U.S. and Western carbon flow diagrams

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Sankey diagrams from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory illustrate the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions from generation to end use.

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  • Narrative: The United States emits around 5,600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year, that’s roughly the annual output of about 1.2 billion cars. In this EcoWest presentation, we explore the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of energy supply and demand in the US, focusing on the Western States.
  • Narrative: Most GHGs come from combustion of fossil fuels to generate energy. Flow diagrams from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provide informative visual summaries of the nation’s carbon emissions from generation to end use. These graphics, also known as Sankey diagrams, show how many GHGs originate by burning fuels and how many GHGs are attributable to different economic sectors. Think of the left side of the flow as the supply side, and the right as the demand side. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/
  • Narrative: US GHG output dipped slightly in 2009, while this may partly be attributable to ongoing pursuits of energy efficiency improvements, the bulk of the reductions is due to decreased economic activity during the recession. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/
  • Narrative:Which is why in 2010 the GHG emissions started to rise again. Most U.S. carbon emissions are generated from natural gas, coal, and petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, etc.); roughly 23%, 35%, and 42% of 2010 emissions respectively. Although complete 2011 and 2012 data is not available, some press accounts (http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/21/news/economy/greenhouse-gases-cut/index.htm) have suggested that progress in reducing GHGs improves again in through energy efficiency projects and replacing coal with natural gas. However, given that 2012 was the hottest year on record, that progress may be lost in increased demand for air conditioning during hot spells. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/
  • Narrative: Now let’s shift to carbon flows in the 11 Western states.Source: Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: The following slides show some interesting patterns in GHG emissions from origin to end use in the West. As can be seen here, California is the bulk of total GHG emissions, due to its population and active economy. Source: Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative:  As expected, states differ depending on their energy portfolios. End uses differ according to what industries predominate and state population levels. As we will see in the next few slides, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington produce most of their emissions from transportation demand, so they are more petroleum dependent. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative:As we move onto Idaho, it’s important to note that the size of the rectangles and connecting lines are NOT comparable from slide to slide. Industrial demand is a bigger player in Idaho than in California…Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: …and Washington.Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: Natural gas accounts for a higher portion of carbon in Oregon.Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: and Nevada.Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: In the rest of the west electricity generation drives more carbon emissions, in Arizona, we see coal is a big reason why. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: Compared to other states Colorado is fairly balanced in different sources of GHGs.Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are also coal heavy states. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative: Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • Narrative:Comparing Washington to Wyoming offers a great example of how end use differs by state, energy generation accounts for the bulk of carbon emissions in Wyoming, but the transportation and industrial sectors dominate in Washington. Wyoming is a major energy exporter to other states, while Washington’s energy generation  is offset by hydropower, which Lawrence Livermore assumes generates no significant carbon. Source: Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryURL: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/index.html
  • U.S. and Western carbon flow diagrams

    1. 1. Tracking the flow of U.S. and Westerncarbon dioxide emissions
    2. 2. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 2
    3. 3. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions: 2009 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 3
    4. 4. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions: 2010 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 4
    5. 5. WESTERN STATES 2/8/2013 5
    6. 6. How Western states compare in carbon flows (2008) 1,200 Idaho, 16 1,000 Montana, 37 Nevada, 42 Oregon, 44 New Mexico, 58 800 Wyoming, 71 Million Metric Tones CO2E Utah, 71 Washington, 82 600 Colorado, 99 Arizona, 110 400 200 California, 410 0 Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 2/8/2013 6
    7. 7. California carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 7
    8. 8. Idaho carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 8
    9. 9. Washington carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 9
    10. 10. Oregon carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 10
    11. 11. Nevada carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 11
    12. 12. Arizona carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 12
    13. 13. Colorado carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 13
    14. 14. Montana carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 14
    15. 15. New Mexico carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 15
    16. 16. Utah carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 16
    17. 17. Wyoming carbon dioxide emissions: 2008 2/8/2013 2/8/2013 17
    18. 18. Download more slides and other resources ecowest.org 2/8/2013 18

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