“thinking long term” strategies

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Transcript “thinking long term” strategies

THINKING LONG TERM:
Confronting Global Climate
Change
Written by
James J. MacKenzie
Senior Associate
World Resources Institute
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Partly as a result of a favorable
climate, humanity has grown in
numbers over time
Millions of people
7,000
6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0
0
500
1000
1500
Year
2000
2500
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The world has grown dependent on
inexpensive fossil fuels
Source: “Global Energy Perspectives” IIASA, WEC, 1998
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Burning fossil fuels leads to:

Environmental impacts during exploration
and production

Ozone, acid deposition, and local and
trans-boundary air pollution from burning

Emissions of greenhouse gases
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Global warming enhanced by
emissions of man-made gases
Source: “Climate Change, State of Knowledge,” OSTP, 1997
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Much is known with certainty about
global warming:

Existence of natural greenhouse effect is
established beyond doubt

Concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs)
are increasing

The temperature of the earth is increasing.
1998 the hottest in at least 1000 years.

Sea levels are rising (4 to 10 inches over
past 100 years)

Some GHGs will remain in the atmosphere
for centuries
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CO2 contributed most to global
warming over past century
Methane
23%
Carbon
Dioxide
70%
Nitrous
Oxide
7%
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CO2 is building up in the atmosphere
Source: “Climate Change, State of Knowledge,” OSTP, 1997
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Earth’s temperature continues to
rise rapidly
Source: “Climate Change, State of Knowledge,” OSTP, 1997
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Earth is projected to grow warmer
Source: Univ. of East Anglia, IPCC
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Extreme precipitation events are
becoming more common
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Uncertainties still persist

Timing and regional impacts

The effects of increased cloudiness
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Uncertain health and ecological impacts

Possible surprises from unanticipated
effects
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More impacts of global warming
can be expected

More health effects from the spread of
tropical diseases, heat waves, and socalled “natural disasters”

Loss of agricultural land in developing
countries

Disappearance of ecosystems that are
unable to migrate
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The climate problem is a
long-term problem
and will require
“thinking long term” to solve
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Common sense goals to cope with
the climate threat

Reduce CO2 emissions, requiring world
economy to become much more efficient

Start a world-wide shift from fossil to nonfossil energy sources
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We can explore energyclimate futures through
“what if” scenarios …
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Criteria for a strategy to keep CO2
levels “reasonably” low

A strategy should support sustainable
growth in the world economy

Improvements in global energy efficiency
(E/GDP)

A transition to non-fossil energy sources
These criteria are met in the
“Ecologically Driven Scenario” from
Global Energy Perspectives
by WEC and IIASA
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Scenario assumptions related to
energy demand

Growth rate in global energy demand of
0.8% over next century, doubling energy
use by 2100

Doubling of world population by 2100

10-fold increase in world economy over
next century

1.3% annual improvement in energy
efficiency. One would need only 20% as
much energy to produce a dollar of GDP
compared with today.
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Recent annual energy growth rates
(1987-1996)
Global, 1990-2100
World
OECD
US
Brazil
Japan
China
India
0.8%
1.1%
1.4%
1.5%
2.7%
3.2%
4.3%
5.5%
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Assumptions related to energy
supply

Global supply of new renewables (wind, PV,
hydro) would increase to 50% by 2100

Biofuels from trees, agricultural wastes,
municipal wastes, and so on would account
for 30% of supply by 2100

Nuclear would be phased out by 2100

Coal, oil, and natural gas would fall to 18%
of global supply from its present value of
80%

CO2 emissions would fall by 2/3 by 2100
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Energy supply: The global transition
to non-fossil energy
Mtoe
25,000
Solar
Hydro
Biomass
Nuclear
N. Gas
Coal
Oil
20,000
15,000
10,000
5,000
0
1990
2020
2050
2100
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Photovoltaics (PV) produce power
with no emissions or moving parts
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The use of wind machines is
growing rapidly around the world
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Rapid growth required in the use of
renewable energy sources
Mtoe
18,000
16,000
Solar
14,000
Hydro
12,000
Biomass
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0
1990
2020
2050
2100
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Rapid growth required in the use of
renewable energy sources

Use of biofuels must increase —
sustainably — to over 5 times its present
value by 2100 (1.6% growth per year)

Hydro must increase to 3 times its present
value by 2100 (1.2% growth per year)
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Rapid growth required in the use of
renewable energy sources

PV and wind must grow to 45% of global
supply by 2100

PV and wind must grow initially at about
12% per year, slowing to 6% by 2050,
and then to about 2 to 3% per year
through the year 2100

Global data show that electricity from PVs
and wind has been growing at about 20%
per year for the past 15 years.
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From the viewpoint of non-carbon
energy sources, the future looks
promising.
Global growth in these two vital
sources of renewable energy is on
track to meet the needs of a growing
world economy.
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Mtc
Resulting carbon dioxide emissions
(1990 through 2100)
7,000
6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0
1980
2000
2020
2040
Year
2060
2080
2100
2120
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CO2 concentration in an ecologically
driven future
In this aggressive scenario, the CO2
concentration would peak at about 450
parts per million (ppm) -- less than a
doubling -- in the last quarter of the
21st century, and then start declining.
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In sum, a “thinking long term”
strategy would...

Develop a century-long energy and
climate strategy to hold CO2 concentration
below a doubling

Improve global energy efficiency (reduce
E/GDP) to hold energy growth to under
1%

Support rapid phasing in of non-fossil
energy sources
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National governments should
support “thinking long term”
strategies

Reform energy prices to make them more
closely reflect the costs they impose on
society. Benefits:


Encourage efficiency and make more
economic the renewable energy sources.
Should also lower taxes on income,
savings, and investment to offset higher
energy prices.
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National governments should
support “thinking long term”
strategies (continued)

Research. Support research on renewable
energy sources and the infrastructure
needs to phase them into the economy.

Creating markets. Use government
purchasing power to create markets, bring
down prices, and get experience with the
use of renewable energy technologies
including hydrogen and fuel cells.
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In short, there are three areas for
major federal emphasis ...

Reforming energy pricing to “level the
playing field”

Supporting basic research on new
technologies, and

Using federal purchasing to expand
markets and reduce costs.
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http://www.wri.org/wri/
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Climate Web sites

www.ipcc.ch/
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change”

www.usgcrp.gov/
“US Global Change Research Program”

globalchange.gov/
“Gateway to Global Change Data”

www.globalchange.org/
“Global Change, Electronic Edition”
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Global energy Web sites

www/iiasa.ac.at/cgibin/ecs/book_dyn/bookcnt.pv“
Global Energy Perspectives”

www.undp.org/seed/eap/
“United Nations Development Programme”

www.worldenergy.org/
“World Energy Council”

www.undp.org/seed/eap/activities/wea/
“World Energy Assessment”
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A hostile climate (Ice Ages) made
life difficult for our ancestors
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Today’s more favorable climate has
supported the growth of civilization
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But the burning of fuels now
threatens our well being
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The polar ice cap is melting