In conjunction out network of partner organizations, we have compiled a series of high-level briefs on the key issues we face as a result of climate change and the most compelling climate solutions available to us today. Our interactive climate map (below) of the 195 members of the UN Conference of Parties (COP17)* provides a detailed country-by-country accounting of carbon emissions (2005 data), predicted impacts of climate change, as well as the potential for each nation to meet and exceed its projected energy demand through renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Click a country to get started:
When you click on a country, you will see a chart display that includes projected climate impacts, current and projected energy demand, and solar and wind potential. See below for an example chart (South Africa reference case). Data was compiled from the sources listed below.
Climate Guide Sources
1. CO2e Emissions per Capita. Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) emissions figures are based on 2005 data indexed in the World Resources Institute database CAIT 8.0. The 2005 data set breaks out emissions specifically from land use changes such as deforestation, as well as primary sources of emissions — energy, industry, agriculture, & waste. It does not include emissions from international bunkers (marine shipping) and factors in only Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide.
2. Climate Vulnerability. The country-by-country climate impact assessments are provided by DARA International, whose 2010 Climate Vulnerability Monitor (PDF) has compiled data on the impacts of climate change for 4 categories — human health, home loss, extreme weather, and economic stress — both current and projected (to 2030). The size of the circle denotes the scale of impact and the color denotes intensity, red being the most severe.
3. Current Electricity Use. Current total electricity consumption is taken primarily from 2005 CIA World Factbook. More complete data for the top 12 nations is taken from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with the exception of China (the #1 consumer) which is cited from Bloomberg.
4. Projected Energy Use. The 2011 World Energy Outlook forecasts future electricity demand for both OECD countries (developed nations who are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and non-OECD countries. OECD countries assume a 32% growth in electricity generation by 2035. Non-OECD countries vary by region — 64% for Latin America, 108% for Africa, 44% for Russia & Eastern Europe, 166% for China, and 130% for all other Asian nations.
5. Current Percentage Renewables. From the UN Energy Statistics Database (2006).
6. Solar Energy Potential. Solar potential is based on the International Clean Energy Analysis gateway (ICEA) which uses 2008 NREL (U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab) data to determine total solar energy potential per year as a function of land area per solar class, assuming a conservative 10% conversion efficiency on available, productive land. For the Tck Climate Guide, we use a 50% deployment of available, productive land as a benchmark.
7. Wind Energy Potential. Wind potential is based on the International Clean Energy Analysis gateway (ICEA) which uses high resolution datasets produced by the NREL (USA), Risø DTU National Laboratory (Denmark), the National Institute for Space Research (Brazil), and the Canadian Wind Energy Association. Lower resolution data for other countries is sourced from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. The result presented is available land area (km2) by country for class 3-7 winds at 50m above ground. Estimating 5 MW per km2 at a 25% conversion efficiency we derive total potential wind energy per year. NOTE: the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) now uses 5 MW per km2 with a 30% conversion at 80m above ground based on new, more accurate mapping for the United States, but as this higher resolution data is not yet available in most countries the Tck Climate Guide uses the more conservative estimate, again with a 50% deployment of available, productive land.
8. Renewable Power Factor. The last field in the chart displays the number of times a country can meet its *projected* energy demand for 2035 (less current renewables) solely through it’s wind and/or solar power. In the case of South Africa, with a projected electricity demand of approximately 504,000 gigawatt-hours, the country could power itself four times over, just through a 50% deployment of solar resources using current technologies.
Climate Leaders of the Future
Our Power Potential infographic compares each country’s capacity for clean, renewable electricity generation — wind (light blue) and solar (dark blue) at a 50% deployment using current, proven technologies. This is compared with current (2008) electricity demand and projected electricity demand by 2035 per OECD, resulting in a “power factor” — the number of times a country could potentially meet or exceed its projected electricity demand.
The magenta bars indicate current, total “renewable” electricity production. The countries are color-coded by projected climate impacts per DARA, 2010, red being the most severe and dark green being the least severe. Here are the top 25 nations, ranked in order of wind and solar potential:
*Greenland and Andorra are both shown for reference though these countries are not official parties of the UN climate conference. For details on all countries check out the full Power Potential infographic (LINK).