If you want to reduce greenhouse gases, it helps to know where on Earth
"The greenhouse effect is an important mechanism of temperature regulation. The Earth returns energy received from the sun to space by reflecting light and emitting heat. Part of the out-going heat flow is absorbed by greenhouse gases and re-irradiated back to the Earth. Though they occur naturally, human activities have significantly increased their presence in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases vary considerably in amounts emitted, but also in their warming effect and in the length of time they remain in the atmosphere as active warming agents."
they come from. So what are some of the obvious ways of emitting GHGs that we may all be involved in, probably without even realising it? Here are some of the really glaring ones.
Energy is involved in just about everything we do. Depending on the source
"Energy generation is the single most important activity resulting in GHG emissions, in particular because most of it is produced from fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, the latter being mainly used to generate electricity. Coal, particularly brown coal (also called lignite), is the energy source with the highest GHG emissions per energy unit. Burning coal generates 70 per cent more CO2 than natural gas for every unit of energy. At the same time, coal is cheap and is the most widely available fossil fuel. According to the World Coal Institute, it is present in almost every country, with commercial mining in over 50. It is also the fossil fuel with the longest predicted availability. At current production levels coal will be available for at least 155 more years (compared with 41 years for oil and 65 for gas).
But current production levels will not remain static. While coal use is falling in Western Europe it is rising in Asia and the United States. The Asia-Pacific region will be the main coal market – with 58 per cent of global coal consumption by 2025 – if current trends continue. The region is home to the largest consumer (China), the largest exporter (Australia) and the largest importer (Japan) of coal globally.
International commitments, the progress of new technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS, see page 88) and increased efficiency of power grids, industrial processes and so on are all ways to reduce coal-related GHG emissions. But ultimately the challenge is to develop a clean, widely available and affordable alternative to satisfy the world’s energy needs (see page 144)."
of the energy, the efficiency of its use and the waste created in the process, its use and production emits from zero to enormous amounts of GHGs.
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