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Monday, March 04, 2013


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Fairfax Climate Watch

As usual, human emissions - if they keep rising, will make a worst-case scenario more likely. If on the other hand, emissions stop rising and then fall ASAP, the best-case scenario will be much more likely. A recent bill in the U.S. Senate, would adopt (with slight modification) the proposal of James Hansen, to tax carbon pollution at the source - that is the fuel - either at the point of extraction (if within the U.S.) or at the point of import. Proceeds (3/5 of them, anyway) from this tax would be distributed to American citizens, on an equal basis. Most of the rest of the proceeds would go to energy efficiency modifications to existing buildings. The bill in it's original text is here: http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/332/text
and I strongly encourage - you - to support - this bill. Call your Senator's office, call you Representative's office. Write them an email. Write them a letter. Then, if you've got more energy, contact your governor, your state officials, your local officials, and even the town dog-catcher.

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Convert carbon dioxide (CO2) weight to carbon (C) weight


CO2/3.67 = C 


ex: 40 GtCO2 ≈ 10.9 GtC


1 Gt (Gigatonne) = 1 billion tonnes

1 tonne = 1,000 kg


Also: 1 Pg = 1 Gt


1 Pg (Petagram) = 1 quadrillion grams


Soil specialists tend to use Pg, as they are used to working with gram units per square meter of soil area. Atmospheric specialists tend to use Gt. 

Convert carbon emissions to ppm atmospheric CO2


GtC/2.12 = ppm

To convert emissions of carbon to atmospheric ppm CO2, carbon sinks must be taken into account. 

So far, terrestrial and oceanic sinks have taken up about 50% of CO2.



ex: 40 GtCO2 emissions ≈ 10.9 GtC

10.9 GtC/2.12 ≈ 5.14 ppm CO2 before accounting for sinks

5.14 ppm CO2 x 0.5 ≈ 2.57 ppm CO2 after accounting for sinks


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