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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

EIA Finally Admits U.S. CO2 Emissions to Rise 3% in 2018

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN

EIA FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGES U.S. CO2 EMISSIONS TO RISE 3% IN 2018

 CONTRADICTING REPEATED CLAIMS BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS THAT EMISSIONS ARE DECLINING

Contact:         Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.6                          

Washington DC – In the latest issue of its “Short-Term Energy Outlook” (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has finally acknowledged that “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise by 3.0% in 2018.” [1]

This directly contradicts out-of-date and misleading data and news releases EIA had released on multiple occasions earlier this fall suggesting that U.S. CO2 emissions were declining [2] — data that have been cited by Trump Administration officials to justify their energy and environmental policies. [3]

Though not well-publicized, EIA has acknowledged in its monthly STEO reports since the beginning of this year that an increase in CO2 emissions was expected in 2018. However, the level of the anticipated increase had been relatively small.  For the first six months of 2018, EIA forecast, on average, an increase of only 1.3% in 2018 CO2 emissions.  For the four-month period July – October 2018, the average of EIA’s forecasts for the increase in CO2 levels in 2018 rose to 2.1%. Its highest previous forecast for the year – a 2.5% increase – was issued on November 6. [4]

However, it has been obvious for some time that EIA’s earlier predictions were low-balling the likely level of increased CO2 emissions for the current calendar year. Data released  previously by EIA in its “Monthly Energy Review” – but which the agency failed to highlight – clearly showed that the rate at which CO2 emissions were actually rising consistently outpaced the increases EIA forecast throughout the year in its monthly STEOs. In fact, the SUN DAY Campaign warned, on more than one occasion, that CO2 emissions were on track to record a 3% increase – a forecast now belatedly seconded by EIA.

And indeed, the 3% figure may itself prove to be an under-estimate.

U.S. emissions of CO2 from energy consumption have increased during each of the first eight months of 2018 compared to the corresponding months in 2017. For the first two-thirds of 2018, total CO2 emissions from domestic use of petroleum, natural gas, coal, biomass, geothermal energy, and non-biomass waste were 2.9% higher than for the same period in 2017. Those from fossil fuels alone (i.e., coal, petroleum, natural gas) have risen by more than 3.0 percent (i.e., 3.05%) while those from just natural gas zoomed upward by over 12.0% (i.e., 12.03%). For the most recent month reported (i.e., August 2018), CO2 emissions were 3.4% higher than a year earlier. [5]

So it should come as no surprise if the final 2018 figures show an increase in excess of the 3% now predicted by EIA.

Further, if the current growth rate continues, CO2 emissions from energy consumption in 2018 will be back up to, and probably exceed, the level they were at in 2015. Moreover, a 3% increase in domestic CO2 emissions would be greater than the global increase for 2018 recently forecast by the International Energy Agency [6] and the Global Carbon Project, [7] suggesting that the U.S. is not just contributing its “fair share” to the world-wide increase but actually helping to drive it higher.

Whether the trend continues into 2019 is open to debate. In its latest STEO, EIA says it “expects emissions to decline by 1.2% in 2019 because it forecasts that temperatures will return to near normal.”

“But given the Trump Administration’s relentless drive simultaneously to expand fossil fuel development and use and to roll back Obama-era climate policies,” warned Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, “it is probably foolish to accept EIA’s expectation of a decline in CO2 emissions next year.”

[1] The latest issue of EIA’s “Short-Term Energy Outlook” was officially released on December 11, 2018. See chapter titled “Renewables and Carbon Dioxide Emissions”:  https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/renew_co2.php

[2] On September 25, 2018 EIA issued a report/news release entitled “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions decreased 0.9% in 2017.” See:

https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/pdf/2017_co2analysis.pdf  ; https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon

On October 29, 2018 EIA issued a second, similar report/news release entitled “Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector have declined 28% since 2005.” See:

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37392

[3] See, for example:

https://www.ksat.com/weather/acting-epa-chief-credits-trump-admin-for-emissions-decline

https://dailycaller.com/2018/10/17/co2-emissions-plummet-trump

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060102095

[4] Below are links to EIA’s monthly “Short-Term Energy Outlook” reports issued earlier in 2018. The numbers in parenthesis are EIA’s forecasts for the level of increase in CO2 emissions in 2018.

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/jan18.pdf (1.7%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/feb18.pdf (1.8%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/mar18.pdf  (1.0%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/apr18.pdf  (0.9%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/may18.pdf  (1.4%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/jun18.pdf  (1.1%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/jul18.pdf  (1.8%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/aug18.pdf   (2.0%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/sep18.pdf  (2.3%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/oct18.pdf  (2.2%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/nov18.pdf  (2.5%)  [released November 6, 2018]

[5] The latest issue of EIA’s “Monthly Energy Review” was released on November 20, 2018.
For the data cited in this news update, see:
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec12_3.pdf
and
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec12_10.pdf

[6] https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/december/carbon-emissions-from-advanced-economies-set-to-rise-in-2018-for-first-time-in-fi.html

[7] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/co2-emissions-reached-an-all-time-high-in-2018/?text=CO2%20Emissions%20Reached%20an%20All-Time%20High%20in%202018

December 13 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Airport Switches to Green Power” • Jackson Hole Airport will shift to sustainable energy starting this winter and become the largest organization in the region to go green. With all of its electricity coming from Lower Valley Energy, the airport’s commitment is equivalent to the energy use of 300 average Jackson homes. [Jackson Hole News&Guide]

Jackson Hole Airport (Bradly J Boner | News&Guide file)

  • “Current Climate Targets Put Us on Track for 3.0˚C of Warming by 2100” • The current state of global climate policies has the world on a path to 3.0˚C of warming by 2100, twice the 1.5˚C limit agreed upon in Paris three years ago, according to the Climate Action Tracker’s annual update which was published at the COP24 talks. [CleanTechnica]
  • “EBRD Approves New Strategy Focused on Decarbonization of Energy Systems” • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said its board of directors approved an energy sector strategy that rules out financing coal-fired power projects, confirming that the EBRD will not finance thermal coal mining or coal-fired generation. [Renewables Now]
  • “Gov Baker Energy Plan Hinges on Changes in Transportation and Buildings” • Massachusetts’ first energy plan said the state must step up its efforts for energy efficiency in transportation along with heating and cooling if the state is to be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs for ratepayers, and ensure energy reliability. [WBUR]
  • “Maine Regulators Reverse Gross Metering Decision for Mid-Sized, Large Customers” • Maine’s Public Utilities Commission, which was appointed by Governor LePage, has undone a regressive solar policy it had for a portion of customers, after being confronted with evidence that it was imposing costs on all ratepayers. [pv magazine USA]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

December 12 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Arctic Reindeer Numbers Crash by Half” • The population of wild reindeer, or caribou, in the Arctic has crashed by more than half in the last two decades, according to a report released at a meeting of the American Geophysical Research Union. Weather patterns and vegetation changes are making the Arctic tundra much less hospitable for reindeer. [BBC]

Reindeer, also called caribou (Kaj R. Svensson | Science Photo Library)

  • “Energy Giants Issue Offshore Power-to-X Plea” • Shell, Siemens, and TenneT called on the German government to tender for extra offshore wind power capacity specifically tied to hydrogen production. A study they commissioned found 900 MW of power-to-gas projects driven by offshore wind could be built between 2026 and 2030. [reNEWS]
  • “Replacing Nuclear with Renewables Would Save France $44.5 Billion” • The French government just announced a plan to power 95% of the country with solar and wind energy by 2060. And by doing so, the government would spend about $44.5 billion (€39 billion) less than it would if it maintained its current energy infrastructure. [Futurism]
  • “Zero Hour Nears for Massachusetts Offshore Bonanza” • Nineteen companies will have the opportunity to compete in an auction for three lease areas to develop over 4 GW of offshore wind off the coast of Massachusetts. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will host the auction for the 158,000 hectares of ocean leasing areas. [reNEWS]
  • “Unparalleled Warmth Is Changing the Arctic and Affecting Weather in US, Europe” • A peer-reviewed report from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says human-caused climate change is transforming the Arctic. The report highlighted weather of the past year to show how Arctic warming can influence day-to-day weather. [CNN]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

December 11 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Costa Rica Is Already 300 Days of Living on Renewable Energy” • Costa Rica broke its own record for running entirely on renewable energy in 2017, when the country managed to hold on to environmentally friendly electricity 299 days. In 2018, that record has been broken, as Costa Rica has run 300 days without using fossil fuels. [The Bobr Times]

San José, Costa Rica

  • “Climate Change Is Not Only Influencing Extreme Weather Events, It Is Causing Them” • Extreme weather events that spanned the globe in 2017 have been directly linked to – and in some cases were even caused by – continued warming of the planet by human influence, according to a report from the American Meteorological Society. [CNN]
  • “Luxembourg Makes All Public Transportation Free” • The government of Luxembourg says beginning in 2020 it will make public transportation free for all. The move is expected to reduce congestion in Luxembourg City, which is said to be among the worst in Europe. It will have the additional benefit of reducing air pollution. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Offshore helping ‘Drive 680 GW Global Wind Growth'” • Over 680 GW of new wind power capacity will come online in the next 10 years, with the offshore market accounting for nearly 40% of global generating installations at the end of that time, according to a new report from consultancy Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. [reNEWS]
  • “Australia’s Renewables Sector Doubles Output in Boom Year” • Australia’s renewables sector has doubled its output over the past 12 months, with more than A$20 billion ($14.4 billion) of projects now under construction, but the current boom will not last without policy certainty, according to the Clean Energy Council. [The Guardian]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

December 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “‘Historic’ Month as Wind Power Meets 109% of Energy Demands” • November has been hailed as a “historic month” after over 100% of Scotland’s electricity demands were met by wind power for the first time. Wind production last month broke previous records by generating enough energy for nearly six million homes. [STV News]

Wind turbines (STV image)

  • “US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait Torpedo COP 24 Climate Conference in Poland” • Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the US gave notice that they do not intend to lift a finger to prevent Earth’s destruction. Guided by a denier and fossil fuels financing, the US even had the chutzpah to stage a pro-coal exhibit at the COP 24 conference. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Trump Coal Event Overshadowed at COP24” • An event endorsed by the White House is promoting use of fossil fuels at COP 24. But green campaigners are likely be cheered by news that 415 investors managing assets of around $32 trillion are calling for greater action on climate change and an end to coal as a source of energy. [BBC]
  • “Exxon Knows Renewables Are Cheaper, Even if Trump Doesn’t” • At Cop 24, the Trump administration may be touting coal and gas as the energy of the future, but leading US energy companies are doubling down on renewable energy. One large corporate buyer embracing the benefits of renewables is oil major ExxonMobil. [Climate Home]
  • “Huge Desert Solar Initiative to Make Africa a Renewables Power-House” • Solar projects stretching across the Sahel region are expected to connect 250 million people with electricity by using the region’s abundant solar resource. The details of the “Desert to Power Initiative” have been outlined at climate change talks at COP24. [Brandspurng]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

December 9 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Trump’s Great American Forest Liquidation Sale” • Logging Alaska’s mature stands could exacerbate climate change. It could cripple Southeast Alaska’s recreation, tourism, and salmon fishing industries. But the state’s governor petitioned the US Forest Service to remove protection from Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. [Truthout]

Bear and bald eagle (Forest Service Alaska Region, USDA | Flickr)

  • “COP24 Fails to Adopt Key Scientific Report” • When it was released in October, the IPCC report impacts of temperature rises of 1.5°C had a significant impact. Scientists and many COP24 delegates were shocked as the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to the meeting “welcoming” the report and reference to it was dropped. [BBC]
  • “Coal for Christmas at the UN Climate Conference” • At the COP24 convention pavilions, delegates found mounds of coal displayed behind glass, like objets d’art, and arrangements of coal-based cosmetics and coal-encrusted jewelry. For some, the coal-stuffed climate summit is completely absurd. One put it “beyond parody.” [The New Yorker]
  • “Australian School Kids Lead Mass Coal Mine Protests” • Australian schoolchildren led thousands of demonstrators in nationwide rallies calling for a suspension of plans by Indian mining company Adani to construct a controversial coal mine in the country’s north-east. The rallies followed student climate change protests of last month. [The Straits Times]
  • “PRPA Board Unanimously Endorses 100% Non-Carbon Electricity by 2030” • The Platte River Power Authority has officially made a renewable energy future part of its guiding documents. It unanimously approved a policy that calls for Platte River to pursue a 100% non-carbon energy portfolio and to reach that goal by 2030. [Loveland Reporter-Herald]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

How to Minimize Energy and Packaging Waste This Holiday Season.

It’s easy to be green over the holidays with a little advance planning. Credit: Erin Walker, Unsplash.

If you’re dreaming of a green holiday season this year, you’ll have to take care to shop and decorate with the planet in mind. Celebrating the holidays plays a substantial role in the creation of waste during this period as a result of packaging from gifts and surplus food being thrown away and making its way to the landfill. But whether you’re looking forward to a lavish holiday with your friends and family this year or a more minimalist celebration, you can still be green and enjoy the festivities.

One way to reduce your environmental footprint is to shop locally. While online shopping may seem greener, it involves excess packaging (think shipping boxes and padding) and pollution (from miles flown/driven by UPS and FedEX to get purchases to your door).  By patronizing nearby businesses instead, you’ll be supporting the local economy and reducing pollution. If you do shop online, try to consolidate your purchases into one big order to minimize the number of special trips shippers must make to your house.

Another way to green your holiday celebrations is to switch over from those flashing lights and inflatable snowmen to more subtle displays of holiday spirit. The Center for Global Development reports that Americans consume 6.63 billion kilowatts of electricity annually on holiday lighting and decorations. Instead of being part of the problem, unplug and light some candles. All-natural soy varieties—Real Soy’s ginger or cinnamon-scented candles are popular around the holidays—are friendlier to the environment than traditional petroleum-based paraffin candles.

Holiday cards are another clog on the waste stream during the holiday season, with Americans sending out some 2.65 billion of them each year. Ultimately many end up in landfills—especially if they’re covered in glitter or foil—and as such can’t be recycled. E-cards are a great alternative as they express the same sentiment without any waste.

Single-use wrapping paper is yet another environmental scourge of the holidays. An estimated 30 million trees are sacrificed each year to support Americans’ disposable wrapping paper habit, much of which ends up in landfills. An incremental improvement would be to only buy and use wrapping paper that doesn’t contain glitter—or even better just use brown paper—for ease of recycling or composting. Alternatively, shop for fabric gift wrap which can be used over and over again.

Last but not least, is it better for the planet to get a real or fake Christmas tree? A fake tree may save you money in the long run as you can buy it once and use it for many years instead of throwing away $50 a year on a real tree. But most of the fakes come from China (which involves lots of carbon emissions in transit) and contain PVC and other chemicals that make them impossible to recycle. Meanwhile, a real tree can be chipped and returned to the earth as mulch (either by you or your municipality) once January rolls around. Or even better, buy a live tree and plant it in your yard. That way you can feel the spirit of the holidays year-round and feel good about your commitment to protecting the planet.

CONTACTS: Real Soy Candles, www.realsoycandles.com; Center for Global Development, www.cgdev.org.

Reprinted with permission. EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss for the 501(c)3 nonprofit EarthTalk. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.

 

Final Weeks of Button Up Campaign with Efficiency VT

Button Up Vermont 2018 is a weatherizing campaign designed to help Vermonters take action and reach our statewide goal of 25% energy savings in 80,000 homes by 2020. Forty-two Vermont communities are participating in Button Up Vermont this year. Visit here to see resources for Community Partners, along with a listing of contacts for participating communities.
Participating towns in TRO Region are Barnard, Hartford, Hartland, Norwich, Randolph, Strafford and Thetford. Residents of these towns that fill out a brief survey before December 15th will receive a free energy efficiency walk-through of their home with a qualified contractor! Walk-throughs will be completed before March, and will cover an assessment, scope of work, and cost estimate. Please sign up below:

Free EPCRA Compliance Workshop in Brattleboro, VT

If you are a facility that has over one hundred pounds of hazardous materials, you have probably filled out a Tier II form. If not, you are in violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The purpose of this federal law is to protect your business, your employees and your community should a chemical accident occur. The EPCRA data and Risk Management Plan better prepares emergency response personnel and the community to handle an incident should one occur.
There is a free EPCRA training workshop coming up in Vermont to assist facilities and towns with filling out and submitting the Tier II form:
                  December 13, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
                  Brattleboro Retreat, 1 Anna Marsh Ln, Brattleboro, VT 05302, 
                  Education Conference Center- parking in the ‘Lawton Hall’
Registration is required, so please email vanni.tammy@epa.gov if interested. Some facilities, like town highway departments, maybe be unsure if they need to report. If you have over 10,000 pounds of road salt and sand, for example, you are required to report. The reporting fee for municipalities is free. TRORC is able to come to your community to assist you with filling out the Tier II form. These forms are due by March 1, 2019 and include all chemicals stored on site in 2018.
Please contact Tory Littlefield at vlittlefield@trorc.org if you need assistance in filling out a Tier II form for the 2018 report year, or if you would benefit from a Region-wide training in your area.

VTrans Statewide Public Transit Policy Plan

Do you ride the bus? Carpool? Uber? VTrans wants your input and is gathering feedback on existing public transportation services, service gaps and challenges, and potential solutions from stakeholders and transit riders. An interactive survey is currently available to provide feedback.
The Vermont Public Transit Policy Plan (PTPP) will quantify Vermont’s transit needs, as well as recommend programmatic and policy initiatives to strengthen the statewide transit system.  This plan will lay out a 10-year vision for improved transit service in Vermont and develop policies and strategies to guide the improvement of Vermont’s transit network.
To take the 5-minute survey, and be entered for a $50 gift card, visit:
Hurry, the survey closes December 31st!