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Green House Gases: Reduce it to earn Carbon Credits

16 Jan

Clean Development Mechanism, earn you Carbon Credits. It also helps reduce the pollution which is an invisible killer. And no, the earth dust & wood smoke we all see in films on African & Indian documentaries don’t kill. The killer gases are slick city dwellers.

Having said that, let us understand what is “pollution” to appreciate the immediate and urgent need for each one of us to act to reduce it in every sphere of our life-style.

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution became a popular issue after World War II, due to radioactive fallout from atomic warfare and testing.Till then a non-nuclear event, “The Great Smog” of 1952 in London, killed at least 4000 people. (which is a very small number in todays unprecedented and urgent situation, hurtling headlong towards us and expected to hit by 2017, as per the SREX report.)

Pollution control is a term used in environmental management. In the hierarchy of controls, pollution prevention and waste minimization are more desirable than pollution control. In the field of land development, low impact development is a similar technique for the prevention of urban run-off.

Let us examine in brief the top 5 GHG : 1.CO2 :Carbon Dioxide. 2.CH4 :Methane. 3. N2O: Nitrous Oxide. 4. O3: Ozone 5. SP: Suspended Particles . A detailed report of the effects of these can be found in the internet, should one chooses to read. The chart shows how much GHG is emitted sector wise. However I think SO2F2: Sulfuryl Fluoride should also be included in the top 5 as its more harmful than CO2.

Now there are also Naturally occurring greenhouse gases. They include water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3). Several classes of halogenated substances that contain fluorine, chlorine, or bromine are also greenhouse gases, but they are, for the most part, solely a product of industrial activities. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are halocarbons that contain chlorine, while halocarbons that contain bromine are referred toas bromofluorocarbons (i.e., halons). Some other fluorine containing halogenated substances—hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—do not deplete stratospheric ozone but are potent greenhouse gases.There are also several gases that, although they do not have a commonly agreed upon direct radiative forcing effect, do influence the global radiation budget. These tropospheric gases— referred to as ambient air pollutants—include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and tropospheric (ground level) ozone (O3). Tropospheric ozone is formed by two precursor pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of ultraviolet light (sunlight). Aerosols—extremely small particles or liquid droplets—often composed of sulfur compounds, carbonaceous combustion products, crustal materials and other human induced pollutants— can affect the absorptive characteristics of the atmosphere.

We live in and work in buildings which use various types of building materials most of them are cause of Environmental degradation which the average person is not aware of.  About 40% of the Global Green House Gas (GHG) is emitted through building related activities and 60% of this pollution occur post occupancy in form of municipal waste etcetera to indirect pollution via consumption of electricity, which generally coming from Thermal Power plants which burn coal & is high on emission of pollution .

There is an immediate and urgent need to reduce this pollution to keep our health and comfort to the optimum. To do this we must design Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) which is low on pollution. Let us see what are the types of material we use in buildings.

 If we just take one example SF6;Now other than SF6 being 4,800 times worse than CO2 in the global warming scale, Sulfur fluoride is a gas fumigate that has been used — since the 1950s — to kill bugs and rodents in indoor structures, such as homes, warehouses, and railroad cars. It is also used in the Electricity sector, the magnesium industry, the electronic industry even as an adiabatic property applications, notably in tennis balls, shoe soles and other applications, such gas-air tracer in research and leak detectors, for medical purposes, electronic applications, sound proof windows ( Double Glazed), de-gassing aluminum specialties etc.

 If we look more closely at global industrial emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, and the ‘new’ gases HFCs, PFCs and SF6, then it shows that about half of them stem from CO2 emissions related to cement – clinker – production, ( a major product required for the building industry) about one-fifth can be attributed to adipic   acid (CH2)4(COOH)2  and nitric acid production and one-third stem from the three new gases, each with approximately equal contribution of about 10%.

The building industry is perhaps the biggest consumer of all that is produced in all other industrial sector, be it steel, cement, stone, wood, leather, paper, paint, ceramic, glass, plastic, electrical & electronics; think of a product either in finished good or raw material, the building industry more often than not has a use for it. Thus emitting some form of pollution in the process.

Purely from a Building Industry perspective without Sustainable Building design practice however high we build, we will fall prey to the catastrophe the GHG will bring in its wake in form of Global Warming & Climate Change.

 To do this we need to develop life-style which is sustainable. Act without weighing the “additional cost factor” of going Green, which actually is very nominal and becomes Zero Sum within a very short time span. Internationally we have Green Building programs such as LEED, BREEAM and GRIHA which is the Indian National rating system. India also has a Confederation of Indian Industries driven – Indian Green Building Council which is doing spectacular work.

With the new Global Climate Fund (GCF) more or less operationalized to a decent sum this year at the UNFCCC  COP17 at Durban, South Africa. Reducing pollution would be a Bankable word.

Some of the references   has  been condensed for easy read and adapted from Source(s):Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia; Observations of CAPIEL-UNIPEDE concerning the Revised IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories ; IPCC ; the U.S. EPA’s Global Warming web; Fluoride Action Network and others.

 

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One response to “Green House Gases: Reduce it to earn Carbon Credits

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