Presentation on theme: "Space invaders - climate change and the sea. SSI Regional Conference, 19 July 2007 Dr Ray Wills Manager, Sustainability Services, SMEC Chair, WA Sustainable."— Presentation transcript:
Space invaders - climate change and the sea. SSI Regional Conference, 19 July 2007 Dr Ray Wills Manager, Sustainability Services, SMEC Chair, WA Sustainable Energy Association Adjunct Senior Research Fellow School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The University of Western Australia
A changing climate for business and the community The science is in, the globe is warming, and we must both mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and rapidly prepare for adaptation to climate change. A raft of immediately accessible and affordable solutions to both reduce greenhouse emissions and provide alternative sources of energy are already in our possession. Some businesses and members of the community are understandably nervous about the economic ramifications of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in part because not enough work has been done to assist them understand these issues.
Sustainability in a changing climate for business and the community McDonald's Corp. is blogging on the environment. Starbucks Corp. has a green-themed online game. Hilton Hotels Corp. linked manager pay to green outcomes. All corporates say they have worked for years or even decades on pro-environment strategies and corporate social responsibility, but growing awareness of global warming among consumers is changing the way they work. Businesses in green buildings have reported improved staff productivity, better staff retention and fewer sick days, with some saving millions of dollars through energy savings and a reduced environmental footprint. California Governor Schwarzenegger and New York City mayor Bloomberg: The New Action Heroes doing the things that gridlocked Washington won't.
Greenhouse and global warming Greenhouse theory Basis first proposed by Joseph Fourier in 1824 Quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896 Greenhouse of earth’s “blanket” - average earth temperature about 15°C; otherwise would be -18°C Anthropogenic global warming theory late 1960’s Debate late 1970’s, Rio 1992, Kyoto … Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1988 Warming of climate is now unequivocal – global increases in air and ocean temperatures, melting of snow and ice, and rising sea level. The enhanced greenhouse effect is empirically and theoretically well-established.
Historical global temperatures
History of world temperature Late Carboniferous to Early Permian (315 mya mya) is the only time period in the last 600 million years when both atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were as low as they are today (Quaternary Period ).
Out of Eden
Instrumental Record - Temperature
Greenhouse gases Since 1751 roughly 305 billion tonnes of carbon released305 Half of emissions have occurred since mid 1970s
Evidence of global warming
Instrumental Record - temperature Satellites have been measuring the temperature of the troposphere since Better data - real average Best data late 1980s Best computers 1998
Sea level changes
About WA Spatial variations in sea level
Instrumental record - temperature
IPCC Assessment Report 4
About WA WA is arguably the first Western economy with measurable economic impact through climate change
About WA Annual inflow to Perth’s surface water sources dropped from 338 GL to 114 GL Source: Water Corporation 2006.
About WA WA is arguably the first Western economy with measurable economic impact through climate change WA SW has already suffered a 20% decline in rainfall in the last 30 years - effects on runoff more serious with 50% drop in steam flow to reservoirs - and a further 20% reduction predicted, and this is thought to have already started at the end of the 1990s. Value of lost income in water sales in dams is estimated at $1 billion in WA through water restrictions and additions to infrastructure (WaterCorp) - and almost another billion with Desal II.
About WA A warming of 1.0°C is sufficient to move climate belts about 150 km south - thus a regional change of temperature of 2 °C is likely to have a serious impact on most life forms, and on most ecosystems and agricultural areas. Changes by 2040
About WA With global warming and drying of the south coast in WA, areas with temperature increases > 2° C combined with a decline in rainfall consistently below 400 mm will lead to the loss of many species of Proteaceae in WA's SW - including the iconic Banksia and Dryandra, - will die out. As will the animals that live on them.
About WA Climate is a key determinant of agriculture and changes in climate will impact on all agriculture - both crops and livestock. Rising temperatures will cause a shift in budburst, shorter growing seasons, earlier harvest dates, lower crop quality. Wheat growing areas in SW WA seriously impacted and northern wheatbelt likely to disappear while production in the remainder greatly reduced, wiping out most of an industry worth more than $2 billion.
About WA Tree crops are particularly sensitive because of longer lead times to reach production. Changes to stone fruit also be impacted as fruit production requires chilling to create bud set. Dairy and beef cattle industry will face decreased pasture production. Honey industry will face impact as native ecosystems and agricultural systems change, with honey production on the decline.
About WA Climate is a key influence in grape selection. Shifting rainfall patterns and drier conditions will change the way vineyards operate and reduce the wine crop. WA produces around 5% of all Australian wine, but produces about 25% of wine in super-premium and ultra-premium categories. Margaret River climate will be closer to that of Perth, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay will be lost and varieties suited to warmer climates such as shiraz. Swan Valley will no longer be suitable for vines.
About WA Sea levels up 18.5 cm in last century Predictions this will at least triple (more than 48 cm) over the next ninety years. Potential for 40 cm rise by 2040 and 1 metre sea level rise by end of this century - not an extreme estimate - within the bounds of scientifically-based predictions, including latest CSIRO models.
Sea level changes Mandurah at 1m sea level rise Courtesy of WA Sustainable Energy Association
Sea level changes Mandurah at 7m sea level rise Courtesy of WA Sustainable Energy Association
Sea level changes
About WA Coastal freshwater swamps will go saline. Fringing reefs currently a barrier protecting parts of Perth’s coastline will be further submerged offering less protection and allowing bigger waves passage to previously sheltered beaches.
About WA The Indian Ocean has warmed an average 0.6°C since only another 0.4°C is needed for widespread and intense coral bleaching. The largest warming occurred off Northwest WA. Bleaching of coral from higher ocean temperatures will kill parts of the Ningaloo Reef just as the Great Barrier Reef.
About WA Other WA impacts will be the same as around the world Sea level rise and storm surge Temperature – minimum rise faster than maximum Changing rainfall and extreme storm events Health and safety Emergency response function National security Global warming will act as a ‘threat multiplier’ International security
Economic risk of change Sector Level Company Level Products / Technology Litigation Reputation / Brand Political / Regulatory Supply Chain Physical Risk Staff Climate Risk
Greenhouse gas reductions Life cycles Energy consumed in project Energy efficiency of materials Transport Construction Energy consumed by users post project Businesses, the community, governments, our society needs to get ready for climate change and adapt to avoid physical impacts on the whole life cycle of what we do including supply chains and infrastructure.
Portfolio of technology options Improved end-use efficiency Higher efficiency combustion technologies Fuel switching New automotive technologies Decentralized power generation Affordable renewable technologies Wind Solar thermal Solar photovoltaic Geothermal Tidal and waves Capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide from power plants or the atmosphere Source: Graeme Pearman - GP Consulting
All technologies have uncertainties Cost Cost now and when mainstream Technical feasibility Proven versus speculative Capacity to meet demands on time Can it deliver significant energy on time Capacity to deliver emissions reductions on time Can it reduce emissions significantly in time? Is it acceptable Will the community accept? Permanency of emissions reductions? Sequestration versus efficiency Source: Graeme Pearman - GP Consulting
To market, to market Carbon emissions trading markets will be part of the inevitable response to attempting to slow global warming and carbon will become the single largest traded commodity in the world. The price of carbon will impact on energy production and will make a range of different renewable energy projects immediately commercially viable. The future of energy in Australia and for the globe is an array of sustainable energy solutions incorporating low or zero emissions energy generation in whatever form that ultimately proves most economically competitive.
The latest news
Impact of warming Past global warmings tell us what to expect from future climates and help us get ready.
Impact of warming Past global warmings tell us what to expect from future climates and help us get ready. The evidence is overwhelming – human-induced climate change is real. Consequences will be felt by all - we all must act now.
The inconvenient truth - time has run out for solutions that are simply convenient. Dr Ray Wills Manager, Sustainability Services, SMEC Chair, WA Sustainable Energy Association Adjunct Senior Research Fellow School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The University of Western Australia