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Climate Change – A Primer on Energy and the Environment Or: See you real soon, I’m off to the Thirty Years War Terry Surles Main Points Overview of greenhouse gas effect Recent scientific findings versus some Flat Earth Society folk

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climate change a primer on energy and the environment

Climate Change – A Primer on Energy and the Environment

Or: See you real soon, I’m off to the Thirty Years War

Terry Surles

main points
Main Points
  • Overview of greenhouse gas effect
  • Recent scientific findings versus some Flat Earth Society folk
  • A significant fraction of the carbon dioxide budget will be used in the next several decades because of energy use
  • Many options are available to manage the carbon dioxide problem
  • There is no silver bullet and none of them will be easy
  • We need to begin to address this problem seriously now
basic physics of global warming developed in the mid 19 th century

Sun

Earth

Atmosphere

Basic Physics of Global Warming Developed in the Mid-19th Century
  • Joseph Fourier
    • Asked the question, why is the temperature of the Earth what it is?
    • Discovered that some of the solar energy incident on the Earth must be radiated back to space, otherwise it would be too hot
    • But atmospheric trapping of some of infrared radiation is required to explain Earth’s temperature, otherwise it would be too cold
the co 2 greenhouse effect was quantified by john tyndall in 1861
The CO2 Greenhouse Effect Was Quantified by John Tyndall in 1861

Measured absorption by CO2 and H2O

The first ratio spectrophotometer

John Tyndall

From J.R.Fleming, Historical Perspectives on Climate Change, 1998

co 2 greenhouse effect
CO2 greenhouse effect

The solar heat possesses. . . the power of crossing an atmosphere; but, when the heat is absorbed by the planet, it is so changed in quality that the rays emanating from the planet cannot get with the same freedom back into space. Thus the atmosphere admits of the entrance of the solar heat, but checks its exit; and the result is a tendency to accumulate heat at the surface of the planet.”

John Tyndall

www.tufts.edu/tci/ClimateChange.html

slide6

The Earth is a Greenhouse Planet

Mars Earth (0.03% CO2) Venus (96% CO2)

  • 63oC 15oC 452oC
  • Average Surface Temperatures

The combination of solar irradiance and greenhouse effect determines the mean surface temperatures of Mars, Earth and Venus. In the absence of the natural greenhouse effect, the average surface temperature of Earth would be -19oC.

Source: C.T. Bowman, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford

earliest predictions of global warming due to burning of fossil fuels were in 1800s
Earliest Predictions of Global Warming Due to Burning of Fossil Fuels Were in 1800s
  • Hogboom calculated emissions from anthropogenic sources
  • Human activity was adding as much CO2 to the atmosphere as natural processes
  • Svante Arrhenius - Gradual accumulation over centuries could double atmospheric CO2 concentrations
the announcement that global warming is here
The Announcement that Global Warming is Here
  • Guy Stewart Calendar
    • 1938 presentation to the Royal Meteorological Society
    • Confirmed that global warming was occurring through statistical analysis of weather data
    • Argued that burning fossil fuels was the cause
    • Provided evidence that CO2 concentrations had increased

“ gaffers (like Milt) who claim that winters were harder when they were growing up are right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for a time is growing warmer.” Time Magazine, 1939.

concerns grow over the 1950 s
Concerns Grow Over the 1950’s

“human activity would increase the global temperature by 1.1 degree C per century.” Climate change could be a serious problem for future generations. Gilbert Plass, 1956

“Human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor could be reproduced in the future.” Roger Revelle, 1957

slide10

Charles David Keeling

Keeling and Whorf (2005)

greenhouse gases
Greenhouse Gases
  • Water is the most important GHG.
  • CO2, CH4, N2O and CFCs are other important GHGs.
  • Sulfur emissions (aerosol precursors have also risen).
  • Surface ocean pH has declined by 0.1 due to dissolving CO2.

Source: IPCC Third Assessment Report, 2001

slide12

(ORNL 1997)

Source: IPCC, “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Cambridge Univ. Press, UK (2001)

predicted future co 2 concentration exceed those inferred for past 25 million years
Predicted future CO2 concentration exceed those inferred for past 25 million years

Even if most fossil-fuel carbon is never released to the atmosphere, we will produce geologically unusual conditions

Paleo-CO2[lines]

(Zachos et al., 2001)

Year 2300 atmospheric CO2 predictions for scenarios involving fossil-fuel plus net biomass release over several centuries [colors](Caldeira and Wickett, 2005)

various modeling results for historical temperatures the infamous inhofe crichton hockey stick
Various Modeling Results for Historical Temperatures: The Infamous Inhofe/Crichton “Hockey Stick”
slide18

Source: IPCC, “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (2001)

the uncertainty is whether the future will be bad or worse
The Uncertainty is whether the Future Will Be Bad or Worse
  • GCM results for California go from relatively dry to extremely wet conditions
the short term carbon cycle
The short-term carbon cycle

(Gruber and Sarmiento, 2002)

slide23

If CO2 emissions continue unabated, we risk commitment to 7000 years of 1 cm per year sea-level rise (on average)

70 m of total sea level rise (over 220 ft)

AP Photo: http://www.bafi.org

extreme weather
Extreme Weather

Continued CO2 emission will lead to warmer sea-surface temperatures

Warmer sea-surface temperatures have been associated with increase hurricane intensity

Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid

Response Team NASA GSFC

atmospheric co 2 and climate change
Atmospheric CO2 and climate change
  • With a 2ºC per century warming, temperature bands in the mid-latitudes march poleward at a rate of 10 m (30 ft) per day

C.D. Friedrich, 1821Solitary Tree, National Gallery, Berlin

If this tree were at the southern end of its range, could it march north fast enough to remain in the cool weather it likes?

it takes many thousands of years to remove excess co 2 from the atmosphere and ocean
It takes many thousands of years to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean

WEATHERINGOF SILICATEROCKS

CO2

CO2

IONS CARRIED BY RIVERS TO OCEAN

ORGANISMS USE IONS TO BUILD CALCIUM CARBONATE SHELLS

Image source unknown

budgets for stabilization
Budgets for Stabilization

Billion tonnes Carbon 2004-2100

ppm

David Hawkins, NRDC

slide29

The Budget is Disappearing

Cumulative budget 2004-2100 (GtC)

Spent

Remaining

Budget for 450 ppm Stabilization

David Hawkins, NRDC

slide30

New Coal Projected or Planned

670

500

221

Incremental new coal capacity by decade

Source: IEA, WEO 2004

new coal plant emissions equal all historic coal co 2
New Coal Plant EmissionsEqual All Historic Coal CO2

27% of remaining budget for 450 ppm

Source: ORNL, CDIAC; IEA, WEO 2004

the need for technology
The Need for Technology
  • Assumed Advances In:
    • Fossil Fuels
    • Energy intensity
    • Nuclear
    • Renewables
  • Gap Technologies:
  • Carbon capture & disposal
    • Adv. fossil
  • H2 and Adv. Transportation
  • Biotechnologies
    • Soils, Bioenergy, Adv. Biological Energy

The “Gap”

Source: J. Edmonds, PNNL

1 billion tonnes carbon per year
1 Billion Tonnes Carbon per Year

Reductions for 550 ppm stabilization ~ 6 GtC/yr

Source: R. Socolow, Stanford H2 Workshop, 2003

carbon management an approach for integrated energy systems r d

Decarbonization

CO2

Btu

<

CO2 atm

CO2 emitted

<

Carbon Management: An Approach for Integrated Energy Systems R&D

Carbon Management

Sequestration

Efficiency

Btu

GSP

<

energy system issues
Energy System Issues
  • Complex system with lack of systems perspective
  • Energy is only, intermittently, a big deal
  • “Rube Goldberg” approach to energy policy
  • Market is unable to address all societally or politically acceptable externalities
  • New technologies to do not address Joe Bagadonitz needs
slide38

Annual Rate of Change in Energy/GDP for the United States

International Energy Agency (IEA) and EIA (Energy Information Agency)

2%

- 3.4%

- 2.7%

Average = - 0.7%

1%

0%

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

-1%

-2%

-3%

-4%

IEA data

EIA data

-5%

-6%

slide39

United States Refrigerator Use v. Time

2000

25

1800

1600

20

1978 Cal Standard

1400

Refrigerator Size

1980 Cal Standard

(cubic feet)

1200

15

Average Energy Use per Unit Sold (kWh per year)

1987 Cal Standard

Refrigerator volume (cubic feet)

1000

800

10

1990 Federal

Standard

600

Energy Use per Unit

1993 Federal

400

5

Standard

2001 Federal

200

Standard

0

0

1947

1949

1951

1953

1955

1957

1959

1961

1963

1965

1967

1969

1971

1973

1975

1977

1979

1981

1983

1985

1987

1989

1991

1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

slide40

United States Refrigerator Use (Actual) and

Estimated Household Standby Use v. Time

2000

Estimated Standby

1800

Power (per house)

1600

1400

Refrigerator Use per

1978 Cal Standard

Unit

1200

1987 Cal Standard

Average Energy Use per Unit Sold (kWh per year)

1000

1980 Cal Standard

800

1990 Federal

600

Standard

400

1993 Federal

Standard

2001 Federal

200

Standard

0

1947

1949

1951

1953

1955

1957

1959

1961

1963

1965

1967

1969

1971

1973

1975

1977

1979

1981

1983

1985

1987

1989

1991

1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

2003

2005

2007

2009

reducing electricity use by 8 leads to additional environmental benefits emissions reduction
Reducing Electricity Use by 8% Leads to Additional Environmental Benefits (Emissions Reduction)
  • 2,044 tons CO
  • 2,307 tons NOx
  • 175 tons SOx
  • 263 tons PM10
  • 600,000 MT CO2
maintaining a balanced technology portfolio
Maintaining a Balanced Technology Portfolio
  • More efficient use of energy is the best way to reduce all pollution
  • Fossil fuels will continue to dominate energy mix – but we need to develop sequestration alternatives
  • Renewables must become more viable, while solving grid stability problems
  • CO2-free (or CHP) distributed energy resources can be viable economic solution
  • Nuclear power must remain an option
mitch says nuclear power cures what ails you but
Mitch says, “Nuclear Power Cures What Ails You,” BUT
  • Cost
  • Waste disposal
  • Health and safety
  • Proliferation
government is a critical part of the equation
Government is a Critical Part of the Equation
  • Financial instruments must be available to overcome “Valley of Death”
  • Laws should promote the insertion of new, environmentally-acceptable technology
    • Level the playing field
  • Should be in the lead for public education and information dissemination
  • Must be linkage between public policies and technology development and scientific findings
public private partnerships needed for solving critical issues facing our electricity system
Public-Private Partnerships Needed For Solving Critical Issues Facing Our Electricity System

Electric System of the Future

Environment Quality

Grid Modernization

Global Climate Change

Energy Security

Environment Quality

None Of These Issues Can Be Resolved Without Partnerships

driving to a sustainable future the e s are linked
Driving to a Sustainable Future:The “E”s are Linked
  • Environment
  • Energy
  • Economics
  • Equity
  • Education