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Climate Science How serious is the problem?

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  1. Climate Science How serious is the problem? Bruce M. Everett July 15, 2014

  2. The argument as portrayed in the press Yes Do something Is climate change real? Do nothing No

  3. The real argument is much more complicated Has the Earth warmed? Yes. (Some debate about numbers.)

  4. The real argument is much more complicated Are humans responsible? Has the Earth warmed? Yes. (Not sure how much.) Yes. (Some debate about numbers.)

  5. President Obama’s Tweet (May 16, 2013)

  6. Professor Cook’s Study • Examined abstracts of 14,000 papers on climate. • Did not interview authors. • Selected 2,000 which addressed climate change. • Concluded that 97% either: • State that humans are the primary cause of observed global warming, or • State or imply that humans caused some of the observed warming, but don’t say how much. http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

  7. President Obama’s Tweet (May 16, 2013) and, to some degree, ˆ

  8. The real argument is much more complicated Can we predict future warming? Are humans responsible? No! Climate system is too complex. Scientific understanding is insufficient. Has the Earth warmed? Yes. (Not sure how much.) Yes. (Some debate about numbers.)

  9. Complex Systems – Bird Swarms Can we predict their behavior?

  10. How do we know whether we understand the problem? Science!

  11. Nobel Laureate Richard P. Feynman on the Scientific Method Guess Compute the consequences of the guess Compare the computation results to nature

  12. Nobel Laureate Richard P. Feynman on the Scientific Method “It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.”

  13. The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.. Thomas L. Friedman New York Times Columnist

  14. The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.. Thomas L. Friedman New York Times Columnist

  15. Palmer Drought Severity Index for US Wet Dry Source: NOAA

  16. The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and themost violent storms more numerous.. Thomas L. Friedman New York Times Columnist

  17. # of Category 5 Hurricanes since 1949 There have been no Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic since September 6, 2007. Trend Source: Unisys hurricane data base

  18. Climate computer models cannot yet make any meaningful predictions. The atmosphere has not experienced any net warming in the last 15 years.

  19. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a committee. Committees do politics, not science.

  20. Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. Richard Feynman

  21. We do not know if climate change is: Catastrophic Unimportant Beneficial

  22. How much does carbon mitigation cost? Bruce M. Everett July 15, 2014

  23. Carbon mitigation Difficult and painful Harder and more expensive $/tonne of CO2 Easy and cheap 0 100% CO2 reduction

  24. Carbon mitigation $200 $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  25. Easy steps Plant a tree Negligible impact

  26. Easy steps Compact fluorescent lights 0.4% carbon reduction

  27. Easy steps Change your thermostat 2° 0.07% reduction

  28. Harder steps Hybrid cars ($165/mt) 0.8% reduction

  29. Carbon mitigation $200 Hybrid cars $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  30. Harder steps Nuclear power ($180/mt) Cost twice as much as natural gas Safety? Public acceptance?

  31. Carbon mitigation $200 Nuclear $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  32. Harder steps Onshore wind power ($190/mt) Cost twice as much as natural gas Low utilization Intermittent

  33. Carbon mitigation Onshore wind $200 $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  34. Really painful steps Electric cars ($600/mt) Cost twice as much Poor performance (low range) Not much reduction with today’s grid

  35. Carbon mitigation Electric cars $200 $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  36. Really painful steps Solar ($700/mt) Cost 4-5X as much as natural gas Low utilization Intermittent

  37. Carbon mitigation Solar $200 $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  38. Really painful steps Light rail ($10,000/mt) Huge capital cost Low ridership Some systems save no CO2!

  39. Carbon mitigation Light rail $200 $/tonne of CO2 Really painful $20 Hard Easy 0 100% CO2 reduction

  40. Really painful steps Carbon capture and sequestration (?/mt) Unproven technology Cost and performance unknown

  41. Impact of carbon taxes US current emits ~5 billion metric tons of CO2 annually A $20/mt tax = $100 billion per year $1,000 per household A $200/mt tax = $1 trillion per year $10,000 per household A $500/mttax = $2.5 trillion per year $25,000 per household

  42. Question: How much should we pay to insure against an unknown risk?

  43. Climate Change What should we do? Bruce M. Everett July 15, 2014

  44. Effective policies require: • A clear understanding of the issue • A pathway to a solution

  45. D-Day (June 6, 1944) What does it take to win?

  46. Global CO2 Emissions from Energy1990 = 22 Billion tonnes Rest of the World OECD Europe China US Source: Energy Information Administration

  47. Global CO2 Emissions from Energy2013 = 33 Billion tonnes Rest of the World OECD Europe China US Source: Energy Information Administration

  48. Global CO2 Emissions from Energy2030 = 41 Billion tonnes Rest of the World China OECD Europe US Source: Energy Information Administration

  49. UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proposes: • 40-70% reduction from 2010 levels by 2050 • 1.3% to 3.0% annual reductions

  50. 40% reduction case