on July 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm

            I guess I disagree with your problem framing then. I mean, you’re right in that we ultimately (and soon) need to get the developing countries on board to solve the global problem.  But as I said, I don’t think it’s reasonable to try to solve that problem from where we stand now.    That’s 25 steps down the road from today’s circumstances.

            We have lots and lots that we can do, that is within US control (insofar as anyone at all is actually “in charge” here but that’s another discussion) which will reduce domestic CO2 production, support new technology, and develop the political capital necessary to drag other countries along for the ride.

            As a purely technical question, I think there are actually more opportunities to deploy renewable energy productively in the developing world than in the developed world, because a little energy can go a long way in terms of economic development and population quality of life (here I’m thinking more of e.g. Africa than of China).  It’s can be hard to deploy enough PV to operate a modern 1st world home with all its toys and gadgets, but it’s relatively easy to deploy enough PV to provide LED lighting, pump some water, charge a cell phone, and run a refrigerator for storing medicine.

            But of course it’s not a purely technical question.  More to the point, the goal of development in these countries is rarely  to improve the quality of life of the average citizen.  Unfortunately, a great deal of development in the non-industrialized world is driven by a desire to create labor and commodity markets, largely to the benefit of big first world organizations and companies.  You can see this pattern very clearly in the way that (sustainable, local, traditional) subsistence agriculture has been replaced with mechanized, high-input commodity agriculture, but the pattern plays out in other fields of development as well.

            The problem with the developing world is, and has been, that everyone assumes that they can and must develop along the same lines that the US and Europe did.  That’s both physically impossible and culturally inappropriate, but its an assumption that serves the interests of the elite in government and business.

            And, it’s true, there is no plan for (effectively) dealing with the consequences of unrestrained human greed.

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            • By Robert Rapier on July 11, 2012 at 1:05 am

              But as I said, I don’t think it’s reasonable to try to solve that problem from where we stand now. That’s 25 steps down the road from today’s circumstances.

              That’s the problem. The developing world is the source of the largest share of carbon emissions. By the time you get through a 25 step program, global CO2 is at 450 ppm.

              I don’t question whether — given a very long time — what you propose might be done. It is also possible that someday we can control hurricanes. But I don’t think that time will be soon.

              RR 

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            • By Engineer-Poet on July 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

              <blockquote><i>The developing world is the source of the largest share of carbon emissions. By the time you get through a 25 step program, global CO2 is at 450 ppm.</i></blockquote>If we were going to fix this, how would we do it, and how could we sell the solution?

              I really like LeBlanc’s <a href=”http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/11/david-leblanc-explains-why-thorium.html”>DMSR</a> proposal; the MSR in general is close to idiot-proof, and the DMSR is as close to a non-issue for proliferation as you can get.&nbsp; Suppose that getting rid of coal in the near term requires a replacement electrical power supply of 500 W/capita times 5 billion people, or 2.5 TWe.&nbsp; Using LeBlanc’s figure of 35 tons ore per GW-yr, less than 90,000 tons of ore per year would be required (world uranium production is upwards of 60,000 tpy today).&nbsp; Packaged in unit sizes of 250 MWe, 10,000 units would be required.&nbsp; Manufacture of 500 units/yr over 20 years seems reasonable.

              I think the DMSR could be sold on more than just electric generation; the temperatures in an MSR are high enough to destroy the organics in sewage sludge and other wastes via supercritical water oxidation, turning them into light gases.&nbsp; Getting rid of public-health problems as well as generating clean electricity sounds like win/win to me, and if the purchasing country has the sophistication to operate a chemical plant the gases can be turned into liquid fuels or higher-value products.&nbsp; That in turn can take market share away from petroleum and natural gas, further cutting carbon emissions.

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  4. By Douglas Hvistendahl on July 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    The change from R&D to practice has just begun. My wife & I critique new houses we see on the obvious things, such as orientation, window direction, etc. We are also doing what we can that is both useful and economic. Just blowing summer air through the basement and into the house has cut our cooling bills – and after some years of this the soil under and around the house has warmed enough to make a visible dent in the fall and early winter heating bills also.

    It is now possible to build an energy efficient building within the continental USA for 5 to 10 % less than the cost of a standard building of the same quality – if one goes about it wisely. We are personally modifying an older house, which is less expensive, but more work.

    Transportation is still a problem. Local personal can use bicycles, but for longer distances the best we can do is to use a spreadsheet to estimate lowest overall costs – including fuel. Some things, besides buying wisely, can be done here also- combining trips, avoiding unneeded trips. using a good fuel additive, etc. We average about 30 MPG.

    The savings from these things allow us to do investing.

     

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    • By Frank Weigert on July 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

      One way to save energy running a household would be to build down instead of up. Six feet underground, the temperature is nearly constant year round. Think how much energy we could save if our houses didn’t have to be heated as much in the winter or air conditioning as much in the summer.

      The folks in tornado alley would be a lot safer if their homes were underground.

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  5. By Sam Geckler on July 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Robert,

    Given the acceleration rate of CO2 coming from the developing world, we can project that “their” cumulative emissions will surpass ours at some point in the future from some arbitrary point in the past. Working to lower CO2 in the US now pulls forward that cross-over point. I don’t know how far into the future that is, but that estimated date would be useful in the context of international discussions on collective action.

     

    It may be a long way off (I’m guessing ~75 years at current delta emission levels accounting for growth), until a country like China exceeds our cumulative number, but it seems to me that is a starting point for discussion.

     

    Sam Geckler

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  6. By Robert Rapier on July 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    It may be a long way off (I’m guessing ~75 years at current delta emission levels accounting for growth), until a country like China exceeds our cumulative number, but it seems to me that is a starting point for discussion.

    Based on this year’s delta, it would take another 40 years. But if we consider that the gap is growing, it could happen in 20. But the region as a whole will exceed 50% of the world’s emissions within 10 years.

    RR

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  7. By Benjamin Cole on July 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Nice blogging by RR.

    If CO2 truly causes global warming, then we have to consider Mt. Pinatubo-type solutions—that is, putting something into the atmosphere to cut sunlight.  After Krakatoa, we had a couple cold years. 

     

    But who decides what is too cold or too hot?

     

    The Russians mint like it hotter. 

     

    Remember, sea levels were 60 meters lower 10,000 years ago.  Have been rising ever since. 

     

     

     

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    • By tennie davis on July 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Benny, you got me thinking….

      How about big upside down, palm oil fired, rockets to push the earth farther away from the sun?

      Just trying to help.

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      • By Frank Weigert on July 15, 2012 at 6:16 am

        Your suggestion reminds me of a paper I read 50 years ago. Back then, the issue was Soviet ICBMs. America had no defense against them and my hero conceived of Project Turnabout. The idea was to build a band of rockets around the earth’s equator which would fire horizontally. When the Soviet Union launched its missiles, we would fire the rockets. They would accelerate the earth’s rotation so that when the missiles re-entered the atmosphere 30 minutes later they would land on their launch site. The fun of the paper was that the author went through all the chemistry, physics, mathematics and economics involved with implementing his absurd plan.

        Many of today’s proposals to solve the global warming problem could use the same treatment.

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  8. By Tom G. on July 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Benjamin:

    I went to the NOAA website concerning seal lever readings for the last 100 years and studied the carts and graphs.  I find your 60 meter statement hard to accept but will certainly look at any references you might have.  60 meters is over 196 feet.      

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    • By Tom G. on July 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      I went to the NOAA website concerning sea level readings for the last 100 years and studied the charts and graphs.

      My spell check must be broken, LOL.  

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    • By TomR on July 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      10,000 years ago we were in an ice age.  Most of the northern hemisphere was covered in multi-kilometer thick glaciers.  Thats a LOT of water!  he could have tossed another 4000 years in the pot and doubled it to 120m.

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  9. By CarbonBridge on July 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

    RR:  Thank you for taking the time and effort to extrapolate such wide ranging energy and emissions data in your current series.  I find the charts and graphs you’ve created to be interesting and most helpful in interpreting such data.  One question to follow which I wonder if you or other readers might be able to comment upon.

    The emissions you are plotting represent billion of tons of heavier than air CO2.  I’m trying to get an accurate depiction of what one ton of CO2 at sea level looks like spatially.  I’ve been told that 2,000 lbs. of CO2 at ambient temps/sea level would equate to one football field in area about 3 inches high in this odorless, colorless and tasteless gas.  Any idea IF this is accurate?  Any other spacial examples for what just one ton of CO2 will volumetrically displace?  Many thanks.

    -Mark

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  10. By Frank Weigert on July 15, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Asia Pacific is the source of 45% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and is on a growth trajectory to reach 50% by the end of the decade. A question to ask is how much of their emissions are associated with products exported to the U.S.?

    Much of China’s industrial production is export oriented. The United States should not be able to avoid the responsibility for the emissions caused by China manufacturing the products we consume. True, Chinese factory workers earn a better living than Chinese farmers. But the standard of living of Chinese workers is no where near that of their American counterparts. We must be held responsible for our consumption, wherever it is produced.

    Impossible problems have been solved in the past. They just haven’t been solved by the free market system. I can cite polio vaccine, smallpox vaccine, and the Green Revolution which ended famine throughout most of the world. These problems were solved by the non-profit sector. What industry is doing is analogous to building more iron lungs to solve the polio problem. We need more long-range thinking to come up with low-investment options to supply the world’s energy needs. I believe the answer will be biofuels, but not ethanol or biodiesel.

    “I have yet to see anyone put forth a credible plan that stops the growth of emissions in developing countries. ”

    We only need to stop emissions from FOSSIL FUELS. Sustainably produced biofuels don’t count.

    “So they make a big production out of trying to stop an oil pipeline that won’t stand out from the noise in the global picture.”

    The Keystone pipeline is only a symbol of the problem. The fossil fuel industry will continue business as usual as long as it can. As cleaner fuels get used up, they will extract dirtier ones. The only way to force the industry to start thinking about Hubbert’s peak and climate change is to stop them from exploiting lower-grade hydrocarbons. That is why I oppose the Keystone pipeline.

    If methane is going to be the bridge fuel between coal and renewable energy, industry will have to be held to strict environmental controls. Methane is a greenhouse gas itself and is 20 times more potent than CO2. Fortunately, it has a shorter atmospheric lifetime but it is eventually converted to CO2. If as little as 2.5% of methane escapes between the well and the consumer, methane will be a worse environmental contaminant than coal.

    Society needs to be sure that industry spends the money required to guarantee no methane escapes into the atmosphere. Don’t trust, verify!

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  11. By Robert Rapier on July 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    A question to ask is how much of their emissions are associated with products exported to the U.S.?

    That is a good question, and it comes up a lot. I wish there was an easy way to determine that. I think it probably isn’t as much as people think. China’s emissions have grown sharply in recent years, and that certainly wasn’t because U.S. consumption of Chinese goods has exploded in just the past few years. But that’s my feeling; I have no good way to verify the percentages.

    RR

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    • By Daniel on July 25, 2012 at 7:26 am

      According to the IEA’s WEO 2007, 25% of energy consumption in China and 37% of its CO2 emissions are due to manufacturing of exported goods.

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  12. By stephanie on July 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    HI.  I am working on a project studying world wide automotive emission standards.  Can anyone suggest a firm that does market studies where I can purchase a detailed report outlining emission regulation data by country?  THANKS!

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  13. By William on December 2, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Well, about 25 years ago many scientists were predecting the planet would cool, actually freeze, because of “nuclear winter” because of atmospheric testing of nuclear explosives.  They were actually predicting food production would be drasticly reduced because of colder winters and shorter growing seasons.  Unless atmospheric testing were stopped, we were going to have a disastrous cooling of the earth.

    So, bring back the atmospheric nuclear explosions and cool the world down quickly.   I remember a summer about 25 years ago in which was much cooler than normal.  As I recall this was due to the tremendous amount of material released from the volcano eruption near Clark Air Force Base in the Phillipines.  So, there are ways to cool the earth rather quickly.

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  14. By Jack None on January 30, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Your crosscheck (via the footnote) is circular.

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