Average American Family Emits Over Four Hot Air Balloon Volumes of CO2 per Year

The UN Emissions Gap Report shows that global emissions have reached another record high level of 53.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. Only 57 countries (representing 60 percent of global emissions) are on track to reach a peak in emissions by 2030.

The Paris Agreement had the goal of keeping World temperatures at less than 2-degree celsius above pre-industrial levels. Nations would have to triple overall climate actions to keep below the 2-degree increase and must quintuple the overall climate actions to keep below the 1.5-degree increase level.

A continuation of current trends will likely result in global warming of around 3°C by 2100 with continued temperature rises beyond 2100.

If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10 percent by 2030. Setting the right carbon price is also essential. At US $70 per ton of CO2, emission reductions of up to 40 percent are possible in some countries. The 2017 CO2 equivalent emissions would be valued at $3.7 trillion.

The 2017 emissions were an increase of 700 million tons of CO2 equivalent compared with 2016. In contrast, global GHG emissions in 2030 need to be approximately 25 percent and 55 percent lower than in 2017 to put the world on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2oC and 1.5oC respectively.

How Much is a ton of CO2?

If a round balloon 10 yards (30 feet) in diameter were filled with CO2 then it would weigh about 1 ton. This is about 14000 cubic feet. The average hot air balloon is 80 feet tall, 50 feet in diameter. It can lift four people. It has an air capabity of 77,000 cubic feet, or approximately 77,000 basketballs. The average hot air balloon volume would hold about 5 tons of CO2.

An average US family emitted about 22 tons of CO2 in 2017. This is about four and half of the standard hot air balloons full of CO2.

If the US Went to Zero Emissions That Would Be Three Years of the Global 2 Degree Path

So instead of increasing by 700 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year, the world would need to shift to decreasing by about 1.4 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year. This would be 2.1 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year shift. This is for the 2-degree target.

If the US shouldered all of the World’s required CO2 reduction, then the US would have to go to zero emissions in about 3 years and it would be the next countries turn.

Making All Cars, Trucks and Buses Electric by 2030

If all cars, trucks and buses in the world were electric by 2030, then this would put the world close to the 2-degree target. This would mean changing the 1.5 billion existing cars and trucks and all of 100 million new cars and trucks every year to electric or zero emission.

How Would the Cuts be Made?

Below are a couple of charts looking at US emissions. There is video from David MacKay that looks at renewables and energy efficiency.

Some Videos Discussing Energy and Solving Climate

Categories of Emissions Mitigation

17 thoughts on “Average American Family Emits Over Four Hot Air Balloon Volumes of CO2 per Year”

  1. Blah blah. Not one citation of a reputable scientific article on the subject. Why might that be? Perhaps because such articles don’t fit your denialist perspective?

    Reply
  2. “GM officials say a major reason to trim its factories and workforce now is to prepare for a future with more electric vehicles, along with automated vehicles and car-sharing. ”

    From an article about killing Volt and closing GM plants…
    If true, doesn’t sound terribly negative for electric cars.

    Reply
  3. GM also kill gasoline cars. Maybe Trumps tariffs made making cars in America too expensive to sell. Or maybe this is normal business realigning production to meet demand. Tesla is selling as many cars as they can make. And some nations have already declared an end to gasoline powered cars further down the road. How long would it take to remove a pump or two and replace them with a charger? A month. You don’t have to replace them one at a time. You can work in parallel.

    Something doesn’t have to 100% replace something else for it to be a good idea. Lots of places in the US where the temperature is greater than zero. And you can also add some resistance heating to supplement it.

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  4. The other way to keep fuel prices high while having fuel usage drop would be a major military campaign to shut down the big middle east oil fields.

    OK, you could in theory do the military campaign to shut down Russian or US oil fields, but realistically, the ME is where it could, and possibly might, be done.

    Reply
  5. You beat me to it. See my comment where I say how I REALLY FEEL about this totally bogus article headline. I just edited it to include a quote of what you just said. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Average American Family Emits Over Four Hot Air Balloon Volumes of CO2 per Year

    No it does not. This is an outright lie which NBF should not be posting as a headline.

    Calculating per capita simply by taking all emissions from non-US family sources and dividing them by person/family does not equate to the average emissions a US family emits.

    This is outright intellectual fraud. That it is so pointedly committed by NBF is really sad to see.

    Brett Belmore says it best:

    So, another check from the ICCC cleared?

    Reply
  7. It would almost be amusing using the U.S. as the example in a dog-and-pony show for CO2 reduction; except, that the U.S. actually has reduced CO2 in absolute terms for many years. The countries which are signatories to the various emissions agreements are all too often found to have failed to hold the line-many have actually crept higher even with great expenditures in support of wind and solar expansion.

    Japan perhaps will be the country first to benefit from liberating natural gas clathrate from deep marine sources. This source of energy is available in all the continental ocean margins, yet untapped as recovery technology is not quite at a commercial level of readiness.

    Reply
  8. Build the home super insulated, air tight & with heat exchanger ventilation to make heating take minimal energy while getting fresh air into the house. See R-2000 for the Canadian standard. My parents got this in the house they had built in the 1980s. The 1998 ice storm knock out their power for weeks. I phoned them a few days after the power went out & Dad was just then draining the pipes before they left until the power was restored. Thermometers left inside showed temperatures still just above 0°C when they came back.

    Reply
  9. Average light vehicle age in the USA is 12.1 years. If you mean motor vehicle models are refreshed every 7 years, yes by 2030 all new vehicles available could be plug-ins – but they won’t.

    High plug-in penetration keeps world oil prices cheap, increasing demand for oil and non plug-in vehicles. So it just won’t happen unless the majority of the world agrees on a GHG price and enforces it (that is, actually penalizes the non-joiners as a bloc with tariffs).

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  10. Aside from the fact they still can’t explain why temperatures dropped when the CO2 levels went up dramatically in the 1990’s, the human contribution to the planets CO2 production is infinitesimal. It is a minute fraction of the overall load.
    Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions

    The oceans contain 37,400 billion tons (GT) of suspended carbon, land biomass has 2000-3000 GT. The atmosphere contains 720 billion tons of CO2 and humans contribute only 6 GT additional load on this balance. The oceans, land and atmosphere exchange CO2 continuously so the additional load by humans is incredibly small. A small shift in the balance between oceans and air would cause a CO2 much more severe rise than anything we could produce.

    There are dozens of sites out there that are simply lying, or making tempests in tea pots. There is huge money to be made in the Carbon Exchanges and power to be maintained in academia. Don’t believe their lying garbage!

    All of this Global Warming crap is a fool’s errand. It’s about power; it’s about competition; it’s about economics. You have all the information of mankind at your fingertips today – so use it. Follow the money! Europe, Russia, OPEC, China, and the Pacific Rim would just love it if the United States would hobble it’s economic engine and allow them to catch up with us! If you look at the funding charts of all these Big Green sites – they lion’s share of there funding comes from our economic competitors and deadly enemies! Don’t be duped!

    Reply
  11. Aside from the fact they still can’t explain why temperatures dropped when the CO2 levels went up dramatically in the 1990’s, the human contribution to the planets CO2 production is infinitesimal. It is a minute fraction of the overall load.
    Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions

    The oceans contain 37,400 billion tons (GT) of suspended carbon, land biomass has 2000-3000 GT. The atmosphere contains 720 billion tons of CO2 and humans contribute only 6 GT additional load on this balance. The oceans, land and atmosphere exchange CO2 continuously so the additional load by humans is incredibly small. A small shift in the balance between oceans and air would cause a CO2 much more severe rise than anything we could produce.

    There are dozens of sites out there that are simply lying, or making tempests in tea pots. There is huge money to be made in the Carbon Exchanges and power to be maintained in academia. Don’t believe their lying garbage!

    All of this Global Warming crap is a fool’s errand. It’s about power; it’s about competition; it’s about economics. You have all the information of mankind at your fingertips today – so use it. Follow the money! Europe, Russia, OPEC, China, and the Pacific Rim would just love it if the United States would hobble it’s economic engine and allow them to catch up with us! If you look at the funding charts of all these Big Green sites – they lion’s share of there funding comes from our economic competitors and deadly enemies! Don’t be duped!

    Reply
  12. You did read GM just killed the Chevy Volt? Kind of hard to get rid of gas vehicles when the demand is too soft to support production. EVs are getting better, but the infrastructure for mass recharging and the technology for fast recharging isn’t there yet Infrastructure has more than a 10 year design, acquisition and build timeline.

    And heat pumps don’t work well below freezing, so there are broad swaths of the world (like where I live) where they aren’t an option at all.

    Reply
  13. Three lowest hanging fruits are motor vehicles, electric generation and home heating. Motor vehicles can be replaced by pluggable hybrid and EVs. Motor vehicles last on average of about 7 yrs so they can all be switched over by 2030. Coal electric generation can be totally replaced by renewable and natural gas generation by 2030. A large percentage of Home heating with oil can be replaced by natural gas. Also home heating units could be replaced with heat pump units,

    Reply

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