Tag Archive | carbon emissions

A Brief History of Carbon Emissions | #EarthToParis | GOOD



Views:7486|Rating:4.93|View Time:1:14Minutes|Likes:74|Dislikes:1
Get Involved: Share your voice to make sure we have the strongest climate agreement possible in Paris.

How much have carbon emissions changed since nations around the world realized that man-made climate change is a reality? Watch this video to find out.
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Written and Directed by Gabriel Reilich
Graphics by Jake Infusino
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Data Sources:

Download Data:

Carbon Emissions Visualization Courtesy of NASA:

Music: il:lo – Imprenta (Part 1)

Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy?



Views:1263165|Rating:3.51|View Time:4:24Minutes|Likes:11428|Dislikes:4865
Is green energy, particularly wind and solar energy, the solution to our climate and energy problems? Or should we be relying on things like natural gas, nuclear energy, and even coal for our energy needs and environmental obligations? Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress explains.
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Script:

Are wind and solar power the answer to our energy needs? There’s a lot of sun and a lot of wind. They’re free. They’re clean. No CO2 emissions. So, what’s the problem?

Why do solar and wind combined provide less than 2% of the world’s energy?

To answer these questions, we need to understand what makes energy, or anything else for that matter, cheap and plentiful.

For something to be cheap and plentiful, every part of the process to produce it, including every input that goes into it, must be cheap and plentiful.

Yes, the sun is free. Yes, wind is free. But the process of turning sunlight and wind into useable energy on a mass scale is far from free. In fact, compared to the other sources of energy — fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydroelectric power, solar and wind power are very expensive.

The basic problem is that sunlight and wind as energy sources are both weak (the more technical term is dilute) and unreliable (the more technical term is intermittent). It takes a lot of resources to collect and concentrate them, and even more resources to make them available on-demand. These are called the diluteness problem and the intermittency problem.

The diluteness problem is that, unlike coal or oil, the sun and the wind don’t deliver concentrated energy — which means you need a lot of additional materials to produce a unit of energy.

For solar power, such materials can include highly purified silicon, phosphorus, boron, and a dozen other complex compounds like titanium dioxide. All these materials have to be mined, refined and/or manufactured in order to make solar panels. Those industrial processes take a lot of energy.

For wind, needed materials include high-performance compounds for turbine blades and the rare-earth metal neodymium for lightweight, specialty magnets, as well as the steel and concrete necessary to build structures — thousands of them — as tall as skyscrapers.

And as big a problem as diluteness is, it’s nothing compared to the intermittency problem. This isn’t exactly a news flash, but the sun doesn’t shine all the time. And the wind doesn’t blow all the time. The only way for solar and wind to be truly useful would be if we could store them so that they would be available when we needed them. You can store oil in a tank. Where do you store solar or wind energy? No such mass-storage system exists. Which is why, in the entire world, there is not one real or proposed independent, freestanding solar or wind power plant. All of them require backup. And guess what the go-to back-up is: fossil fuel.

Here’s what solar and wind electricity look like in Germany, which is the world’s leader in “renewables”. The word erratic leaps to mind. Wind is constantly varying, sometimes disappearing completely. And solar produces little in the winter months when Germany most needs energy.

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The #1 Way to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint is Pretty Controversial



Views:2689|Rating:4.72|View Time:3:21Minutes|Likes:153|Dislikes:9
It turns out the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is one rarely talked about. Would you go to this extreme to reduce your carbon emissions? Kim and Alan break it down.

You can read more about these findings here:

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New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions as one-ton spheres of carbon dioxide gas



Views:366175|Rating:4.87|View Time:3:13Minutes|Likes:1266|Dislikes:34
In 2010 New York City added 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent) to the atmosphere, but that number means little to most people because few of us have a sense of scale for atmospheric pollution.

Carbon Visuals ( and Environmental Defense Fund ( wanted to make those emissions feel a bit more real – the total emissions and the rate of emission. Designed to engage the ‘person on the street’, this version is exploratory and still work in progress. Mayor Bloomberg’s office has not been involved in the creation or dissemination of this video.

NYC carbon footprint:

54,349,650 tons a year = 148,903 tons a day = 6,204 tons an hour = 1.72 tons a second

At standard pressure and 59 °F a metric ton of carbon dioxide gas would fill a sphere 33 feet across (density of CO₂ = 1.87 kg/m³: If this is how New York’s emissions actually emerged we would see one of these spheres emerge every 0.58 seconds.

Emissions in 2010 were 12% less than 2005 emissions. The City of New York is on track to reduce emissions by 30% by 2017 – an ambitious target.

For a set of stills from this movie, see:

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Co-director: Chris Rabét (

What if Carbon Emissions Stopped Tomorrow?



Views:5764|Rating:4.93|View Time:5:57Minutes|Likes:836|Dislikes:12
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Imagine that aliens landed and gifted us a clean, limitless energy source. And instead of killing each other over this technology, we decided to immediately transform the world into a carbon-free society. This wonderous source would power our homes, industries, cars and planes, and humanity’s annual rate of carbon pollution would almost instantly fall to zero. So if we kicked our carbon addiction tomorrow, what would that mean for global warming?

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Host/Editor-In-Chief: Joe Hanson
Writer: Eli Kintisch
Creative Director: David Schulte
Editors/Animators: Karl Boettcher
Producers: Stephanie Noone & Amanda Fox
Story Editor: Alex Reich
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Produced by PBS Digital Studios
Theme Music: Eric Friend/Optical Audio
Music: APM
Stock images from

Thanks to the funders of Peril & Promise for supporting PBS Digital Studios. Peril & Promise is a national public media initiative from WNET telling human stories of climate change and its solutions. Learn more at