Reference Material

LEARNING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

The industrial revolution blossomed on easily-accessed fuels – fossil fuels. Those fuels are all carbon-based. They all produce lots of easily-accessed energy when burned to produce carbon dioxide (CO2).

Humans didn’t know it to begin with but a carefully-controlled amount of CO2 is necessary to maintain a climate that is friendly to life as we know it. The earth, sometimes called “Mother Earth”, and sometimes called “Gaea” developed a cooperation between different parts of its environment to keep CO2 at a level that kept the climate in control for thousands of years.

MORE INFORMATION

Please see presentation here 

Methane

We know that the natural methane cycle involves natural sources of methane stemming from the anaerobic decomposition of decaying matter that is found in wetlands together with animal and termite digestion.  The methane itself decomposes into CO2 with a 12-year half-life.  Before industrialization, the global methane source-sink balance was stable.

MORE INFORMATION

TRANSMISSION SYSTEM

To facilitate the development of large renewable sources, it is important that the regional transmission system has the capacity to deliver power to load centers.  Electrical utilities need to identify potential generation sites and ensure that the surrounding grid has sufficient capacity to receive renewable power.  It is also important that generation developers are able to construct transmission lines from the generation site to tie into the electrical grid in a reasonable time.

The inability to deliver power from the generation site to the proposed load center can make many otherwise attractive renewable generation projects impossible to develop.  Federal, state, and local laws must recognize this and ensure that laws and regulations are such that transmission interties can be constructed in a reasonable time.   We are familiar with attempts to construct transmission lines on more than one occasion have taken up to 15 years because of delays in gaining construction approval.

Please see presentation here

US ENERGY TRENDS

The attached PowerPoint summarizes the trends in our use of Fossil Fuels, Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy.  It summarizes the advantages of renewable power and the disadvantages of fossil fuels.  The future of electric vehicles is also discussed.

Please see presentation here 

CARBON OFFSETS

Carbon offsets can be purchased to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are controversial but if included in a portfolio of approaches, it will make an impact. It is one tool in the toolbox.

The offset should have additionality. It should be approved by a verifying body. Preferably the offset should be completed before 2030.

“Additionality is a term used in markets for tradable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions (carbon offsets). It means that a project or activity that reduces GHGs would not have happened without the offset buyer or collective buyers in the market."

MORE INFORMATION

Copyright © Engineers for a Sustainable Future 2021