Friday, January 20, 2006

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions up 2% in 2004

Green Car Congress reports that the latest figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that total United States greenhous gas (GHG) emissions are up 2% in 2004, increasing to 7,122.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from 2003’s 6,983.2 MMTCO2e.

Accoring to the EIA, the large growth in 2004 is the result of a surging U.S. economy, which in turn resulted in more energy use. GCC reports that the economy grew 4.4% in 2004 - the fastest since 1999 - and this in turn increased the carbon dioxide generated from energy use by 1.7%. However, greenhouse emissions grew slower than the economy which indicates that the U.S. greenhouse gas intensity - the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of economic output - decreased by 2.1% in 2004.

Since 1990 (the benchmark year for the Kyoto Protocol), U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 15.8%, for an average annual increase of 1.1%, according to the EIA.

GCC reports that the 2004 increase in total greenhouse gas emissions is attributable primarily to a 1.7% increase in emissions of carbon dioxide to 5,973.0 million metric tons, along with increases in emissions of nitrous oxide (5.5%) and methane (0.9%). Emissions of engineered gases - hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) - also increased, by 9.6 percent.

[Graphic: GHG Emissions by Sector]

As in other countries seeing increasing GHG emissions, sometimes despite commitments to reduction targets [previous post], transportation is the biggest culprit here. Transportation emissions of CO2 climbed 3.1% from 2003 to 2004, and account for the largest percentage of carbon dioxide emissions (32.4%).

Almost all (98%) of transportation sector carbon dioxide emissions result from the consumption of petroleum products: motor gasoline, 1,162.6 MMT (60% of total); middle distillates (diesel fuel), 428.2 MMT(22%); jet fuel, 237.4 MMT(12%); and residual oil (heavy fuel oil, largely for maritime use), 54.6 MMT (2.8%).

The growth in transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2004 included increases in emissions from the use of motor gasoline (21.2 MMT, up 1.9%), diesel fuel (17.9 MMT, up 5.1%), residual fuel oil (10.0 MMT, up 22.7%), and jet fuel (8.2 MMT, up 3.6%).

These figures indicate that if we truly want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have to start doing one or both of the following:

(a) reduce the amount of transport fuel consumed, either through more efficient vehicles or through reducing vehicle miles traveled - i.e. simply driving less; or
(b) start using different transportaion fuels, fuels with reduced GHG emissions per vehicle mile traveled (VMT) - options include electric vehicles and plug-ins, cellulosic ethanol or FT fuels from biomass, zinc-air fuel cell vehicles and of course, hydrogen. The source of feedstocks for each of these fuels is crucial and effects the resulting GHG emissions per VMT. (Some, i.e. hydrogen from average U.S. electrical mix via electrolysis could even increase GHG/VMT).

Finally, while U.S. GHG intensity is decreasing, there is still much more we could do in terms of efficiency in the industrial, residential and commercial sectors as well as an accelerated transition towards clean, non-emitting, renewable sources of power including solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and low-impact hydro (and perhaps even nuclear although I'm still not sold there).


writ of summons said...

Very informative post. I think that the fact that cabon emmisions grew slower than the economy is good news. But the engineered gas emission growth is not good news.

Erich J. Knight said...

With energy being of such import to all aspects of the economy, government policy and Carbon in the world climate, why do these technologies languish for lack of government funding?

There are three companies pursuing hydrogen-boron plasma toroid fusion, a form of aneutronic fusion, Paul Koloc, Prometheus II, Eric Lerner, Focus Fusion and Clint Seward of Electron Power Systems . A resent DOD review of EPS technology reads as follows:

"MIT considers these plasmas a revolutionary breakthrough, with Delphi's
chief scientist and senior manager for advanced technology both agreeing
that EST/SPT physics are repeatable and theoretically explainable. MIT and
EPS have jointly authored numerous professional papers describing their
work. (Delphi is a $33B company, the spun off Delco Division of General

Vincent Page (a technology officer at GE!!) gave a presentation at the 05 6th symposium on current trends in international fusion research, which high lights the need to fully fund three different approaches to P-B11 fusion (Below Is an excerpt).
He quotes costs and time to development of P-B11 Fusion as tens of million $, and years verses the many decades and ten Billion plus $ projected for ITER and other "Big" science efforts:

"for larger plant sizes
Time to small-scale Cost to achieve net if the small-scale
Concept Description net energy production energy concept works:
Koloc Spherical Plasma: 10 years(time frame), $25 million (cost), 80%(chance of success)
Field Reversed Configuration: 8 years $75 million 60%
Plasma Focus: 6 years $18 million 80%

Desirable Fusion Reactor Qualities
• Research & development is also needed in
the area of computing power.
• Many fusion researchers of necessity still
use MHD theory to validate their designs.
• MHD theory assumes perfect diamagnetism
and perfect conductance.
• These qualities may not always exist in the
real world, particularly during continuous operation.
• More computing power is needed to allow use of a more realistic validation theory
such as the Vlasov equations.
• ORNL is in the process of adding some impressive computing power.
• Researchers now need to develop more realistic validation methods up to the
limits of the available computing power.
• Governments need to fund these efforts."

I feel in light of the recent findings of neutrons, x-rays, and gamma rays in lightening, that these threads need to be brought together in an article.

You may see my efforts with my "A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy" article:

which got published on Sci-Scoop and the Open Source Energy Network but rejected on Slashdot. The New Energy News will soon run an article on these companies efforts toward aneutronic fusion.

About a year ago, I came across EPS while researching nano-tech and efficient home design. I started a correspondence Clint Seward, Eric Learner, and Paul Kolac, sending them science news links which I felt were either supportive or contradictory to their work. I also asked them to critique each other's approaches. I have posted these emails to numerous physics and science forums. Discussion groups, science journalists, and other academics, trying to foster discussion, attention, and hopefully some concessus on the validity of these proposed technologies.

My efforts have born some fruit. Clint and Joe Dwyer at FIT have been in consultation on Clint's current charge transport theory for cloud to ground lightening.
I have had several replies from editors, producers, and journalists expressing interest. From organizations as varied as PBS, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, New Energy News, the Guardian (U.K), and the San Francisco Chronicle. However, none of this professional interest has resulted in a story yet.

I have been responding to all of the articles that filter in via my Google alerts on "fusion power". The most recent was the "Happy News" article by Kris Metaverso.

This post is a plea to you as a sciencetist to at least look at aneutronic fusion, the P-B11 efforts, Eric Learner's high temperatures and x-ray source project, Clint Seward's lightening theories, and DOD review, and Paul Kolac's review by GE.

The minimal cost and time frame for even the possibility of this leap forward seems criminal not to pursue. If you read my Manhattan article, you may have noticed that I am not a writer. I am a landscape designer and technology gadfly wondering why this technology has never been put in the public eye.
My hope is that someone in your office would step up to give a shout out about these technologies. Please contact me for copies of my correspondence with the principles, interesting replies and criticisms from physics discussion forums and academic physicists who have replied to my queries.

Thanks for any help

Erich J. Knight said...

Looks like Eric Lerner is moving down the road!!

U.S., Chilean Labs to Collaborate on Testing Scientific Feasibility of Focus Fusion