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ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:33 pm
by GRA
U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling
More driving, increased use of natural gas for heating are to blame
https://www.autoblog.com/2019/01/09/us- ... pike-2018/
U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, spiked last year after falling for the previous three, as cold weather spurred natural gas demand for heating and as the economy pushed planes and trucks to guzzle fuel, an estimate released on Tuesday showed.

The Rhodium Group, an independent research group, said emissions rose 3.4 percent in 2018, the biggest jump since 2010, when the economy bounced back from the Great Recession.

Rhodium said the boost from the world's second-biggest carbon emitter after China could make it harder for the United States to meet reductions targets it set under the Paris Agreement in 2015. To do so, the United States would have to cut energy-related carbon emissions by 2.6 percent on average over the next seven years, a pace more than twice that achieved between 2005 and 2017.

"It is certainly feasible, but will likely require a fairly significant change in policy in the very near future, and/or favorable market and technological conditions," the group said.

The spike occurred even though 2018 brought a record number of shutdowns of power plants fired by coal, the fuel richest in carbon output when burned.

Natural gas, which emits about half the carbon of coal, replaced most of the lost coal generation. But it also served the vast majority of load growth for electricity last year, the report said. . . .

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:21 pm
by iPlug
1) More driving
Low gas prices have not helped here. Increased taxation on oil products would help, but the continued electrification of the transportation sector will ultimately mitigate this.

2) Increased use of natural gas for heating
This is a big problem regardless of any particular unusually cold season.

While the greening of the grid and transportation sector is earnestly under way, little progress is occurring with heating homes, other buildings, and hot water. Many homes considered to be "net zero" are really just net zero on electricity use. In many places in the U.S., however, more GHGs are produced from heating the home and water.

We need to work on getting heat pumps into homes and other buildings, especially where the climate and regional energy sources (e.g. hydro, wind, nuclear...) are most ideal.

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:09 am
by LTLFTcomposite
Funny you should mention that, we did an HVAC changeout at a family member's house last year and eliminated the gas heat in favor of resistance electric (heat is rarely used in FL) and I'm about to get rid of the old gas water heater in favor of electric so the house will be total electric. The equipment at the house is cheaper and I figure either the electric company can burn the gas more efficiently or increase the mix of renewables.

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:20 am
by Oilpan4
I was reading an article from green car reports I think it was and they were saying that if all passenger vehicle became electric over night it would only reduce over all US carbon dioxide output by around 11%.

As long as most of the power to charge the electric vehicles comes from fossil fuels nothing really changes. A large portion would have to come from nuclear power to have any meaningful mitigating impact on CO2 release.

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:22 am
by SageBrush
^^ A heat pump is tailor made for Florida. Not only does it cool the house down while heating the water, it dehumidifies.

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:23 am
by SageBrush
Oilpan4 wrote: As long as most of the power to charge the electric vehicles comes from fossil fuels nothing really changes. A large portion would have to come from nuclear power to have any meaningful mitigating impact on CO2 release.
What do you have against wind and solar ?

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:31 am
by Oilpan4
SageBrush wrote: What do you have against wind and solar ?
I have an associates degree in applied science for wind and solar power generation.
What do you want to know?

I can tell you wind and solar are not going to be able to replace coal fired power plants on a large scale within our life times.

I am putting solar panels on my house and I may possibly build my own solar farm if I can do it profitably. So I have nothing against solar or wind power.
I'm just not bindly optimistic like everyone else who hasn't been formally educated on the subject.

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:40 am
by iPlug
Oilpan4 wrote:I was reading an article from green car reports I think it was and they were saying that if all passenger vehicle became electric over night it would only reduce over all US carbon dioxide output by around 11%.

As long as most of the power to charge the electric vehicles comes from fossil fuels nothing really changes. A large portion would have to come from nuclear power to have any meaningful mitigating impact on CO2 release.
Most of this is because only 28% of green house gas (GHG) emissions come from the transportation sector in the U.S.. And passenger vehicles only represent a portion of this. Buses, planes, trains, ships, and commercial trucks represent a large part of that 28%.

Electricity production also represents 28% of GHG in the U.S., and this, like the transportation sector, continues to move towards more renewables. Yet residences only use a percent of this. Commercial and industrial buildings/facilities also use a large part, so it's not enough for a home to become electrically "net zero".

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/source ... -emissions

Indirectly, we can have some influence on all sectors of U.S. carbon emissions by the way we vote. Directly, some things U.S. residents can do and have a lot more control over: upgrade to electric vehicle(s), solar PV, heat pumps for heating home air and water, efficient appliances, low/no animal source diet...

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:54 am
by SageBrush
Oilpan4 wrote: I have an associates degree in applied science for wind and solar power generation.
I'm just not bindly optimistic like everyone else who hasn't been formally educated on the subject.
OK. What does your formal education as a technician say that convinces you ?

I have a couple years of University studies in math, stats, physics and chemistry. I may be able to follow along.

Re: ABG: U.S. carbon emissions spike in 2018 after years of falling

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:24 am
by iPlug
There is still much that can be done nationally with renewables.

California (latest is 2017 data), the largest state and with no particularly unique natural energy resources, is a good place to see what trends remain possible:

-coal mix unchanged at 4%
-natural gas use decreased and is down for 3 consecutive years, now 33.67% of the power mix
-nuclear remained nearly stable, down a tenth of a percent to 9.1%
-large hydro increased temporarily from 10.2% to 14.7% of the mix due to drought breaking rainfall
-non-large hydro renewables grew almost as fast and renewables continue to climb rapidly, with another year over year 3.55% power mix gain to the current 29.00%
-wind continued to grow, but at an ever slowing rate, now 9.4%, up from 9.06%
-solar outpaced wind for the first time now at 10.2% (8.11% prior year)
-small hydro grew temporarily with large hydro, again with record rainfall that winter/spring
-still, the impact of solar was underestimated as “behind the meter” home solar was not measured as only units generating 1MW or greater were counted
-California total system electric generation was up 0.5 percent from 2016 largely due to growth in the number of light duty electric vehicles registered in the state
-California’s non-CO2 emitting electric generation categories (nuclear, large hydroelectric, and renewable generation) accounted for more than 56 percent of total in-state generation for 2017, compared to 50 percent in 2016 (and 40% in 2015)