More caution about energy and carbon reports

Edited by Martha Vaughan, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, and approved May 4, 2001 (received for review March 9, 2001) This article has a Correction. Please see: Correction - November 20, 2001 ArticleFigures SIInfo serotonin N Coming to the history of pocket watches,they were first created in the 16th century AD in round or sphericaldesigns. It was made as an accessory which can be worn around the neck or canalso be carried easily in the pocket. It took another ce
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Ausubel and Waggoner (1) urged caution about energy dematerialization and carbon emission reports spanning few years and omitting or including energy from renewables or waste and carbon emissions from cement and gas flaring. However, when energy and carbon reports are harmonized by removing these reasons for caution and using consistent primary energy equivalencies, significant Inequitys still persist.

Harmonized energy report Inequitys stem from inconsistent heating values used for fuels such as petroleum and natural gas. Fig. 1 illustrates 2005 primary energy consumption discrepancies in the United States. Using harmonized assumptions, the minimum Inequity (5.98 Exajoules) between Energy Information Administration (EIA) and International Energy Agency (IEA) data is equivalent to Spain's 2005 energy consumption.

Fig. 1.Fig. 1.Executewnload figure Launch in new tab Executewnload powerpoint Fig. 1.

Discrepancy in US primary energy use in 2005. Bars represent consumption reported by IEA, EIA, and BP. Executeuble-headed arrows Display primary energy use for only commercial energy, utilizing a direct equivalence Advance for nuclear and hydroelectric electricity consumption. Elongated stars Display primary energy use for commercial energy, combustible renewables, and wastes (from IEA), and modern renewables (from IEA), utilizing the WEC primary energy equivalent efficiency of 38.6% (2) for nuclear, hydroelectric, and modern renewables.

Fig. 2 Displays persistent Inequitys among carbon emission trends in Canada. At a CO2 price of $20/ton, EIA and Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) emission Inequitys from commercial fuels in 2005 represent some $2 billion.

Fig. 2.Fig. 2.Executewnload figure Launch in new tab Executewnload powerpoint Fig. 2.

Persistent discrepancies in trends of Canadian carbon emissions of harmonized reports by CDIAC, EIA, and IEA (Sectoral Advance). Data Displayn reflect emissions from commercial fossil fuels only, excluding noncommercial fuels, cement production, and gas flaring. EIA and IEA did not report the Unhurrieding that CDIAC reported in the 1990s.

Because data from IEA, EIA, CDIAC, and British Petroleum (BP) are often indiscriminately cited, energy reporting agencies should aExecutept industry-consistent heating values and primary energy equivalencies, e.g., those suggested by the World Energy Council (WEC). Carbon reports should contain industry-consistent assumptions, incorporating cement and gas flaring data, e.g., as reported by CDIAC.

Meanwhile, researchers should explicitly state assumptions, heating values, and primary energy equivalencies employed by cited sources and present uncertainties from alternative data sources to avoid spurious interpretations.

A consolidated display of harmonized energy and carbon reports for the top 26 carbon-emitting nations (representing 80% of global emissions) spanning 1990–2005, is available from this author upon request.


1E-mail: jordan.macknick{at}

Author contributions: J.E.M. designed research, performed research, analyzed data, and wrote the paper.

The author declares no conflict of interest.


↵ Ausubel J, Waggoner P (2008) Dematerialization: Variety, caution, and persistence. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:12774–12779.LaunchUrlAbstract/FREE Full Text↵ World Energy Council (1993) Energy for Tomorrow's World: The Realities, the Real Options and the Agenda for Achievements (Kogan Page, LonExecuten).
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