Flashcards in Final Exam Deck (171):
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Do future generations deserve equal treatment as well?
Amount of carbon emissions for a person or particular group in a specified time period.
-measures how much demand human consumption places on the biosphere.
-accounts for biological capacity to get a more complete prospective.
-Climate Pact: Approved in Paris in 2015
-Historic step towards reducing and eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels and creating international agreement.
-Almost 200 countries agreed to ensure that global temperatures do not rise above more than 2°C
Issues with the Paris Agreement
-every country was supposed to come back every 5 years to report their new emissions targets
-to meet targets not just reducing emissions, but almost everything needs to become sustainable
-Important players didn't sign
-tragedy of the commons
Ways we consume: food
-amount of meat
Ways we consume: home
-size of our home
-type of home
-materials used to build the home
-number of people in the home
-where our homes are located
Ways we consume: transportation
-transit to work/school
-type of vehicle
-certified emission reductions
-UN clean development mechanism (CDM) protocols
-voluntary GHG emission reduction projects
-UN CDM protocols
Problem with offsetting
We think that we can just pay and continue to do whatever we want.
Human population growth: solutions
Past: geographic advantages
Future: sustainable future?
History of Human Energy Use
-most of history relied on burning wood and animal waste
-1880s: coal, oil and natural gas
Fuel that comes from the remains of ancient plants, plankton, or algae that have been compressed and heated under layes of sediments accumulating over millions of years
Global energy use: phase one
-coal replaces wood
Global energy use: phase two
-liquid fuels become crucial for transportation systems
Global energy use: phase three
-power plants and electric power grids
What is a joule?
-1 joule is approx the energy needed to lift an apple over your head.
-energy today is measured in exajoules
Amount of energy in a volume or mass of fuel
Ability of a fuel to do useful work
Energy Use: countries
USA one of the largest per capita rates of energy use.
China and India will also have a large impact due to high and increasing population
How many tonnes of oil does a person in a MDC use per year?
Primary energy source
Secondary energy source
Electricity and refined fuels
How much global primary energy was from fossil fuels?
Energy from sources that cannot be renewed within our lifetime
-can generate energy continuously and not be used up
-24% of energy globally; 2/3 of renewable sources located in MDCs
Average American uses 2x the energy of the average...
French, German, Japanese, UK
Average American Uses 3x the energy of...
Average Chinese citizen
Overall energy use
-China uses the most (more people)
-oil still most popular prinary source
A concept that explains how a range of possible decisions in the present depends on choices made in the past.
Flow of charged particles
-coal power plants have about 33% efficiency in USA
-up to 45% efficiency in Europe and China
Where the electricity is used near the place it's generated.
ex) solar panels, small wind turbines
Impacts of fossil fuels
Pollution: GHG, C02
Solutions to fossil fuels
-removing pollutants from fuels before burning
-coal--> natural gas
CO2, Hydrocarbons, CO, Nitrogen Oxides
2 options to meet future electric utility needs
1. Increase supply
2. Decrease demand
How much did energy intensity decrease by in 1975-2015?
How much energy would be saved if everyone in USA switched to low energy lighting?
20-30 nuclear power plants
Why do fossil fuels matter?
-we need energy for almost everything
-carbon makes up a very large portion of most of our total ecological footprints
-Greenhouse gas CO2
-2°C vs 4°C
Ferns, trees, and other plants in ancient swamps fell and accumulated in deep layers of sediment, which is now mined as coal
Oil and Natural Gas
In ancient rivers and oceans, plankton and algae died and were buried in deep layers of sediments. After being heated and compressed under the sediments, these deposits were transformed into the oil or natural gas that we extract today.
Deposits that are measured, legally extractable, and cost-effective
Known to exist, but a little too expensive
Far too expensive, but known
Conventional oil and gas
Large, easily accessed deposits.
Ex) oil well
Unconventional oil and gas
Non-traditional extraction with new technology.
Who produces the most oil?
1. The Middle East
2. Central America, South America, and the Caribbean
3. North America
Who consumes the most oil?
1. Asia Pacific
2. North America
3. Europe and Eurasia
Impacts of Oil Production
-Damage to Marine Ecosystems (oil spills)
-Damage to Terrestrial Ecosystems (including water)
Impacts of Oil Consumption
-Greenhouse Gas Emissions
-Damage to Ecosystems (acid rain)
-lots of impurities, especially sulfur
-low energy density
-not often used in energy production
High energy density
What % of coal reserves does the USA have?
26% of proven reserves
What % of coal reserves does Russia have?
What % of coal reserves does China have?
China consumes how many times more coal than the USA and India?
China + India + USA = % coal globally?
Impacts of coal production
Impacts of coal consumption
Hydraulic Fracturing: Fracking
-mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected at high pressure to fracture the rocks deep underground.
-releases gas and oil from the rock/shale
Impacts of Natural Gas Production
-contamination of streams and groundwater
-uses lots of water
Impacts of Natural Gas Consumption
Consumption of natural gas has a lesser environmental impact BUT the production has a far greater one.
Became more common in the mid-1990s
Nuclei of atoms is split apart (fission) which releases a lot of energy
Pro of nuclear energy
Very little emissions in production of electricity.
Considered relatively safe.
Impacts of Nuclear Energy
-contamination and ecological damage from uranium mining
-potential of release of radiation from nuclear reactor
-radioactive nuclear waste
What must be in place for an oil boom to happen?
1. Price of oil
2. Labour and capital
Core problem identified in 'This Changes Everything'
Energy that can be generated continuously, and cannot be used up.
Types of renewable energy
Water (hydro, tidal, wave), solar, wind, geothermal, biomass
What % of electricity in MB comes from renewables?
-96% from 15 hydroelectric generating stations
How many windfarms in MB?
How many thermal generating stations in MB?
How many remote diesel generating stations in MB?
Are renewables always renewable?
No. Renewable based on our current conditions, (current climate). Climate change could change our hydrological cycles, and then our hydro electricity could be affected
-energy from flowing water
-largest source of renewable energy
-low GHG emissions
-expensive to build
-consistent source of electricity
Hydroelectric Energy Potential
-97% use in MB
-Canada is 3rd largest generator of hydroelectricity, after China and Brazil.
-change the flow of rivers
-flood large areas
-energy from solar radiation
-no GHGs or pollution
-costly to produce large amounts of energy
-limited by cloud and hours of darkness (requires storage)
Amount of solar energy that reaches earth's surface in one month = ....?
Energy from all fossil fuels ever used!
Passive solar energy
-direct use of solar energy
-does not require mechanical power
-orient windows to face the sun (or away from the sun in hot climate)
Characteristics of passive solar energy
-heated from sunlight, occupants, lights and appliances
Active Solar Energy
-direct use of solar energy that requires mechanical power
-usually consists of pumps and other machinery to circulate air, water, or other fluids from solar collectors to a heat sink where the heat may be stored
-solar collectors often on roof tops
-shallow pond filled with water and used to generate relatively low-temperature water
-heated water is salty so remains near the bottom
-heat is then extracted
Barriers/limitations to solar energy
-sun not available 24 hours
-need to be able to store energy
-installation costs are the main barrier
-panels are made from metals that are expensive and rare
Main environmental impact is from mining
-intermittent and non-dispatchable
-1500 turbines is the same as one coal plant
-wind costs the same as fossil fuels
2015 wind energy use in USA is?
2030 wind every use is predicted to be?
Pros of wind energy
-abundant, clean and renewable
-almost no GHG
Cons of wind energy
-requires backup systems and storage for when wind does not blow
-can impair some communications transmissions
-impact on wildlife
-considered visual eyesore
Future of wind energy
-estimated that wind could produce between 18-41% of global electricity by 2050
-ability to store wind energy would increase the supply between approx 30-40%
-one of the most cost-effective renewables
-some can be burned directly
-some can produce other materials
-land may be required for food production rather than particularly growing fuel
-may reduce landfill
What is used for biomass fuels?
-fermentation of corn or sugar cane
-experimenting with switchgrass
Energy from the heat of the earth's interior.
Pros of geothermal energy
-can be used to heat or cool buildings
-steam from these sources can power turbines
-dispatchable: available anytime
Future of Geothermal Energy
-40 countries could use geothermal exclusively for all electricity needs
-Norway requires building assessments for why you CAN'T build without geothermal energy
Meeting the needs of the present without jeopardizing the needs of future generations
-renewable within a human lifetime
-not all renewable forms of energy are sustainable. ex) hydro
Best options of sustainable energy
Solar, wind, geothermal
Currently renewables account for less than.... % of global energy supply.
Barriers to change
Technology, infrastructure, politics, policy
-exporter of power. We make more than we need
-a lot of this energy is exported to tar sands
-promised the "eradication of mass poverty and unemployment" and instead created "engineered poverty"
Impacts of MB Hydro
-3 people on welfare in a community compared to 80% now, largely due to inability to fish
-MB has a flat landscape so water can flood large areas
-Japanese experts say that there is no safe level of mercury contamination, and no reason to believe it'll be fine in a few decades
- sacred sites are affected
-valued ecological component
-ex) fish (who decides what a VEC is and how much it is worth?)
Water as a basic human right
-july of 2010 UN declared access to clean water and sanitation as a human right
-50-100 L per day for basic needs
People and lack of water
1 in 4- no access to clean drinking water
2 in 5- no adequate sanitation
Causes of Cape Town's Water Shortage
Climate change, 3 years of record breaking droughts, tried to mitigate, not enough cause estimates were made on average rainfall, which hasn't happened.
Day when taps will be shut off. Estimated to be mid-July.
-taps turn off at 13.5%
How much water do humans need to survive?
Recommendation of water entitlement for humans?
50 L per day
Water use agriculture %
Water use industrial needs %
Water use domestic %
How many L water does the average Canadian use per day?
Water use reduction
-use less water
-use lower quality water for certain applications
-"low flow" fixtures
Purify water even desalinization of seawater
Allows transportation of 50 L of water
Use of nets to capture water from fog
How many of the world's rivers are shared by 2 or more countries?
Water scarcity and pollution often...
-limit social and economic development
-linked to poverty, hunger and disease
Sharing water: 4 key questions
1. How will the water resource be managed to ensure compliance with any agreement?
2. What fraction or proportion of the water can be allocated for societies use without impairing the resource beyond unacceptable limits?
3. How will the water requirements of rural and urban populations in each country be met equitably and "timeously", within the constraints of economics and international treaties?
4. What constitutes a fair and equitable share of the water resource for each country?
Envelope of gases that surround the planet and held in by the earth's gravitational field
% nitrogen in the atmosphere
% oxygen in our atmosphere
-limited ability to react with other chemicals under normal conditions
-limited role in air pollution or climate change
Chemically reactive gases
-chemical reactions with other materials
-oxidation reactions convert chemicals from forms in atmosphere to forms that can be "washed out" with precipitation
Radiatively Active Gases
-alters the amount of heat present in the atmosphere
-can heat up planet/atmosphere
-as high as 50km
-warmer again as sunlight interacts with ozone
Atmospheric circulation cells
Pattern of large scale movement of air around the planet cause by unequal heating of the earth's surface
-cells immediately above and below the equator
-often why we have tropical rainforests near the equator
-and arid regions immediately north and south of these areas where the cool dry air descends
Temp difference between poles and nearby land mass
-influenced by winds from Polar and Hadley cells
-intense wind and frequent storms (often in winter)
-heating by the sun creates an area of low pressure at the equator
-creates weather patterns
-blow east to west
-air flows from high to low pressure
-clockwise deflection in Northern hemisphere
-counterclockwise deflection in Southern hemisphere
Phenomena occurring in the atmosphere at a certain point in time, which results in SHORT TERM variations in atmospheric conditions
Average weather conditions of a particular place over a long period of time
Main difference between weather and climate?
Cause and impacts of nitrogen oxides
Cause: burning fossil fuels
Impacts: human health, ozone, acid rain
Cause and impacts of sulfur oxides
Cause: coal electricity generating stations
Impacts: human health and acid rain
Molecule made up of 3 oxygen atoms found in both the troposphere and stratosphere
Chemical form of pollution released into atmosphere
Chemical form of pollution formed when primary pollutants react in atmosphere. Ex) ozone
-most ozone formed at low latitudes and then transported to high latitudes
-during winter, Antartica isolated from surrounding atmosphere
-in spring when the sun returns chlorine destroys ozone
-the ozone "hole"
-1987 Montreal Agreement.
-singed by most nations
-phased out CFCs
-most no longer in use
-ozone will take a few more decades to recover
Different types of particles from mineral dust, soil, very small organic particles from fossil fuels
Metal found in the atmosphere in form of particulate air pollution
Impacts of air pollution
Human health: damages airways or enters bloodstream
Other impacts: pollution of waterways and ecosystems, degrade buildings
Time an element or compound spends in a particular reservoir
Short residence time
Means that it will stay near where it was emitted and not last as long
Long residence time
Can be emitted in South America or Africa and travel across Atlantic Ocean
Pollutants that dissolve in water in the atmosphere
Pollutants that can be deposited onto land without rain
Difference between the solar energy that reaches the planet and the energy that leaves the earth
A gas that absorbs infrared radiation and traps heat in the atmosphere
Greenhouse gases include:
CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs, water vapour
Alteration with energy balance of the climate.
"Forces" climate to change.
-changes in earth's orbit around sun
-orientation of earth relative to the sun
-albedo of earth's surface
-particles in atmosphere
Concentration of GHG in atmosphere
3 Characteristics of Orbits
Change in the earth's axis. 22-24.5°C. Greater seasonality
Actual shape of the earth has changed
"Wobble" of the earth's atmosphere
Biological and chemical signatures