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The low-carbon, energy-efficient world: opportunities blossoming for us in the US Vince Gutschick Biology, NMSU (Emeritus) Global Change Consulting Consortium,

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Presentation on theme: "The low-carbon, energy-efficient world: opportunities blossoming for us in the US Vince Gutschick Biology, NMSU (Emeritus) Global Change Consulting Consortium,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The low-carbon, energy-efficient world: opportunities blossoming for us in the US Vince Gutschick Biology, NMSU (Emeritus) Global Change Consulting Consortium, Inc. What’s the hurry? Was it our fault? Who’s hurrying? (and who might want your skills and enthusiasm) What’s the solution? Which are the most promising methods? Should we/ how do we help other nations ? Why should we invest in it? The necessary step, on population

2 New lifestyles and new technologies to avert more global warming: what’s the hurry? It’s getting hotter June, 2003: 15,000 excess deaths in France alone from heat wave

3 Why hurry? Rainfall distribution is changing…and becoming more extreme …which may lead to more frequent droughts, and megadroughts, and wildfires

4 Why hurry? Biogeographic zones are moving, and so are crop zones

5 Why hurry? Novel climates (no-analog climates) are coming Can we deal with them? Can our crops? native species? …

6 Why hurry? New climates  new ranges for disease vectors Washington, DC used to be a malarial swamp in reality, not just figuratively. Last endemic malaria case in US: Farmington, NM, Window screens: no longer enough Dengue fever is at the border of New Mexico already Guess who’s coming? emerging diseases

7 Why hurry? Loss of all coral reefs (direct effect of CO 2 )

8 Why hurry? Sea level rise…in the long term What’s needed already…will have to be multiplied manyfold Ice caps are melting faster than originally predicted, from “unplugging”

9 Why hurry? There are some winners, and some losers? How much will you bet which one you are? China’s wheat yield up, from direct effect of longer growing season… until floral abortion sets in from extreme summer temperatures, and ??

10 Was it our fault? Radiative forcings from greenhouse gases are the major cause of the observed warming …and CO2 tracks global temperature. We’ve made it the leader this time

11 Was it our fault? We put the CO 2 there When I was born, CO2 was at 300 ppm, 20 ppm above the pre-Industrial value; now it’s at 380 ppm, 100 ppm above the base

12 OK, we did it. Now what?

13 Who’s hurrying? Energy companies – BP, Arco, Chevron, … Power plant developers, private and national - Norway, Algeria, UK, even the US Automakers – Toyota, … Manufacturers – internal operations and products (appliances, …) Investors - Texas Insurance companies Utilities and their associations - EPRI Policymakers at the national, state, and local levels – European Union, CA, KS, … Inventors, developers, venture capitalists The list goes on

14 And for what? Clean energy sources = low emissions of GH gases per unit power In transportation, stationary (electric) power plants, etc. Less energy use per capita Gains in efficiency Lifestyle changes – in-home use, commuting, … Cleaning up greenhouse gases already up there Afforestation? Wood burial? Ocean iron fertilization? Policy – to guide the long term planning

15 BP selects UC Berkeley to lead $500 million energy research consortium with partners Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, University of Illinois 1 February 2007 Who’s hurrying: BP & partners, into biofuels – grow crops, convert them to liquid fuels

16 Who’s hurrying? Electric power plant developers (40% of emissions) Maturing the existing technologies/ lowering their price Advanced nuclear reactors – EPRI and partners Smart electricity transmission grids – EPRI and partners

17 Who’s hurrying? Electric power plant developers Maturing the existing technologies/ lowering their price Advanced nuclear reactors – EPRI and partners Smart electricity transmission grids – EPRI and partners Moving to renewable energy sources Solar heat as an adjunct – La Luz power plant, Kramer Jct., CA using Israeli technology

18 Who’s hurrying? Electric power plant developers Maturing the existing technologies/ lowering their price Advanced nuclear reactors – EPRI and partners Smart electricity transmission grids – EPRI and partners Moving to renewable energy sources Solar heat as an adjunct – La Luz power plant, Kramer Jct., CA using Israeli technology Solar photovoltaic power – BP, Arco, … - Springerville, AZ

19 Electric power plant developers Maturing the existing technologies/ lowering their price Advanced nuclear reactors – EPRI and partners Smart electricity transmission grids – EPRI and partners Moving to renewable energy sources Solar heat as an adjunct – La Luz power plant, Kramer Jct., CA using Israeli technology Solar photovoltaic power – BP, Arco, … Wind power – Many players

20 Electric power plant developers Maturing the existing technologies/ lowering their price Advanced nuclear reactors – EPRI and partners Smart electricity transmission grids – EPRI and partners Moving to renewable energy sources Solar heat as an adjunct – La Luz power plant, Kramer Jct., CA using Israeli technology Solar photovoltaic power – BP, Arco, … Wind power – Many players Making cleaner technologies Capturing CO 2 and putting it Underground – Demo plants in 4 nations In ocean depths – Norway Statoil

21 Who’s hurrying? Automakers: hybrids, and plug-in hybrids Why hybrids are efficient Recapture energy from braking Use smaller engines for lower engine friction, lower weight Why plug-ins are even better Capture emissions at the plant

22 Who’s hurrying? Policymakers and investors Texas investor’s group says no to conventional coal-fired power plant that lacks CO 2 capture

23 Who’s hurrying? Researchers – can we bury carbon that’s already up in the air? Fertilize the southern Pacific Iron-poor, for paucity of nearby deserts Make it (plankton) bloom, and let it sink, taking the C with it

24 Who’s hurrying? Cities Lake thermal cooling, in Toronto

25 Who’s hurrying? Nations, NGOs, development agencies Don’t keep putting the carbon from the land (forests, etc.) up there via deforestation

26 What’s the solution? Example: Are biofuels Technologically feasible? – some methods are in use already Economically feasible? – with subsidies (but lots of other energy sources get subsidies, some quite hidden (U. S. 7 th Fleet for oil, e.g.) - corn use dislocates other sectors of economy (food) Contributory to lower CO 2 emissions? Not usually Ethanol from corn: 1 unit energy in 1.3 units energy out N 2 O emissions in cropping cancel some CO 2 reductions Cellulosic ethanol – better All – lots of land use, water use, habitat loss

27 Should we help other nations with costs, technologies, policies? We in the US put most of the C up there so far (>25%, while we’re less than 5% of the population) The problem is big China and India are developing fast and tasting the fruits of development They have dirty technologies ….and China has coal fires emitting as much CO 2 as all the vehicles in the US

28 Why should we invest in controlling CO2, other greenhouse gases, and the resultant global warming? The huge problems have been highlighted earlier How about social responsibility, if only to one’s children?

29 Why should we invest in controlling CO2, other greenhouse gases, and the resultant global warming? We have to be proactive. We can’t wait. Put the money up front Invoke the principle of insurance Problems can become even more expensive, or insoluble Water problems are already expensive, all over the world Climate-related disasters are the most costly

30 Why should we invest in controlling CO2, other greenhouse gases, and the resultant global warming? We have to be proactive. We can’t wait. Put the money up front Problems can become even more expensive, or insoluble Water problems are already expensive, all over the world Climate-related disasters are the most costly We have reached some tipping points (problems continue to develop even after we stop the ‘forcing’) If we (say, in the US) don’t develop the solutions, others will, and we will pay a lot more A summary statement by EPRI VP at the Dec., 2007 annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union: Invest the tens of billions of $$ to save the trillions of $$

31 The necessary step: stablization or reduction of population No problems in global warming (and other areas) can be solved while population continues to grow Water supplies down, population up  major conflicts Even the more benign energy technologies have unintended impacts Can we do the “demographic transition in time, all over the world? Global warming is a challenge well beyond physical science and engineering alone

32 Thanks for being here and listening What are your views? Where do we go from here?


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