Climate Solutions

Climate news quiz: Electric rickshaws and vampire energy

Test your knowledge about ways the climate is changing
Illustrations by Michael Parkin for The Washington Post

All right: Time to see if you’ve been paying attention to The Washington Post’s climate-related coverage. If you have, this quiz should be an easy A.

1. What percentage of India’s electric-generation capacity has been promised to come from non-fossil-fuel sources by 2030?

Answer: B. Indian officials say they are ahead of schedule to reach their goals from the Paris agreement on climate change. Since 2014, India’s solar energy capacity has increased more than twelvefold.

2. Why does India’s target of having 30 percent of vehicles running on battery power by 2030 seem out of reach?

Answer: C. Battery-powered rickshaws are growing in popularity despite no charging infrastructure or government aid, but India has been less successful increasing the prevalence of electric cars.

3. What are some of the challenges of relying on manure as a source of natural gas?

Answer: D. While some argue that zero-emissions energy sources such as wind and solar are the clear choice for cutting pollution, others say methane is an important transitional fuel and is more sustainable than drilling for natural gas.

4. Cows produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by both burping and through manure. What percentage of methane comes from burps compared to manure?

Answer: D. A cow burps up 95 percent of the methane it creates, little puffs of pollution during digestion in its four stomachs, far more than comes out the other end.

5. Which of the following is not an obstacle to submerging turbines to harness ocean energy?

Answer: C. Oceanographers with the U.S. Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the International Energy Agency found that in small numbers, underwater energy devices are unlikely to disrupt marine life, their habitats or the natural water flow.

6. Why have solar and wind power projects outpaced ocean power, so far?

Answer: B. Even though ocean power doesn’t produce carbon emissions and tides are quite predictable, the cost of building can be prohibitive. The world’s largest tidal power station was built in South Korea in 2011 and cost about $300 million to build.

7. How many homes can be powered by a gigawatt of energy?

Answer: C. A study run by the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013 found that the Florida Current, which flows northward up the coast of Florida, could generate between 4 and 6 gigawatts (1 gigawatt equals 1 billion watts).

8. In the past 10 years, how much have improvements to the Empire State Building cut back carbon emissions from its operations?

Answer: D. The Empire State Building boasts a number of refurbishments that shrank its carbon footprint, including elevators that generate energy, special window panes that include a layer of insulating film and efficient LED lights.

9. How does the Empire State Building recycle condensate from its steam heating system?

Answer: A. Repurposing the condensate is part of an effort to reuse resources the building already has.

10. What fraction of emissions in New York City come from its buildings?

Answer: D. U.N. scientists say that by 30 years from now, the world’s net emissions must be zero to prevent the most disastrous consequences of climate change. Retrofitting New York’s buildings with energy conservation technology can help mitigate their contribution to the city’s emissions.

0 to 3 questions correct

Climate novice: You’ve still got a lot to learn about climate change. But that’s okay: We’ve got you covered. Got a question? Ask us here.

4 to 7 questions correct

Climate curious: Hey, not bad! You know a thing or two about climate change. But there’s still more to learn, and we’ve got you covered. Got a question? Ask us here.

8 to 10 questions correct

Climate expert: Well done! You’re super climate-literate. You probably already know that one of the most important things you as an individual can do to combat climate change is to spread the word. Go ahead: Brag a little, share this quiz with your friends, and find out who knows the most about climate change.

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