CO2 EMISSION AND CLIMATE REPERCUSSIONS

TARIQ AHMED SAEEDI
Oct 22 - 28, 2007

According to the United Nations Statistics Division's released data on September, 2007 Pakistan contributes 125 million tones of Carbon Dioxide to its atmosphere. Form 1990 up to 2004, the rate of increment was eighty four percent. The change in percentage back warded in case of Afghanistan to 73.5 where 0.69 million tones CO2 dissipated into environment. The principal dispensers of CO2 were United States of America and China with CO2 emissions of 5987 and 5010 million tones respectively. Within the aforesaid period the percentage, with which carbon dioxide submerged into the defined Chinese upper territory, was stunningly 108 %, and considerably remained low in US to 19.6%. To illustrate, the United States is the largest consumer of oil, using 20.4 million barrels per day. About 20% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions come from the burning of gasoline in internal-combustion engines of Light Traffic Vehicles (LTV). This is why, CO2 emission per capita was 20.4 tones in US unlikely to China's mere 3.84 tones. Certainly, in our nation a person shares 0.81 tone to ozonosphere a little bit higher than the Bangladeshi's 0.25, where the total emissions were recorded as about 37 million tones. Hence, the following notes deal with the impact of gasoline on atmosphere; alternatives of producing energy; major causes of global warming; health effects of global warming; and accruing corporate social responsibilities.

Mother Nature has put an invisible protective shield over the blue planet to refrain ultra violative sun rays from earth. That protective shield, commonly known as ozonosphere, calms down the heat level allowing living creatures to survive on the earth. Global warming is the result of a buildup of greenhouse gases: mainly carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride. The atmosphere contains about 750 billion tons of carbon while 800 billion tons are dissolved in the surface layers of the world's oceans. CO2 is by far the largest contributor to global warming, and the major source of CO2 is combustion of fossil fuels. Other sources of CO2 emissions include industrial processes such as metals processing and chemical manufacturing, wood burning, stoves, and natural sources such as forest fires. The need was exhorted for an immediate 50-70% reduction in global CO2 emissions in order to stabilize global CO2 concentrations at the 1990 level by the year 2100.

KYOTO PROTOCOL: Various policy options are available to reduce emissions, including energy efficiency measures and switching to less carbon intensive fuels, e.g. from burning coal and lignite to natural gas. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, urged substantial increase in the use of renewable non-carbon energy sources, such as wind, wave and solar power including biomass. It also emphasized on promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns which should lead to reduced CO2 emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement proposed on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The agreement requires the United States, the European Union and Japan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (below 1990 levels) by 7%, 8% and 6%, respectively, by the year 2010. The burden of initial emission reduction rests on the industrialized countries, which have built high standards of living based on fossil fuel use, and which have produced most of the greenhouse gases residing in the Earth's atmosphere. Eventually, developing countries will have to reduce their carbon emissions too.

Recent research showed that global emissions of the six Kyoto greenhouse gases increased by 75% between 1970 and 2004. These trends were estimated using international statistics, amongst others from the International Energy Agency (IEA), and international emission reports.

MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS: Cement clinker production is the largest CO2 source among industrial processes, contributing about 4% of global total CO2 emissions from fuel use and industrial activities. However, for China with its large and increasing share in global cement production of about 44% in 2006, the share of CO2 from cement production in national total CO2 emissions is almost 9% (550 megatons out of a total of about 6200 megatons CO2). For the USA these figures are about 5800 megatons CO2 in total, of which 50 megaton from cement production.

Besides, cars, power plants, airplanes; buildings are the important drivers of expanding GHG. Changes in how land is used can also result in the emission of CO2 or in the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. However, as there is not yet an agreed method for estimating this, it is not included in the figures for CO2 emissions.

HEALTH REPERCUSSIONS: During a conference on Climate Change and Human Health, it was noted that insects are bringing illnesses like malaria and dengue to higher altitudes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. High concentrations of sulfur dioxide affect breathing and may aggravate existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Sulfur dioxide forms when fuel containing sulfur, such as coal and oil, is burned, when gasoline is extracted from oil, or metals are extracted from ore. Petroleum refineries, cement manufacturing, and metal processing facilities, as well as locomotives, large ships, and some non road diesel equipment burn high sulfur fuel and release SO2 emissions to the air in large quantities.

It was also reported at this conference that continued global warming will cause the spread of these diseases and also encephalitis and yellow fever to higher latitudes.

A study, by scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO), determined that 154,000 people die every year from the effects of global warming, from malaria to malnutrition, children in developing nations seemingly the most vulnerable. These numbers could almost double by 2020.

In June, 2003, 1700 people died during a heat wave that hit India, while 35,000 Europeans died in a heat wave the following August. In July, 1999 more than 250 people died from an unrelenting heat wave that seared the eastern U.S.

ALTERNATIVE RENEWABLE ENERGY: The potential of moving water has been harnessed for thousands of years. The total power generation capacity in Pakistan is 17,457 MW. This includes the hydropower generation capacity of 5,013 MW, the thermal power generation capacity of 12,169 MW and the nuclear power generation capacity of 462 MW. Based on the present generation capacity, the ratio between hydro and other energy resources in the country is 29:71. The main sources of electricity generation in Pakistan are hydel, oil, gas, coal and nuclear power. Among these, hydel power is the only renewable source of energy; the others are mainly fossil fuels. The potential for hydropower generation in Pakistan is 40,000 MW. Wind turbine technology is being harnessed to generate electricity. Similarly, using energy substitutes for vehicular transports will lower down the undue affect of causing GHG.

There are environmental impacts associated with oil products at all stages of their life cycle, from product supply to distribution. If car manufacturers were to increase their fleets' average gas mileage about 3 miles per gallon, the country could save a million barrels of oil every day. It is for the government and NGOs to decide whether environmentally sensitive areas should be open to development or not. Oil exploration companies and refineries should have an approach to operate in the areas where they can manage the environmental risks and observe compliance with Pakistan's laws and regulations. Their activities generate a variety of solid and liquid wastes, including oily sludges, plastic cans and drums and construction debris. They should try to recover, recycle as much as is practicable of the waste they generate.