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Lindsay Wilson's Posts


Travel leery: Which countries drive, fly, cycle, and take the train most?

When it comes to getting from point A to point B, the sky's the limit (at least for now -- space catapult, anyone?). Here are the four countries who have capitalized on their chosen transportation modes.

Read more: Living


Using legos to explain carbon emissions to a child — or every adult who doesn’t get it

Shutterstock This short video is a simple explanation of how humans have caused carbon emissions over the last 260 years. Unless we begin sharp reductions in carbon emissions immediately, we will commit the world to more than 2 degrees C of warming. It can be a little dangerous to think that we still have carbon to spend.  In terms of ocean acidification and feedback risks, we have already emitted too much.

Read more: Climate & Energy


Global food waste explained (with five tomatoes)

Each year, the world produces about 1,471 pounds (670 kilograms) of edible food for every person on the planet. We only eat about half of that. What happens to the rest? This video breaks it down -- and gives you a few suggestions for what you can do to fix the problem. [Numbers from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. More on my methodology here. The food waste groups mentioned are FoodTank; Tristram Stuart; ThinkEatSave.] Related: Wasted food is a huge climate problem The solution to America’s food waste problem: Feed people This restaurant will help solve food waste by serving expired ingredients

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food


Mind the carbon gap

Reinhard Dietrich

If you've ever been on the tube in London, both the sign writer and the conductor will have reminded you to "mind the gap." The gap in question is the one between the platform and the train. To board the train safely, you need to mind the gap. Climate policy has some fast-growing carbon gaps.

Carbon gaps are the difference between a country’s extraction, production, and consumption of fossil fuels:

  • Extraction: where primary fossil fuels are extracted from the ground
  • Production: where fossils fuels are combusted
  • Consumption: where products made using fossil fuels are consumed

Due to the growing trade of carbon, in fuels and products, a country’s extraction emissions or consumption emissions can be very different from its production emissions (the conventional estimate). By using the three accounting points, as researchers did in the recent paper “Climate policy and dependence on traded carbon," we can get a better understanding of a nation’s climate impact.

The graphic below details extraction, production, and consumption emission estimates for seven regions in 2007:

Read more: Climate & Energy


Greenhouse gas emissions explained, in seven balloons

In 2010, human activity caused 50 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent in emissions.

The emissions were 76 percent carbon dioxide, 16 percent methane, 8 percent nitrous oxide, and 2 percent F-gases.

The biggest emitters were China (23 percent), the U.S. (14 percent), Europe (10 percent), India (5 percent), and Russia (5 percent).

And the primary sources of emissions were energy (35 percent), industry (18 percent), transport (13 percent), agriculture (11 percent), forestry (11 percent), buildings (8 percent), and waste (4 percent). The sources are explained in more detail in the balloons below:



How do we use electricity?


We use electricity virtually every minute of every day, yet few of us know exactly how much or where it goes. By answering the simple question "how do we use electricity," this post will help us understand.

Electricity use by sector

Before we dive in, some perspective is useful: Although this breakdown varies from country to country, household electricity use generally makes up about a third of total electricity consumption in most developed nations. Here's how electricity use breaks down among the 27 countries that make up the European Union:

Read more: Climate & Energy