US Sources Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions In 2007: Moving From Data, To Policy Innovation And Green Design

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It's easy to become narrow-minded about climate priorities by getting stuck at the data level. Instead of responding with knee-jerk outrage to the latest greenhouse gas stories in the news, "greens" need to take on strategic thinking. Scan this US-EIA produced table, Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2007 (12/3/2008) (ftp down-loadable as pdf file here) and its continuation below the fold. Plenty of surprising facts are buried in it; and if you stick with it, valuable strategic insights will bubble up. You might even see the automotive bailout proposals in a greener lightLeaky industrial natural gas systems are a significant problem. (who knew?)

Landfills leak far more methane than industrial fermentation processes. Which gets the priority attention for mitigation? What treatments are most cost effective: capping or energy production?

Farming is the largest source of nitrous oxide emissions. Wonder if that includes organic cropping? (research budget review time)

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HFC's are a much larger collective issue than PFC's. Which is why C02 as refrigerant and ammonia chillers are both appealing alternatives.

And fluorocarbons together are a far more significant issue than sulfur hexaflouride from all sources.
How do we react strategically to this information? One way is to put it in context of the high profile issues of the day; and look for synergies.

Take the US vehicle manufacturing (car) industry, for example.
The bailout and possible bankruptcy calls open a window of opportunity. In addition to pushing just for more fuel efficient and low emission cars the coming administration, and Congress, can also take the opportunity to push for mobile air conditioning technology that dispenses entirely with HFCs.

Take it a step further and push for "cool roofs" on vehicles (not just buildings) and also for solar gain reducing windows on vehicles, reducing the total need for air conditioning and thus reducing the weight-carried and fuel-burned to keep cool in the warm months.

To spur green jobs: push for incentives for development of, and US manufacturing of eco-innovative vehicular AC and window coatings systems. And so on.

The planets are aligned for innovation. A data table is obviously not as sexy as a picture of a TESLA sports car; but ,you won't be having much sex, anyway, if the future unfolds randomly, without high-level thinking and collaboration on the part of those who push (tree huggers for example) and those who react (Congress and the auto industries for example).

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