Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reading books and newspapers on screens: prime time yet?

How do you like reading on this screen?

To me, it lacks the comforting tactile sensations of a nice magazine or newspaper, or a pocket book or, indeed, a letter. (Of course, most of our letters these days come via email. The “mail” delivers formal documents and solicitations, for the most part.)

And if we've gotten used to getting our private mail via computer, can the final collapse of paper-and-ink electronic ink be far behind?

The fits and starts are legendary of efforts to move the large-format printed word to the electronic screen.

I have read a few books on the 3.5-inch screen of my Palm T/X, and the 2.25-inch square screen of the Zire, and on the various handheld devices that preceded them, as well as on the 2-inch screen of my phone. But it's an exercise in frustration, constantly losing one's place, and spending more time scrolling up and down for where you left off than actually reading.

Try and read a newspaper on one of those, with the ads taking up most of the space on the teenie-weenie screen.

Some years ago, there was talk of something called electronic ink, e-ink. With painful slowness, the technology has crept up on us. I remember reading of big, flexible sheets of fabric you'd read like a regular newspaper. Push on a corner, and the words rearrange into the next page. It hasn't gotten there, but e-ink has been on the market for a few years, and the vehicles for it improve almost monthly.

Perhaps best known are the (6-inch screen) Amazon's Kindle reader ($359), the (6-inch screen) Sony Reader ($299 to $400), and with a much bigger screen (10.2 inches), the iRex Digital Reader (versions from $599 to $859). (The iLiad of iRex is smaller, but still bigger than Kindle and Sony readers.)

Some have wireless capabilities, some not; some have touch screens, some not; some allow you to make notes on the page, some not.

But the coolest features of these devices is the electronic ink. Unlike the LCD screens of handheld devices, these things use power to turn the page, but once the screen has arranged itself into words and sentences, it doesn't use power to keep them there. Set the reader down, come back the next day, and what you were reading is still there—you haven't lost your place, and your device battery isn't worn down.

The newspaper chain Hearst is now said to be preparing a larger-format wireless e-reader of their own.

The Hearst reader is said to have a screen the size of a sheet of paper. Presuming that's a standard 8.5x11 sheet of paper, it's a 13-inch diagonal screen, bigger, even, than iRex's product.

They're still trying to determine, stories say, whether it will be somehow foldable, and one wonders whether they're still trying to serve too many masters.

At issue is the business of portability.

Do you want something you can haul around easily like your cell phone, or do you want something that makes the reading process easy.

Are they trying to make something that will replace the book/newspaper in your living room, or are they trying to make a portable device that will let you read on the road—a place where you expect corners to be cut for convenience.

Maybe they ought to decide.

I'm primarily an old-style reader. I subscribe to three actual paper newspapers, and the house is crammed full of paper books, even though my electronic devices have a few volumes on them as well.

I'm not a technophobe. But I want the new technology to improve on the paper reading experience, not just approach it. I want it bigger, better, cheaper.

Unfortunately, none of the paper newspapers to which I subscribe is available on the e-reader format, as far as I know. And none of them has a website that makes reading as easy as picking up the paper. I'm already paying for my subscriptions, and I'd be willing to pay for an excellent e-version. But we're not yet there, so I'm not quite ready to leap.

But I'm willing. I'm close. Build it and I will come.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Civil Unions, Climate Change and bogus arguments

The furious debate over civil union legislation in Hawaii is not the normal kind of topic for this blog, but it has interesting parallels to certain scientific issues—say climate change.

(Image: This native white hibiscus from Kaua'i, has little to do with the subject of this post, like many of the arguments on civil unions as well as climate change.)

The Hawai'i Legislature's House Bill 444 would grant to same-sex couples the rights currently associated with marriage. It is unlike the climate change debate in every way but this: some of the arguments abandon logic and honest debate.

You see this a lot in public debate. Folks who have honest disagreements begin to toss everything but the kitchen sink at the opposing side, presumably in hope that some of it scores points.

One assumes that the fundamental issue on the civil union issue is this: Should society continue to limit special recognition and certain tax and estate planning benefits to traditional male-female formalized marriages; or should those privileges also be afforded to non-traditional unions—notably same-sex ones.

Seems simple—I believe it ought to be this way; or I believe it ought to be that way.

But folks are desperately cobbling together arguments to “logically” support their positions.

My favorite—you hear this a lot in talk radio—is to say the issue has already been decided—in the 1998 constitutional amendment election. That's been a common complaint of opponents of Bill 444.

Actually, anyone who reads the constitutional amendment recognizes that it didn't decide anything.

What the amendment did was grant the Legislature the authority to restrict marriage to members of the opposite sex. It didn't resolve the issue, and it didn't mandate that the Legislature do so.

Here's the actual language of the Constitution, derived from that election: “Section 23. The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”

The issue at the time of the 1998 election was twofold. One, certainly, was whether the community wanted same-sex marriage in Hawai'i. The other was whether these decisions ought to be made by the courts or by the Legislature.

It was entirely possible for someone who supported same-sex unions to also have supported placing that power in the hands of the Legislature—assuming, perhaps, that a Democrat-dominated panel would take the liberal stance on same-sex unions.

(We mention this, having seen a Legislator in our district use the results of the 1998 election to justify his vote against the measure.)

So, what's this got to do with climate change? It's the issue of facts versus non-facts, and logic versus illogic. There are lots of folks out there misstating the facts, or making them up, or making contradictory assertions in support of their position on climate.

Our favorite, of course, are those who oppose any government activity in response to climate change, citing patently contradictory assertions, such as:

The world is actually cooling—there is no global warming; and anyhow, we shouldn't worry about the warming that's occurring because warming is a good thing, since it is expanding crop-growing areas.

Or this: You can't trust the scientific evidence because models are inadequate or measurements are flawed; and anyhow, this, this, and this piece of scientific evidence support our position.

Or even this, which we heard last night: There have been non-anthropogenic spikes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels before the Industrial Revolution, so this one isn't caused by humans, either. Which is vaguely analogous to saying: Lots of cats die of feline leukemia, so the cat, lying there under the wheel of a car, must have died of feline leukemia too.

It's often hard to know whether folks making ridiculous arguments are doing so knowingly in hopes of fooling others, or are simply parroting something they've heard because they've been fooled themselves.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marine noise: Moving beyond sonar and whales

The furor over Navy sonar and its impacts on marine mammals may be doing a disservice to the larger issue of ocean noise.

(Research is increasingly looking at the impacts of marine noise on a range of sea creatures. Seen here, sea life on the reef at Molokini Crater in Hawai'i. Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.)

Environmental groups and military lawyers fight over whether national security trumps environmental concerns. (It can, according to the Federal Register notice of the Navy's new authorization to conduct sonar training in Hawaii: Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy Training in the Hawaii Range Complex.)

Meanwhile, there's the much larger issue of other kinds of human-caused noise on marine mammals and other kinds of marine life. Fortunately, there is increased interest in marine noise beyond the Navy and charismatic megafauna (big cuddly critters.)

One (admittedly partisan) resource for current research on this issue is the Acoustic Ecology Institute. It includes data on new studies as well as news reports, like the apparent shift in migratory routes of gray whales away from the oil fields off Russia's Sakhalin Island, and the concerns in Canada about the impact of increased tanker traffic on local nearshore whale populations.

Acoustic Ecology is also making the point that while deaths and strandings by marine mammals get big headlines, science is appropriately moving to the study of subtler effects of noise.

“Several studies released during 2008 all suggest that whales of many species may stop or reduce their feeding when moderate to loud human sounds enter their habitat, and this particular impact is likely to become a central focus of future research and regulatory consideration,” write Acoustic Ecology founder Jim Cummings, who serves as president of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology.

And then there's the impact of noise on non-mammals.

Does an angler's catch rate change in the presence of roaring jet skis? Is the rate different in the presence of paddle-powered outrigger canoes? (Thus is the issue the presence of a foreign object or its volume?)

“The possibility that noise causes stress responses in marine life is under increasing scrutiny, and could fundamentally alter the equation that is central to ocean noise regulation: if and how noise may contribute to long-term, population-level impacts,” Cummings wrote.

Scientists in and out of government are starting to look at those impacts. There are international efforts to develop technologies to quiet big ships. And increasingly, researchers are recognizing that mammals aren't the only creatures affected.

As an example, the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, concerned about the impacts of shipping on marine life in the Mediterranean, issued a report that included this line:

“While most interest in anthropogenic noise and its mitigation has focused on marine mammals (mainly cetaceans and pinnipeds) and a few other vertebrates (such as sea turtles), there is increasing concern regarding the impact of such noise on fish, other vertebrates such as aquatic and diving birds, and marine invertebrates (including crabs and lobsters).”

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Poaching a source of many 'ōpae 'ula sold as aquarium pets

Many of the tiny Hawaiian red shrimps, or 'ōpae 'ula sold in the aquarium trade appear to be poached wild animals, illegally taken in some cases from conservation zones or without proper permits.

(Image: The native 'ōpae 'ula are less than a quarter-inch long as adults. Photo courtesy Scott Santos.)
The harvesting could deplete wild populations and threaten a unique Hawaiian ecosystem, according to researchers David A. Weese and Scott R. Santos, of the Department of Biological Sciences and Cell & Molecular Biosciences Peak Program, at Auburn University in Alabama.

Santos has long studied the life in Hawaiian achialine ponds, including the little Halocaridina shrimps. Anchialine ponds are coastal pools that have no surface connection to the sea, but have various levels of salinity and may rise and fall with the tides. In Hawai'i, most of them are found along the Kona and Ka'u coast of the Big Island and in the 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve on Maui, although there are also ponds on O'ahu.

The research team had previously done DNA analysis of the various Hawaiian native shrimp populations, and found that the shrimps in different areas are sufficiently unique that they can be distinguished from one another by region.

For this work, published in the February 2009 issue of the journal Animal Conservation, they collected shrimps being sold in the aquarium trade and compared their DNA with those previously studied.

What they found is that most of the shrimps are from the Big Island, where a few people have permits to collect them, but a few aquarium shrimps are from Maui, where there are no existing collecting permits.

“A bunch of red flags went up when those Maui animals showed up in the analyses,” Santos said in an email to RaisingIslands.

Is it possible that all or most of the shrimp being sold in stores and on the Internet are being captive-raised—meaning there are no new collections in the wild? Theoretically possible, but unlikely, although some certainly are, Santos said.

“I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of opae ula out there were taken directly from anchialine ponds rather than raised in captivity,” he said.

“While I wouldn't be surprised if some of the animals in the aquarium trade are from reproduction within a captive setting (I know a shrimp hobbyist in California that sells some of juveniles from animals he breeds to other hobbyists on the Internet), conditions at none of the aquarium shops in Hawaii that we bought animals from are conducive to captive husbandry,” Santos said.

There are a few Big Island collectors who are annually renewing their collection permits. In some cases, those collectors (and possibly people without permits) are hiking miles across Ka'u lavas to find pools with enough shrimp to scoopnet.

But Maui is a different story. Even if the collecting there is being done on private land rather than within the protected Natural Area Researve, it appears to be illegal, Santos said.

“The animals that trace their history back to 'Ahihi-Kina'u on Maui are a sticky point.

“On one hand, it appears to be a case of poaching since most of the anchialine pools in the area are either in the 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve (which was established in the late 1970s) or on private property.

“On the other hand, if the collections are taking place on private property by its owner, the individual(s) doing them is still required to have an active commercial fishing permit since they are selling the animals. Last I checked, no one on Maui had a permit, which raises all kind of issues,” Santos said.

The Halocaridina shrimps are popular in the aquarium trade because they come in colorful orange color, they're cute, they're hard and long-lived, and they take little care. They can live for years in a properly set-up glass dome without additional food.

But they are also sold as live fish food. And that's a traditional Hawaiian use—they were collected by 'ōpelu fishermen to attract the fish.

And the shrimps are part of an international network of trade in marine creatures.

“It is conservatively estimated that 1471 fish, 140 stony ... coral and over 500 other invertebrate species are traded as marine ornamentals on a yearly basis, with most being stocked from wild caught specimens,” Weese and Santos write in the Animal Conservation piece.

Previous work has identified at least 13 different unique kinds of Halocaridina, each of which is found on only one island. Many of the O'ahu pools occurred in the limestone sinkholes of the 'Ewa district, and most of them have already been destroyed for agriculture and development. Hotels have been built over anchialine ponds on other islands.

“Commercial harvesting, coupled with habitat destruction as well as strong regional endemism, could lead to the depletion and/or extinction of unique Halocaridina populations or genetic groups,” the authors write.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hawaiian volcanoes are way older than thought, and there's life down 1.6 miles

Hawaiian volcanoes are dramatically more complex—and far older—than scientists have been teaching—and there are traces of life more than a mile deep in the rock.

Those are just a few of the remarkable findings of a truly quirky idea: Let's drill miles down into the lava on the Big Island and see what we find.

The Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project was launched in theory in the 1980s, with drilling started in the 1990s, a joint research project of the University of Hawai'i, University of California, Berkeley, and California Institute of Technology. It involves a core of rock collected by drilling nearly three miles into the rock near Hilo.

The goal was to collect a continuous sample of of a million years of volcanic activity, reaching rock dating from a time when Mauna Kea was younger than the nascent volcano Lo'ihi is now.

The core was started in an abandoned quarry near Hilo Airport. It was selected because it was midway between active rift zones of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, so there would be less likelihood of hitting molten rock.

The first pilot hole was put down in 1993, and a 3-kilometer deep core was taken in 1999. The drilling went on for several years, and the coring stopped when the site reached 11,500 feet—more than two miles down.

“There are problems with age-dating Hawaiian lavas,” but research suggests the lavas at the bottom of the hole are 700,000 years old said geochemist Donald M. Thomas, director of Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawai'i's Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, a part of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

The coring project has spawned dozens of scientific papers. In one of the most recent, published yesterday (Feb. 15, 2009), researchers from Germany, Japan and the United States reported that they could calculate the rate at which volcanic glass cooled—and could tell, for instance, whether lava was erupted above or below the surface of the ocean.

In a 2006 meeting, researchers reported on some of the many findings of the project. Thomas, with lead author Donald DePaolo of the University of California at Berkeley and Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology, said the coring project produced all kinds of results.

Researchers found that Mauna Kea lavas were twice as old as surface studies suggested. The rough estimate until now has been that the first volcano to be part of the Big Island started up off the ocean floor a million years ago (that might have been the volcano that formed the Kohala Mountains. Based on the coring project, the new Big Island age estimate is as much as 2.5 million years.

“The accepted model is that it takes about a half a million years to get from the ocean floor to the height of Mauna Kea.,” but the new work suggests it could take two to three times that, Thomas said.

Even a mile deep under the volcano, where you'd expect it to be hot, it's pretty cool—only about 54 degrees—because cold ocean water circulates through the rock.

There are both freshwater and saltwater aquifers existing under pressure as much as a mile and a half down, “which was unexpected and has implications for water resources,” the trio reported. They bored down through Mauna Loa lavas, passing through a fresh water aquifer as they went, then hit salt water, and later, deep in Mauna Kea lavas, they hit another pressurized aquifer of fresh water.

“The hydrology of the island is much more complex than we anticipated...Mauna Kea is discharging fresh water 1000 feet below sea level,” Thomas said.

And there are signs of life, albeit microbiotic life, as much as 1.6 miles down. Researchers found evidence of microscopic boring by rock-loving microbes inside rocks deep in the volcano. Reports on this are here.

Thomas said scientists have found DNA in the bottoms of some of the microborings, suggesting that there is still active life there, in rock hundreds of thousands of years old, and thousands of feet below the surface.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Clean energy: expensive, cost effective, and Hawai'i utilities are on board

What's different in the Hawai'i energy picture from a few years ago?

Lots of things clearly, but an important thing is this: The utilities get the concept of moving away from oil, and they're saying so.

Whether their actions in the negotiation chambers match the rhetoric remains to be seen, but the rhetoric is hopeful.

At a public meeting on the Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), representatives of all the state's big power companies—KIUC for Kauai, and HECO for the rest of the islands—said they are firmly committed to moving away from fossil fuels.

Although they said they've been moving in this direction a long time, it was clear that the stunning oil shock of 2008 was key in helping grease the skids.

“$147 a barrel oil was wrecking Hawai'i's economy,” said Robbie Alm, executive vice president for Hawaiian Electric.

HECO is looking forward to an undersea cable-connected future in which wind energy from Molokai and Lana'i, and geothermal from Hawai'i can help feed the Honolulu demand. There isn't space anywhere on Oahu for the size of windfarm needed, Alm said.

Current cable technology can't handle the more than two-mile depth of the Ka'ie'iewaho Channel, so Kaua'i has certain challenges that the interconnectability of the other islands helps solve.

KIUC sees a long-term role for liquid fuels at least as a backup for intermittent alternative energy sources, but that fuel can be biodiesel, said Randy Hee, KIUC president.

Both companies are pushing forward on smart metering, which Alm said can mean lower rates for people who actively shift their power demands to the utility's low-demand periods.

That capability will “allow us to reward you,” Alm said.

Hee said KIUC is in the “selection analysis” process for (get familiar with this term) AMI. That's Advanced Metering Infrastructure. Depending on what system is selected, this allows all sorts of advances on the grid—including the aggressive addition of intermittent green power options.

Both Alm and Hee said their organizations are also ready to back “feed-in tariffs.” That's another term to get used to. It refers to a guaranteed rate of return for alternative power production, even if it is, for now, higher than the current cost of oil-produced energy.

Feed-in tariffs in the short term can mean slightly higher power rates. But in Europe they have resulted in fast increases in solar, wind and other alternative energy production, and the long term value is stabilized power rates and reduced vulnerability to oil price fluctuations.

Both Hee and Alm said their utilities are prepared for the decoupling of revenues from sales—so they don't lose money as they move away from fossil fuels and in-house power production, and as more customers reduce their utility draw with solar photovoltaics, solar hot water, windmills and so forth.

It isn't clear that this level of commitment by the utilities existed five years ago, but it clearly seems to exist now.

And why is it a good idea to move in that direction?

“It's expensive, but it's cost effective,” said Bill Parks, the U.S. Department of Energy official assigned to Hawai'i. Parks is a DOE deputy assistant secretary for electricity and energy reliability.

The HCEI meeting was held in a Lihu'e church, and was sponsored by the Kaua'i Planning and Action Alliance, Apollo Kaua'i, KIUC and the Kaua'i Economic Development Board. Speakers included Parks, Alm, Hee and Hawai'i state energy facilitator Joshua Strickler, along with county energy coordinator Glenn Sato.

One message was this: It can be hard to push dollars toward more expensive renewables when oil's selling at $40 a barrel, but speakers said it's costing the Saudis $70 to pump that oil out of the ground. When the world's economy recovers, and nations are capable of paying, oil prices will bump back up. And at $70 or more, most of the green power options are competitive with oil.

The point: Pay a little more now, to pay less later, or as Parks said: “It's expensive, but it's cost effective.”

Read more on HCEI here and here and here.

The powerpoints for the Lihu'e HCEI meeting will be posted at the KPAA website.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hawai'i's greenest and meanest car choices

Transportation choices make up 30 percent of the Hawai'i resident's contribution to greenhouse gas production, and there's a new list of what to do about that.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has issued its ranking for the most and least environmentally appropriate cars on the market for 2009.

(Image: Chevrolet's Cobalt XFE is the highest ranking American car on the list. Photo: Chevrolet.)

In its list of the greenest and the meanest, oddly, it's not a hybrid at the top—it's the natural gas car, the Honda Civic GX. But the hybrids come next, with Toyota's Prius in second and the Honda Civic hybrid third.

This list is not based purely on fuel economy. In fact, the hybrids above get better fuel economy than the Civic GX. Instead, it's based on a formula that includes overall polluting emissions, fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and cost of the fuel it uses and other factors. Details on the ranking system are here.

The information is all in ACEEE’s Green Book® Online. Best I can determine, you need to subscribe, at a fee, to get a copy of the entire book, which has all sorts of other information, although there's a great deal of info free on the website.

Among the lowest ranked cars on the list are the Hummer H2 FFV, Lamborghini's Murcielago and GMC's Yukon 2500. It's an American-European sweep for the dozen worst—there are no Asian-made cars in there.

U.S. carmakers managed to get two vehicles in the dozen greenest, the Chevy Cobalt XFE/Pontiac G5 XFE and the Chevy Aveo/Aveo5. Europe got two more, the Mini Cooper/Clubman and the Smart Fortwo. Otherwise it's all Honda and Toyota, with three each, and Nissan and Kia, with one each.

Among the most popular vehicles in Hawai'i is the compact pickup. The highest ranking of these is he manual transmission Ford Ranger/Mazda B2300 (they're the same vehicle with different names.) If you need an automatic pickup, you give up a little fuel economy, and the result is a big fat tie between the Toyota Tacoma, the Ford Ranger/Mazda B2300 and the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon.

And there's some good news on the environmental front. ACEEE is seeing some increased efficiencies as automakers tweak their cars for better environmental performance.

“With upward movement at the bottom and near the top of the offerings, it’s tempting to conclude that the U.S. is really greening its fleet,” said ACEEE vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. “Sales figures will tell whether we’re really turning a corner, but putting more fuel-efficient models out there gives consumers a real choice.”

His point is that it doesn't much matter what cars they make if nobody will drive them. And, of course, in this economy, fewer folks are buying new cars, meaning the older inefficient cars stay on the road longer.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hawai'i's big greenhouse challenge--cars and power plugs: UH Report

Hawai'i's greenhouse gas production has risen since 1990, but of all sources it is ground transportation that has spiraled upward most like some Fourth of July spinning rocket.

A lot of numbers here. One takeaway from this report: Your personal portion of the state's CO2 production is about 44 percent from electricity and 30 percent from ground transportation. For the biggest bang, increase efficiency and conservation in these areas.
A new report says ground transportation increased its contribution to Hawaiian carbon dioxide production by 53 percent from 1990 to 2005.

Is that because we simply couldn't do anything about it? Hardly.

In part due to dramatic efforts in efficiency and also due to improvements in load management, the other huge component of the transportation picture actually improved during the period. Air transportation actually achieved efficiencies that allowed it to carry more passengers, while reducing its carbon dioxide production.

In the first of several major reports on Energy and Greenhouse Gas Solutions, the University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization (UHERO), created an emissions inventory for the 15-year period in question. It's part of a project ordered by the state Legislature in 2007's Act 234, to come up with ways to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2005.

Clearly, we've got a long way to go.

The greenhouse gas project is led by Denise Eby Konan, with the help Steven Alber, Paul Bernstein, Iman Nasseri, Craig Coleman, Robert Mills, Michael Hamnett, and Terrence Surles.
Download a copy of the Hawai'i Greenhouse Gas Emissions Profile 1990 and 2005 here.

Here is part of the summary of their first report.

“The most significant source of growth is ground transportation, which experienced a 53 percent increase in GHG emissions from 1990 to 2005. Electric power generation resulted in 22 percent higher emissions levels in 2005. Non-energy sources of emissions, such as industrial processes, agriculture and municipal solid waste, also grew rapidly but beginning from a relatively small base. Air transportation emissions declined even as the number of passengers grew. Residential, commercial and industrial direct emissions also contracted.”

Electricity and ground transportation are such big chunks of the pie that, despite improvements in air and a few other uses, greenhouse gas emissions were up overall.

The team notes that other greenhouse gases, like methane, nitrous oxide and various refrigerants and solvents are potent factors in the greenhouse equation, but that carbon dioxide is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, simply because so vastly more of it is being produced. In Hawai'i, the team estimates that 93 percent of our greenhouse gas production is CO2.

So how do the various sectors compare in size: Stationary energy sources like powerplants represent 41.1 percent, and non-energy sources make up 8.6 percent. That's about half of all Hawai'i's production of carbon dioxide in 2005. The rest is transportation, and it breaks down 22.7 percent air, 21.2 percent ground and about 6 percent marine.

The vast majority of the CO2 comes from burning refined petroleum—gasoline, diesel and so forth. A big chunk of the remainder is from the coal burned at AES Hawai'i, and at the HC&S plant on Maui.
If you're a resident of Hawai'i, not counting the shipping of good to Hawai'i and not counting your flying habits, you're responsible for about 15 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year (2005 numbers).
And 11 of those 15 tons are from your electrical and ground transportation use—6.6 for power and 4.4 for ground transportation.

These numbers have been rising. Why? Here's what Konan's group figures:

“First, residential development is expanding in locations further from urban employment centers. This has resulted in increased commuting time and ground transportation emissions. Second, Hawai‘i’s visitors are heavy energy users of power and transportation services, and the economy continues to focus more on tourism. Finally, Hawai‘i relies heavily on fossil fuels for power and has a relatively small component of renewable energy in its power profile.”

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate