Phasing Out Fossil Fuels, Consumption, Environmental Impacts
Increasing future renewable energy usage is tied up with the possibility (necessity for mitigation of global warming) of phasing out fossil fuels. We explore a few aspects of this vast subject, including consumption and environmental impacts. Click on the links for more information.
While coal is currently a dominant source of energy on the planet (including China), many countries are making plans to limit or phase out coal over time. See HERE.
HERE are the 2005-2009 coal consumption figures for the US. Here is an Excel spreadsheet for World Coal Consumption (Million Short Tons), 1980-2006 that shows a 60% worldwide increase in coal consumption. The US averaged 18% of world consumption and China averaged 25% (more than doubling), over this period.
HERE is an article on coal capture and storage/sequestration CCS.
One aspect of phasing out oil, beside greenhouse gas considerations, is that the amount of readily accessible petroleum on the planet is being depleated. For an introduction, seePeak Oil (Wikipedia article).
Natural gasis not being phased out and there are no plans to do so. Natural gas consumption in the US has been relatively stable over the last 5 years 2005-2009. Click HERE to see the statistics from the EIA (US Energy Information Administration).
Natural gas is mainly created by two mechanisms: biogenic and thermogenic. Biogenic gas is created by methanogenic organisms in marshes, bogs, landfills, and shallow sediments. Deeper in the earth, at greater temperature and pressure, thermogenic gas is created from buried organic material.
HERE is a picture from the EIA on US natural gas supply:
Natural Gas and Global Warming
For an equivalent amount of heat, burning natural gas produces about 30% less carbon dioxide than burning petroleum and about 45% less than burning coal.However, the process of producing natural shale gas by fracking in shale formations produces methane by leakage. This implies shale gas has a higher greenhouse gas footprint than coal over several decades and is comparable over 100 years. This includes production and usage. See HERE for a discussion and HERE for the paper. HERE is a Cornell U. slide presentation on natural gas aggravating global warming.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks. The most important industrial use is in stimulating oil and gas wells, where hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years. The fracturing is done from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations to increase the rate and ultimate recovery of oil and natural gas. Considerable controversy surrounds the current implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology in the United States. Environmental safety and health concerns have emerged and are being debated at the state and national levels.
From the environmental law firm Blank Rome, here is information regarding
On February 7, 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") released a "Draft Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources" ("Draft Plan" or "Study"). The Draft Plan was issued in direct response to the U.S. Congress' Appropriation Conference Committee's 2010 mandate that EPA study the relationship between hydraulic fracturing practices and drinking water resources.
UU-UNO Letter to President on Keystone FINAL 8May2012
Department of Defense Acknowledges Risks of Climate ChangeLast Updated on 2014-03-07 05:44:41IS CLIMATE CHANGE A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT?
THE U.S. MILITARY AND MILITARY EXPERTS SAY YES!
2014 Quadrennial Defense Review
Video on the military aspects of climate change - Watch it!
The Waxman-Whitehouse letter on National security and climate change
Climate Risks Relevant to Speech by John Kerry (by Climate Nexus)
2010 Quadrennial Defense Review
2014 QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW
Full text is HERE. Quotes from the review are below:
"The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities, while at the same time undermining the capacity of our domestic installations to support training activities."
"Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea... More »
Risky Business (Climate Change)Last Updated on 2014-01-13 05:36:54RISKY BUSINESS
How much economic risk does the United States face from the impacts of climate change? The Risky Business initiative will help us find out.
Risky Business includes two core components:
An independent risk assessment will combine existing data on the current and potential impacts of climate change with original research that will quantify potential future costs. The results, to be released in the summer of 2014, will reveal the likely financial risk the United States faces from unmitigated climate change.
An engagement effort will target the economic sectors most at risk from a changing climate, and begin the process of helping leaders from across these sectors prepare a measured response to the risks they face. The engagement will be led by a risk committee composed of top national and regional leaders from across the American economic and political spectrum.
Risky... More »
SEC Climate Change Risk Disclosure for BusinessesLast Updated on 2013-05-19 00:00:00
On January 27, 2010, the SEC voted to publish Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change, which clarifies how publicly traded corporations should apply existing SEC disclosure rules to certain mandatory financial filings with the SEC regarding the risk that climate change developments may have on their businesses.
The SEC is the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Below is an overview report by the Congressional Research Service on the SEC Climate Change Guidelines:
SEC Climate Change Disclosure Overview CRS
Hurricane SandyLast Updated on 2012-11-03 00:00:00
HURRICANE SANDY and GLOBAL WARMING.
SANDY was a tropical cyclone that severely affected the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US in late October. It was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km)... (see Wikipedia)
Global warming makes extreme events like Sandy more probable. The Atlantic ocean gulf current is warmer, giving more energy to the weather system. The sea level is getting higher, making flooding worse. The anomalous jet stream configuration that lead to the "left turn" of Sandy smack into shore is an example of the destabilization of the jet stream that has been qualitatively linked to global warming heating up the arctic, see HERE.
In the diagram below, the purple line is the jet stream with the anomalous shape, the blue dotted line is a blocking pattern, and the red circle is Sandy getting... More »
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