Tag Archives: Carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere

United States Carbon: CSI reports encouraging carbon reduction data

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)’s Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) has published the latest update to the ‘Getting the Numbers Right’ database, which shows significant CO2 emissions reductions and improved efficiency.

As the cement industry’s global database of CO2 emissions and performance, the latest ‘Getting the Numbers Right’ (GNR) data for 2011 shows that the industry has reduced its specific net CO2 emissions per tonne of cementitious product by 17 per cent since 1990 (from 756kg/t to 629kg/t)1.

The GNR figures provide evidence of the gradual decoupling of emissions and cement output, which demonstrates the significant progress made by the industry: cement production by GNR companies increased by 74 per cent between 1990 and 2011, absolute CO2 emissions increased by only by 44 per cent over this period. Between 2010 and 2011, while cement production volume covered by the GNR increased from 840Mt to 888Mt cementitious volume), specific net CO2 emissions have decreased from 638kg/t to 629kg/t of cementitious product.

Commenting on the encouraging data, Philippe Fonta, WBCSD managing director, said: “GNR demonstrates how an effective measuring, reporting and verification system can be developed and managed for and by an entire industry sector. GNR has become established as a valuable source of independently verified emissions data, which is now used globally by the cement industry to improve energy efficiency and further reduce emissions. It is also accessed widely by policy-makers, analysts and other interested stakeholders.”

According to the data, the four main drivers for the reduction in emissions are:
• investment in more efficient kiln technology
• increasing use of alternative fuels such as biomass2
• reduction in clinker content3
• an eight per cent decrease in electricity use per tonne of cement since 1990.

The 2011 data also now comprises 55 per cent of cement production outside of China, with 96 per cent coverage in Europe spanning 967 individual facilities. Four new country reports are released for the first time: Thailand, Morocco, Philippines and Egypt providing more relevant national data in these countries.

About the GNR

Now in its seventh year of publication and the largest global database of its kind, the GNR is a voluntary, independently managed database of CO2 and energy performance information on the global cement industry. The most recent data released is for 2011 in compliance with anti-trust legislation.

The GNR uses a common methodology for data collection and reporting, of which 94 per cent is independently verified.  Whilst the database is managed by the CSI, participation is nott limited to its members. Cement producers worldwide are encouraged to report their emissions through the GNR project and cement trade associations have played a particularly active role in encouraging member companies to  make their emissions data available.

The GNR data is available online at www.wbcsdcement.org/GNR

Notes

1: For specific gross CO2 emissions the reduction was 15 per cent over the same time span.
Gross CO2 emissions: direct CO2 emissions (excl. on-site electricity production) minus emissions from biomass fuel sources.

Net CO2 emissions: gross CO2 emissions minus emissions from alternative fossil fuels
Cementitious products are all clinker volumes produced by a company for cement making or direct clinker sale, plus gypsum, limestone, CKD, and all clinker substitutes consumed for blending, plus all cement substitutes produced. Clinker bought from third parties for the production of cement is excluded.

2: While a few plants have been able to replace up to over 90 per cent of conventional fuels, the global average replacement is around 13 per cent in 2011 (compared to only two per cent in 1990).

3: Clinker-to-cement ratio exhibits some variations in different regions due to the specific minerals added in the concrete manufacturing process. Globally, the average % of clinker in cement is 76 per cent (compared to 83 per cent in 1990).

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

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United States Carbon: Buildings Account for 39% of CO 2 emissions in the United States

The commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions in the United States per year, more than any other sector. U.S. buildings alone are responsible for more CO 2 emissions annually than those of any other country except China. Most of these emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels to provide heating, cooling and lighting, and to power appliances and electrical equipment. By transforming the built environment to be more energy-efficient and climate-friendly, the building sector can play a major role in reducing the threat of climate change.

A growing source of CO2 emissions:
  • In 2004, total emissions from residential and commercial buildings were 2236 million metric tons of CO 2 , or 39% of total U.S. CO 2 emissions—more than either the transportation or industrial sector
  • Over the next 25 years, CO 2 emissions from buildings are projected to grow faster than any other sector, with emissions from commercial buildings projected to grow the fastest—1.8% a year through 2030
  • When other CO 2 emissions attributable to buildings are considered—such as the emissions from the manufacture and transport of building construction and demolition materials and transportation associated wi th urban sprawl—the result is an even greater impact on the climate

Buildings consume 70% of the electricity load in the U.S. The most significant factor contributing to CO 2 emissions from buildings is their use of electricity:

  • Commercial and residential buildings are tremendous users of electricity, accounting for more than 70% of electricity use in the U.S.
  • The building sector consumed 40 quadrillion Bt us of energy in 2005 at a cost of over $300 billion. Energy use in the sector is projected to increase to 50 quadrillion Btus at a cost of $430 billion by the year 2025.
  • The energy impact of buildings is likely to be even greater when taking into account other energy use attributable to buildin gs. For example, the energy embodied in a single building’s envelope equals 8-10 times t he annual energy used to heat and cool the building.
  • Buildings have a lifespan of 50-100 years during which they continually consume energy and produce CO 2 emissions. If half of new commercial buildings were built to use 50% less energy, it would save over 6 million metric tons of CO 2 annually for the life of the buildings—the equivalent of taking more than 1 million cars off the road every year.

Green buildings are a vital tool in the fight against climate change

Scientists predict that left unchecked, emissions of CO 2 and other greenhouse gases from human activities will raise global temperatures by 2.5ºF to 10ºF this century. The effects will be profound, and may include rising sea levels, more frequent floods and droughts, and increased spread of infectious diseases. To address the threat of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be sl owed, stopped, and reversed. Meeting the challenge will require dramatic advances in technologies and a shift in how the world economy generates and uses energy.

Building green is one of the best strategies for meeting the challenge of climate change because the technology to make substantial reductions in energy and CO 2 emissions already exists. The average LEED certified building uses 32% less electricity and saves 350 metric tons of CO 2 emissions annually. Modest investments in energy-saving and other climate-friendly technologies can yield buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthier places to live and work, and that contribute to reducing CO 2 emissions.

Green buildings provide abundant opportunities for saving energy and mitigating CO 2 emissions

Building green can reduce CO2 emissions while improving the bottom line through energy and other savings. Examples of measures that can be taken to improve building performance include:

  • Incorporating the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, along with operations and maintenance of such systems to assure optimum performance
  • Using state of the art lighting and optimizing daylighting
  • Using recycled content building and interior materials
  • Reducing potable water usage
  • Using renewable energy
  • Implementing proper construction waste management
  • Siting the building near public transportation
  • Using locally produced building materials

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

Why the name United States Carbon?

Why the name United States Carbon? The world has a carbon emissions problem that is threatening (within 40 – 100 years) all biological life on the planet. United States Carbon’s mission is to help businesses of all kinds mitigate their carbon impact on the biosphere by becoming far more energy efficient.

Large rise in CO2 emissions sounds climate change alarm

Hopes for ‘safe’ temperature increase within 2°C fade as Hawaii station documents second-greatest emissions increase.

 

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory, where record CO2 increases are being documented.

The chances of the world holding temperature rises to 2°C – the level of global warming considered “safe” by scientists – appear to be fading fast with US scientists reporting the second-greatest annual rise in CO2 emissions in 2012.

Carbon dioxide levels measured at Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii jumped by 2.67 parts per million (ppm) in 2012 to 395ppm, said Pieter Tans, who leads the greenhouse gas measurement team for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The record was an increase of 2.93ppm in 1998.

The jump comes as a study published in Science on Thursday looking at global surface temperatures for the past 1,500 years warned that “recent warming is unprecedented“, prompting UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, to say that “staggering global temps show urgent need to act. Rapid climate change must be countered with accelerated action.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: What’s energy efficiency and how much can it help cut emissions?

Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same service. For example, a compact fluorescent bulb is more efficient than a traditional incandescent bulb as it uses much less electrical energy to produce the same amount of light. Similarly, an efficient boiler takes less fuel to heat a home to a given temperature than a less efficient model.

The phrase ‘energy efficiency’ is often used as a shorthand to describe any kind of energy-saving measure, though technically it should be distinguished from energy conservation – a broader term which can also include forgoing a service rather than changing the efficiency with which it is provided. Examples of energy conservation include turning down a thermostat in the winter or walking to the shops rather than driving there.

Increasing energy efficiency often costs money up-front but in many cases this capital outlay will be paid back in the form of reduced energy costs within a short time period. This makes efficiency improvements an attractive starting point for reducing carbon emissions.

The scope of the savings – and the techniques required – depend on the situation and location. For homes in cool countries such as the UK, the most effective measures include increasing insulation, draught proofing, installing good-quality double-glazed windows and switching to more efficient appliances and light bulbs. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) estimates that these improvements could reduce annual CO2 emissions from British homes by around 17 million tonnes by 2020 – around a tenth of the 2008 residential total.

By contrast, increasing efficiency in non-domestic buildings often means focusing on ventilation and air-conditioning, in addition to lighting, heating and appliances. Many such buildings have achieved savings of around 25% after undergoing a refit to increase efficiency.

Energy-intensive industries, such as iron, steel and cement manufacture, have become more efficient over time due to new equipment and better re-use of waste heat. For example, a hot pipe containing a chemical that needs to be cooled can be used to heat up other chemicals (this is known as ‘heat integration’). Motors are used widely in industry for a variety of tasks, such as pumping, mixing and driving conveyor belts. The installation of efficient, correctly sized motors and drives can result in energy savings of 20–25%.

Vehicles have also become more energy efficient over the decades thanks to factors such as improved engines and lighter, more aerodynamic designs. The potential exists for further improvements and in EU the emissions of the average new car is set to decrease from 150 to 95 grams of CO2 per km by 2020. The CCC forecasts that the introduction of efficiency improvements to cars, vans and HGVs could reduce CO2 emissions in the UK by 12.3 million tonnes by 2020 – around 10% of total for surface transport in 2008.

Improving energy efficiency does not necessarily translate into reduced CO2 emissions: the savings depend on the situation. If the energy is supplied from fossil fuels – such as petrol in a car or electricity from a coal-fired plant – then improved efficiency will cut emissions. But if the energy is supplied by a low-carbon source such as electricity from nuclear or renewables, then improving efficiency may have little impact on emissions. (When comparing electric and non-electric appliances, it’s important to consider the efficiency of the power generation, too: switching from a 90% efficient gas boiler to a ‘100% efficient’ electric heater will increase energy use and emissions if the electricity comes from regular fossil fuel power plants, which themselves are highly inefficient, losing much of the energy in their fuel as waste heat.)

Energy efficiency is always a good idea. Whether it results in energy savings depends on what we do with the money we saved. In some cases, efficiency savings can be offset by changes in user behaviour – the so-called ‘rebound effect’. One example would be that insulating a home may make it more economic for the resident to maintain a higher temperature, increasing the standard of comfort but reducing the energy savings.

Nonetheless, improving energy efficiency is a key tool for reducing CO2 emissions, alongside energy conservation and low-carbon energy sources such as renewables and carbon capture and storage.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: Atomspheric Carbon Increases

Preliminary data for February 2013 show CO2 levels last month standing at their highest ever recorded at Manua Loa, a remote volcano in the Pacific. Last month they reached a record 396.80ppm with a jump of 3.26ppm between February 2012 and 2013.  Carbon dioxide levels fluctuate seasonally, with the highest levels usually observed in April. Last year the highest level at Mauna Loa was measured at 396.18ppm.

What is disturbing scientists is the acceleration of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, which are occurring in spite of attempts by governments to restrain fossil fuel emissions.  According to the observatory, the average annual rate of increase for the past 10 years has been 2.07ppm – more than double the increase in the 1960s. The average increase in CO2 levels between 1959 to the present was 1.49ppm per year.

“The challenge we already knew was great is even more difficult”, said Kelly Levin, a researcher with the World Resources Institute in Washington. “But even with an increased level of reductions necessary, it shows that a 2°C goal is still attainable –if we act ambitiously and immediately.”

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com