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Old 12-10-06, 01:51 PM   #1
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greenhouse gas comparisons

Just watched "An Inconvienient Truth" and went to the website to see in what areas I can improve in.

I do pretty well, but one area that I don't do, but is suggested, is to unplug electric appliances when not in use because they still draw power when turned off or on stand-by mode.

I was wondering just how much green house gas emmisions are involved in hyrdo-electric power and natural gas heaters that are used in the household and their comparisons to burningfuel for transportation.

It seems to me transportation contributes more to the problem of global warming than hydro based power used in a home.

If my neighbor drives a big truck to work but unplugs all her appliances when she doesn't use them and I ride my bike to work but leave all my appliances plugged in, doesn't my neighbor contribute more to global warming than me?
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Old 12-10-06, 03:20 PM   #2
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The biggest contributor is water-vapour...

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Old 12-10-06, 03:39 PM   #3
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Well, I know that. Heating up the atmosphere increases water vapor. What causes that heat that causes that water vapor to rise?

A lot of the info in the movie I've known since the 70's and there was a movement that made some progress and then seems to have petered out only to be temporarily resurected from time to time.

Since we were told not to use execess power we now have more a/c units, computers, cable boxes, video game systems, microwaves, dishwashers, electric drills, etc. etc. etc. to make our lives a little easier.

Sort of like we've known about the importance of being active for the same amount of time, yet people just keep geting less and less fit because of all the labour saving devices we have.

In school I was told all these efficiencies would result in a leisure class with lots of free time on our hands. It's turned out quite the opposite.
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Old 12-10-06, 03:43 PM   #4
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Without government leadership, led from below or not, there will be no change. Capitalism as we know it looks to short-term profits, not long-term consequences.
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Old 12-10-06, 05:23 PM   #5
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Televisions are the biggest power users when off but still plugged in; the instant-on feature on TVs works by keeping a small current going through the heater of the CRT. Also, on any remote-controlled device, a circuit must be kept energized to receive signals. Toasters and lamps, for example, have mechanical switches and don't use any power unless turned on. I'm assuming that nobody is proposing unplugging their refrigerators while they're at work?

Water vapor is something like 8 times more efficient at greenhouse warming than CO2, and is a much larger constituent of the atmosphere, too.
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Old 12-10-06, 05:41 PM   #6
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Yeah, and I think that instant on feature on the remote isn't going to go away just as a computer sleeping is not going to be replaced by shutting it down all the time, just as giving up surround sound, DVD's and cable boxes aren't going to go away, but are these power drains worse than driving a 10 mpg behemoth?
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Old 12-10-06, 05:56 PM   #7
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go vegetarian....

Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars

http://news.independent.co.uk/enviro...cle2062484.ece
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Old 12-10-06, 07:04 PM   #8
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Water vapor is something like 8 times more efficient at greenhouse warming than CO2, and is a much larger constituent of the atmosphere, too.
Yes, and there is a natural method for excess water vapor to come back out of the gaseous phase into a liquid or solid phase where it does not have a greenhouse effect. This is known to meterologists as "precipitation". For a given atmospheric temperature, there is a limit to the water that can be carried, expressed as the % humidity. The only area where water is a concern to climatologists relative to global climate change is a concern that as the air warms over decades the total water in gaseous phase may increase and provide a small contribution to a sort of runaway warming scenario.

As an individual, you do not need to be concerned with your personal generation of water vapor. It's just going to come back down as rain.

And to the OP's question of hydroelectric power and global climate change, all in all there is none. Hydro power can be very environmentally destructive (dammed rivers have massive effects on local ecology and species) but it is not a contributor to global climate change.
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Old 12-10-06, 07:38 PM   #9
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Actually, some G7/8 countries are having a fit about the idea that Hydro can be a significant source of GHGs when an area with large amounts of vegetation is flooded since it puts them at a disadvantage wrt carbon trading. There is quite a bit of methane released by organic matter decaying in water, even if we don't like it.
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Old 12-10-06, 08:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
It seems to me transportation contributes more to the problem of global warming than hydro based power used in a home.
Perhaps, but not all homes draw power from hydro sources. Many use oil or coal fired plants. Then there's the nuclear generating plants, though barring a mishap, they don't release those gasses.

In the US, only 7% of the electricity supply is hydro based and only 11% in Canada.

So, I'd say overall, no, your appliances probably are about the same.
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Old 12-10-06, 09:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by skiahh
So, I'd say overall, no, your appliances probably are about the same.
You're sure aplliances off, or on stand-by/sleep mode for 8 hours are responsible for burning as many gasses into the air as an SUV driving down the road for an hour a day?
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Old 12-10-06, 09:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoB
Yes, and there is a natural method for excess water vapor to come back out of the gaseous phase into a liquid or solid phase where it does not have a greenhouse effect. This is known to meterologists as "precipitation". For a given atmospheric temperature, there is a limit to the water that can be carried, expressed as the % humidity.
Ridley Scott tried to give us a prelude to the future in "Blade Runner". It was always raining in future LA

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Originally Posted by DoB
...And to the OP's question of hydroelectric power and global climate change, all in all there is none. Hydro power can be very environmentally destructive (dammed rivers have massive effects on local ecology and species) but it is not a contributor to global climate change.
Being from BC, I know about how damming can hurt things, but that's what I thought about Hydro powers effect on the climate.

I still think the power draw from "at rest" appliances must be small in comparrison to the energy required to run a massive motor in a vehicle for hours in a day.
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Old 12-11-06, 02:19 AM   #13
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My TV draws 0.8 W in standby mode. Hardly a huge amount. This "standby factor" is very exaggerated. What the standby mode does, is keeping a tiny circuit powered to allow the main power switch to be activated by the remote.
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Old 12-11-06, 06:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DoB
The only area where water is a concern to climatologists relative to global climate change is a concern that as the air warms over decades the total water in gaseous phase may increase and provide a small contribution to a sort of runaway warming scenario.
.
The issue of atmospheric water is a vexing one for climate modellers. Water is a greenhouse gas and traps heat. It also forms clouds that reflect sunlight. Both these effects are significant but in opposite directions. The linkage between the oceans and atmpsphere in terms of evapouration and energy exchanage is one of the weaker parts of climate models and the focus of much reasearch.
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Old 12-11-06, 08:34 AM   #15
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The problem with clouds is that they do a better job of trapping heat than reflecting sunlight away (with the exception of thin high-altitude clouds), so it is assumed that an increase in average cloud cover will add to the warming trend.

Hydro power (when referring to hydro power dams) is not a clean solution by any means.

Damming a river creating an artificial lake kills the vegetation flooded, releasing the stored carbon. That's a once-off event, though, so it's not a major issue, and life in the lake will compensate to a small degree. But a dam is only good for so many years. Immediately, sediment begins to accumulate, and after maybe 50 or 150 years, it could very well render the dam useless. Increased evaporation from the dam leads to a much greater water loss, which can cause loss of irrigation and drinking water downstream. Especially if the dam is located in an area with a very high potential evaporation, which many are.

Wave and tidal power are safer. They have relatively few problems, other than being rather inefficient, expensive and hard to use in many areas. At least so far.
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Old 12-11-06, 09:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CdCf
My TV draws 0.8 W in standby mode. Hardly a huge amount. This "standby factor" is very exaggerated...
This is what I thought and I think it's important to understand the impact of what we do because in life we all have to prioritize as much as we don't like to. I want to make as much of a positive contribution as I can, and I think I am. I'm not perfect, but by riding a bike I'm helping.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
Just watched "An Inconvienient Truth" and went to the website to see in what areas I can improve in.

I do pretty well, but one area that I don't do, but is suggested, is to unplug electric appliances when not in use because they still draw power when turned off or on stand-by mode.

I was wondering just how much green house gas emmisions are involved in hyrdo-electric power and natural gas heaters that are used in the household and their comparisons to burningfuel for transportation.

It seems to me transportation contributes more to the problem of global warming than hydro based power used in a home.

If my neighbor drives a big truck to work but unplugs all her appliances when she doesn't use them and I ride my bike to work but leave all my appliances plugged in, doesn't my neighbor contribute more to global warming than me?

You're right, the SUV next door probably does contribute more, but don't let that stop you from doing what you can - every little bit helps, even if it's discouraging when your idiot neighbors have a Hummer, a Suburban, and an Escalade, just like mine do.

An even bigger problem is long-distance transportation, such as from China, so buying locally-made products when possible is good, or better yet, just try doing without.

If you're really looking for ways to cut your greenhouse emissions, one of the best things you can do is to plant a garden in your yard, if possible. If you use organic composting techniques, that ties carbon up in the soil where it's used by plants rather than released into the atmosphere, you don't have to go to the store as often for food (saves gas), and you're not relying on heavy trucks to bring your food from far away where it was grown. Some also find gardening to be a relaxing and rewarding hobby. You can also buy food at local farmer's markets or support a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). In the end, the best solution to reducing your ecological footprint is to "Go Local" as much as possible.

Just as a FYI, my favorite gardening technique is detailed in "How to Grow More Vegetables" by Jeavons. It's a fairly intimidating and comprehensive book and the first stages of the garden are labor intensive (lots of digging), but it really does produce some amazing results. Combining this with Permaculture techniques (see "Gaia's Garden" by Hemenway) gives you a very peaceful yard where you can relax, rather than spend your summer weekends doing battle with your lawn.

Last edited by BryE; 12-11-06 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:19 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by root11
go vegetarian....

Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars

http://news.independent.co.uk/enviro...cle2062484.ece
I read somewhere that Australia could meet its Kyoto requirements simply by cutting the amount of cattle in the country by 50%. I could probably stomach eating 50% less cow, but not 100% less.
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Old 12-11-06, 10:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryE
An even bigger problem is long-distance transportation, such as from China, so buying locally-made products when possible is good, or better yet, just try doing without.
You'd think so, but it doesn't have to be true.

We (Sweden) import beef from (I think it was) Argentina, which is then sold at a slightly lower price than our own meat, like for like. Yet, a study showed that the total fossil carbon released for the production of 1 kg of Argentine beef was significantly less than for the equivalent Swedish beef.
And they took into account things like the transportation methods locally (farm level), how the electricity consumed was produced, heating for the cattle and the shipping and distribution from the farm to the consumer here in Sweden.

Generally, transportation by cargo ship is extremely energy efficient. If we take all the transportation in the world combined, and added up all the fossil carbon released by it, the amount released by all the world's shipping would only be about 1-2% of the total! The advantage of ships is that volume increases much faster than wetted area, so doubling the cargo capacity of a ship only increases the drag (and thus fuel consumption) by about 60%.
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Old 12-11-06, 11:10 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
The biggest contributor is water-vapour...
CO2 uptake from the ocean moves in a cycle between the ocean and the atmosphere. This is not true of CO2 from human emissions, which only flow one way into the atmosphere. The ocean can only sink so much carbon.
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Old 12-11-06, 11:26 AM   #21
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go vegetarian....

Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
If cows are the problem, then how is eating them not the ideal solution?

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Old 12-11-06, 11:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by GGDub
I read somewhere that Australia could meet its Kyoto requirements simply by cutting the amount of cattle in the country by 50%. I could probably stomach eating 50% less cow, but not 100% less.
Australia would probably also meet Kyoto requirements if all Australians quit breathing too... So maybe if 1/2 the Australians quit breathing, the other half could enjoy their full share of beef... in fact they would only need 1/2 the cattle to do it... a win-win.

The above is not anti-Australian, it is simply expanding on the example cited.
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Old 12-11-06, 11:32 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryE
You're right, the SUV next door probably does contribute more, but don't let that stop you from doing what you can - every little bit helps, even if it's discouraging when your idiot neighbors have a Hummer, a Suburban, and an Escalade, just like mine do.
One of the reasons I have an intrest in cycling advocacy. Too often I think cycling advocacy focuses on the "dangers" of cycling and misses the positive effects of riding a bike to the detriment of all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BryE
If you're really looking for ways to cut your greenhouse emissions, one of the best things you can do is to plant a garden in your yard, if possible.
Always have planted gardens and trees (or rather, my wife has "encouraged" me to help)
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Old 12-11-06, 11:38 AM   #24
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Let see, my group has taken 300+ acres out of beef production and moved it into going back to rainforest. And I ride my bike to work.
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Old 12-14-06, 06:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryE
You're right, the SUV next door probably does contribute more, but don't let that stop you from doing what you can - every little bit helps, even if it's discouraging when your idiot neighbors have a Hummer, a Suburban, and an Escalade, just like mine do.

An even bigger problem is long-distance transportation, such as from China, so buying locally-made products when possible is good, or better yet, just try doing without.

If you're really looking for ways to cut your greenhouse emissions, one of the best things you can do is to plant a garden in your yard, if possible. If you use organic composting techniques, that ties carbon up in the soil where it's used by plants rather than released into the atmosphere, you don't have to go to the store as often for food (saves gas), and you're not relying on heavy trucks to bring your food from far away where it was grown. Some also find gardening to be a relaxing and rewarding hobby. You can also buy food at local farmer's markets or support a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). In the end, the best solution to reducing your ecological footprint is to "Go Local" as much as possible.

Just as a FYI, my favorite gardening technique is detailed in "How to Grow More Vegetables" by Jeavons. It's a fairly intimidating and comprehensive book and the first stages of the garden are labor intensive (lots of digging), but it really does produce some amazing results. Combining this with Permaculture techniques (see "Gaia's Garden" by Hemenway) gives you a very peaceful yard where you can relax, rather than spend your summer weekends doing battle with your lawn.
Hey, good for you. It's great to hear of people growing and eating their own food. We grow what we can (potatos, mainly, but also some fruit, apples, herbs and the like). and it's great to see my daughter eating the strawberries she grew.
We compost and recycle, and of course, push those pedals when we can. And if we had a bigger garden...
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