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View Diary: Watching Earth as it Breathes (83 comments)

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  •  How Much Extra CO2e Do We Emit? (1+ / 0-)
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    jim in IA

    The Earths' carbon cycle accommodates a vast amount of CO2 and other Greenhouse gases without tipping the balance into climate change. The dynamic and interactive feedback systems probably accommodate a fairly wide range of emitted gases before tipping. The amount humans generate is evidently enough to tip it, especially over years, decades and centuries accumulated excess the system can't recycle.

    But how much can humans actually generate without breaking the system and changing the climate (and other damage, like killing coral)? Even with lots more efficiency and conservation, humans will add to the Greenhouse. How much quota for emissions does our mostly resilient natural system leave us? How many tons of CO2 equivalent (including other emissions) can we generate, even when we reduce below the critical point?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:20:06 AM PST

    •  You've asked some very good questions. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't doubt there are some who have studied them and conjecture about them.


      Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

      by jim in IA on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 06:30:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're emitting ~5% extra (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jim in IA

      over and above the natural carbon cycle.

      Doesn't seem like much, but it's enough to unbalance the previous system that has been operating for the last several hundred thousand years.

      Unless we correct the situation, it will lead us to some new climate equilibrium. And I doubt we'll be very happy there.

      •  Where did you get that 5% number? (0+ / 0-)


        Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

        by jim in IA on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:05:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here ya go: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jim in IA, DocGonzo

          http://www.skepticalscience.com/...

          Technically that shows 3.8%, but that's based on numbers getting close to a decade old, so I imagine it's getting closer to 5% these days.

          •  Thanks...have a good day. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ozy


            Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

            by jim in IA on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:58:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  15 Trillion Kg CO2 Too Much (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jim in IA
            In fact, human emit 26 gigatonnes of CO2 per year while CO2 in the atmosphere is rising by only 15 gigatonnes per year - much of human CO2 emissions is being absorbed by natural sinks.

            Your link says that we emit about 15 Gt CO2 too much. Coal generates about 8.75Mj per Kg CO2 emitted. That 15 trillion Kg CO2 gives us about 131.2 trillion megajoules. The world consumed 117,076 TWh from fossil fuels in 2008, which is about 421.5 trillion megajoules. We might just barely balance the books by cutting about 31% of our fossil fuel use.

            It is achievable. My own company cuts energy consumption by about 20% on average in thousands of NYC buildings, which is more than 20% of NYC CO2e emissions because heating emits higher CO2 amounts than the average energy consumption. Our technology grabs the lowest hanging fruit. I expect that more R&D could raise that average to over 35%. And that's even before replacing fossil fuel energy sources with more renewables. 40% reduction by 2035 should be possible. And since NYC is better than average to start, 50% reduction should be possible.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:12:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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