I want to be able to understand some of the numbers which are used to describe global warming issues.
Firstly, as most of my “professional” pollution is from equipment which uses electricity, a statement on the amount of CO2 produced in the generation of electricity would be useful. The figures used by Defra, the UK Environment Agency, contained in this report quote a figure of 0.43kg of CO2 per KWH (kilowatt hours) of generated electricity. To explain what that means, I’ll use the example of a plasma TV, which a lot of us now have. I’ve picked a model similar to my own, the Pioneer PDP-427XD. This uses 291W in operation and 0.7W in standby. On an average 8 hour day of watching and 16 in standby, total power for the year would be 853KWH, of which 4KWH would have been on standby. This equates to 367Kg of CO2 and a running cost of £85.30 for the year (UK electricity is about 10p per KWH). Fortunately I would only have spent 40p keeping the TV on standby. This isn’t actually a lot, as we will see when I start discussing the electricity consumption of storage systems.
One final statistic for now; The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which produces reports on the state of climate change, in 1990 called for a 60-80% cut in global warming pollution. At the time they predicted a temperature rise for the earth of between 2-6 degrees F by 2100. By the time of their third report in 2001, that figure had been revised up 60% to 10.4 degrees F, and in their latest report a worst possible figure of 11.5 degrees F is quoted.
Clearly CO2 production needs to be reduced significantly and as quickly as possible.