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20090422 Climate Change and Sustainability


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20090422 Climate Change and Sustainability

  1. 1. Sustainability and Climate Change Brad Chase April 22, 2009
  2. 2. Outline • About GCBL & Climate Change Project • What is a carbon footprint? • Why is it important? • Overview of Northeast Ohio’s carbon footprint • Calculating your carbon footprint • Action. What you can do. 2
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  6. 6. What is a Carbon Footprint? • Measure of the impact that you have on the atmosphere and climate system in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) your actions produce. • Called a carbon footprint because GHGs are commonly reported in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). 6
  7. 7. What is a Carbon Footprint? • Emissions Inventory – Direct emissions from activities (gasoline, electricity, natural gas consumed) • Carbon Footprint – Includes direct and indirect emissions (all of your activities) • Environmental / Ecological Footprint – Includes impacts of activities on other environmental factors (wildlife, water use, water quality, waste, etc.) • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – Comprehensive look entire product process, cradle-to-grave. Attempts to avoid unintended consequences. 7
  8. 8. Why is it important? • CO2 emissions growing rapidly. • Scientific consensus that rising levels of CO2 cause warming of planet, resulting in sea level rise and changing climate conditions, affecting: – Food supplies – Infectious diseases – Human habitats • Potential for perceived localized benefits (e.g., warmer winters) outweighed by overall negative effects (e.g., loss of productive crop land to drought and rising sea levels). 8
  9. 9. Collateral Benefits of Action • Climate Change is the big issue, but sustainable development practices can help achieve other goals related to: – Air emissions – Stormwater runoff – Human health – Materials conservation – Land and habitat conservation – Energy efficiency (save $) – Energy security – Economic and community development 9
  10. 10. Northeast Ohio Footprint 10
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  13. 13. Developed Land in Cuyahoga County (1948) Population: 1.4 million and Rising 13
  14. 14. Developed Land in Cuyahoga County (2002) Population: 1.4 million and Declining 14
  15. 15. Trend: Vehicle Miles Traveled and Vehicle Registrations Increasing U.S. Population and Vehicle Miles Traveled, 1982-2006 Source: Washington Post, May 4, 2008, Source: Bailey,, “The Broader Connection between Public Transportation, Energy Conservation and Greenhouse Gas Reduction,” February 2008, 15
  16. 16. Perspective The U.S. emits as much CO2 as Brazil, U.K., India, Russia, Canada, and South Korea combined – and 20% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. 16
  17. 17. Perspective Per capita CO2 emissions What is your footprint? change) (2003, tons - excludes land use Qa Am ean om C h – 1 m e .8 Ja nia Un Ca Un In Oh Au Eu d Ki Br Un Te pa di az n H n – lif ta in .8 les ro ng xa i ite 0.0 str i er te te io a– or a– n r il p s– ica nio 9.2 d ali d –4 – 1 1. 1 – Ar 1. St a– 3. 32 6. 24 1 at ab 4 –1 U – .5 1t 17 o es d .1 Em on .2 –1 ira sp 9. te s8 8 er 9 s– .5 p * er 25 so .0 n Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) Version 5.0. (Washington DC: World Resources Institute, 2008) *MIT Tech Talk. Volume 52, Number 23, Wednesday April 16, 2008. 17
  18. 18. Calculating your carbon footprint 18
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  20. 20. Climate Footprint of the typical US Household (50 tCO2e) 56% Indirect public trans. 44% Direct airlines Auto services 50 Auto manufacturing 45 40 other fuels natural gas 35 electricity Gasoline 30 water & sewage Financing 25 public trans. Construction 20 Air travel Other fuels 15 10 Natural gas cereals 5 Alcohol & tobacco Dairy 0 Gasoline Total Snack food Fruit & veg. Electricity furniture. cleaning supplies. Eating out entertainment. Household equip. education Meat Clothing giving healthcare Transportation Housing Food Goods Services 20
  21. 21. Globally, we need to reach: 2 tons CO /yr 2 5 Transportation Housing Food Goods Services 21
  22. 22. Action. What you can do. • 1. Calculate your Carbon Footprint Find out how to calculate your carbon footprint. Understanding your carbon emissions is the first step to taking action to reduce your carbon footprint. • 2. Change a Light Bulb (or two) Electricity consumption is one of the largest components of a household's carbon footprint. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last 10 times as long. • 3. Drive Less In the United States, a personal motor vehicle is the largest contributor to a typical household's carbon footprint. Combining trips, carpooling, using public transportation, walking and biking all help reduce your carbon footprint. Keep up with scheduled maintenance and properly inflate tires to make your existing vehicle as efficient as possible when you do drive. The next time you replace your vehicle, consider purchasing the most fuel-efficient model that meets your needs. • 4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Recycling materials requires less energy and fewer raw materials than creating a new product from scratch. Take reusable cloth bags to the store, don't accept paper and plastic bags when you really don't need them, and choose products that don't have excessive packaging. • 5. Use Less Water Pumping and heating water require large amounts of energy. Take shorter showers, install a low- flow shower head, turn the water off while you shave or brush your teeth, and wash clothes in cold water. 22
  23. 23. Action. What you can do. • 6. Plant a Tree Deforestation accounts for up to 20 percent of the carbon dioxide released each year worldwide. Growing trees sequester carbon, and trees also help cool cities and reduce power consumption for air conditioning. • 7. Eat Lower on the Food Chain Adopt a diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables and minimizes meat, seafood and processed foods. Meat is a particular energy hog. Producing one pound of beef generates 36 pounds of carbon dioxide. • 8. Buy Efficient Appliances Replacing older appliances with Energy Star appliances can significantly reduce your electricity bill and your carbon footprint. Start with the refrigerator, which uses the most electricity in an average home. • 9. Adjust your Thermostat Set your thermostat two degrees higher in the summer and two degrees lower in winter to save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Change your furnace filter regularly and seal gaps around windows and doors to allow your heating and cooling systems to operate more efficiently. Note: These are estimates. Individual savings will vary based on many factors. • 10. Spread the Word Tell a friend about what you are doing to make a difference. 23
  24. 24. Carbon “budget” Roundtrip to Los Angeles Roundtrip to Hong Kong Roundtrip to Average Ohioan in 2003 London 24.1 tons 15,000 miles in a Prius 15,000 miles in a Civic 30% per capita reduction by 2030 15,000 miles in a Hummer 80% reduction by 2050 24
  25. 25. Action. What you can do. 25
  26. 26. Source: warming-map.jpg Action. What you can do. 26
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