So what about that claim that US CO2 emissions have fallen to a 20 year low?

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Trakar, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Trakar
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    Trakar VIP Member

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    So what about that claim that US CO2 emissions have fallen to a 20 year low?
    Simply put, the claim based on a recent EIA (US Energy Information Agency) report, is wrong. In order to get to a composite greenhouse gas emissions overall, all the non-energy-related emissions sources also need to be included. It is apparently easy for some analysts and media pundits to take the EIA information to the final level of misinformation, trumpeting that CO2 levels have fallen to their lowest levels in 20 years or that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen sharply.
    An accurate assessment of EIA data would look like:
    (CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use) + (CO2 emissions from all other energy use) + (CO2 emissions from energy production & distribution) + (non-CO2 energy-related emissions) + (all non-energy-related greenhouse gas emissions) = total greenhouse gas emissions
    Current research, in line with a recent NOAA report, suggests under-reporting by the fossil fuel industry may be on the order of 2 percent of natural gas used, suggesting total methane losses on the order of 4%. Since methane is about 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 (in the time frame of a generation), we can multiply (4% methane leakage) x (21 times GHG impact compared to CO2) = 84%. That shows that methane emissions from the natural gas system may have a CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas impact roughly comparable to the GHG impact in CO2 from burning the gas. While the methane emissions may prove to be somewhat smaller, there is little doubt they are significant.
    The EIA used to actually calculate and report its own U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions numbers. That EIA overall GHG inventory was discontinued in 2011, due to mid-year budget cuts, according to an EIA source. However, the agency has never been the source of the official U.S. inventory. The current EPA inventory report shows total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions for 2010 up 3.2% over 2009 emissions, with an average annual growth rate from 1990 through 2010 of 0.5%. It’s hard to say what increase or decrease the U.S. inventory for 2011 will show, when the EPA releases it in April 2013, or what the inventory for 2012 will show when it comes out in April 2014.
    While overall emission rates do seem to have dropped in 2009 (due to numerous factors including a depressed economy, a growing renewables energy sector, and cheap natural gas, coal combustion regulation etc.) and have been gradually climbing back upward according to all currently available data.
    In accord with this understanding:
    Carbon dioxide emissions globally are set to reach a record high in 2012, according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project, which It reports emissions have risen by 2.6% in 2012, making them 58% higher than 1990 levels – the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol
     
  2. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    It's rather pathetic to see a carbon-based life form rant about how evil CO2 is.

    Just sayin'.
     
  3. Trakar
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    Trakar VIP Member

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    Very little.

    No one says that all CO2 or Carbon, is bad or harmful. Nature generally thrives within proscribed boundaries and balances. We are pulling sequestered carbon out of geologic stores and flooding them into the planet's active carbon cycle at a rate that is unprecedented in the known history of our planet. It is altering the climate in ways that have not occurred before. It is happening by our own hand. when you dig yourself into a hole, continuing to dig generally isn't a viable solution to your predicament.
     

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