George C. Dimitriou

Technology and Strategy Consulting

Archive for the ‘Climate’

Greenhouse Gas Policy In Various Countries.

December 03, 2009 By: George Category: Climate, Trends No Comments →

A comparative study of greenhouse gas control policies in several large industrial nations was presented in a report (pdf) from the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

“All of the countries examined have in place, or are developing, some enforceable policies that serve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the CRS found.  “Most are at some stage of making their programs more stringent.”  See “An Overview of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Control Policies in Various Countries,”

Climate Change Negotiations.

November 24, 2009 By: George Category: Climate No Comments →

“The United States and almost 200 other countries are negotiating under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to address climate change cooperatively beyond the year 2012. Parties agreed to complete the negotiations by the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) scheduled for December 7-18, 2009, in Copenhagen.

 The negotiations toward a “Copenhagen agreement” are intended to be the next steps toward meeting the objective of the UNFCCC, to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Most parties conclude the objective requires avoiding a 2oCelsius increase in global mean temperature and reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80%-95% by 2050. The UNFCCC principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” among parties permeates debate about obligations of different forms, levels of effort, and verifiability.”

See the new report “Status of the Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations” from the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

U.S. Energy-Efficiency Potential.

August 06, 2009 By: George Category: Climate, Economy, Renewable Energy No Comments →

The potential for energy-efficiency improvements throughout the U.S. economy is huge and entirely within reach if annual investments increase fivefold, according to a new McKinsey & Company report.

The global consulting firm estimates that $520 billion in investments would reduce U.S. non-transportation energy usage by 9.1 quadrillion BTUs by 2020 – roughly 23 percent of projected demand. As a result, the U.S. economy would save more than $1.2 trillion and avoid the release of some 1.1 gigatons of annual greenhouse gases, an amount equal to replacing 1,000 conventional 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants with renewable energy.

If the United States applied all available efficiency technologies, the country would save more energy by 2020 than is used annually by all of Canada’s homes, commercial buildings, and industries combined.

The U.S. economy currently spends $10-12 billion each year on energy-efficiency measures, McKinsey said. This does not include federally funded programs authorized in the $787 billion economic stimulus act, which President Barack Obama signed in February.

DOE’s 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report.

July 16, 2009 By: George Category: Climate, Renewable Energy No Comments →

DOE’s new report, a comprehensive overview of developments in the U.S. wind power market released today, found that wind power capacity increased by 8,558 megawatts (MW) in 2008. This $16 billion investment in wind projects made the United States the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the fourth consecutive year. Wind power contributed 42% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2008; for the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second-largest new resource added to the U.S. electrical grid in nameplate capacity.

The report, which has been issued annually since 2007, analyzes a range of developments in the wind market, including trends in wind project installations, turbine size, turbine prices, wind project costs, project performance, and wind power prices. The report also details trends in project financing, a key concern for the wind industry in the current economic climate, as well as trends in project ownership, public policy, and the integration of wind power into the electrical grid. DOE’s report provides the wind industry, state and local policy makers, and the general public with valuable information on the state of wind power in the United States.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • The United States continues to lead the world in annual capacity growth and overtook Germany to take the lead in cumulative wind capacity. For the fourth straight year, the United States led the world in wind capacity additions, capturing roughly 30% of the worldwide market.
  • The cumulative wind capacity installed in the United States at the end of 2008 would, in an average year, be able to supply roughly 1.9% of the nation’s electricity consumption.
  • Soaring demand for wind has spurred expansion of wind turbine manufacturing in the United States. As a result of this continued expansion, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from less than 30% in 2005 to roughly 50% in 2008, and that roughly 8,400 new domestic manufacturing jobs were added in the wind sector in 2008 alone.
  • Wind power remained competitive in wholesale power markets in 2008, with average wind power prices at or below the low end of the wholesale power market price range, although upward pressure on wind power prices looks set to continue.

 See the full 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report (PDF 1.9 MB)

The Environmental Impact of Google Searches.

January 12, 2009 By: George Category: Climate, Search No Comments →

Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

A typical search generates about 7g of CO2. Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist. Wissner-Gross has submitted his research for publication by the US Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and has also set up a website

With more than 200m internet searches estimated globally daily, the electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern. A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world’s airlines – about 2% of global CO2 emissions.

Google has been moved to respond on its official blog, saying that this estimate is *many* times too high. Here is the link to the blog.

Congressional Research Service On Climate Change.

December 11, 2008 By: George Category: Climate No Comments →

As a matter of policy, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) does not make its products directly available to the public.  Recent reports from CRS on climate change and related topics obtained by Secrecy News include these (all pdf):

“Global Climate Change: Three Policy Perspectives,”
“Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspectives on the Top 20 Emitters and Developed Versus Developing Nations,”
“Climate Change: Design Approaches for a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program,”
“Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Kyoto and Beyond,”
“Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising More Rapidly Than Expected?,”
“Capturing CO2 from Coal-Fired Power Plants: Challenges for a Comprehensive Strategy,”
“The Carbon Cycle: Implications for Climate Change and Congress,”
“Climate Change: Federal Laws and Policies Related to Greenhouse Gas Reductions,”
“U.S. Global Climate Change Policy: Evolving Views on Cost, Competitiveness, and Comprehensiveness,”

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

Hawaii Moves to Car 2.0 Model

December 06, 2008 By: George Category: Climate, Innovation, Renewable Energy No Comments →

Better Place, working with Governor Linda Lingle, announced a plan to help Hawaii move to the Car 2.0 model of electric cars powered by renewable energy. Hawaii, which has an annual $7 billion addiction to oil, has set a plan to reach 70% renewable energy by 2030. With renewable generation powering cool electric cars – like Better Place’s Nissan Rogue demonstration vehicle – Hawaii will serve as a blueprint for the US auto sector’s future.

While the United States debates a plan to spend $25 billion on Detroit’s Car 1.0 model built on the internal combustion engine, China, Europe, and Japan are all quickly moving to the Car 2.0 model of electric drive transportation. In fact, the European Union just last week upped the ante, by announcing a $6.5 billion “European Green Cars Initiative” plan for European automakers to build safer and greener cars.

Press Release »