Environmental friendly initiative will always target on the largest and the most obvious contributor to not only energy demand but also pollution. This is the first time that any UN Convention has been endorsed by such a large number of member nations. What this implies in the medium to long term for Oil & Gas sector especially the producers and refiners. How fast we can say bye bye to all flare towers in the world before discussing temperature change.
Key Points of Paris Agreement on UNFCCC signed on 22 April 2016
- COP21 closed on 12 December 2015 with the adoption of the first international climate agreement (concluded by 195 countries and applicable to all).
- The twelve-page text, made up of a preamble and 29 articles, provides for a limitation of the temperature rise to below 2°C and even to tend towards 1.5°C.
- It is flexible and takes into account the needs and capacities of each country.
- It is balanced as regards adaptation and mitigation, and durable, with a periodical ratcheting-up of ambitions.
Background of Climate Change
Climate change exacerbates one or more of the following in different parts of the world:
- Temperature (Global Warming)
- Precipitation (Dryness of the earth surface)
- Rising Sea Level (By Melting Glaciers)
Impact is felt by:
- Crops cycles and agricultural seasons
- Change in Rainfall Patterns
- Loss of mountain habitats
- Normal temperatures
- Loss of coastlands
Thus the ultimate objective of the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) is to achieve “… stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” (Visit UNFCCC website for full details)
What is meant by Green House Gases (GHG)?
Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, which absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of thermal infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, by the atmosphere itself, and by clouds.
This property causes the greenhouse effect. Water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Moreover, there are a number of entirely human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other chlorine and bromine containing substances, dealt with under the Montreal Protocol.
Besides CO2, N2O, and CH4, the Kyoto Protocol deals with the greenhouse gases sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
Monitoring the Constituents of GHG as per the Kyoto Protocol
The three key constituents of GHG for which data is being compiled, collated and reported as inventory of sources and sinks produced by the member nations on periodic basis are:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2);
- Methane (CH4); and
- Nitrous oxide (N2O);
The other constituents of GHG are some of the following:
- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),
- Perfluorocarbons (PFCs),
- Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6),
- Unspecified mix of HFCs and PFCs (MIX);
- Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3); and
- Indirect CO2 emissions from the atmospheric oxidation of CH4, Carbon Monoxide (CO), SO2, NOx, CO and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC).
Data are provided on total aggregate GHG emissions in CO2 equivalent values, both with and without net GHG emissions and removals from Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).
Human (Activities) Sources of GHG
The most obvious emissions are from international aviation and marine bunker fuels. The other steadily increasing human activities with growing population are:
- Generating harmful gases through burning hydrocarbons and toxic chemicals
- Waste generation
- Industrialization of agricultural lands
- Nuclear Energy exploitation Deforestation
- Water and Air Pollution
- Land and Sand movements
Major Industrial Contributors
- Coal Fired Power Plants
- Petrochemical Plants
- Oil Refineries and Flare Towers
- Land, Aviation and Marine Transportation
Impact on Energy (Oil & Gas) Industry of UNFCCC
The impact is being felt already in one or more of the following operations with a resulting pressure on financial sustainability as well survival of the large entities.
The most recent target under the spotlight for compliance with UNFCCC objectives are Exxon and Chevron, oil majors and giant US based corporations. The stakeholders are demanding explanations and assurances as to what strategies are being adopted to comply with climate change control. Some stakeholders even demand the introduction of board level expertise in preparation for adapting to new processes.
On the other hand investors are concerned if these companies are capable to shape up soon enough, will they be still around and what assurances are available that it is not the beginning of the end like the days before sunset of Kodak.
The focus for climate change controls will be on hydrocarbon industry and most obviously on Oil & Gas sectors. This is not too bad a news but a god fortune for technology developers and equipment designers to quickly provide Climate Compliant designs and processes to replace polluting systems in almost every petrochemical industry which is 25 years old or more.
The readers are welcome to send any enquiry for further details or consultancy services for environmental controls planning and strategic initiatives for review of their plants and processes, from Tiberias MC, your innovative management consultancy services providers.