capstone climate change cofc spring 2011 p brian fisher n.
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Class 6: Role of individual emissions

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Capstone: Climate Change CofC Spring 2011 P. Brian Fisher. Class 6: Role of individual emissions. Vids. Jon Stewart on Renewable Energy Michele Bachman (US Rep, R, Minn ) on Global Warming Hoax. Carbon Emissions Facts.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Jon Stewart on Renewable Energy
  • Michele Bachman (US Rep, R, Minn) on Global Warming Hoax
carbon emissions facts
Carbon Emissions Facts
  • Per person emissions: 4.6 metric tons or 10,000 pounds of CO2 per individual.
  • American: 26 metric tons
  • African: 0.9 metric tons
  • 45% of CO2 from human activities stays in atmosphere; 55% absorbed by sinks.
  • US Home today has 4 times the space a home did in 1950—emissions growing at 2%/yr
  • Transportation—also growing 2%/yr (China/India)
country emissions
Country Emissions
  • US historically responsible for 30% of all emissions, and 20% of annual emissions
  • China’s emissions growing at 10% annually
  • China passed US in total emissions recently (2006-2008)
  • UK: 6% historically b/c of ind rev, but now 2%.
measures of emissions
Measures of Emissions
  • Total CO2 Emitted (by country), Annually
  • Total GHG Emitted (by country), Annually
  • Total CO2 Emitted per person, Annually
  • Total GHGs Emitted per person, Annually
  • Historic GHG Emissions, by Country
  • Historic GHG Emissions, per person
  • Country Contribution to Temperature Increase
  • “Carbon Intensity” (by country)
change in ghg emissions 1990 2006
Change in GHG Emissions(1990-2006)

2007: in US, 1.4% increase over 2006 (mainly from CO2)


GHG Intensity of Economy 2005

“Carbon Intensity”

The ratio of carbon emissions produced to GDP.

“Bush Plan”: Called for 18% reduction in CI by 2012.

However, CI dropped by 17.4% between 1990 and 2000.

China’s CI dropped 47% during ’90-’00 while emissions increased 39%

gcc global scale problem
GCC: Global Scale Problem
  • Global biophysical system (e.g. climate, oceans, ozone), but fragmented international political system.
  • Inhibiting Solutions: Nations (through acts of their citizens) create environmental problems at the global scale, and yet solutions must be created through this same fractured global political system.
  • “We live in world fragmented by political divisions of sovereign states,” but “reassembled by pervasive flows of people, goods, money, ideas, images, and technology across borders.”
primary historical drivers of environmental change
Primary (Historical) Drivers of Environmental Change

Environmental change has resulted from:

  • massive population increase:both from increased consumption of earth’s resources and our ecological footprint (straining earth’s carrying capacity)
  • rapid technological innovation:permits massive extraction and exploitation of resources
  • an explosion in energy use:1 & 2 facilitate energy use, complemented by elite discourse promoting consumptive behavior

4) economic integration: promoted through globalization (Fordism) led to mass consumerism and the “growth imperative”

10 drivers of environmental degradation
10 Drivers of Environmental Degradation
  • Population increase (but “gross abstraction”, felt locally)
  • Affluence (leads to heightened consumption)
  • Technology (can avoid environ costs; “progress”; who owns?)
  • Poverty (1/2 world lives less than $2/day)
  • Market failure (consumption of ‘nature’s capital’ as income)
  • Policy/political failure (not big/small, but changing capacity)
  • Economic growth (scale/rate) (most imp idea of 20th C.)
  • Nature of economic system (Neoliberal)
  • Culture and values (US) (anthropocentrism & contempocentrism—present over future)
  • Forces of globalization (vs. Sustainable Development)
consequences of human activities
Consequences of Human Activities

UNEP (p. 132):“Human activities are progressively reducing the planet’s life-supporting capacity at a time when rising human numbers and consumption are making increasingly heavy demands on it. The combined destructive impacts of a poor majority struggling to stay alive and an affluent minority consuming most of the world’s resources and undermining the very means by which all people can survive and flourish.”

2 Driving Forces of Environmental Change:

1.Overuse or misuse of resources

2. Increases in pollutive outputs (mercury, GHGs, CFCs, Toxic Chems, etc)

This has led to affluence (in the North) without responsibility for the consequences:

1. underwritten by the degradation of people (South and lower classes in North) and land, biosphere, and environment.

2. While in the South, factors such as increased population and low technology also caused environmental stress.

So, many scholars see that environment problems are tethered to larger social, moral, ethical issues in which these environmental problems are embedded.

global environmental concerns
Global Environmental Concerns
  • Ozone Depletion: ’87 Montreal Protocol
  • Climate Change: ’92 FCCC (at Rio)
  • Desertification: ’94 Conv Combat Desert
  • Deforestation: None
  • Biodiversity Loss: ’92 CBD (at Rio)
  • Population Growth: None—Plan at Cairo ’94
  • Freshwater Sources: Conv on Non-Navigable Uses of Int’l Watercourses—not in effect
  • Marine Environment Degradation: UNCLOS
  • Toxification: Basel Convention int’l toxic waste

- Stockholm Convention (’00) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

  • Acid Rain: Conv on Long-Range TB Air Pollution (EU)
hardin s tragedy of commons
Hardin’s ‘Tragedy of Commons’
  • Def’n: areas beyond the sovereignty of any nation which produces a conflict b/w individual and the common good over resources and protecting spaces.
  • EXs/ Oceans, subsoil, atmosphere, outer space, Antarctic
  • ‘Tragedy’: It’s rational to use, which leads to exploitation, of these areas without reciprocation or regeneration
    • Positive : the herder receives all of the proceeds from each additional animal
    • Negative : the pasture is slightly degraded by each add’l animal
interconnection of issues
Interconnection of Issues
  • Global Enviro Challenges are complex and have multiple causal and consequential pathways.
  • For Example, deforestation is an environmental degrading outcome, but it is also a cause of global warming, biodiversity loss, and desertification. In turn, GW and desertification (acid rain, toxins, ozone depletion) contribute to deforestation.
  • Environmental issues are also linked with Economic ones (e.g. globalization of trade, commerce, transportation has increased fossil fuel use leading to greater enviro damage.

Environmental Impact = Population * Affluence * Technology

I = P A T

Population: Size of human pop

Affluence: level of consumption

Technology: processes designed to transform raw materials

* Ex/ (P doubles * A (per cap income) triples = 6 fold increase in CO2 emissions. If only 4 fold increase, then technology mitigating factor


1. Population is part of problem

2. Enviroprobs are more than pollution

3. Enviroprobs driven by multiple factors that compound

Best applied to: Air pollution and Climate Change (IPCC)

core of environmental problems
Core of Environmental Problems?
  • Top 20% in world income consume 85% of its wealth and produce 90% of its waste
  • Simple Explanation: Although environmental problems are not new in themselves, industrialization and rapid population growth, technology have greatly increased the scale and intensity of the over‑exploitation of natural resources and environmental degradation, generating a wide range of urgent international and global problems.
factors beyond i pat
Factors beyond I=PAT
  • Global Policy since 1950 has been an emphasis on:
    • faster economic growth “growth fetish”
    • Increasing power in fewer hands
    • Profit motive bottom line of corps
    • lack of true cost accounting--enviro costs not included--it is treated as public good and thus exploited
    • Unregulated economic globalization without concern for social and environmental consequences
  • Elite powerbrokers/nations erected new politics, ideologies, and institutions predicated on these ideas/principles.
  • Harnessing fossil fuels played a central role in widening int’l wealth & power
    • 1. More environmental degradation than any pt in history
    • 2. More inequality between humans than any pt in history
    • 3. More complexity to problems themselves
    • 4. Ideology that technology is part of “progress” that will save day; abstraction of nature