Spring Ahead

Happy Daylight Savings Day!

Here's the energy/environment rationale for the change (from a CNN article):

"The energy savings would translate into a 10.8 million-metric-ton reduction in carbon emissions over the next 13 years, Markey said, citing an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

...

While 10.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions may sound like a lot, it pales in comparison to the 5.9 billion metric tons the United States emitted just in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Energy."

So we're talking about a little less than .02%, or two one-hundredths of a percent. That may not seem like much, but do 50 or 60 projects like that and you've wiped out most of the increase in carbon emissions in the US since 2000. Every little bit helps!

Comments:

Now wait. If the savings is 2 hundredths of one percent, then it would take 200 such projects to save one percent. The figures I can find say that the rate of increase of carbon emissions from 2000 through 2005 was about 2.5 percent per year. So, that's about 15 percent or so up through 2006 which means you would need 3000 such projects to bring the level back to the 2000 rate.

Posted by Brian Utterback on March 11, 2007 at 11:30 AM EDT #

Brian, I think your math is wrong, it would take 50 projects. On CO2 growth in the US, take a look at this: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/flash/flash.html Since 1990 it's been about 1.2%/year, and lower than that since 2000. 2004 to 2005 was a 0.3% gain, though that is on the low end. I agree that it's higher than the number I gave...

Posted by David Dougals on March 12, 2007 at 02:15 AM EDT #

Okay, I looked at the report. It had different figures than the ones I found. But the math still doesn't work. If we just take up through 2005 (as far as the report you cited goes), then the total amount of CO2 released above the 2000 level for the years 2001-2005 is 188 MMT, or 3.2% over the five years. If we assume that there was no further increase in 2006, then the current rate (according to the DOE) is 6008.6 MMT per year, while the 2000 rate was 5853.4, a difference of 155.2 MMT. The figure of 10.8 over 13 years in the CNN article is actually somewhat above the figure given in the original ACEEE report from which it was drawn, but let's give Rep. Markey the benefit of the doubt and use it anyway. 10.8 MMT over 13 years is .83 MMT per year. 155.2 divided by .83 is 187. Not the 3000 I said (turns out I was looking at global percentage increases) but still a lot more than 50. Interestingly, to get back to the 2001 rate would actually require more, nearly 300. And all this is predicated on the basis that the move to daylight savings actually reduces the total energy consumed by the U.S. by about 4% for that one hour. That seems quite high to me. Does the total U.S. energy expended on lighting amount to 4%? I don't know. But remember that some of the savings will be counteracted by increased energy usage in the morning and increased usage due to increased activity in the evening.

Posted by Brian Utterback on March 12, 2007 at 05:00 AM EDT #

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