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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d98aug19

Miscellaneous Electricity Use in the U.S. Residential Sector, M. C. Sanchez (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Rd., MS 960-DC, Berkeley, CA, 94720), J. G. Koomey, M. M. Moezzi, A. K. Meier, W. Huber, LBNL-40295, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. (April 1997).

This study estimated the energy use of 97 consumer products from 1976 to 2010. From 1976 to 1995, growth in consumer electronics accounted for nearly half of miscellaneous electricity growth. From 1996 to 2010, consumer electronics and halogen torchiere lamps together are projected to account for 70% of forecasted miscellaneous growth. Ten product types were responsible for more than half of current miscellaneous consumption and forecasted miscellaneous growth: color televisions, furnace fans, waterbed heaters, torchiere lamps, microwave ovens, auto drip coffee makers, clothes-washer motors, dishwasher motors, ceiling fans, and video cassette recorders.

The results show that 20% of residential miscellaneous electricity (43 TWh) is consumed while in standby mode. Nearly all standby consumption is attributed to consumer electronic product types. In 1995, nearly half of all consumer electronics energy was consumed while in standby mode. In terms of absolute consumption, the largest leakers include compact audio systems and component audio systems, televisions, cable boxes, and VCRs. Reducing the standby power to one watt per unit for all product types with a standby mode has the potential to reduce U.S. standby consumption to 22 TWh, nearly a 50% reduction from current levels.

Item #d98aug20

Taking a Byte Out of Carbon: Electronics Innovation for Climate Protection, J. B. Horrigan, F. H. Irwin (World Resources Institute, 1709 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20006), Elizabeth Cook, World Resources Institute, Electronic Industries Alliance, International Cooperative for Environmental Leadership, Washington, D.C., 1998, 60 pp., $20.00; also available at

This report highlights 14 electronics innovations that hold the promise of minimizing energy use and greenhouse- gas emissions while offering clear and profitable business opportunities to their developers. Typical of these products is Intel’s Instantly Available, which allows computers to wake up from a deep-sleep, low-power mode in a few seconds; Canon’s On-Demand Fusing System that requires less energy for laser printers and copiers because it eliminates the need for a warmup period; and Panasonic’s systems for advanced car navigation, electronic toll collection, and traffic control. Grouped by underlying technology, the innovations include applications in energy management in buildings, fuel-efficient automobile engines and intelligent transportation systems, telecommuting, improved air traffic navigation and more efficient aircraft, and electric paper. As the Introduction says, “This report takes a first step by describing the contributions that technology can make to protecting the climate. It aims to spur public debate, inform public policy development, and shape business strategy so that conscious efforts are made to realize the full potential of electronics and communications technologies in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”

Item #d98aug21

Does Energy Efficiency Save Energy: The Economists Debate, Horace Herring (EERU, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA; h.herring@, EERU Report No. 074, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK (July 1998); also available at

This report, currently being circulated to stimulate debate about and awareness of the subject, was the subject of a piece in the New Scientist 16-19 (Sept. 3, 1998). In the report, Herring answers his titular question in the negative. Although energy efficiency can reduce the amount of energy used for a particular task, he argues, the decrease in energy usage will be undermined by (1) the rebound effect that produces a reinvestment of the savings in additional goods to consume more energy and (2) macroeconomic effects through which the newfound affordability broadens the customer base. As a result, relatively lower energy costs will stimulate economic activity and boost energy demand. Through all this, Herring (who on his web page pictures himself riding a large tricycle) remains supportive of energy efficiency. He sees it as being essential to improved economic well-being but does not see it directly cutting energy use. Rather, he says, cutting CO2 emissions will require carbon taxes and regulation of the energy industry. The proceeds from those taxes he sees becoming available for green investments, such as purchasing and maintaining forests as carbon sinks.

Item #d98aug22

Approaching the Kyoto Targets: Five Key Strategies for the United States, Howard Geller (ACEEE, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20036), Steven Nadel, R. N. Elliott, Martin Thomas, and John DeCicco, Report E981, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Washington, D.C., August 1998, 52 pp., $13.00.

This report presents and analyzes five major energy-efficiency policy initiatives that could help the United States achieve its Kyoto target: (1) Complete efficiency standards rulemakings that have been labeled high priority, issue standards on products for which rulemakings are behind schedule, and initiate the next round of standards for products that were the subject of past rulemakings. In addition, voluntary programs for improved design and manufacturing of home electronics and packaged commercial refrigeration equipment could have a significant impact. (2) Create a national public-benefits trust fund that would provide matching funds to states for eligible public-benefits expenditures (i.e., activities that benefit the public but are not directly tied to electricity production and supply) funded through a small charge on all electricity providers who use the transmission and distribution grid. (3) Improve the energy and emissions performance of cars and light trucks by creating (a) tougher CAFE standards on cars and light trucks of about 42 mpg by 2010 and 59 mpg by 2020, (b) a revenue-neutral fee-and-rebate system to motivate sales of cleaner and more efficient vehicles in all classes, (c) tax incentives plus voluntary fleet-purchasing commitments to stimulate the introduction and sales of highly efficient vehicles, and (d) continued R&D on next-generation vehicle technologies. (4) Provide expedited permitting for combined heat and power (CHP) systems (which convert as much as 90% of fuel input into useful energy); implement output-based air-pollution regulations; remove utility-driven barriers through national restructuring legislation, FERC authority, and actions by individual states; and establish a standard depreciation period of 7 years for all new CHP systems. (5) Reduce power-sector carbon emissions by (a) improving the efficiency of electric generating plants and using less fuel per kWh produced and (b) switching to less- carbon-intensive fuels.

Taken together, the five initiatives could lower carbon emissions in 2010 by about 310 MMT, equivalent to about 21% of total U.S. carbon emissions as of 1997 and 17% of the 1803 MMT of carbon emissions projected in 2010 in the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 1998. This level of reduction is also about 61% of the estimated carbon reduction needed to meet the U.S. target in the Kyoto Protocol. Among the strategies, vehicle fuel economy improvements provide about 35% of the total carbon reductions, followed by the federal public benefits fund at 22% of the total, power supply improvements at 21%, CHP promotion at 14%, and appliance standards and related voluntary programs at 8%. Each of these policies would yield energy-bill savings that exceed the cost of the measures on a net-present-value basis.

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