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Cortland's Carbon Challenge Text-Only Power Point

Slide 1: Cortland’s Carbon Challenge Brice Smith Assistant Professor of Physics President's Institutional Planning Conference June 25, 2008

Slide 2: Acknowledgements The work developing SUNY Cortland’s Carbon Footprint was done with Justin Winters (Physics, 08) as part of the Environmental Science Internship (ENS 586)

Slide 3: Outline
• What is a Carbon Footprint?
• What is Cortland’s Carbon Footprint?
• Comparisons and Elements of a Way Forward

Slide 4: What is a Carbon Footprint?
• A carbon footprint is an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the actions of an individual or organization.
• The areas that have, or will be, considered in the footprint include: Primary Energy Additional Sources · Electricity · Food prepared on campus · Heating (Natural Gas and Fuel Oil) · Office Paper Transportation Not Yet Included · School vehicles and busses · Student travel to and from their homes · Personal vehicles for daily homes commuting to and from campus · Graduate student commuting · Official air travel booked · Other forms of solid waste through the university · Land use changes

Slide 5: Emission Factors Emissions Factor Emissions Factor Energy Source (Common Energy Unit) (Standard Units) Electricity 131 kg CO2 per MMBTU 0.445 kg CO2 per kWh Diesel Fuel 72.7 kg CO2 per MMBTU 10.1 kg CO2 per gallon Heating Oil 72.4 kg CO2 per MMBTU 10.0 kg CO2 per gallon Gasoline 70.3 kg CO2 per MMBTU 8.78 kg CO2 per gallon Natural Gas 52.8 kg CO2 per MMBTU 52.8 kg CO2 per MMBTU Source Emissions Factor Agricultural Emissions 5.44 kg CO2 per person per day Air Travel (average of domestic and 0.441 kg CO2 per person-mile international emissions) Office Paper (assuming 100% recycling) 5.68 kg CO2 per ton of paper

Slide 6: Commuting Distances to Cortland 25 Per Capita Miles per Day (round trip) 21: Faculty/Admin 18: Staff 0: Freshman 1: Sophmore 3: Junior 5: Senior

Slide 7: Commuting Distances to Cortland
• The total distance traveled per day by commuters at SUNY Cortland is approximately 34,800 miles.
• This is roughly 1.40 trips around the world to move the faculty, staff, students, and administrators to and from the college every day.

Slide 8: How Do We Use Energy 59% Heating 25% Electricity 16% Transportation
• The total primary energy use at SUNY Cortland is nearly 330 billion BTU per year. year

Slide 9: The Emissions from Primary Energy 42% Heating 43% Electricity 15% Transportation
• Electricity is a high quality energy source, but it also has a far higher carbon content currently than direct use of fossil fuels.

Slide 10: Cortland’s Carbon Footprint: Annual CO2 Emissions (metric tons) 10,500 Electricity 10,400 Heating 5,800 Food 3,500 Daily Commuting 800 School Vehicles 200 Office Paper 100 Official Air Travel
• The greenhouse gas emissions as yet identified total 31,300 metric tons per year.

Slide 11: Cortland’s Carbon Footprint 35% Electricity, 33% Heating, 18% Food, 13% Transportation, 1% Office Paper
• The average per capita greenhouse gas emissions for the campus is 4.3 metric tons of CO2 per person per year.

Slide 12: Historical Energy Cost in New York Graph of Energy Cost - From 1970 to 2005. The cost of energy rose by more than 155 percent.

Slide 13: The Costs Not Counted… (Mountaintop removal mining photo)

Slide 14: Per capita Carbon Emissions (metric tons per person in 2005) Graph comparing U.S. to Russia, Japan, Europe, China, Central and South America, and India. 20 U.S., 12 Russia, 9.5 Japan, 7.5 Europe, 4 China, 3 Central and South America, 1.5 Africa, 1.5 India, 4.5 Global Average

Slide 15: Per capita Carbon Emissions (metric tons per person in 2005) 20 U.S., 12 Russia, 9.5 Japan, 7.5 Europe, 4 China, 3 Central and South America, 1.5 Africa, 1.5 India, 4.5 Global Average, 4.5 SUNY Cortland

Slide 16: Per capita Carbon Emissions The per capita emissions from SUNY Cortland are more than four times higher than the per capita emissions in India from all sources. For comparison, our annual emissions are equivalent to the total emissions of more than 1.5 million people in Chad.

Slide 17: What These Reductions Would Mean For SUNY Cortland
• Our current per capita emissions are 4.3 metric tons per year from the sources so far quantified.
• For a 80% global reduction, the total per capita emissions must reach an average approximately 0.60 metric tons per year by 2050.
• Even setting aside all emissions from off campus we would still have to reduce our campus emissions by more than 86 percent

Slide 18: Trends in Natural Gas Usage: Graph showing Million BTUs of Natural Gas (Cortland Heating Plant) and Heating Degree Days (Binghamton, NY) between 1990 and 2006

Slide 19: Trends in Natural Gas Usage
• Between 1990 and 2006 the heating plant at SUNY Cortland has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of natural gas by an average of approximately 254 metric tons of CO2 per year for a total reduction of 4,060 metric tons over sixteen years.

Slide 20: Options for Large Scale Generation
• Potential U.S. wind resource three times current electricity supply.
• Wind levels of 15 to 20% would not pose any significant grid reliability issues.
• Intermittency is an issue, but can be addressed by use of regional distribution, energy storage, and natural gas as backup.

Slide 21: Options for Distributed Generation 725 kW Solar Electric System at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego, California

Slide 22: Conclusions…
• The time to act is now.
• We must be careful not to let the best be the enemy of the good.
• Sustainability is not an option, as the President’s Climate Commitment makes clear, but an essential consideration that must drive decisions both on moral and on economic grounds.

Slide 23: Opportunities Abound… (photo of campus)

Slide 24: Cortland’s Carbon Footprint (graph from Slide 11)
• The average per capita greenhouse gas emissions for the campus is 4.3 metric tons of CO2 per person per year.

Slide 25: Carbon Emissions in 2050 with 80% reduction in U.S. emissions as new standard (graph showing carbon emissions with 80% reduction emissions standards)

Slide 26: Carbon Emissions in 2050 with 96% reduction in U.S. emissions as new standard ( graph showing carbon emissions with 96% reduction emissions standards)

Slide 27: Energy versus Energy Services (Electricity) Incandescent 60 Watts of Power vs Compact Fluorescent 23 Watts of Power for the same amount of visible light

Slide 28: Energy versus Energy Services (Heating) Old furnace ~0.9 units of heat per unit of input vs High-efficiency furnace ~3 units of heat per unit of input

Slide 29: Energy versus Energy Services (Heating) (Photo of solar heating system)

Slide 30: Renewable vs Sustainable Energy (Cartoon)
• Biofuels from food crops like corn are not a sustainable option for energy production either from considerations of their energy/CO2 balance or of their impacts on food prices.
• Unlike fossil fuels, the minerals and other materials required for renewables like solar or wind can be recycled.

Slide 31: Options for Biomass and Biofuels (Photo of demonstration Algae Bioreactor at a Coal-Fired Power Plant in Louisiana.)
• Microalgae CO2 capture from fossil fuel fired power plants
• Water Hyacinths and Duckweed are high productivity plants that are ~10 times more efficient at capturing solar energy than corn
• IGCC plants capable of being run on biomass/fossil fuel inputs.
• Land use for biofuels is quite significant, even with the addition of alternative technologies further off such as hydrogen.

Slide 32: For More Information See Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy by Arjun Makhijani (2007) and Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change by Brice Smith (2006) Available online at

Slide 33: A Model for a Renewable Electricity System (Graph showing a variety of alternative energy sources)

Slide 34: How Much is 330 Billion BTUs? This much energy could bring to a boil the water in more than 230 Olympic sized swimming pools

Slide 35: Where Does NY Get Its Energy? 47% Petroleum 28% Natural Gas 11% Nuclear 7 % Renewables 7 % Coal Source: N.Y. Primary Energy Consumption (2005)

Slide 36: Personal Vehicles For Commuting (Graph displaying percent of Cars at SUNY Cortland and Average Fleet Fuel Efficiency (mpg) from 1987 to 2008)

Slide 37: Fossil Fuels: The Energy Climate Connection
• Current global emissions from fossil fuel extraction and consumption about 28.2 billion metric tons
• Reductions of global greenhouse gas emissions up to 80% by 2050 will likely be required to help avoid the more serious consequences of climate change

Slide 38: The Problem of Tipping Points Chart courtesy of Dr. A. Sorteberg, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen, Norway.

Slide 39: How Much is 6 billion tons of CO2? A block of dry ice weighing 6 billion tons would cover an area the size of the Empire State Building to a height of 305 miles.
• This is nearly 1,300 times taller than the building.