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Nothing as minor as life and death.

Extinction is.....the end of the world, in instalments.

This article contains:
The threshold
The CO2 quota
How else can we survive?

THE PERSONAL CARBON DIOXIDE QUOTA

The personal carbon dioxide quota is the maximum quantity of CO2 each of us may emit into the atmosphere every year without causing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to rise above its present level. The quota is measured in dAubs. Because of scientific uncertainty, the quota is known only to lie somewhere between five and eleven dAubs.
EACH OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES EMITS ONE DAUB OF CO2:

GAS: (the gaseous stuff - methane in the UK)

Burning 82.920 cubic metres
 or 2,930.046 cubic feet
 or 29.300 in 100s of cubic feet
 or 3,225.6 MJ
 or 896 kWh
 or 36.129 therms
.....................................................of domestic gas.

ELECTRICITY:

Using 298.667 kWh
......................................................of electricity.

PETROL:

Burning 101.818 litres
 or 22.378 gallons (UK ones)
...........................................................of petrol.

DIESEL:

Burning 86 litres
 or 18.901 gallons (UK ones)
...........................................................of diesel.

AIR TRAVEL:

Travelling 1,898.305 km
 or 1,178.848 miles (UK ones)
..............................................................by air.

AIR FREIGHT:

Transporting one tonne 270.859 km
 or 168.203 miles (UK ones)
..............................................................by air.

These figures are based on the situation as it was in 1990.

Global warming, the continuing increase in the Earth's temperature, is likely already to be causing irreparable damage to the Earth in the form of extinctions of plant and animal species. It is therefore of the greatest importance that we do not continue to contribute to global warming by emitting greenhouse gases at rates high enough to cause atmospheric concentrations of these gases to rise. If atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are held at their present levels, global temperatures will eventually stop rising. From then on, presumably there will be no further irreparable damage and no further increase in the probability of some additional large scale environmental failure, at least from this particular cause. The rate at which the various greenhouse gases may be emitted without causing their atmospheric concentrations to rise can be calculated using figures contained in the Technical Assessment prepared by Working Group One of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990. For the time being, we will consider only CO2, ignoring all the other greenhouse gases.

Having established (within the limits of scientific uncertainty) how much CO2 can be emitted globally every year without causing atmospheric CO2 concentrations to rise, we can divide this quantity by the probable number of people on Earth, and thus establish how much each of us can emit per year. For convenience, this quantity is then divided into smaller units, known as dAubs. The limit to the quantity of CO2 each of us can emit per year, determined as above, turns out to lie somewhere between five and ten dAubs. However, there is an argument (detailed below) for current over-emitters temporarily to regard the limit as lying somewhere between five and eleven dAubs.

People in developed countries currently emit far more than any of the quantities referred to above. The average in the United States is about 97 dAubs. At the time of writing, the average in the UK is about 47 dAubs, which the government is committed to trying to reduce to the 1990 level of about 44 dAubs by the year 2000. However, most people on Earth (living mainly in undeveloped countries) already emit less than ten dAubs. If the true limit happens to be ten dAubs, these people are therefore leaving some of their entitlement unused. This possible unused entitlement is sufficient to allow the remainder of the Earth's population one extra dAub. This makes the limit for existing over-emitters lie somewhere between five and eleven dAubs.

There is clearly an obligation to keep personal CO2 emissions below some appropriate level. In the absence of any means of compulsion, it is up to each individual to to decide what limit is suitable.

Non-fossil fuels (like wood and bio-diesel) make no long-term contribution to global warming and therefore count as zero.


How else can we survive?

If you don't want the world to end, all this can make you feel pretty powerless. However, there is a way that this can be controlled. Because you are the person determining how fast the earth is destroyed. And so am I, and so is pretty much everyone in the developed world. The action required of us is not what we have been told it is. It is simpler, safer, more enjoyable, and it is even legal. All we need to do is live rather differently.

If, on the other hand, we carry on wiping out the world, it will, logically enough, continue to be wiped out. No amount of money given to charities, or stickers stuck on windows, or criticising of governments or businesses will prevent it. Besides getting my own life in order, about all I can do is to pass the word round about what action quantitatively will lead to the destruction of the world, and what won't. So, this site contains details of the threshold of sustainability - in other words, just how much the earth can take from each of us and continue to exist. If some of us control our lifestyles to stay below this threshold, there might be a future. If none of us do, the future will continue to be irreparably eroded.


No-one Ever is to Blame Gives details of reactions to this document, and the implications.

Bill Clark has a free computer program (with source code) that has an international database; it does building energy audits effortlessly. see http://www.inviticus.com



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