CO2 Fool’s Errand, Part III
After struggling to cut CO2 emissions from the generation of electricity and from using gasoline, we turn to the remaining 40% of U.S. CO2 emissions.
There are emissions from airplanes, railroads, heating of homes and industry.
Of these remaining sources, industry is the largest and represents 18% of total U.S. CO2 emissions. These emissions come from manufacturing (which represent approximately 84% of emissions from industry), mining, construction, fisheries, agriculture and forestry.
While some companies have been able to make small reductions in CO2 emissions, cutting CO2 emissions 80% is a daunting task – in fact, I know of no magic solution.
Transportation, essentially, railroads, airplanes and shipping, account for 13% of U.S. CO2 emissions. Biofuels are touted as a possible solution, but they cost several times more than jet or diesel fuel, and there’s no proven means for large scale production of biofuels from algae, etc.
The residential sector accounts for around 6% of U.S. emissions, and this comes mainly from heating. Similarly the commercial sector accounts for only 4% of U.S. CO2 emissions, which includes schools, shopping malls, hospitals and office buildings.
Note that these do not include the use of electricity since CO2 emissions from generating electricity are dealt with separately.
As can be seen, the percentages get smaller and smaller. Even if CO2 emissions from the residential and commercial sectors were completely eliminated, it would have only a small effect on total U.S. CO2 emissions.
The absurdity of this CO2 fool’s errand can be seen when comparing per capita emissions.
|CO2 emissions||5018 MMT||1,000 MMT||
|Per capita emissions||20.2 Tons||2.4 Tons||
The U.S. would have to cut per capita emissions from 20.2 tons to 2.4 tons, an 88% reduction, rather than the smaller 80% reduction in total emissions required by the United Nations.
Per capita emissions of 2.4 tons are essentially the level before the First World War, and at the turn of the twentieth century.
There were few cars, no airplanes to speak of, no air conditioning, no TVs, no washing machines or cloths driers, no refrigerators and no microwave ovens.
Every activity designed to cut CO2 emissions hurts Americans. These include,
- Renewable portfolio standards (RPS)
- Net metering and feed-in tariffs
- Cap and trade
- Wind and solar generation of electricity
- Stopping the building of ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants
The best strategy for the United States is to promote economic growth and to curtail all efforts to cut CO2 emissions.
Note: The book, Carbon Folly (see www.carbonfolly.com ) contains more information.
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