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Environmental Issues

Carbon Dioxide Tipping Point

carbon dioxide tipping point

Environmental warriors took me to task 10 years ago when I started this website.

The reason?

I made a heinous comment that “in spite of increased renewable energy capacity in the world, fossil fuel use will continue unabated and will actually increase over the next 40 years”. The first ten years indicate this view point to be correct, take a look here:-

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 March 2017 22:59

Carbon emissions per kWh for various fuels

Carbon Dioxide emissions data from burning fossil fuels, like natural gas or heating oil is relatively easy to come by and present, but there are some inaccuracies when presenting the data, considering the efficiency and effectiveness of fuel combustion and the effect this has on the effluent. Having said that the numbers for the fuels presented in this site are reasonably accurate and directly from government sources. We have used this very useful reference document, government has an irritating habit of archiving old document from previous administrations so we have downloaded the document and added it to our server so that if this happens we still have the reference, it is here by the way!

From this document we have used the net figures, i.e. figures for the emissions of CO2 from a kWh of delivered energy, in other words it includes a measure of combustion efficiency, making the emissions data a little more accurate.

For fuels like wood sensible data is much more tricky as you have the argument that wood and other bio fuels are re-grown acting as carbon sinks and are close to carbon neutral. For the moment this site will avoid these fuels when considering CO2 emissions, but we will eventually get to them. The main figures used in the site are in the table.

Natural Gas CO2 Emissions 0.21kg per kWh used
Heating Oil CO2 Emissions 0.26kg per kWh used
LPG CO2 Emissions 0.23kg per kWh used
UK Grid CO2 Emissions 0.367kg per kWh used

The table also includes the latest emissions data for the UK National Grid, this is updated once a year. The number is an average Carbon Dioxide emission value for the whole year and it is reducing each year at the moment; the closure of some of the old coal fired power stations in the UK and the move to more renewables plays a part in this. If you scan the internet the values given on all but a few sites are inaccurate and based on emissions often 10 years ago, a lot has changed.

We have taken this data from which is up to date, well researched and well presented, it also shows how emissions fluctuate throughout the day and illustrates that the time of day you choose to wash your clothes for example can impact on UK CO2 emissions.

Below is the trend for Carbon Dioxide emissions since 2009 from the national Grid. As you can see it is reducing.

I have found another source of data for this information and I am not sure which to use. This gives a slightly different picture.
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 March 2017 23:00

Oil From Crops

Apparently it should be possible in the best case to produce 20,000 barrels of oil from crops per year on a square kilometer of land.  Taking an extremely unlikely scenario to illustarte what this means, the numbers in the table show what would be required of the land in 2010 and in 2035 assuming that all oil is produced from the land.   Many of the numbers used have come from the CIA website, an excellent source of data, an example of which is shown below.  The key number is the use of oil each day, the number is 80,000,000 bbl per day (barrels per day) today and this is likely to double by 2035.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 March 2017 23:00

Energy Consumption World Wide

For this site a simple contextualization of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission is a very useful as an indicator of what can be achieved in various future power generation and energy saving scenarios.  It is the aim of this article to as simply as possible convey the key statistics related to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

It is almost certainly the case that we are having an effect on our planet with CO2 emission but is also clear that natural fluctuations do occur which confuse the picture, The graph below shows this fluctuation over the past 2000 years in the North Atlantic and shows the so called “the medieval warm period” in this region.  Temperatures are higher now and more importantly are globally higher; it is also the case that the rate of increase is greater. This is a reasonably strong indicator that we are at the very least contributing to temperature change and we should not sit on our hands and assume all will be well if we do nothing. Pragmatically another reason for addressing reliance on fossil fuels is that they will run out.


Last Updated on Saturday, 25 March 2017 23:00


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