These are some Frequently Asked Questions about carbon dioxide and climate change...
The hole in the ozone layer in the earth’s upper atmosphere (stratosphere) reduces the greenhouse effect because ozone is a greenhouse gas. However, ozone in the stratosphere filters out ultraviolet radiation from the sun that is harmful to life on earth. Ozone in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) is created by chemical reactions between pollutants and sunlight. Ozone in the troposphere is dangerous to human health because it can cause lung damage and other cardiopulmonary problems when inhaled. The ozone layer in the stratosphere is earth’s sunscreen and protects living things from too much ultraviolet radiation.
The first person to have predicted that CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels would cause a global warming is considered to be S. Arrhenius, who published in 1896 the paper "On the influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the ground." When highly accurate measurement techniques were developed in the late 1950s, it was confirmed that atmospheric CO2 was actually increasing. By the 1990s, it was widely accepted that the Earth's surface air temperature had warmed over the past century. Many argue whether such a warming can be attributed to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.
Wind is an important and growing part of Europe’s industrial base. Wind energy is the most cost-effective climate change mitigation technology. In 2015 wind power avoided 218m tonnes of CO2 in the EU alone. The sector represents over 300,000 jobs and generates €72 billion in annual turnover. The European industry has a 40% share of all wind turbines sold globally. Wind energy is a reliable and affordable energy source which benefits European electricity consumers. Wind energy already meets 11% of the EU’s power demand with high penetration levels in several countries (Denmark 42%; Spain 20%; Germany 13%; UK 11%).
The European Commission adopted a Clean Air Policy Package in December 2013, consisting of new air quality objectives for the period up to 2030, a revised National Emission Ceilings Directive with stricter control of the six main pollutants (SO2, NOx, non-methane VOCs, NH3, PM2.5 and CH4), and a proposal for a new Directive to reduce pollution from medium-sized combustion installations. The local air quality limits which may not be exceeded are set under the Ambient Air Quality Directives. The Directives address three main pollutants, particulate matter (PM10) originating from emissions from industry, traffic and domestic heating, sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
By 2021, the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 95 grams of CO2 per km. This means a fuel consumption of around 4.1 l/100 km of petrol or 3.6 l/100 km of diesel. For vans, the target is 147g of CO2 per km, corresponding to around 5.5 l/100 km of diesel. To help drivers choose new cars with low fuel consumption, cars have a label showing their test cycle fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. If defeat devices were used to influence test CO2 emissions, it is likely the relative size of their impact would be lower than for pollutant emissions. For CO2 emissions the laboratory test procedure should improve with the introduction of the "Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure".
Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) is a working low carbon technology which captures CO2 from the burning of coal and gas for power generation, and from the manufacturing of steel, cement and other industrial facilities, and transports it by either pipeline or ship, for safe and permanent underground storage, preventing it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to anthropogenic climate change. There are 3 stages to CCS: capture, transport, and safe underground storage. CCS plants are typically situated next to the plant from which CO2 is captured. Depending on the location of the power plant or industrial facility, the CO2 can be transported over long distance for storage.
There were times in the distant past when Earth was warmer than it is now. However, human societies have developed and thrived during the relatively stable climate that has existed since the last ice age. Due to excess carbon dioxide pollution, the climate is no longer stable and is instead projected to change faster than at any other time in human history. Impacts from climate change are already occurring and are expected to become increasingly disruptive in many sectors. Sea level rise, extreme weather events, and other effects of climate change all post risks to human health, critical infrastructure, agriculture, and the ecosystems that support us.
The amount of CO2 produced from burning a fuel weighs more than the amount of the fuel itself, because during complete combustion, each carbon atom in the fuel combines with two oxygen atoms in the air to make CO2. The addition of two oxygen atoms to each carbon atom forms CO2, which has an atomic weight of 44—3.6667 times the atomic weight of the carbon, which is 12. For example, subbituminous coal is on average 51% carbon, so the carbon in a short ton (2,000 lbs) weighs 1,020 lbs. The CO2 emissions from burning a short ton of coal are approximately 3,740 pounds, or about 3.67 times the weight of the carbon.
Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths annually, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress. The direct damage costs to health is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030. Areas with weak health infrastructure in developing countries will be most vulnerable. Reducing emissions through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health -particularly via cleaner air.