CO2 Emission percentage by production sector in the world, source of data IEA.
I frequently think that the climate change solution is in transforming the power production sector and consumers mentality somehow. However, many times remember too that transportation is important and I got in mind the simple figure that one out of three CO2 tons comes from transport. Rough numbers help but it is always better to be more precise, and the two figures in this blog follow this purpose. They have been obtained with the open data from the Internationa Egergy Agency (IEA) and show total emissions in 2010.
The first one, at the beginning, displays the emission proportions by emission production sectors. In some cases, these divisions are not easy to understand but the main conclusion can be that electricity production is responsible for more than 40% of emissions and this is good news in my opinion because the progress in low-carbon electricity production has been much fester than in other factors and because in fact there are many countries producing most of their electricity without fossil fuels. Transport and industry account for other more or less 20% each (in industry excluding electricity use). Transport is a bit lower that the 33% that I expected and it is mainly road transport. Residential sector is surprisingly low.
CO2 Emission percentaje by consuming sector in the world, source of data IEA.
In the other hand, the last figure classifies the same data by consuming sector. So roughly, industry is the objects we use, transport is transport and residential our houses. In this case, industry leads the figure with 36%, and transport and residential follow close to 20%.
The main reference is that we should reach 10-20% of current emissions to be on the safe side, so we have to make important effort in all areas.
I live in a 9 plant house and we are facing several maintenence/repairing operation last years due to the age of the building. With my limited knowledge I participate in a small comission to check our next project, which involves changing our wasted roof. As we were talking with the architach about the project Y asked why we could not use a white material (or at least paint it) instaed of the greyish one we will finally use. He simply did not take the question into consideration.
Maybe he thought it was about aestetics but it was about albedo. This strange word plays a role in our climate and can be explained with few words (although maybe not bery precisely): It is the amount of light and so, energy, from our sun that our land reflects. For that reason a quick trick to improve our situation could be to increase this and reflect more solar radiation. I know it sounds quite artificial, but we are not in a situation with too many choices and anyway we are reducing our albedo by melting several glaciers and polar snow. And its easy and in many cases costless at least in some buildings, roofs, etc… It is not the definitive solution for climate change but it could help.
Composition if 3 images from Google Maps. Left: My home city with red roofs, not very reflective. Right: An industrial area not far from the left image, the albedo is much higher. Bottom: Image from Iceland snow, real great albedo.
However, it is not commented anywhere and no goverment (local or higuer) has it included in building rules or politics. So, standard arquitetchs and building material producers will continue thinking it is about colour preference.
I would not be difficult to encourage people to love white for their houses roofs and we could counteract some tons of CO2 without terrible effort. Or at least explain its possibilities for all of us to make choices.