Cape Farewell

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Climate Change - The Implications

The solution to Climate Change is simple; Reduce CO2 levels to a sustainable and manageable level. We need to reduce current carbon dioxide emissions by about 60% globally to prevent the CO2 levels rising and further. This however is not an easy task, CO2 'production' is a product of all our human activity worldwide, we are committed and reliant on a carbon burning economy to maintain our current way of life, economy and human 'progress'.

The Kyoto accord is the first global legislation that attempts to effect and stabilise global CO2 emissions, Change is a global responsibility and there are many ways in which we can act individually, industrially, economically and governmentally to achieve a common objective of sustainable existence in balance with the planet without threat to both our way of life and that of the Earth as we know it.

The chart in Figure 5 shows the global distribution of CO2 emissions in terms of three major indices: emissions per capita [Height of each block]; and total emissions (product of population and emissions per capita = area of block). Per capita emissions in the industrial countries are currently as much as ten times the average in developing countries, particularly Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
Source: The Carbon Trust with data from the USA Energy Information Administration

In context...

  • One long distant international air flight produces nearly one ton of CO2 per passenger
  • Each person in the UK on average produces 9800 tons of CO2 per year
  • Each person in the USA on average produces 18000 tons of CO2 per year
  • One average car travelling 10000 miles per year produces 3 tons of CO2

Were society to make reducing carbon dioxide emissions a priority - as I think it should to reduce the risks of environmental havoc in the future - we need to pursue several strategies at once. We would need to concentrate on using energy more efficiently and on substituting noncarbon renewable or nuclear energy sources for fossil fuel (coal, oil and natural gas - the primary sources of manmade atmospheric carbon dioxide). And we would need to employ a method that is receiving increasing attention: capturing carbon dioxide and storing, or sequestrating it underground rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. Nothing says that CO2 must be emitted into the air. The atmosphere has been our prime waste repository, because discharging exhaust up through smokestacks, tail pipes and chimneys is the simplest and least [immediately] costly think to do. The good news is that the technology for capture already exists and that the obstacles hindering implication seem to be surmountable.

A new large (1000 mega watt generating) coal fired power station produces six million tons of CO2 annually. The world's total output (roughly equivalent to the production of 1000 large planets - 6,000,000,000 tons of CO2 per year) could double over the next few decades as the USA, China, India and many other countries construct new power- generating stations. The strategy that combines the capture of carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants and their subsequent injection into geologic formations for long term storage could contribute significantly to slowing the rise of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Fortunately, opportunities for affordable storage and capture efforts are plentiful. The owner of a new coal power plant would face a 50% rise in the cost of power the coal plants put on the grid, about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour on top of a base cost of around 4 cents per kWh. The home owner or consumer buying only coal-based electricity, who now pays an average of about 10 cents per kWh, would experience one-fifth higher electricity costs.
Scientific America, July 2005 'The Carbon Trap' Robert H Socolow

Latest News

The launch of our first Lovelock Art Commission

A brand new installation opens by artist Marcus Coates.

In conversation with artist Marcus Coates

Thurs 23 October, the opening of Manchester Science Festival 2014

Open Call now closed- Rural Artist Residencies

Cape Farewell is looking for a new artist to engage with the Rural Artist Residencies Programme

Join us for the unveiling of Forcey's Tower on October 4th

  Forcey's Tower will be unveiled on the 4th of October, in Sydling St. Nicholas

Tidal Lagoon Art Commissions

Deadline: 5 October 2014. An open call to Welsh based artists, for initial proposals for a multi-disciplined artwork to be sighted on the ground-breaking Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay. We are also inviting submissions from Swansea locals for proposals to enhance the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon area.

Adopt A Plant

Visit the Phytology site and Adopt A Plant on Sat 1st of August!

Facing Extinction Conference

Join us at the Gustav Metzger - Facing Extinction Conference at UCA Farnham, 7-8 June.

Martha Wainwright at Luminato

Martha Wainwright plays the Luminato Festival in Toronto, 9 June.

Related Links

Dr Valborg Byfield 2003 / 78°N 11.5°E

Valborg Byfield "Because Ny-Ålesund is far away from cities, roads and air traffic, the measurements made there shows you what happens in the Earth's atmosphere as a whole. When scientists detect an increase in carbon dioxide in the air on Mount Zeppelin, it is because global carbon dioxide levels have increased - not just that people locally are burning a little more fossil fuels than usual..." Read the full blog post by oceanographer Valborg Byfield from the 2003 expedition ›


Figure 1. Illustration of the greenhouse effect
Figure 2. Illustration of temperature graph
Figure 3. Illustration of CO2 levels over the last 60,000 years
Figure 4. Illustration. Global temperature changes since 1860
Figure 5. CO2 emissions in different regions in 2000, per Capita and population
Cape Farewell science crew launching Arty Bob, the ARGO float, during the 2007 Art/Science Expedition
Satellite image showing sea surface temperature (SST). National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Illustration showing sea surface temperature. National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
The science crew taking measurements during the 2007 Art/Science Expedition
The science crew taking measurements during the 2007 Art/Science Expedition
Amy Balkin in conversation with Simon Boxall during the 2007 Art/Science Expedition
Figure 1. Illustration of the greenhouse effect

Figure 1. Illustration of the greenhouse effect