Saturday, January 20, 2018

Watch Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Real Time

Carbon Dioxide and Nuclear

The first meeting of the nuclear energy study group at Dartmouth was true to its name: Nuclear Power for Climate and for People.  Bob Hargraves gave an excellent presentation on carbon dioxide and the role nuclear energy can play in carbon dioxide abatement.

I sent the class members links to sites where you can watch the carbon content of the electricity sector, pretty much world-wide.  Here's the note I sent.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Our first session was mostly about climate change.  In general, the electric sector is only part of the problem: industry, heating and transportation are important sources of carbon dioxide emissions.  However, almost all decarbonization plans for those emissions involve using electricity in other sectors: electric cars, heat pumps.  So the carbon dioxide content of the electric sector is essential, right now and in the hopefully-decarbonized future.

Real Time Electricity

Screen grab of electricitymap selection at 11 a.m. January 20
Now, back to the  electricity sector.  Interactive sites are fun, because you can watch them in real time.  Or maybe I just have an odd idea of fun....

Here's a real-time, interactive map of world-wide CO2 emissions. Many (but not all) countries are on it.

Little stuff: To move between areas in the map, click and hold. While holding, you can drag the map around with your mouse. You can also zoom in and out with your mouse. Wind and solar are listed as "false" above, because I have not checked the "wind solar potential" boxes. I am suspicious of the word "potential." I want real time data, not projections.

France and Germany

For fun, let's click on France, which is green on the map.
France is at 39 grams CO2 per kWh right now (it generally hangs around at that level)
96% low carbon electricity
25% renewable (hydro, I believe)

Okay, next, let's click on Germany.
Germany is at 470 grams CO2 per kWh (it is at that level a lot, but sometimes goes down to the 300s or even high 200s.  Watch it for yourself.)
It has 42% low-carbon electricity
22% renewable, probably hydro and wind

The difference between the low-carbon and renewable numbers is nuclear--low-emissions but not renewable.

Data is from around 9 a.m. this morning, January 20

New York, Ontario, Alberta

From EmissionTrak at 11 a.m. January 20
This website gives a week's worth of emissions for New York, Ontario, and Alberta. The source of the emissions is color-coded.

Ontario is mostly nuclear and hydro, New York is mixed, Alberta is coal and natural gas.  I think their "other fossil" is coal. Coal is--- "He who must not be named."

Fun with Maps!

Enjoy these maps. I think "playing around" is the best way to find out stuff. Have fun. We will see you Thursday!


Steve Aplin said...

Yes, "Oth. Fossil" is coal -- to give consistency across grids I went with NYISO's greenwashed label.

"Oth.Ren" is Other Renewables, and they are COMBUSTIBLE in New York, another piece of greenwash that I want to convey as being unequivocally not green.

"Oth. Ren" in the case of Ontario is what our IESO calls "biomass." In Alberta they call it "biomass and other."

Biomass is just coal on a shorter time scale.

Meredith Angwin said...


This is amazing. I didn't realize that the three-part comparison (Alberta, Ontario and New York) was your site! Thank you for doing this!

This is Steve's main site:
Canadian Energy Issues.