What do I think, What can I do?

Archive for April, 2013

Fracking, climate change and Promised Land

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to watch Promised Land in the cinema, and as going to the cinema is a rare pleasure for me I enjoyed the film.

Apart from my personal experience, the film is in this post because it is about fracking. Concretely, it is quite critical with fracking companies ppractices and reveals possible strong negative effects of fracking in the environment.

Fracking is subject that is gaining some presence here as some gas could be extracted from our lands. Oil or natural gas discovery has been one of the dremas of any world wide government, a synomnim of wealth and prosperity for the country or at least for some in the country (this depends on the sharing procedure, but it is not the object of this post). On the other side ecologists are afraid of the side effects of this technology.

In climate and energy related blogosphere it hs been discussed many times. For example, an Oli Crash post is very pessimistic about fracking possiblities. The basic argument is that its expensive, much more than accepted. Climate progress is skeptic respecting fracking too. This web is fairly optimistic. Some consider it is the only low carbon solution for China as it hahas helped the USA emission reduction. Maybe the one that I found more convincing is the numerical skepticism by David Appel. The CO2 reduction (compared to coal) could be generously compensated by methane emissions.

One of the things that surprised me in the film is that theydid not even mention renewables, as if they were not present in the USA. I think we are too late to think about provisional solutions or fracking bridges. We need clear emission reductions and renewables are far better for that than fracking, in fact gas is a fossil fuel, maybe cleaner or maybe cheap sometimes (or not), but a CO2 producing fossil fuel, and this is not a solution to climate change, it is a problem. Natural gas could the the last fossil fuel to sustitute but not the prefered to install.


It is not late, but we have to start seriously

This study published in Nature is very interesting because makes numbers about emission targets, the peak emission year and the consequences up to 2100. The study recognizes the great grade of uncertainty in some aspects as the absolute amount of consequences and this in my opinion gives it more credibility.

On the other hand it states clearly than the date and the amount of the peak of emission is more important than the later reduction rate. It says that even if it very difficult to know what will happen exactly the proportion of it will be much lower if we peak our emissions fast.

I find this result interesting, important and encouraging at the same time. Because it would not be so difficult to peak world emissions:

  • Most European nations and maybe the USA have done so
  • The BRICS, concretely China and India had better add new power by renewables than coal, it makes sense in many aspects.
  • The poorest countries do not have much influence in the decisions nor in the emissions, but for them too renewables with help of richer countries make more sense.

Going further to the 80% reduction from current emissions as the final target seems much more difficult but this study finds we have some extra time for that. So let’s start with the first step: the world emissions peak.

My phots of electric cars

It is clear that for now electric cars are not changing the transport emissions in Spain with a very disappointing 70 cars sold in March. But I see some of them in the streets of Bilbao and in some other trips so, those are my hopeful photos of electric cars in the streets (I do not think any of them is a particular car but they are real and are being driven in the streets):

2013-04-03 08.19.00 2012-05-08 14.28.53 2012-05-11 16.04.11 2012-07-09 18.00.13 2012-12-02 17.15.16 2013-02-12 14.13.05 2013-03-19 10.10.50

LED, fluorescent, incasdescent and climate change

LED lamps from wikipedia

LED lamps from wikipedia

Today I have bought some led bulbs for my house, I have needed some time really to check the different connectors and chose the correct letters and numbers but finally I hope to have bought the correct ones by internet. At home we changed most of our incandescent bulbs many years ago by fluorescent ones, except some that due to the connector were impossible to find.  And some fluorescent bulbs were deceptive because they did not last long but many other are long-lasting and I do not intend to change them before they die out.

So, this substitution operation was only partial, some of the last no-fluorescent-no-leds and some missing gaps. But the most interesting part is a back-of-the-envelope figure I made to calculate the electrical consumption with any of the options. The calculation procedure was simple: for each room of the house count the number of bulbs and the required power with any of the options and then estimate the number of light hours daily. The difference was greater than I expected:

  1. 62 KWh per month with incandescent bulbs
  2. 26 KWh per month with fluorescent bulbs
  3. 7 KWh per month with led bulbs

I got even happier after the estimation. I was surprised by the difference because hour energy consumption per month is not more than 150 KWh and we are more or less in the second stage. But was it economical? I am convinced so, even more, if not something would be really wrong in our economy.

The nice thing is that this shows we have the technology to reduce our energy consumption and emissions in just a click of the mouse, efficiency is possible and will be the most important source of energy in the first world if everything goes right because it is needed and not so difficult in some cases. By the way, I still have a lot of bulbs to change in the future to reduce my emissions.