Cars, animals, power plants: how do you actually determine co2 emissions??

cars, animals, power plants: how do you actually determine CO2 emissions??

A measuring device for every cow? No: methane and nitrous oxide emissions are also statistically calculated.

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© mikhailov studio, shutterstock.Com

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Have you ever looked for the carbon dioxide meter on your car’s tailpipe?? You can save the search, you will not find any s . But how are the emissions caused by combustion engines, power plants or farms measured? ?

G ar not. The exhaust example shows how difficult – not to say impossible – it would be to measure and collect all emissions at their sources . Especially since it’s not just carbon dioxide, but also other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide.

Complex arithmetic exercise

Instead of installing millions of meters at emission sources and reading them regularly, don’t try to measure greenhouse gas emissions at all . Most power plant operators calculate them . And not only they, but also t he coordinating office for the " national system emissions inventories " at the federal environment agency (UBA) does so. The business magazine capital explains i n its current december issue in the article "the gases of the nation" the procedure . T he UBA follows the internationally standardized, seemingly simple formula: activity rate times emission factor.

Only that the two factors of this multiplication are anything but simple to determine. The emission factor is the average greenhouse gas emission of an activity, i.e.: animal husbandry, driving a car, coal-fired power generation. The activity rate is then equal to the number of animals, the sum of kilometers driven and the amount of fuel used, z.B. Coal. Both factors are broken down in great detail – for cars, for example, by fuel type, engine capacity, emission standard and other criteria. For power plants, it is the quantity, the calorific value and the carbon content of the respective fuel.

This is defined in the calculation guidelines of the world climate council , they refer for example to the european monitoring regulation for power plants . So far, they apply only to the 43 so-called annex 1 countries . Among them are most of the countries of the OECD and Eastern Europe, including Russia, as well as the European Union. T he UBA, according to capital, receives most of its data from other authorities, first and foremost the federal statistical office: " it is more difficult with the last fifth ", writes author claus hecking . "to get the data, the UBA often cooperates with industry associations or research institutes. "

The federal environment agency explains how greenhouse gas emissions are measured.

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