“EU must cut carbon emissions 3 times faster to meet targets”

A new report has calculated that the EU is only cutting carbon emissions at 1/3 of the rate which is required in order to meet the 55% cut – from buildings, transport and agriculture by 2030

While emissions are falling, they are not falling anywhere near fast enough

Over the last 30 years, carbon emissions have dropped by 32% . while this is an impressive amount, it is far short of the promise.

The best predictions for the future, are that by 2050 the EU will have cut emissions by around 43%. While this is an important step, it is far short of what has been promised.

More importantly, at the current rate, we will have only met a further 1/3 by 2050.

The job is not done – much of the carbon emissions from the last 3 decades have been easy to achieve. They have been achieved through efficiency gains, and moving production offshore. Very little change in the EU behaviour has been required.  

An easy gain, both for individual cost, and emissions is electric cars. A faster transition is likely to save countries much money too (though it is true that at the current time, there is an issue with the tax revenue coming from fossil fuel sales.

It is far cheaper to run clean alternatives, so we must make that show in the figures.

Some governments are making efforts to help, but not in every way. For instance, in the UK, you can get money towards an electric car, but not a used one (which given the reduction in price, is likely to go further and help more. On heat pump the government is doing better – with the increase in the air-source heat pump grant, the cost to individuals has reduced to around 3500 (on average buying a heat-pump as well as installing and changing radiators to work with the lower temperature (bigger) the cost is around £11,000. However, many people have missed the advertising, and are unaware. It is true that new build homes will not be allowed to install boilers after 2025. 

However, older houses with gas boilers will be unaffected by the change until 2035. But the average cost for a new boiler, plus installation is thought to be around £4000, in 2023, meaning that for many homes, it will be cheaper to replace now.

Furthermore, while an air-source heat pump is thought to be around £50 more to run each year, should something like a thermal solar panel be added, the cost is far lower.

With carefully designed rules for builders, the switch to low cost private transport, and low cost private house heating can be cheap and obvious. At the current rate, though, this is not being met.

In the UK, clearly better understanding and education is essential, and builders need to see that adding things like thermal solar panels is a must.

Will it happen? will the EU meet our 55% target? at current speed, it is clear that this will be hard work. However, if this money is not found, we are likely to need far more in the future to adapt to the world we are creating.

France has decreed that every carpark with more than 80 car spaces must have a solar canopy

Across France this is around 11gigawatts, or over the year almost 10 terawatt hours of electricity generation per year. This is a very sensible idea, as it is a second use of the land.

Might this become a common site in the UK as well as France (where it is required on all new car parks over 80 spaces)

In the south of England, there are now 2000 panels placed over car parking spaces. These offer a capacity of almost 1MW hour. Each parking space covered, has a capacity of about 2kw. In the UK, the countries target of solar by 2030 is to have 40gw of solar capacity, up from 15gw currently. It is estimated, that almost half the remaining target would be met by carpark roofing – which suggests that we could hit far more than 40gw of solar.

Nature communications has calculated that half of world rooftops would supply all the electricity we need

I wrote a short time ago about the solar area needed to power the world. As a result, I was fascinated to find this article from a few months ago.

On the vast majority of rooftops, nothing is done with this space. Covering the half of these roofs that face the right way, with solar panels, would be able to power the world.

This would have another advantage. If the whole world was solar powered, and we connected all countries around the world, then batteries could be unnecessary – Europe could power America and Australia during the night, and they could return the favour during our night.

The UK has been very foolish, but greatly increasing the price of Solar. This must be reversed to not put off the Solar roll out.

Looking at the capability of the world being powered from solar or wind

The sun sends 470 exajoules of energy to the earth every 88 minutes. This is how much energy the earth uses each year. If we captured just 1% of the sun’s energy this would still give a 6 times more electricity than we need. 

In a similar vein, if wind turbines collected just 20% of the wind energy on earth this would be 8 times what the entire world uses each year.

In terms of area, to generate all the power that the earth needs (using current efficiency) we would need roughly 1 million square km or about 11% of the Sahara desert. Obviously, this is an oversimplification, but it shows that the world is more than capable of running on clean energy.

The energy is there to be used, we just need to undertake it at speed. Vested interests in fossil fuel companies have fought aggressively against this move for decades. Their time must be over, the world can and must clean up its act.

The Raegan administration removed the solar panels from the white house, why and what does it show?

President Carter installed 32 solar thermal panels on the white house 30 years ago. By 1986 Jimmy Carter had been replaced by Ronald Reagan – and unfortunately his priorities were different. He scrapped the research and development budget for renewables and eliminated any tax breaks that were encouraging deployment of solar or wind turbines.

Under Jimmy carter the white house had solar panels, why did Reagan remove them?

When the white house had to have its roof fixed, Reagan used this as an excuse to remove the solar panels, despite the fact that they were still working fine.

Continue reading “The Raegan administration removed the solar panels from the white house, why and what does it show?”

Greening the western lifestyle

If we are to be able to continue to live on planet Earth we are going to need to stop releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is unfortunate that at the current time, this simple fact is not looked on as a fact by some of the big world leaders.

One of the difficult things to look at is that some of the publicised success the UK has had in the last couple of decades is false. When looking carefully you can see that we have exported the emissions, by having things manufactured in India or China for example. This makes it clear that much of the pressure on manufacturers must come from consumers rather than governments. Continue reading “Greening the western lifestyle”

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