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Implications of Peak Oil for Climate Change Chris Vernon 1st September 2007 Members Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Implications of Peak Oil for Climate Change Chris Vernon 1st September 2007 Members Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Implications of Peak Oil for Climate Change Chris Vernon 1st September 2007 Members Conference

2 Peak Oil

3 Climate Change

4 The IPCC (1/1) “Despite the obvious relevance of “peak oil” to future climate change, it has received little attention in projections of future climate change. For instance, in the CO2 emissions scenarios outlined in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2000), socioeconomic and technological changes are employed as determinants of future energy use, without explicitly addressing the consequences of peak production of fossil fuels.” Dr James Hansen (2007)

5 The IPCC (2/2)

6 Hansen (1/2) Business As Usual CO2 emissionsCO2 concentrations Peak emission14 GtC/y Year of peak2077 Peak concentration580 ppm Year of peak2100

7 Hansen (2/2) Coal Phase Out Peak emission10 GtC/y Year of peak2017 Peak concentration440 ppm Year of peak2050 CO2 emissionsCO2 concentrations

8 Impact on campaigning Oil: Supply-side limited, not demand-side Coal: Demand-side  Amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere from the combustion of oil is proportional to the amount of oil produced.  To reduce the CO2 emissions from oil, the production of oil must be reduced.  Oil production is not significantly determined by demand.

9 Peak Oil: Good News or Bad News? (1/2) IEA Reference Scenario: 121 million barrels per day in 2030

10 Peak Oil: Good News or Bad News? (2/2) 2030 Comparison No Peak OilPeak Oil 2030 extraction = 121mbpd Some non-conventional Peak in 2010 at 90mbpd Decline at 2% per year 2030 extraction = 60mbpd Total 71 mbpd CO2 equivalent of 76 mbpd Total 121mbpd CO2 equivalent of more  Tar Sands: ~4mbpd2x CO28mbpd  Coal to Liquids: ~1mbpd2x CO22mbpd  Gas to Liquids: ~2mbpd1x CO2?2mbpd  Biofuels:~4mbpd1x CO24mbpd

11 31% cut in CO2 emissions in 5 years "In 1992, the first full year after the demise of the USSR, Russian carbon dioxide emissions stood at million tonnes, but by 1997 had fallen to million tonnes - a 31 per cent decline in just five years.“ Dr Mark A Smith

12 Coal Five reports this year: Coal: Resources and Future Production - Energy Watch Group (March) “Production profile projections suggest the global peak of coal production to occur around 2025 at 30 percent above current production in the best case.” The Future of Coal & Coal of the Future - for European Commission Joint Research Centre (February) “...the world could run out of economically recoverable (at current economic and operating conditions) reserves of coal much earlier than widely anticipated.” Hubbert’s Peak, Question of Coal, and Climate Change - Dr Dave Rutledge, California Inst. of Technology. (June) Coal - The US National Academy of Science (June) “Recent programs to assess coal recoverability in limited areas using updated methods indicate that only a small fraction of previously estimated reserves are actually recoverable.”

13 Conclusions  IPCC don’t consider resource constraints, only “socioeconomic and technological changes”.  Applying realistic constraints prevents the worst case scenario – at least by IPCC mechanisms.  Oil is a supply side limited resource. As such the CO2 in the atmosphere from oil is not effected by addressing the demand side – the only possible way is supply side actions.  Coal is demand side limited so its CO2 impact can be addressed through the demand side (as well as supply side).  There is large scope for action on coal:  reduce demand for electricity  alternative electricity generation  Peak oil is good news for climate change.

14 Backup Slides One-third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere after 100 years and one-fifth after 1000 years. This pulse response function for anthropogenic CO2 emissions illustrates the proportion of CO2 that remains airborne t years after emissions and looks like this:


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