Sydney, ANZAC and Glebe Island Bridges, Sydney - photo Marghanita

Ecologically Sustainable Sydney


Carbon and Climate Change

What is Carbon

Carbon occurs in all organic life. When united with oxygen, carbon forms carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main carbon source for plant growth. Coal is the main source of carbon in mineral form, containing up to 95% of carbon in anthracite.(1)

Carbon Nitrogen Cycle

In the chemical process of Burning Coal and other Carbon based fuels, Oxygen combines with the Carbon to provide energy (heat) and CO2.

The Oceans and Plants are natural carbon sinks.(2) In sunlight, Plants absorb CO2 from the air and photosynthesise it into Carbon based Biomass. This process releases O2. This is the carbon cycle.(3)

Sources of CO2

(State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2005)

Stationary Energy (Production of Electricity)50%
Transport Air,Road,Rail and Shipping14%
Land Use(Includes Forestry and Reforestation)6%
Fugitive Emissions, Industrial Processes, Waste14%

Climate Change

The destruction of forests and land degradation combined with increasing generation of CO2 from motor vehicles and electricity generation for Industry and Domestic use has lead to an increased levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. This is widely accepted as the cause of an increase in temperatures and changes in climate, popularly referred to as "Climate Change", "the "Greenhouse Effect" or "Global warming".

Using The Greenhouse Accounting CRC's Tree Carbon Calculator

The photosynthesis of CO2 into Carbon and Oxygen takes time. CO2 is poisonous to Humans and we need Oxygen to breathe. If we continue to generate CO2 faster than it is processed, the toxic levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make Climate Change look like a trivial problem.

Carbon is also sequestered in soil see: Soil Carbon, Carbon Cycle & Carbon Sinks

This is not the first time we have had to change when we learnt that we were in self-destructing lifestyles and economies - lead in paint and fuel was an earlier wake up call. Then regulations and education reduced the threat from lead from paint and leaded petrol.

However, BASIX, which requires all new homes in NSW to use less potable (drinking quality) water and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions is being undermined as "costing home buyers too much". Carbon Taxes and Trading schemes mustn't cost Industry too much either. NSW Government Climate Change Fund.

"Geocrystalline", planets are young but large worlds, with surfaces that are still solidifying. Their atmospheres may contain carbon dioxide and other toxic gases. If there is any life present it would be limited to primitive single-celled organisms. In the series, the planet Delta Vega, from the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", is considered Class G.(4)

Comparative Motor Vehicle CO2 emissions (2008)

ModelCO2 Rating

Toyota Prius106 g/km
Honda Civic Hybrid109 g/km
Fiat Punto 16V 90HP116 g/km
Honda Jazz Gli135 g/km
BMW LCI 120d E87 162 g/km
Honda Civic VTi 164 g/km
Toyota Corrolla172-4 g/km
Holden AH Astra177 g/km
Holden Commodore Belina260 g/km
Toyota Landcruiser 100380 g/km

To compare more vehicles see

CO2 emitted by Motor Vehicles

Use of alternative modes of Travel such as busses, trains, trams, ferry, walking, cycling significantly reduces congestion on the roads improving travel times and reducing emissions by reducing the number of cars on the road. Better Designed Ferrys, Trains, Trams and Busses provide even more benefits.

In July 2008, the Australian Government released a CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION SCHEME Green Paper. The paper says we need to abate the acceleration of global warming. This acelleration has been demonstrated by the 12 of the last 13 years, being the hottest years in history. The increase in temperatures will produce more drought, more intense and damaging cyclones and rising sea levels with serious impacts on coastal property in Australia, low lying Asian mega cities and the Pacific Islands in our region.

The strategy is to implement a carbon emissions permit scheme, provide support to households and business whose costs will increase as a result of the permit scheme and preparation to deal with inevitable effects of global warming. The fourth prong is to work with the rest of the world.

More Information

If 5,100 people caught public transport instead of driving their car 10kms to work each day, green house gas emissions would be reduced by 7,000 tonnes per year.(5)

A Eucalptus with a 10cm Girth has absorbed 3kg of CO2. This would account for the less CO2 than a Toyota Prius would generate travelling 30km or a Toyota Landcruiser travelling 10km. (6)

Comparative Refrigerator Electricty Usage

A Eucalyptus with a 100cm girth has absorbed 1,182kg.
This is same amount of CO2 the FISHER & PAYKEL E373 refrigerator produces in less than 4 years.
BrandModelVolumeElectricity UseCO2(7)

LIEBHERR KP4260 405 litres 200 kWh/year 192,000 g/year
GRAM M56 GRAM KS220 205 litres 217 kWh/year 208,320 g/year
GRAM M60 GRAM KS290 286 litres 243 kWh/year 233,280 g/year
GRAM M60 GRAM KS360 354 litres 257 kWh/year 246,720
MIELE K8952SD 413 litres 272 kWh/year 261,120 g/year
FISHER & PAYKEL E373 373 litres 296 kWh/year 284,160 g/year
WESTINGHOUSE Side by Side RS645 643 litres 830 kWh/year 796,800 g/year

To compare more household appliances including Hotwater, Stoves, Washing Machines see Refrigerators/Freezers Ratings.

CO2 emitted in electricity generation to run House Hold Appliances

Reducing the coal generated electricity and gas usage in your home, or switching to Hydro, Solar and Wind generated electricity reduces CO2 emissions.

Unfortunately, due to current pricing mechanisms, such as high connection/low usage charges and no costing of the impact on the environment, reduced energy usage may not result in significant reductions in electricity or gas services charges.

Energy Labelling - Selecting an efficient appliance provides information about energy usage for a variety of household appliances. Below are some extracts to show the variation in electricity consumption of various brands, models and sizes of Refrigerators.


  4. Star Trek Planet Classifications
  6. Carbon absorbed by Trees
  7. In 1994, UK coal power stations generated 960g of CO2 per kWh and Oil power stations generate 740g CO R2 per kWh (8). For Sydney, 960g/kWh has been used, as most electricity in NSW is generated from coal. However, it could be cleaner and may be generated by Gas, Wind or Solar in the future.
  8. Electricity Consumption and Carbon Dioxide © Ramin Communications 2007-11. Last modified 29 Nov 2013.