Why your reduced carbon footprint from lockdown won’t slow climate change

Why your reduced carbon footprint from lockdown won’t slow climate change

SOURCE: CBC DATE: May 23, 2020 SNIP: If you’re looking for a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, your reduced carbon footprint unfortunately isn’t it, climate scientists warn. Even with this week’s climate change study in the journal Nature citing a 17 per cent drop in daily CO2 emissions compared to this time last year, experts caution against the temptation to inflate the significance of a few weeks or months of reduced human activity, at least when it comes to climate change. “Think about it this way,” says renowned Canadian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. “We’ve been putting a brick on a pile every month since the beginning of the industrial revolution. “Last month we put a 20 per cent smaller-sized brick on that pile that has thousands of bricks already on it. That one slightly smaller brick is not going to make a big difference.” Looking at annual projections for 2020, the metaphorical brick Hayhoe uses to represent CO2 emissions is expected to be four to seven per cent smaller this year than in 2019. Even at a seven per cent reduction, emissions for 2020 will be roughly the same as 2011, says Corinne Le Quéré, one of the authors of this week’s Nature study. After a world’s worth of cancelled vacations, eliminated work commutes, shuttered business and virtually extinguished social lives, how is that possible? While the pandemic has led to a temporary drop in emissions related to things like personal transportation, other carbon-intensive practices continue, from supplying homes with electricity, to manufacturing and transporting...
Almost half of UK’s carbon emissions not accounted for under net-zero target, report warns

Almost half of UK’s carbon emissions not accounted for under net-zero target, report warns

SOURCE: Edie.net and WWF Report DATE: April 16, 2020 SNIP: The UK’s net-zero target is failing to account for emissions from overseas manufacturing of products imported into the country, a figure which a new report from WWF claims accounts for 46% of the UK’s annual carbon footprint. The report, commissioned by WWF and carried out by the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds, and released today (16 April) examined what the UK’s carbon footprint would look like if the manufacturing of imported products was accounted for in UK carbon accounting. The report found that emissions from imported products including clothing, processed foods and electronics would account for 46% of the UK’s carbon footprint. However, these emissions are not covered on national reporting requirements through the UK’s net-zero target. WWF also claims that these products would not be produced if not for UK demand. The UK’s domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions underwent a 3.6% year-on-year fall in 2019 – during which time renewable energy rose to a record 36.9% share of electricity generation. However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that the UK’s emissions peaked in 2007, rather than 1972, if territorial emissions from imports abroad were taken into account. Emissions in 2017 were 43% below 1990 levels, while the economy grew by two-thirds. However, if the territorial approach was replaced, it is believed that total emissions reductions are closer to 10% since 1997. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has made numerous public calls for the UK to include territorial emissions from international aviation and shipping under the new net-zero target for 2050. However, the...
Ten per cent of northeast B.C. oil and gas wells leak — more than double the reported rate in Alberta

Ten per cent of northeast B.C. oil and gas wells leak — more than double the reported rate in Alberta

SOURCE: The Narwhal DATE: March 4, 2020 SNIP: Northeastern British Columbia has been a major centre of conventional oil and gas production since the 1960s. More recently, the shale gas sector has also targeted the region. Northeastern B.C.’s shale gas reserves are estimated to hold 10,000 billion cubic metres of methane, enough to supply worldwide consumption for almost three years. One of the issues the oil and gas industry faces is the leakage of gases from wellbores — the holes drilled into the ground to look for or recover oil and natural gas. Methane leakage from wellbores has become an important issue because this greenhouse gas is far more potent than carbon dioxide. My colleagues and I recently examined a database containing information about 21,525 active and abandoned wells located in the four main shale gas formations of northeastern British Columbia: the Montney, Horn River, Liard and Cordova basins. This represents almost all of the conventional and shale gas wells existing in the region. Our study was the first to examine the data contained in the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission Wellbore (OCG) Leakage Database. We found that almost 11 per cent of all oil and gas wells had a reported leak, together releasing 14,000 cubic metres of methane per day. This is more than double the leakage rate of 4.6 per cent in Alberta, which may have less stringent testing and reporting requirements. Our research in northeastern B.C. also found weak regulations on mandatory reporting, continued monitoring and the use of protective measures — oversights that represent risks for the environment. The possibility of leakage from these...
Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year

Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: June 4, 2019 SNIP: The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by the second highest annual rise in the past six decades, according to new data. Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas were 414.8 parts per million in May, which was 3.5ppm higher than the same time last year, according to readings from the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, where carbon dioxide has been monitored continuously since 1958. Scientists have warned for more than a decade that concentrations of more than 450ppm risk triggering extreme weather events and temperature rises as high as 2C, beyond which the effects of global heating are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. This is the seventh consecutive year in which steep increases in ppm have been recorded, well above the previous average, and the fifth year since the 400ppm threshold was breached in 2014. In 2016, the highest annual jump in the series so far was recorded, from 404.1 in 2015 to 407.66 in...
Countries vowed to cut carbon emissions. They aren’t even close to their goals, U.N. report finds

Countries vowed to cut carbon emissions. They aren’t even close to their goals, U.N. report finds

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: November 27, 2018 SNIP: On the eve of the most important global climate meeting in years, a definitive United Nations report has found that the world is well off course on its promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions — and may have even further to go than previously thought. Seven major countries, including the United States, are well behind achieving the pledges they made in Paris three years ago, the report finds, with little time left to adopt much more ambitious policy measures to curb their emissions. That verdict is likely to weigh heavily during a U.N. climate meeting that begins in Poland next week, where countries are scheduled to discuss how well they are, or are not, living up to the goals set in the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. The UNEP report finds that, with global emissions still increasing as of 2017, it is unlikely they will reach a peak by 2020. Yet such a peak, required before any decline can occur, is a near-mandatory outcome if the world is to have a chance of achieving the Paris agreement’s most important goal: limiting the planet’s warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. Current global emissions were 53.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2017; if all countries live up to all promises made in Paris, they would also be about 53 billion tons in 2030. (Emissions are projected to grow with the growth of populations and economies, so basically, under the current Paris promises, the world is running simply to stand still.) This sets the world...