Carbon emissions from energy industry rise at fastest rate since 2011

Carbon emissions from energy industry rise at fastest rate since 2011

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: June 11, 2019 SNIP: Carbon emissions from the global energy industry last year rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade after extreme weather and surprise swings in global temperatures stoked extra demand for fossil fuels. BP’s annual global energy report, an influential review of the market, revealed for the first time that temperature fluctuations are increasing the world’s use of fossil fuels, in spite of efforts to tackle the climate crisis. They also resulted in a second consecutive annual increase for coal use, reversing three years of decline earlier this decade. Carbon emissions climbed by 2% in 2018, faster than any year since 2011, because the demand for energy easily outstripped the rapid rollout of renewable energy. That level of growth in emissions represents the carbon equivalent of driving an extra 400m combustion engine cars onto the world’s roads, said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist. Two-thirds of the world’s energy demand increase was due to higher demand in China, India and the US which was in part due to industrial demand, as well as the “weather effect”. This was spurred by an “outsized” energy appetite in the US which recorded the highest number of days with hotter or colder than average days since the 1950s. “On hot days people turn to their air conditioning and fans, on cold days they turn to their heaters. That has a big impact,” Dale...
‘Earthworm Dilemma’ Has Climate Scientists Racing to Keep Up

‘Earthworm Dilemma’ Has Climate Scientists Racing to Keep Up

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: May 20, 2019 SNIP: Native earthworms disappeared from most of northern North America 10,000 years ago, during the ice age. Now invasive earthworm species from southern Europe — survivors of that frozen epoch, and introduced to this continent by European settlers centuries ago — are making their way through northern forests, their spread hastened by roads, timber and petroleum activity, tire treads, boats, anglers and even gardeners. As the worms feed, they release into the atmosphere much of the carbon stored in the forest floor. Climate scientists are worried. “Earthworms are yet another factor that can affect the carbon balance,” Werner Kurz, a researcher with the Canadian Forest Service in Victoria, British Columbia, wrote in an email. His fear is that the growing incursion of earthworms — not just in North America, but also in northern Europe and Russia — could convert the boreal forest, now a powerful global carbon sponge, into a carbon spout. Moreover, the threat is still so new to boreal forests that scientists don’t yet know how to calculate what the earthworms’ carbon effect will be, or when it will appear. “It is a significant change to the carbon dynamic and how we understand it works,” Cindy Shaw, a carbon-research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, said. “We don’t truly understand the rate or the magnitude of that change.” The relationship between carbon and earthworms is complex. Earthworms are beloved by gardeners because they break down organic material in soil, freeing up nutrients. This helps plants and trees grow faster, which locks carbon into living tissue. Some types of invasive...
We just set a scary new CO2 record

We just set a scary new CO2 record

SOURCE: Grist DATE: May 7, 2019 SNIP: Just the news you’ve been waiting for: The amount of carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere has reached a new high. April’s average was 413.52 parts per million, a new record, according to a spokesperson at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The last time there was this much CO2 in our atmosphere, there were trees growing at the South Pole. Humans weren’t yet a thing. In other words, we’re living in uncharted territory. Scientists predict that we could pass the 415 ppm threshold this month. Since the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased by more than 45 percent. That’s mostly thanks to the various demands of modern life: gas-guzzling cars, refrigerators, hamburgers, Bitcoin … you name it. Our gizmos and gadgets have largely been powered by the carbon-rich fossil fuels stored in the planet’s underground...
Oilsands CO2 emissions may be far higher than companies report, scientists say

Oilsands CO2 emissions may be far higher than companies report, scientists say

SOURCE: CBC DATE: April 23, 2019 SNIP: A number of major oilsands operations in northern Alberta seem to be emitting significantly more carbon pollution than companies have been reporting, newly published research from federal scientists suggests, which could have profound consequences for government climate-change strategies. The researchers, mainly from Environment Canada, calculated emissions rates for four major oilsands surface mining operations using air samples collected in 2013 on 17 airplane flights over the area. In results published today in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists say the air samples from just those surface mining operations suggest their carbon dioxide emissions are 64 per cent higher, on average, than what the companies themselves report to the federal government using the standard United Nations reporting framework for greenhouse gases. The gap between the facilities’ reported carbon dioxide emissions and the levels calculated by researchers was 13 per cent for the Suncor site, 36 per cent for the Horizon mine, 38 per cent for Jackpine and 123 per cent for Syncrude. It means that Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions would be around 2.3 per cent higher than previously thought. And if research eventually shows that other oilsands sites are subject to similar underreporting issues, Canada’s overall greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as six per cent more than thought — throwing a wrench into the calculations that underpin government emissions...
Electric vehicles emit more CO2 than diesel ones, German study shows

Electric vehicles emit more CO2 than diesel ones, German study shows

SOURCE: Brussels Times DATE: April 17, 2019 SNIP: When CO2 emissions linked to the production of batteries and the German energy mix – in which coal still plays an important role – are taken into consideration, electric vehicles emit 11% to 28% more than their diesel counterparts, according to the study, presented on Wednesday at the Ifo Institute in Munich. Mining and processing the lithium, cobalt and manganese used for batteries consume a great deal of energy. A Tesla Model 3 battery, for example, represents between 11 and 15 tonnes of CO2. Given a lifetime of 10 years and an annual travel distance of 15,000 kilometres, this translates into 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometre, scientists Christoph Buchal, Hans-Dieter Karl and Hans-Werner Sinn noted in their study. The CO2 given off to produce the electricity that powers such vehicles also needs to be factored in, they say. When all these factors are considered, each Tesla emits 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is more than a comparable diesel vehicle produced by the German company Mercedes, for...