Climate Effects and Mitigation Potentials of Economic Sectors

Economic sectors comprise industrial manufacturing, agricultural production, energy production, and waste management processes. Every such process results not only in the products wanted, but also in by-products, wastes, and emissions. Amongst the emissions, typically, greenhouse gases occur. Hence, every process is climate relevant.

The climate effect of a single process is the result of the emission amount and the specific GWP of the emissions and can be calculated as the product of mass and individual GWPs (see table 8.6). It depends on the specific process and the conditions of its application. Thus, the choice of the raw material, the technology, the apparatus, the cleaning device, and others may influence the climate impacts of the production process. An optimisation of the process with reference to a decision criterion reflecting the climate effects is thus a necessary precondition for the choice of the best technology (see chapter 8.1).

To get a first impression of the importance of the different production sectors for climate change, a comparison of the total GHG fluxes in a country or in a region seems useful. The current situation of climate gas emissions by the most important six substances (Kyoto gases) as well as their contribution to the sectors of the whole world's economy and some selected regions (Germany, EU, USA) is given in table 9.1.

Table 9.1 Kyoto gas emissions in selected regions

Country/region

2007)

EU-15 (EC, 2007)

USA (EPA, 2007b)

World (IPCC, 2007c)

Reference year

2005

2005

2005

(Mio t CO2-eq.)

1,002

4,192

7,260

43,000

Contribution of Kyoto gases

Percent of total GHG emissions

CO2

87.1

83.1

83.9

77

Contribution of Kyoto gases

Percent of total GHG emissions

ch4

4.8

7.4

7.4

15

n2o

6.6

8.0

6.5

8

HFCs

0.9

1.3

PFCs

0.1

0.1

2.2

1

sf6

0.5

0.2

Figure 9.1 represents to which extent the economic sectors contribute to the total GHG emission of selected contries or regions and world's mean values.

Figure 9.1 GHG emissions economic sectors in selected economies

Obviously, in industrialized countries, the energy sector contributes to about 80 percent or more, followed by agriculture and industrial production with around 5 to 10 percent each. Waste treatment with only one to three percent is more or less marginal.

Activities in climate improvements therefore should start with improvements in the energy sector, but every percent of reduction also in the other sectors counts. Therefore, a broad range of activities is necessary.

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