2015 is just about gone. It was a pretty sad year for the world. But I will focus on what we achieved in the year.
Natural gas was a green spot on the planet. Yes CH4 not Gore lowered carbon emissions by reducing coal use substantially in the USA and marginally in China. Solar PV of the silicon variety again did a decent job as did wind power. These two are the best options for renewable energy. Concentrated solar and bio fuels were a total bust as was CIGS in PV.
On the demand side LEDs did their wonders and more efficient ICE vehicles also hit the road. Low gasoline prices moderated the improvement in the CAFÉ average but it is trending up and low gasoline prices are not permanent. The move to using pad computers and smart phones and away from desktops and even laptops also continued and these smaller devices use far less energy. Data centers now operate at far higher temperatures and have cut energy use significantly even though the quantity of data circling the planet expanded exponentially.
Paper use decreased again and fewer trees are becoming newsprint and paper for printers. That folks now read the news on a pad or smart phone has done the world a very good deed. Toilet paper production certainly increased because of population explosion and increased disposable income. We know entropy always increases and “shift happens”. Not the F in shift.
The biggest problem facing the planet is water. Worldwide use of fresh water is increasing and rainfall is not. Fresh water has been supplied by solar power since plants first stepped on the earth, but now more and more desalination plants that use grid power are springing up. Get the pun “springing up”. I intend to become more knowledgeable on water and will then opine further on H2O in 2016.
I wish you all a happy new year and let’s hope 2016 is safer, greener, and healthier than 2015.