﻿ Dee Finney's blog April 7, 2012  page 190  CARBON FOOTPRINT

Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

Today's date April 7, 2012

page 190

TOPIC:  CARBON FOOTPRINT

4-7-`12 - DREAM -  I was in the lobby of a college somewhere and a man walked by holding a brochure titled  CARBON FOOTPRINT.

I've heard the term before, so I was intrigued as to what he was going to study, so l asked to see the brochure.

Inside the brochure it showed tall tubes - about a gallon size of foods stuffed into them.  I tried to identify the foods in the tubes and could only pick out a couple of them by sight.  What the others were, I have no clue as I didn't recognize them, but someone in the world must eat them.  My imagination can'/t be that good.  I assumed that whoever devised the brochure thinks that people eat a gallon of food somewhere.  I know I don't.

In the rest of the dream, I was in my own kitchen and a man was trying to help me be comfortable and brought in an arm chair so I could sit down while working in the kitchen.  Nice of him.

BUT WHAT IS IT?  I'm curious as to what I use compared to other people.

A carbon footprint has historically been defined as "the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.".[1] However, calculating a carbon footprint which conforms to this definition is often impracticable due to the large amount of data required, which is often time consuming to obtain. A more practicable definition has been suggested, which is gaining acceptance within the field:

"A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources, sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest. Calculated as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) using the relevant 100-year global warming potential (GWP100)."[2]

Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services.[3] For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted.

The concept name of the carbon footprint originates from ecological footprint,discussion,[4] which was developed by Rees and Wackernagel in the 1990s. The carbon footprint is a subset of the ecological footprint and of the more comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

An individual's, nation's, or organisations carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it, e.g. by technological developments, better process and product management, changed Green Public or Private Procurement (GPP), carbon capture, consumption strategies, and others.

The mitigation of carbon footprints through the development of alternative projects, such as solar or wind energy or reforestation, represents one way of reducing a carbon footprint and is often known as Carbon offsetting.

The main influences on carbon footprints include population, economic output, and energy and carbon intensity of the economy.[5] These factors are the main targets of individuals and businesses in order to decrease carbon footprints. Scholars suggest the most effective way to decrease a carbon footprint is to either decrease the amount of energy needed for production or to decrease the dependence on carbon emitting fuels.[5]

### Of products

Several organisations have calculated carbon footprints of products;[6] The US Environmental Protection Agency has addressed paper, plastic (candy wrappers), glass, cans, computers, carpet and tires. Australia has addressed lumber and other building materials. Academics in Australia, Korea and the US have addressed paved roads. Companies, nonprofits and academics have addressed mailing letters and packages. Carnegie Mellon University has estimated the CO2 footprints of 46 large sectors of the economy in each of eight countries. Carnegie Mellon, Sweden and the Carbon Trust have addressed foods at home and in restaurants.

The Carbon Trust has worked with UK manufacturers on foods, shirts and detergents, introducing a CO2 label in March 2007. The label is intended to comply with a new British Publicly Available Specification (i.e. not a standard), PAS 2050,[7] and is being actively piloted by The Carbon Trust and various industrial partners.[8]

Evaluating the package of some products is key to figuring out the carbon footprint.[9] The key ways to determine the carbon footprint is to look at the materials that were used to make the item. For example, the juice carton is made of Aseptic carton, the beer can is made of aluminum and some water bottles either made of glass or plastic. The larger the size, the larger the footprint will be.Of electricity

The following table compares, from peer-reviewed studies of full life cycle emissions and from various other studies, the carbon footprint of various forms of energy generation: Nuclear, Hydro, Coal, Gas, Solar Cell, Peat and Wind generation technology.

Emission factors of common fuels
Fuel/
Resource
Thermal
g(CO2-eq)/MJth
Energy Intensity
W·hth/W·he
Electric
g(CO2-eq)/kW·he
Coal &10000000000000092510000B:91.50–91.72
Br:94.33
88
&10000000000000002990000B:2.62–2.85[10]
Br:3.46[10]
3.01

&10000000000000994000000B:863–941[10]
Br:1,175[10]
955[11]

Oil

&1000000000000007300000073[12]

&100000000000000033999993.40

&10000000000000893000000893[11]

Natural gas

&10000000000000068299999cc:68.20
oc:68.4

&10000000000000664000000cc:577[10]
oc:751[10]
599[11]

Geothermal
Power

&100000000000000030000003~

&10000000000000041000000TL0–1[11]
TH91–122[11]

Uranium
Nuclear power

&10000000000000000190000WL0.18[10]
WH0.20[10]

&10000000000000062500000WL60[10]
WH65[10]

Hydroelectricity

&100000000000000000460000.046[10] &1000000000000001500000015[10]
Conc. Solar Pwr &1000000000000004000000040±15#
Photovoltaics &100000000000000003300000.33[10] &10000000000000106000000106[10]
Wind power &100000000000000000660000.066[10] &1000000000000002100000021[10]

Note: 3.6 MJ = megajoule(s) == 1 kW·h = kilowatt-hour(s), thus 1 g/MJ = 3.6 g/kW·h.
Legend: B = Black coal (supercritical)–(new subcritical), Br = Brown coal (new subcritical), cc = combined cycle, oc = open cycle, TL = low-temperature/closed-circuit (geothermal doublet), TH = high-temperature/open-circuit, WL = Light Water Reactors, WH = Heavy Water Reactors, #Educated estimate.

These studies thus concluded that hydroelectric, wind, and nuclear power always produced the least CO2 per kilowatt-hour of any other electricity sources. These figures do not allow for emissions due to accidents or terrorism. Renewable electricity generation methods, for example wind power and hydropower, emit no carbon from the operation, but do leave a footprint during construction phase and maintenance during operation.

###  Of Heat and various combined heat and power schemes, heat pumps etc ...

The previous table gives the carbon footprint per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, which is about half the world's man-made CO2 output. The CO2 footprint for heat is equally significant and research shows that using waste heat from power generation in combined heat and power district heating, chp/dh has the lowest carbon footprint.[13] much lower than micro-power or heat pumps.

##  Kyoto Protocol, carbon offsetting, and certificates

Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and the emissions of other GHGs, are often associated with the burning of fossil fuels, like natural gas, crude oil and coal.

The Kyoto Protocol defines legally binding targets and timetables for cutting the GHG emissions of industrialized countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Accordingly, from an economic or market perspective, one has to distinguish between a mandatory market and a voluntary market. Typical for both markets is the trade with emission certificates:

### Mandatory market mechanisms

To reach the goals defined in the Kyoto Protocol, with the least economical costs, the following flexible mechanisms were introduced for the mandatory market:

The CDM and JI mechanisms requirements for projects which create a supply of emission reduction instruments, while Emissions Trading allows those instruments to be sold on international markets.

- Projects which are compliant with the requirements of the CDM mechanism generate Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs).
- Projects which are compliant with the requirements of the JI mechanism generate Emissions Reduction Units (ERUs).

The CERs and ERUs can then be sold through Emissions Trading. The demand for the CERs and ERUs being traded is driven by:

- Shortfalls in national emission reduction obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.
- Shortfalls amongst entities obligated under local emissions reduction schemes.

Nations which have failed to deliver their Kyoto emissions reductions obligations can enter Emissions Trading to purchase CERS and ERUs to cover their treaty shortfalls. Nations and groups of nations can also create local emission reduction schemes which place mandatory carbon dioxide emission targets on entities within their national boundaries. If the rules of a scheme allow, the obligated entities may be able to cover all or some of any reduction shortfalls by purchasing CERs and ERUs through Emissions Trading. While local emissions reduction schemes have no status under the Kyoto Protocol itself, they play a prominent role in creating the demand for CERs and ERUs, stimulating Emissions Trading and setting a market price for emissions.

A well-known mandatory local emissions trading scheme is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

New changes are being made to the trading schemes. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is set to make some new changes within the next year. The new changes will target the emissions produced by flight travel in and out of the European Union.[14]

Other nations are scheduled to start participating in Emissions Trading Schemes within the next few year. These nations include China, India and the United States.[14]

### Voluntary market mechanisms

In contrast to the strict rules set out for the mandatory market, the voluntary market provides companies with different options to acquire emissions reductions. A solution, comparable with those developed for the mandatory market, has been developed for the voluntary market, the Verified Emission Reductions (VER). This measure has the great advantage that the projects/activities are managed according to the quality standards set out for CDM/JI projects but the certificates provided are not registered by the governments of the host countries or the Executive Board of the UNO. As such, high quality VERs can be acquired at lower costs for the same project quality. However, at present VERs can not be used in the mandatory market.

The voluntary market in North America is divided between members of the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Over The Counter (OTC) market. The Chicago Climate Exchange is a voluntary yet legally binding cap-and-trade emission scheme whereby members commit to the capped emission reductions and must purchase allowances from other members or offset excess emissions. The OTC market does not involve a legally binding scheme and a wide array of buyers from the public and private spheres, as well as special events that want to go carbon neutral.

There are project developers, wholesalers, brokers, and retailers, as well as carbon funds, in the voluntary market. Some businesses and nonprofits in the voluntary market encompass more than just one of the activities listed above. A report by Ecosystem Marketplace shows that carbon offset prices increase as it moves along the supply chain—from project developer to retailer.[15]

While some mandatory emission reduction schemes exclude forest projects, these projects flourish in the voluntary markets. A major criticism concerns the imprecise nature of GHG sequestration quantification methodologies for forestry projects. However, others note the community co-benefits that forestry projects foster. Project types in the voluntary market range from avoided deforestation, afforestation/reforestation, industrial gas sequestration, increased energy efficiency, fuel switching, methane capture from coal plants and livestock, and even renewable energy. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) sold on the voluntary market are quite controversial due to additionality concerns.[16] Industrial Gas projects receive criticism because such projects only apply to large industrial plants that already have high fixed costs. Siphoning off industrial gas for sequestration is considered picking the low hanging fruit; which is why credits generated from industrial gas projects are the cheapest in the voluntary market.

The size and activity of the voluntary carbon market is difficult to measure. The most comprehensive report on the voluntary carbon markets to date was released by Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance in July 2007.[15]

ÆON of Japan is firstly approved by Japanese authority to indicate carbon footprint on three private brand goods in October 2009.

## Notes

1. ^ "What is a carbon footprint?". UK Carbon Trust. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
2. ^ Wright, L.; Kemp, S., Williams, I. (2011). "'Carbon footprinting': towards a universally accepted definition". Carbon Management 2 (1): 61–72. doi:10.4155/CMT.10.39.
3. ^ "The CO2 list (and original sources cited therein)". Retrieved 2011-03-18.
4. ^ Safire, William (2008-02-17). "Footprint". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
5. ^ a b Brown, Marilyn A., Frank Southworth, and Andrea Sarzynski. Shrinking The Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America. Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, May 2008. Web. 23 Feb. 2011.
6. ^ "CO2 Released when Making & Using Products". Retrieved 27 October 2009.
7. ^
8. ^
9. ^
10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Prof. Bilek, Marcela; Dr. Hardy, Clarence, Dr. Lenzen, Manfred & Dr. Dey, Christopher (2008). "Life-cycle energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear energy: A review" (PDF). SLS - USyd - USyd-ISA - pubs - pandora-archive Energy Conversion & Management 49 (8): 2178–2199. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
11. ^ a b c d e Fridleifsson,, Ingvar B.; Bertani, Ruggero; Huenges, Ernst; Lund, John W.; Ragnarsson, Arni; Rybach, Ladislaus (2008-02-11). O. Hohmeyer and T. Trittin. ed (pdf). The possible role and contribution of geothermal energy to the mitigation of climate change. Luebeck, Germany. pp. 59–80. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
12. ^ Hanova, J; Dowlatabadi, H (9 November 2007). "Strategic GHG reduction through the use of ground source heat pump technology". Environmental Research Letters (UK: IOP Publishing) 2: pp. 044001 8pp. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/044001. ISSN 1748-9326. Retrieved 2009-03-22
13. ^
14. ^ a b Callick, Rowan. "Nations Split on Route to Reduce Carbon Emissions | The Australian." The Australian | The Australian Homepage | TheAustralian. 02 Mar. 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2011.
15. ^ a b
16. ^