Energy the carbon imperative - shorter version revised 3-17-11


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  • 2008 will probably be the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental data. Since 1998, which was anomalously warm due to the ‘El Nino of the century’, only 1999 and 2000 were cooler than 2008. However, as I will show, the 2008 temperature is a fluctuation. It does not indicate a change in the long-term warming trend.
  • Before we analyze lessons learned, and challenges, let me do a brief history of how California has tackled the climate problem. California took a big step in 2006 with the passage of AB32 which puts into law a mandate to reach 1990 CO2 emissions levels by the year 2020. In 2004, the most recent comprehensive inventory of emissions, roughly 20% of California’s CO2 emissions are from electricity use, 40% from transportation such as cars, 20% from industry, and the rest from other uses. Meeting the 2020 goal requires a reduction of roughly 50 million tonnes from current levels or about 10%, and 169 million tonnes of the expected emissions in 2020 without a carbon policy. This is a 30% reduction overall from where we would be in 2020 without a carbon reduction plan. The California Air Resources Board is responsible for how to reach the goal, and how the responsibility will be divided among sectors, and between market and regulatory mechanisms to reduce carbon.
  • Energy the carbon imperative - shorter version revised 3-17-11

    1. 1.   Energy in Green Building: The Carbon Imperative and the Ruby Slippers Dr. Alexandra “Sascha” von Meier Professor, Dept. of Environmental Studies & Planning Sonoma State University
    2. 3. CO 2 emissions ≈ 7 GtC/y Natural carbon cycle ≈ 50 GtC/y 1 GtC/y = 1 billion tons of carbon per year, which may be bound in CO 2 or other compounds
    3. 4. CO 2 emissions ≈ 7 GtC/y CO 2 removal from atmosphere ≈ 3 GtC/y
    4. 6. Car
    5. 9. Burning fossil fuel means combustion of hydrocarbons: C X H Y + O 2 -> CO 2 + H 2 O hydrocarbon + oxygen -> carbon dioxide + water where the proportions of CO 2 and H 2 O depend on X and Y
    6. 10. GISS analysis of global surface temperature; 2008 point is 11-month mean. Source: Jim Hansen, 2008
    7. 13. Five Stages of Receiving Catastrophic News Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance
    8. 14. Source: Arctic Council and International Arctic Science Committee,
    9. 16. California’s Big Step Forward: Assembly Bill 32 2050 Target (EO 03-05) 2008 Estimate 2020 Goal under AB32 2050 Goal Executive order Historical Emissions Inventory Electricity Transportation Industry Slide: Snuller Price
    10. 17. American Heritage Dictionary, 10 th ed.
    11. 18. Physical Meaning of Energy: Energy = the ability to do work Force distance Work = Force · distance
    12. 19. Energy = the ability to do work Potential energy = mgh (mass, gravitational acceleration, height) Kinetic energy = ½ mv 2 (mass, velocity) velocity
    13. 21. Examples of Energy Natural gas in the pipeline (chemical) Gas flame on my kitchen stove (chemical to thermal) Hot water in the kettle (thermal) Electricity in the wall outlet (electrical) Spinning blade of the coffee grinder (mechanical kinetic) Pancakes & maple syrup (chemical) Vase sitting on top shelf (mechanical potential) Vase falling down to floor (mechanical kinetic) Radioactivity (nuclear to radiant) Sunshine (radiant to thermal) Wind (mechanical kinetic)
    14. 26. Matter and Energy Resources “ High Quality” means concentrated pure easy to use in an orderly state “ Low Quality” means dispersed impure more difficult to use disordered High quality energy: mechanical, electrical, radiant Medium quality energy: nuclear, chemical Low quality energy: thermal (heat)
    15. 29. 2 nd Law requires: Some of the chemical fuel energy will be degraded into heat. The amount of mechanical work or electricity produced will be less than the fuel input.
    16. 31. Basic lesson: Use energy sources matched in quality with end use needs.