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What are carbon emissions?

Carbon dioxide and climate change

Every time we burn fossil fuels such as gas, coal or oil, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. In a natural carbon cycle, carbon dioxide is re-absorbed by plants and trees. However, we are burning fuels where the carbon dioxide has been trapped under the earth's surface for millions of years, and we're doing it so quickly that plants and trees that are alive now have no chance of soaking it up (and it doesn't help that we're cutting down rainforests as well). The effect of all this extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that the overall temperature of the planet is increasing (global warming). Whilst the average global temperature is increasing, on a day-to-day level the climate is changing in unpredictable ways (from floods and hurricanes to heat waves and droughts). To try and reduce the risk of ever more extreme weather, we need to reduce how much fossil fuel we are burning. This isn't easy.

Using energy
We burn fossil fuels to create energy. From keeping warm in our house, to fuelling our cars, to growing our food, to manufacturing our MP3 players, energy is used. It is either burned directly (gas is burnt in your boiler for example, and petrol is burnt in your car) or it is burnt in a power station to drive turbines which generate electricity. Fossil fuels are also burnt at various stages in the process of creating food, products and services for our consumption. The total carbon which we as individuals are responsible for is called our carbon footprint.

Understanding your footprint

You may have seen carbon calculators on the internet that ask you about the food and products you buy (for example WWF's eco-footprint calculator) because of the effect of your purchasing habits on your carbon footprint. The more energy-intensive the process of creating the food and products you buy, and transporting them to your door (or local shop), the more fossil fuels are burnt (and therefore the more carbon dioxide is released). However, measuring these indirect emissions accurately on a day-to-day basis is very difficult. Easier to measure are the direct emissions that we are responsible for. This includes the amount of gas and electricity we use in our houses, the amount of petrol or diesel we burn in our car, and the number and distance of flights we take. The Carbon Account is a tool to help you measure these direct emissions.

Getting the carbon dioxide figures right for gas, petrol and diesel is quite straightforward, because a standard amount is released when each fuel is burnt. Electricity is more complicated, but each supplier generates fuel in different ways (using coal produces the most carbon dioxide, whilst using renewable energy like wind produce no direct emissions). The average carbon footprint in the UK is about ten tonnes. Of this, about half (five tonnes) is a result of indirect emissions (the carbon associated with food, products you buy, and your contribution to public services such as the NHS and police). The other five is a result of direct emissions (the ones the Carbon Account measures).

Clearing up confusion

There is sometimes some confusion about the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide, and to understand the distinction, you'll need to remember your GCSE (or O-level) chemistry lessons. Carbon is the element that combines with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. For every one molecule of carbon, there are two molecules of oxygen (hence CO2). Carbon on its own is not a greenhouse gas, but often CO2 is shortened to carbon for ease of reference, and this is the case with the Carbon Account. As well as carbon dioxide, there are other gases (such as methane) which cause global warming. Collectively, there are known as 'greenhouse gases' and in chemical terms, most of them are hydrocarbons. For ease of comparing the warming effects of each gas, we can convert other greenhouse gases into carbon dioxide equivalents.

Food system emissions

Food system emissionsfrom production to consumption contribute 9,800 to 16,900 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) per year, or 19 to 29 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Extra facts

Food production and consumption contribute 19 to 29 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions9,800 to 16,900 MtCO2e (million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent at 2008 levels) per year. This figure includes the full supply chain, including fertilizer manufacture, agriculture, processing, transport, retail, household food management and

waste disposal. Agriculture makes the greatest contribution to total food system emissions. It contributes 7,300 to 12,700 MtCO2e per yearequivalent to 80 to 86 percent of food systems emissions and 14 to 24 percent of total global emissions. Deforestation and land use change account for 2,200 to 6,600 MtCO2e per year30 to 50 percent of agricultural emissions and 4 to 14 percent of total global emissions.

Direct emissions from agriculture, through, for example, activities like managing soils, crops and livestock contribute 5,100 to 6,100 MtCO2e per year50 to 70 percent of agricultural emissions and 10 to 12 percent of total global emissions. The food chain, excluding agriculture, contributes 14 to 20 percent of food-related emissions and, at most, 5 percent of global emissions. The proportion of emissions from portions of the food chain that take place after food leaves the farm (post-farmgate) is larger in high-income countries. For example, these activities make up some 50 percent of food system emissions in the United Kingdom (Garnett 2011). Middle-income countries will likely follow this trend in the future. Fisheries and aquaculture are estimated to make only minor contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

Methods, caveats and issues


The figure for total global emissions from food systems is an estimate based on: ~Global data on fertilizer manufacture from the direct agricultural emissions from Smith et al 2007;

Global data on direct emissions from US-EPA 2011. Global data on deforestation and associated emissions from van der Werf et al 2009 and Blaser and Robledo (2007); and Chinese data on the post-farmgate portions of the food chain from Chen and Zhang 2010, assuming that, as a large middle-income country, China is suitably representative of the global level.


The wide percentage ranges are associated with geographic variation and uncertainty.

A carbon footprint is the measure of the amount of greenhouse gases, measured in units of carbon dioxide, produced by human activities. A carbon footprint can be measured for an individual or an organization, and is typically given in tons of CO2-equivalent (CO2-eq) per year. For example, the average North American generates about 20 tons of CO2-eq each year. The global average carbon footprint is about 4 tons of CO2-eq per year

(Greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect)

Many greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water, occur naturally. Other greenhouse gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are synthetic. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, both natural and man-made, have been increasing. Burning fossil fuels and land-use changes such as deforestation interfere with the natural carbon cycle, moving carbon from its solid form to the gaseous state, thus increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

>>Carbon dioxide equivalent

Each greenhouse gascarbon dioxide, methane, CFCs, etc.has a different atmospheric concentration, and a different strength as a greenhouse gas. A potent greenhouse gas with a very small atmospheric concentration can contribute to the overall greenhouse effect just as much as a weaker greenhouse gas with a much larger atmospheric concentration. Because of this variability, carbon footprints are measured in tons of CO2-eq, or the tons of CO2 that would cause the same level of radiative forcing as the emissions of a given greenhouse gas.

Individual carbon footprints

An individuals carbon footprint is the direct effect their actions have on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. In general, the biggest contributors to the carbon footprints of individuals in industrialized nations are transportation and household electricity use. An individual's secondary carbon footprint is dominated by their diet, clothes, and personal products (Figure 3).

Worldwide, the fossil fuels used for transportation contribute to over 13% of greenhouse gas emissions (Figure 4). Cars with an average fuel efficiency produce nearly 20 pounds of CO2-eq for every gallon of gasoline burned.

Air transportation has a larger carbon footprint than driving. The average round-trip flight across the U.S. emits about 6,000 pounds of CO2-eq, and short-haul flights emit more CO2-eq per mile traveled than medium- to long-haul flights.

>>Home heating and cooling

In the U.S., 20% of greenhouse gas emissions come from home energy use. Heating and cooling usually consume more energy than any other home appliances. The relative contributions of heating and cooling to an individuals carbon footprint vary by region. In colder states, as much as two-thirds of a households energy bill is from heating. Heating an average American home with natural gas or electricity produces a carbon footprint of 6,400 or 4,700 pounds CO2-eq, respectively. In warmer areas, summertime air conditioning constitutes the bulk of a household's energy bill. Air conditioning a typical home produces a carbon footprint of about 6,600 pounds CO2-eq.

Worldwide, agriculture contributes to nearly 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., the food we eat accounts for 17% of our total fossil fuel consumption. The carbon footprint of an average American diet is 0.75 tons CO2-eq, without accounting for food transportation. On average, food travels 1,500 miles between the production location and the market. Meat products have a larger carbon footprint than fruits, vegetables, and grains: the carbon footprint of the average meat eater is about 1.5 tons CO2-eq larger than that of a vegetarian.

Offsets and emissions trading

>>Carbon offsets
There are many ways for individuals and organizations to reduce their carbon footprint, such as driving less, using energy efficient appliances, and buying local, organic foods as well as products with less packaging. The purchase of carbon offsets is another way to reduce a carbon footprint. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one ton of CO2eq. Companies who sell carbon offsets invest in projects such as renewable energy research, agricultural and landfill gas capture, and tree-planting. Critics of carbon offsets argue they will be used to absolve any guilt over maintaining business as usual in our lifestyles. Additionally, the current offset market is voluntary and largely unregulated, raising the possibility that companies will defraud customers seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

>>Emissions trading
Emissions trading schemes provide a financial incentive for organizations and corporations to reduce their carbon footprint. Such schemes exist under cap-and-trade systems, where the total carbon emissions for a particular country, region, or sector are capped at a certain value, and organizations are issued permits to emit a fraction of the total emissions. Organizations that emit less carbon than their emission target can then sell their excess carbon emissions. This market mechanism is expected to bring down the costs of meeting emissions targets.

The Carbon Connection air conditioners It takes a lot of energy to cool things down. So it should be no surprise that refrigerators and air conditioners are the biggest users of electricity in the typical American household. Air conditioning alone is responsible for about 16% of the average households annual electricity bill. That comes out to nearly 2800 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year for homes with central air conditioning and 950 kWh for households using room air conditioners (i.e., window units). At an average nationwide cost of 10 cents per kWh, that average air conditioning system costs $280 to run each year. Many systems cost much more. Of course, how much you use air conditioning partly depends on where you live and how many days a year you need your home cooled. New England has short summers. A home in New England with central air might only use 1500 kWh per year. However, Florida can be downright hot most of the year. A home in Florida with central air might use over 4000 kWh of electricity each year. And the more electricity you use, the more carbon dioxide gets released into Earths atmosphere. Remember, electricity most often comes to you from power plants that burn coal, oil, or natural gas as fuel to generate electricity. Burning that fuel releases CO 2 into the air. So in terms of your own personal carbon impact, the biggest users of electricity have the greatest negative carbon impact. That average American household central air conditioner uses enough electricity each year (2800 kWh) to cause the release of over 2 tons of CO2 into the air. Getting It Done One way to reduce the carbon impact from air conditioning is to do without. However, that sounds drastic and honestly rather uncomfortable. Using the air conditioner for fewer hours can cut down on the amount of electricity it uses. So can turning up the thermostat. Each degree higher you set your air conditioners thermostat allows it to use 1 to 3% less electricity. Need help meeting this Challenge? Here are a few suggestions:

If your house or apartment has central air with a programmable thermostat, you wont have much problem carrying out this Challenge. Simply raise the temperatures that you already have programmed for the summer months by two degrees. For example,

if your thermostat is set at 74 degrees F. during the day, you want to raise that to 76 degrees.

If you dont have a programmable thermostat, get one! It will control your furnace in the winter and your air conditioner in the summer and allow you to use the right amount of heating or cooling when you want it. For example, if you arent home during the day, dont use the air conditioner! Dont believe the old myth that leaving the air conditioner on all day, even while youre away, uses less electricity than turning it on when you get home. Not true! Program the thermostat to turn the air conditioner on an hour before you get home. The house will be nice and comfy and you will have saved hours of wasted electricity cooling the house for just your philodendrons. Some room air conditioners (window units) also have programmable digital thermostats. However, if your room air conditioner does not have a thermostat with specific temperatures, just do your best to turn the Hi/Low or Warmer/Cooler settings so that the air conditioner runs a little less.

There are many other ways to reduce your electricity needs during the summer. Here are a few other ideas for keeping cool and reducing CO2 emissions:

Help your air conditioner run more efficiently. Clean or replace your air conditioners air filter every month when its in use. The harder the air conditioner has to work sucking air through that filter, the longer it runs and the more electricity it uses. If possible, put your room air conditioners in windows that are either facing north or are in the shade from trees or an overhang. A window air conditioner that is sitting in direct sunlight uses 5% more electricity than it would if it were shaded. For other ideas on making the most energy-efficient use of your air conditioning, see Mr. Electricitys 32 Super Tips for Saving Money on Cooling. Work with the weather, not against it. In many parts of the country, nights are cool even in July and August. If the air temperatures outside gets colder at night than the temperature set on your thermostat, then you are better off shutting down the air conditioner and opening the windows. Buy a thermometer so that you know the air temperature outside. When you see its cooler outside the house than inside, its time to open those windows. Fans are your friends. A ceiling fan doesnt use much electricity and the added air circulation it provides can help you keep your air conditioner set at a higher temperatures. Make sure the ceiling fan is reversible and that it blows down in summer and up in winter. Window fans and floor fans also make you feel cooler by getting the air moving or by helping move cooler outside air into the house at night. A large fan running for 24 hours might only use 2 kWh of electricity. Your central air uses 42 times that amount! Clearly its OK to run that second fan. How do you keep cool in the summer and still save on electricity? Have you tried any of these methods yourself? What sort of difference did you see in your electric bill? Share your experiences with fellow Rallyers in the Discussion section below.

Rules of the Challenge This Challenge asks you to raise the temperature setting on your air conditioner by 2 degrees for one week. For instance, if you normally have your thermostat set at 74

degrees, you would raise that to 76 degrees. Those of you who have window air conditioners without digital thermostats will need to approximate by turning the cooling setting back a click or two. Carbon credits for this Challenge are for one house or apartment; if members of your team all live in the same place, only one of you should sign up and take credit for this Challenge. This Challenge is repeatable until the AC season in your area comes to an end.

Emissions by transport type

The data below gives an idea of how your carbon footprint might grow depending on how you make a journey
Walking and cycling have long been considered the most environmentally sound methods of getting around. They still are but some environmentalists have argued that food production has become so fossil-fuel intensive that driving could be considered greener than walking (though the analysis has been debunked as flawed). What of other, more obviously polluting, modes of transport? The data below gives an idea of how your carbon footprint might grow depending on how you make a journey. If you were to take an average domestic flight rather than a high-speed electric train, you'd be personally responsible for 29 times as much carbon dioxide. The data also highlights how the UK government's plans to electrify parts of the rail network could cut emissions. Diesel trains are responsible for more greenhouse gases than electric trains, even taking into account Britain's carbon-heavy electricity production. On the roads, next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles can help those of us behind the wheel to be that little bit greener. However, no journey is completely carbon free.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation will likely require a broad range of strategies, including increasing vehicle eiciency, lowering the carbon content of fuels, and reducing vehicle miles of travel. Public transportation can be one part of the solution. Public Transportation Produces Lower Green-house Gas Emissions Than autos National averages demonstrate that public transportation produces signiicantly less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than private vehicles (see ig. 2). Leading the way is heavy rail transit, such as subways and metros, which produce about 75% less in greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle (SOV). Light rail systems produce 57% less and bus transit produces 32% less.1 Transits emissions savings would be even greater with higher ridership levels. Recent increases in ridership are not captured in the results presented in this paper, as the igures rely on 2007 transit data, the most recent national dataset available. Estimates are calculated from fuel usage and passenger mile data in the 2007 National Transit Database, standard emissions factors for diferent fuels are from the U.S. Department of Energy, and subregional electricity emissions factors are from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see Appendix II: .FUIPEPMPHZ

The environmental beneits of public transportation vary based on the number of passengers per vehicle, the eiciency of the bus or train, and the type of fuel used (see Appendix I for estimates for transit agencies across the country). The number of riders greatly impacts transits emissions savings. he more passengers that are riding a bus or train, he lower the emissions per passenger mile. For intance, U.S. bus transit, which has about a quarter f its seats occupied on average, emits an estimated 2% lower greenhouse gas emissions per passener mile than the average U.S. single occupancy vehicle. The savings increases to 83% for a typical diesel transit bus when it is full with 40 passengers. >>What Individuals Can Do To Reduce Their Carbon Footprint Switching to riding public transportation is one of the most efective actions individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Car transportation alone accounts for 47% of the carbon footprint of a typical American family with two carsby far the largest source of household emissions and, as such, the largest target for potential reductions. The average passenger car in the U.S. produces just under 1 pound of carbon dioxide per mile traveled. If just one driver per household switched to taking public transportation for a daily commute of 10 miles each way, this would save 4,627 pounds of carbon dioxide per household per yearequivalent to an 8.1% reduction in the annual carbon footprint of a typical American household. This beneit has a greater impact than other actions, such as replacing light bulbs with compact luorescents (a 1.6% reduction based on 20 out of 25 light bulbs changed) or adding R-40 insulation to a home attic (a 1.2% reduction).1

Public Transportation Providers Use Energy Conservation and Technology to Reduce Emissions from Operations Public transportation agencies across the country are taking actions to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of their operations. Some agencies are building new administrative and maintenance facilities to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards or higher. For instance, New York City Transit built a LEED certiied maintenance facility that has fuel cell units, rooftop solar panels, natural lighting, and rain water storage to wash buses and cars. The agency is also reducing emissions from construction by using recycled content in construction materials. Many agencies are replacing older buses with new hybrid buses. Bus manufacturer New Flyer, with 42% of the U.S. transit bus market, reports that while hybrid buses comprised only one percent of its sales in 2003, hybrid buses are expected to comprise half of its sales in 2009. Agencies are also using alternative fuels such as biodiesel and piloting hydrogen fuel cell buses, which produce zero emissions when the hydrogen is produced from a zero emission power source such as solar. Most rail transit is powered by electricity,which offers efficiency improvements over internal combustion engines. Rail agencies are looking to further reduce energy consumption by lowering the

amount of electricity used in powering vehicles. In Phoenix, for example, the new light rail system uses regenerative braking to lower electricity consumption. As the electric power industry shifts to more renewable sources of energy, as being mandated in several states, electric public transportation systems provide even more emissions reduction beneits. When the electricity is generated from a zero emissions source, such as wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, or solar, the public transportation systems that use these power sources are also zero emission. Several transit agencies are installing on site renewable energy generation to power parts of their systems. Bostons transit agency is installing wind turbines, New York City Transit plans to harvest power from the tides by installing turbines in tidal waters, and Los Angeles Metro is installing solar panels on its properties. Growing greenhouse gas emissions due to meat production Both intensive (industrial) and non-intensive (traditional) forms of meat production result in the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs), contributing to climate change. As meat supply and consumption increase around the world, more sustainable food systems must be encouraged. What are the findings? Meat Supply Meat supply varies enormously from region to region, and large differences are visible within regions (Figure 2-4). The USA leads by far with over 322 grams of meat2 per person per day (120 kg per year), with Australia and New Zealand close behind. Europeans consume slightly more than 200 grams of meat (76 kg per year); almost as much as do South Americans (especially in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela). Although Asias meat consumption is only 25 per cent of the U.S. average (84 grams per day, 31 kg per year), there are large differences, for example, between the two most populous countries: China consumes 160 grams per day, India only 12 grams per day. The average meat consumption globally is 115 grams per day (42 kg per year). Over the past few decades, meat supply has grown in most of the worlds regions (Figure 4), with Europe being the main exception. The growth in per capita consumption is strongly linked to increasing levels of income in many countries of the world (Figure 5). Higher incomes translate into demand for more valued, higher protein nutrition (Delgado et al. 1999). The effect of increased income on diets is greatest among lower- and middle-income populations (WRI 2005). One of the fastest growing meat consuming regions is Asia, particularly China. Total meat consumption has increased 30-fold since 1961 in Asia, and by 165 per cent since 1990 in China. Per capita meat consumption has grown by a factor of 15 since 1961 in Asia and by 130 per cent since 1990 in China (FAO 2012a). Not only has per capita consumption grown, but there are also millions more consumers of meat. The global human population grew from around 5 billion in 1987 to 7 billion in 2011, and is expected to reach 9 billion people in 2050. Thus, the total amount of meat produced climbed from 70 million tonnes in 1961 to 160 million tonnes in 1987 to 278 million tonnes in 2009 (FAO 2012a), an increase of 300 per cent in 50 years (Figure 1). The FAO (Steinfeld et al. 2006) expects that global meat consumption will rise to 460 million tonnes in 2050, a further increase of 65 per cent within the next 40 years. What are the implications and potential solutions?

Livestock in many regions of the world, and especially in dry areas, act as a savings bank (Oenema and Tamminga 2005): a principal way of making use of a harsh environment, a setting aside of food (and more generally, the value of this resource) for dry times, a main source of high-protein food. It contributes important non-food goods and services. Livestock rearing and consumption in these regions is a way of life, critical to pastoralists identity, and should be protected and supported. At present, the ecological foundations of agriculture are being undermined (UNEP 2012). At the same time, industrial agriculture is itself contributing to environmental problems such as climate change. However, there are mitigation techniques to reduce the impact of both intensive and non-intensive animal production on climate (McMichael et al. 2007, Gill et al. 2010, OMara 2011, Lesschen et al. 2011). Most of these are related to soil carbon sequestration5, which was estimated to contribute 89 per cent of the technical mitigation potential (OMara 2011). Many of them have costs of implementation substantially reducing their potential. A reduction of non-carbon dioxide emissions of up to 20 per cent should, however, be possible at realistic costs (McMichael et al. 2007). Other mitigation solutions include improved feedstock efficiency and diets; the reduction of food waste and improved manure management (Steinfeld et al. 2006, McMichael et al. 2007). Farm scale and landscape scale strategies for making agriculture more sustainable are further outlined in Avoiding Future Famines (UNEP 2012). Changes in human diet may also be a practical tool to reduce GHG emissions. As a large percentage of beef is consumed in hamburgers or sausages, the inclusion of protein extenders from plant origin would be a practical way to replace red meats (Carlsson-Kanyama and Gonzlez 2009). A switch to less climate-harmful meat may also be possible, as pigs and poultry produce significantly less methane than cows. They are however more dependent on grain and soy-products and may thus still have a negative impact on GHG emissions (Barclay 2011). Grass-fed meat and resulting dairy products may be more environmentally friendly than factory-farmed or grain-fed options. Labeling of products, indicating the type of animal feed used, could allow consumers to make more informed choices (FOE 2010).

Scientists agree that in order to keep GHG emissions to 2000 levels the projected 9 billion inhabitants of the world (in 2050) need to each consume no more than 70-90 grams (McMichael et al. 2007, Barclay 2011) of meat per day. To meet this target, substantial reductions in meat consumption in developed countries and constrained growth in demand in developing ones would be required. A reduction in the consumption of meat, especially red meat, could have multiple health benefits, as there is clear evidence of a link between high meat diets and bowel cancer and heart disease (FOE 2010). A study modeling consumption patterns in the United Kingdom estimates that a 50 per cent reduction in meat and dairy consumption, if replaced by fruit, vegetable and cereals, could result in a 19 per cent reduction in GHG emissions and up to nearly 43,600 fewer deaths per year in the UK (Scarborough et al. 2012). However, the health effects of nutrient deficiencies that may result from reduced meat and dairy consumption still would need to be examined. In short, the human health implications of a reduced meat diet need

further exploration, but it seems probable that many benefits would accrue from lower consumption rates in many developed and some developing countries. At the same time, reduced meat production would ease both pressures on the remaining natural environment (i.e. less new land clearance for livestock) and on atmospheric emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O. As changing the eating habits of the worlds population will be difficult and slow to achieve, a long campaign must be envisioned, along with incentives to meat producers and consumers to change their production and dietary patterns. Healthy eating is not just important for the individual but for the planet as a whole. Most of us are aware that our cars, our coal-generated electric power and even our cement factories adversely affect the environment. Until recently, however, the foods we eat had gotten a pass in the discussion. Yet according to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and the like to spew into the atmosphere than eithertransportation or industry. (Greenhouse gases trap solar energy, thereby warming the earth's surface. Because gases vary in greenhouse potency, every greenhouse gas is usually expressed as an amount of CO2 with the same global-warming potential.)
The FAO report found that current production levels of meat contribute between 14 and 22 percent of the 36 billion tons of "CO2-equivalent" greenhouse gases the world produces every year. It turns out that producing half a pound of hamburger for someone's lunch a patty of meat the size of two decks of cards releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles.

Alternative Energy Renewables

Alternative energy or renewable energy (RE) is my passion! These energy sources are not destroyed when we use the energy harnessed. How good is that? Renewable energies are alternatives to traditional sources, hence the title alternative. They are different to fossil fuels or nuclear power, which must be consumed (coal or gas burnt in power stations, oil in transport, uranium in nuclear power) to release energy. To utilise renewable sources requires developing technologies that harvest this energy. For instance, specific technologies like those below, are needed to efficiently convert natural processes into energy to power our societies. Sunlight (solar power) Wind Waves Tides (tidal power) Flowing water (hydro power)

Geothermal heat Biological processes (biomass)

Electricity for lighting in towns and cities generated by coal fired steam boilers began in earnest around 1880. Coal has led the recent surge in global energy demand and is on a strong growth path. Statistics from the World Coal Institute show that coal provides 25% of global primary energy needs and generates 40% of the worlds electricity, and production of coal has grown 78% over the last 25 years. Burning coal produces about 9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, which is released to the atmosphere, about 70% of this being from power generation. Other estimates put carbon dioxide emissions from power generation at one third of the world total, an incredible 25 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Much of the growth in industrial energy demand since 1990 has been in non-OECD countries, notably China. New clean coal technologies are seeking to address this problem so that the worlds enormous resources of coal can be utilised for future generations without contributing to global warming. One such technology is carbon capture and storage , also known as geosequestration. In terms of renewable energy contributing to electricity, there are those with an agenda who propagate the fallacy that alternative energy cannot contribute to base load, power and is therefore insignificant. This is not true and with the right mix of renewable energy technologies, significant power generation is possible, and indeed is already happening. The vehicle to grid (V2G) concept as a means of storing energy and releasing it back into the electricity grid on demand is also a tantalising idea. Climate change is a global challenge and countries need to work together to develop and install both alternative energy, low emission technologies and accelerate energy efficiency improvements. Recently, Lord Oxburgh, the former chairman of Shell Oil said, Were really talking about quite a different war from that which has ever been fought on earth. We are going to have, I hope, all the developed nations on Earth putting all their resources into this, hopefully with the support of, and their playing their part, the developing nations as well. It is going to be a modern day equivalent of something like World War II. If you interested in off grid living, alternative energy, solar panels, how to build your own homemade wind generator, or even how to make bio diesel.