Coal: A Climate Crisis How is America’s biggest energy source (and now China’s) affecting our planet? What is the greenhouse effect? Radiation from sun hits Earth Earth absorbs some and converts this energy to infrared, which is radiated back into the atmosphere on its way to space Infrared is absorbed by greenhouse gases Trapped infrared energy is re-radiated back to Earth’s surface What are greenhouse gases? Break up of Greenhouse Gases in Atmosphere Carbon Dioxide 20% 1% 60% 16% 3% Ozone Methane Nitrous Oxide Water Vapor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Methane (CH4) Water Vapor (H2O) Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Tropospheric Ozone (O3) How does CO2 affect Earth? The more CO2 in atmosphere, the hotter the climate Slightest CO2 changes cause temperature increase Current CO2 level is 380 ppm (parts per million), a dramatic increase of 100 ppm over stable levels for the past 10,000 years. What is the problem with coal? Coal energy production emits 1,894 million metric tons of CO2 annually in the U.S. Production emits sulfur, a gas that causes acid rain, mercury, a neurotoxin, and other pollutants. How is coal used for electricity? Can the process be cleaner? Coal turned into gas before burning, and sulfur and nitrogen are removed Leftover CO2 sequestered instead of blown into atmosphere What is carbon sequestration? Pumping carbon into “carbon sinks”—an area that absorbs carbon Natural sinks— oceans, forests, soil, rocks, atmosphere Carbon can be pumped into empty oil reserves Percent of Total Emissions By Country Japan 5% India 5% Germany 3% U.K. 2% China 14% Other 41% Russia 6% U.S. 24% U.S. Russia China India Japan Germany U.K. Other Country iA ra bi a Ca na da ei st ra lia US A rg Br un Au E wa it bo u Ku UA Ba hr ai n xe m Sa ud Lu at ar Tr in id ad Q Metric Tons CO2 Emissions Per Capita 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 What is the Kyoto Protocol? Global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Calls for 5.2% reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2010 (29% reduction from anticipated future levels) What do the countries do? Countries have individual reduction goals (European Union by 8%, U.S. was asked to cut 7%) Emissions trading—countries who produce less greenhouse gases than their limit allows can sell ability to produce the leftover amount to other countries Who ratified the Kyoto Protocol? 160 countries including the European Union, Japan, India, China, Russia, and Canada U.S. and Australia are the only two industrial nations which have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Quiz- True or False? 1. Earth reflects solar radiation out into the atmosphere as infrared False. Earth radiates infrared. Reflection occurs when the energy leaving is the same as what came in. Radiation occurs when the energy is changed before it leaves. In this case, the energy is changed from short wave UV rays to long wave infrared rays. 2. Earth’s temperature is directly correlated to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. True. As the level of CO2 changes, the average temperature changes. Quiz- True or False? 3. Carbon Dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas. False. Carbon Dioxide only makes up about 20% of all greenhouse gases, while water vapor can make up over 60%. 4. Under the Kyoto Protocol, each country must reduce its emissions by 5.2%. False. Each country has its own individual goal. A reduction of 5.2% from the 1990 records is the overall global goal. Quiz- Multiple Choice 1. How much will the Kyoto Protocol reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on what the 2010 level was predicted to be? A. B. C. D. 9% 19% 29% 39% Quiz- Multiple Choice 2. Which of the following statements is NOT true about coal? A. B. C. D. It is the most used energy source in the U.S. It is sequestered in oceans. It is burned to heat steam to run a turbine. It produces nitrogen and sulfur oxides when burned. The carbon dioxide produced when coal is used for energy is sequestered, not the coal. Quiz- Multiple Choice 3. What is the current amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere? A. B. C. D. 280 ppm 200 ppm 360 ppm 380 ppm Quiz- Multiple Choice 4. Which of the following is NOT a greenhouse gas? A. B. C. D. Water vapor Methane Sulfur Ozone Sulfur causes acid rain, but is not a greenhouse gas. Bibliography 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. "Mechanisms Under the Kyoto Protocol." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 5 May 2006. United Nations. 30 May 2006 <http://unfccc.int/kyoto_mechanisms/items/1673.php>. Romero, Simon. "2 Industry Leaders Bet on Coal But Split on Cleaner Approach." New York Times 28 May 2006. Saito, Shigeyuki. "CO2 Emissions by Country." OM Solar. 10 July 2005. 31 May 2006 <http://www.omsolar.net/en/omsolar1/co2_emissions.html>. "Kyoto Protocol Status of Ratification." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 18 Apr. 2006. United Nations. 2 June 2006 <http://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/kyoto_protocol/application/p df/kpstats.pdf>. Abbot Power Plant. 2004. Champaign, Illinois. Coal—Illinois' Black Treasure. Illinois State Geological Survey. 3 June 2006 <http://www.isgs.uiuc.edu/servs/pubs/geobits-pub/geobit12/gb12a.htm>. Blasing, T.j., and Sonja Jones. "Current Greenhouse Gas Concentrations." Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. Feb. 2005. CDIAC. 11 June 2006 <http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html>.