Pollution figures put Europe under spotlight

Jun 23, 2009

European policy makers must collaborate more closely in the fight against global warming, according to a leading expert who compiled the most detailed ever record of greenhouse gas emissions across the continent.

The 18 regions from 13 countries who took part in the project led by Dr Sebastian Carney from The University of Manchester were revealed to be responsible for 11.5 per cent of the EU’s emissions.

Carbon dioxide released by human activity is the largest contributor to the human component of global warming.

Five of the regions had higher per capita emissions than their national averages - explained, according to Dr Carney, by higher concentrations of industry.

However, the emissions of Naples, Oslo and Stockholm were less than half of their national totals. The other regions in the study - including Glasgow - also showed lower emissions than their country’s average.

The lowest emission levels are explained, according to Dr Carney, by the use of biomass energy in Oslo and in Stockholm. Low levels of economic activity contributed to the figure in Naples.

The greenhouse gas inventories were recently compiled by regional leaders in local government, energy, transport and housing industries - among others - using a new method pioneered by Dr Carney at the University.

The method has also been used in the United States and Dr Carney will also be showing the technology to leaders in the China later in the year.

The green house gas emissions data across the partner regions showed that energy accounted for 87 per cent of the total emissions figure, industrial processes 6 per cent, waste 2 per cent and agriculture 5 per cent.

Landfill is the more intensive form of waste treatment, followed by incineration and then recycling.

Farmyard animals, treatment of their waste and quantities of fertilisers applied to the soil also were found to have an important effect.

Dr Carney, who is based at the University’s Centre for Urban Regional Ecology said: “Notwithstanding the fact that these figures do not take into account emissions associated with goods and services produced outside the regions - in places such as India and China - these figures are of major importance.

“They show in stark terms the differences between partner regions and the activities that drive them allowing us for the first time to compare their emissions using consistent methodology.

“It’s clear that if we are to mitigate climate change, then we require substantial cuts in emissions: we must consider how and where the energy services we rely on are produced and avoid displacing the activity in one region for another.

“This data should not be used to view a region as good or bad: the key issue is to consider the activity which causes these emissions in each region, to see how they can be mitigated and by regions working together to learn from each other.”

He added: “There’s no question of a league table: a region, for example, may have very different forms of industry and a historically different energy system.

“So we need to change together, rather than single out regions and possibly discourage them from collaboration: we must recognise that some regions have greater potential for mitigation than others, over differing timeframes.

“Collaboration is key.

”The amount of CO2 released varied between partners, and depended on the nature and type of energy mix and industry, the manner in which waste is treated and the size of the agricultural sector.

“On the other hand, another region may have high emissions but provide a range of goods and services to others: Rotterdam is an example of this as it has a series of Petroleum refineries.”

Provided by University of Manchester (news : web)

Explore further: Pharmaceuticals and the water-fish-osprey food web

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WMI to track greenhouse gas emissions

Mar 02, 2006

Waste Management Inc. announced Wednesday it has become the first solid waste company to track, report and certify its California greenhouse gas emissions.

EU backs climate change measures

Mar 05, 2008

The European Union has voted to support climate change proposals to cut emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Emissions rising faster this decade than last

Oct 02, 2008

The latest figures on the global carbon budget to be released in Washington and Paris indicate a four-fold increase in growth rate of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions since 2000.

Emissions rising faster this decade than last

Sep 26, 2008

The latest figures on the global carbon budget to be released in Washington and Paris today indicate a four-fold increase in growth rate of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions since 2000.

Recommended for you

Stopping the leaks

14 hours ago

When a big old cast-iron water main blows, it certainly makes for a spectacular media event.

Alpine lifelines on the brink

16 hours ago

Only one in ten Alpine rivers are healthy enough to maintain water supply and to cope with climate impacts according to a report by WWF. The publication is the first-ever comprehensive study on the condition ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GrayMouser
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 23, 2009
Carbon dioxide released by human activity is the largest contributor to the human component of global warming.

Only if
1) CO2 is a significant factor in global climate change. Right now CO2 is increasing but the global temperatures have been decreasing.
2) Humans produce CO2 in excess to what the environment utilizes. If not, no effect.
Azpod
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2009
Carbon dioxide released by human activity is the largest contributor to the human component of global warming.




Only if



1) CO2 is a significant factor in global climate change. Right now CO2 is increasing but the global temperatures have been decreasing.



2) Humans produce CO2 in excess to what the environment utilizes. If not, no effect.




1) The HUMAN COMPONENT of the greenhouse effect is almost entirely CO2. I'm no Global Warming alarmist (quite the contrary) but I do acknowledge that human-produced CO2 is having an impact. I just dispute those who endlessly cry Wolf and claim that the CO2 level rise will result in catastrophe. Yes, it's rising. Yes, that has an impact on the environment. Yes, CO2 levels should be reduced and I support efforts to make industry more efficient.



Do I support draconian efforts that will hamstring the global economy? No.



2) The amount of CO2 in the air is rising. No one's disputing that. It's a trivial thing to measure and it's happening worldwide. If the environment could soak up our emissions, the levels wouldn't be on the rise. That said, I think the environment will adapt to soak up more CO2 per year, but that takes time.
GrayMouser
3 / 5 (2) Jun 26, 2009

Only if

1) CO2 is a significant factor in global climate change. Right now CO2 is increasing but the global temperatures have been decreasing.


2) Humans produce CO2 in excess to what the environment utilizes. If not, no effect.


1) The HUMAN COMPONENT of the greenhouse effect is almost entirely CO2. I'm no Global Warming alarmist (quite the contrary) but I do acknowledge that human-produced CO2 is having an impact. I just dispute those who endlessly cry Wolf and claim that the CO2 level rise will result in catastrophe. Yes, it's rising. Yes, that has an impact on the environment. Yes, CO2 levels should be reduced and I support efforts to make industry more efficient.


Do I support draconian efforts that will hamstring the global economy? No.

I support more efficiency in production. But the entire AGW campaign depends on temperature changes that are within normal variability. We can't even measure annual changes of 0.1 degrees much less 0.01 degrees.

2) The amount of CO2 in the air is rising. No one's disputing that. It's a trivial thing to measure and it's happening worldwide. If the environment could soak up our emissions, the levels wouldn't be on the rise. That said, I think the environment will adapt to soak up more CO2 per year, but that takes time.

And why were CO2 levels up to 7000ppm when there weren't any humans around? That had to be a natural variation in the composition of the atmosphere. So now we have a guideline, 100ppm (or less) to 7000ppm (or more) is natural for the Earth. Neither extreme has wiped out life on this planet.
Velanarris
3 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2009

1) The HUMAN COMPONENT of the greenhouse effect is almost entirely CO2.
That's false. The human component of the greenhouse effect is primarily driven by our land use changes and our water vapor production which is exponentially greater than our CO2 production.

I'm no Global Warming alarmist (quite the contrary) but I do acknowledge that human-produced CO2 is having an impact. I just dispute those who endlessly cry Wolf and claim that the CO2 level rise will result in catastrophe. Yes, it's rising. Yes, that has an impact on the environment. Yes, CO2 levels should be reduced and I support efforts to make industry more efficient.
I think you will find the majority of us among those branded as "denialists" hold the same views as you do.