Good Common Sense.Net enthusiastically provides this page as a public service. We stand to gain nothing but a cleaner, less polluted world. The following is taken from NativeEnergy - a clean energy company working to empower indigenous communities in the United States. Visit them!
I. Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, is a greenhouse gas that has historically helped keep the Earth warm and suitable for life. Over the past few hundred years, however, human activities like burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests have increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by nearly 30%. In the United States, burning fossil fuels is responsible for 98% of our carbon dioxide emissions.
II. Global Warming and Climate Change
Our climate is changing because the earth is getting warmer. The primary cause is burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. We use these fuels to create electricity, year round.
In January 2001, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences found that the Earth's surface temperature had risen by 0.7° to 1.4° F over the last century. The 1990s were the hottest decade of the last century. Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere and floating ice in the Arctic have both decreased. The frequency of extreme rainfall events has increased throughout much of the United States. Most recently a rash of harsh storms: hurricanes and blizzards have been problematic. Seasonal changes have moved forward approximately one week, since the 1950s, and seasons - themselves, are becoming more erratic, giving way to drastic swings in temperature.
Global temperatures are predicted to rise 2° to 10° F in the next century. The consequences are difficult to predict and will vary from place to place. They include more floods, worse droughts, rising sea levels, and severe disruption of forests, rivers and wetlands.
III. Household Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions
We use fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas every day, just to keep our lights on and our homes warm, and to run our stoves, refrigerators and other household appliances. Using fossil fuels produces CO2 emissions and contributes to global warming. The amounts vary depending on where we live, where our electricity comes from, how we heat our homes and our driving habits. For the average U.S. household, using electricity and staying warm produces about 12 tons of CO2 emissions each year.
Home Electricity -
On average, each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated by utilities in the U.S. produces 1.42 lbs. of carbon dioxide . The average U.S. home uses 10,226 kWh of electricity per year . However, because there are losses of about 7% in transmitting electricity from power plants to customers, 10,942 kWh of electricity must be generated to meet the average household's electricity demand.
Home Heating -
U.S. homes are kept warm by burning many different fuels, each associated with different CO2 emission rates. Although no home uses all the fuels listed below, on average, a U.S. home uses the following amounts of heating fuel per year and produces the corresponding amounts of CO2 emissions .
Footnotes: 1. 1998 EPA E-Grid Electricity Generation CO2 emissions/kWh aggregated at U.S. national level.
2. Energy Information Agency Residential Energy Consumption Survey, Table CE1-4c (1997).
3. End-Use data from Energy Information Agency Residential Energy Consumption Survey, Table CE1-4c (1997). Conversion factors from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration, Instructions for Form EIA 1605B, Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Appendix B.
Please Remember: Energy, water & resource efficiency are the most accessible and money-saving forms of "clean" energy. Waste not!