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9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas1 BLACK SEA ENERGY POLICY CONFERENCE Session B5: Climate Change Challenges CAN WE MEET THE CHALLENGE ? a presentation by.

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Presentation on theme: "9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas1 BLACK SEA ENERGY POLICY CONFERENCE Session B5: Climate Change Challenges CAN WE MEET THE CHALLENGE ? a presentation by."— Presentation transcript:

1 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas1 BLACK SEA ENERGY POLICY CONFERENCE Session B5: Climate Change Challenges CAN WE MEET THE CHALLENGE ? a presentation by Ioannis Palaiokrassas Vice-President of ELLINIKI ETAIRIA Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage Former E.U. Commissioner for the Environment Athens 9 October 2008

2 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas2 How big is the challenge The Stern Review (2006) and the EU Green Paper on Climate Change (2007) give an alarming picture  Annual costs of climate change = 5% of world GDP  More than 1 billion refugees from flooded areas  Temperature rise up to 5,5 C° and fall in precipitation up to 60% in Europe by 2100 More recent data from IPCC are even more alarming The US Corps of Engineers checks thousands of bridges and ports that will be flooded

3 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas3 A double set of challenges How can we arrest and then reverse climate change?  We must confess that only one area - global warming - has been researched in depth  and we only have the Kyoto protocol to work with How can we mitigate the impact from climate change?  Some impacts, e.g. change in temperatures, precipitation, melting of icecap, rise in sea levels, have been calculated  Others, such as the change of ocean currents, impacts on ecosystems, animal and human life need more research

4 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas4 Racing against time One thing is certain: we are running against time  to complete our knowledge of the extent and the force of the phenomenon  to act globally in order to avoid the worse Therefore we have to act fast, on the basis of what we know now, in three areas: 1. To achieve low-energy, low-carbon economies 2. To modify infrastructures that will be affected 3. To prepare for the unavoidable large population movements

5 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas5 The key is energy Because this is the only independent variable within the control of humanity If we manage it correctly, the other two crises may be curtailed or even avoided It is manageable in two ways: 1.By reducing energy waste, especially in the developed world 2.By developing carbon free forms of energy, especially from renewable sources with mild environmental impacts

6 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas6 Low energy societies Current model of life goes back to the industrial revolution and is based on:  cheap energy, with negative impacts on humans, the environment and global natural equilibria  mass production and consumption hinged on capital, ignoring man and nature  the cult of mobility It represents a dinosaur in our knowledge society, even in simple survival terms  Societies must be urgently reformed towards a low energy, lean consumption, mass mobility model  Otherwise humanity is threatened with extinction

7 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas7 A twofold plan of action Reducing energy intensity and waste  Current high energy intensity of developed nations can be halved  Developing nations can decouple growth from energy waste Turning to Renewable Energy Sources  The negative impacts of most R.E.S. are under 5% of those of solid fuels  Questions about nuclear and carbon capture and storage (C.C.S.)

8 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas8 Energy saving by 2050 Developed world *weighted according to sector share in energy consumption Developing world As most of the developing nations double the size of their economy every 9 years, rates of saving are much higher (50-60%), since new technology applies to greater stocks Sector Saving per sector Weighted Average* Existing buildings: better insulation25%7% New buildings: bioclimatic design & systems50%9% Industrial production (adaptation & innovation)40%12% Transport: switch to mass transit & eco-cars50%14% TOTAL42%

9 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas9 Decoupling energy and growth These savings are based on existing technology and consumer culture. They can be greatly increased by technology development and cultural change. For example:  a breakthrough in fuel cells can eliminate the use of gasoline in cars  the reinstatement of the returnable bottle can reduce plastic consumption 7 times, with enormous energy savings

10 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas10 Renewable Energy Sources At the moment RES are mainly hydro, wind and solar. The source of nuclear energy is not renewable, problems of safety apart. Wave, tidal and geothermal (specially shallow geothermy) are largely untapped. Further application of above RES could almost eliminate electricity use for lighting, heating and cooling with double savings, due to generation and distribution losses. All RES also enable decentralised power systems. THEY ARE A TRIPLE WIN CASE, but they are not entirely free of environmental impacts. (landscape, biodiversity, footprint)

11 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas11 Nuclear, biofuels and CCS Nuclear  Waste disposal problem still unsolved and this is a great risk.  Operational safety of new reactors is OK.  Fusion is a very distant hope. Biofuels have so many negative impacts that they should be dismissed Carbon Capture and Storage  If cheap, perpetuates the problem. If costly, will not solve it.  Great safety risks on account of leaks and impacts on global equilibria

12 9.10.2007Ioannis Palaiokrassas12 Concluding remarks Decoupling growth from energy and energy from CO 2 are really vital targets. Carbon and hydrocarbon uses are far too many to be entirely replaced and in any case must be saved for future. Price levels must remain high. RES must be encouraged but cannot grow fast enough. What will fill the temporary gap? Nuclear? Coal? Black Sea region is rich in all. MUST DEVELOP ITS OWN PLAN AND MECHANISMS on an integrated basis.

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