… meanwhile the following email posting from the USA Architecture 2030 programme makes sobering reading.
Rapidly accelerating climate change (global warming), which is caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is now fueling dangerous regional and global environmental events. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration illustrates that buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all GHG emissions annually. Seventy-six percent of all electricity generated by US power plants goes to supply the Building Sector. Therefore, immediate action in the Building Sector is essential if we are to avoid hazardous climate change.
Just when we thought we were making a difference…
Wal-Mart, the largest “private” purchaser of electricity in the world is investing a half billion dollars to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their existing buildings by 20% over the next 7 years. “As one of the largest companies in the world, with an expanding global presence, environmental problems are our problems,” said CEO Lee Scott. The CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just one month of operation each year, would negate Wal-Mart’s entire effort.
Home Depot has funded the planting of 300,000 trees in cities across the US. Each tree will absorb and store about one-third of a ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) over its lifetime. In addition to the coal plants that already exist, there are now 151 new conventional coal-fired power plants in various stages of development in the US today. The CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized (500 MW) coal-fired power plant, in just 10 days of operation, would negate the Home Depot’s entire effort.
California, which makes up over 10% of the country’s new vehicle market, passed legislation to cut GHG emissions in new cars by 25% and in SUVs by 18%, starting in 2009. If every car and SUV sold in California in 2009 met this standard, the CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just eight months of operation each year, would negate California’s 2009 effort.
In the US, approximately 5 billion square feet of residential, commercial and government buildings are renovated in a year. The US Conference of Mayors, American Institute of Architects, US Green Building Council and numerous states, counties and cities have adopted The 2030 Challenge to reduce the energy consumption of all renovated buildings by 50% (see www.architecture2030.org). The CO2 emissions from just one 750 MW coal-fired power plant each year would negate this entire 2030 Challenge effort.
If every household in the U.S. changed a 60-watt incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent, the CO2 emissions from just two medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year would negate this entire effort.
The Campus Climate Challenge (CCC), a growing student movement in the US, states that global warming “is our problem, and it’s up to us to solve it, starting right here on campus, right now.” The challenge calls for all high school and college campuses in the US to go carbon neutral (reduce global warming pollution to zero). If the challenge were met, the CO2 emissions from just four medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year would negate the CCC’s entire effort.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a ‘cap and trade’ cooperative effort by eleven Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states (ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, NY, PA, NJ, DL, MD) to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2014. The CO2 emissions from just 13 medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year would negate the entire RGGI effort.
Many climate change bills have been introduced in Congress this year to cap and begin reducing US greenhouse gas emissions, so any new coal-fired power plants work to negate these efforts.
Make a difference: Protect your efforts. Start by getting this message out…
Emissions Source – EIA 2005
A medium-sized (500 MW) conventional coal-fired plant emits approx. 3.5 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 a year.
The 2030 Research Center (www.architecture2030.org)
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