Climate & Energy

The technologies needed to beat 450 ppm, Part 1

Examining the IPCC’s ‘portfolio of technologies’

In 2007, the IPCC wrote [PDF] in its Working Group III summary (page 16): The range of stabilization levels assessed can be achieved by deployment of a portfolio of technologies that are currently available and those that are expected to be commercialised in coming decades. This assumes that appropriate and effective incentives are in place for development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of technologies, and for addressing related barriers (high agreement, much evidence). This range of levels includes reaching atmospheric concentrations of 445 to 490 ppm CO2-equivalent, or 400 to 450 ppm of CO2. The first sentence does beg the question, what exactly does "expected to be commercialized" mean? I'll return to that in Part 2. So, what exactly are these climate-saving technologies? You can read about every conceivable one in the full WG III report, "Mitigation of Climate Change." But the summary lists the "Key mitigation technologies and practices" (page 10) in several sectors divided into two groups: those that are "currently commercially available" and those "projected to be commercialized before 2030." I will simply list them all here. In a later post, I'll discuss which ones I believe could deliver the biggest reductions at lowest cost -- my 14-plus "wedges," as it were -- and the political process for achieving them. It is worth seeing them all, I think, to understand exactly how we might stabilize below 450 ppm CO2. Also, one of the technologies is the closest thing we have to the "silver bullet" needed to save the climate, as I will blog on in a few days.

Hunting and fishing groups worried about climate change’s effects on wildlife

Photo: iStockphoto The hook and bullet crowd, traditionally quite a conservative bunch, is worrying more openly about climate change, particularly its forecasted effects on wildlife crucial to their sports. The Wildlife Management Institute, a sportsperson’s …

The Vulcan Project

A high-resolution map of U.S. CO2 emissions

Check out the Vulcan Project out of Purdue University (with funding from NASA and DOE). It’s an attempt to quantify and visually represent U.S. CO2 emissions over time: Here’s a nifty video introduction: (via Dot …

Student charges that textbook downplays climate change

“[S]cience doesn’t know whether we are experiencing a dangerous level of global warming or how bad the greenhouse effect is, if it exists at all,” says a random climate skeptic the widely used 2005 version …

Al Gore at TED

Al Gore addresses the TED conference, March 2008: Pretty intense. You can see how he is consciously attempting to transcend politics — he’s shooting for something bigger now.

Climate change affects — noooooooo! — beer

If dire warnings about the fate of global health and security don’t move you to care about climate change, maybe this will: Climate change could make beer more expensive. (No! Anything but that!) Malting barley …

BP-powered no more

Remember that new environmental blog at The New Republic that was "powered by BP"? Apparently it is no longer thus powered. As gratifying as it is, in a schadenfreudey sort of way, to see that …

Brit's Eye View: Not now, Darling

U.K.’s Labor Party embraces nuclear but is slow to move on the big climate challenge

Ben Tuxworth, communications director at Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. The British press swooned over the visit of Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni to the U.K. late last month. We're suckers for the idea of French romance, particularly mixed with wealth, sophistication, and the sort of impetuosity we "rosbifs" can seldom muster. Apparently, Bruni saw Sarkozy on TV and said to a friend, "I want to have a man with nuclear power." And what Bruni wants, Bruni gets. It's unclear whether Sarkozy knew it was his big machinery that attracted Bruni, but a man who is willing to wear high heels to appear as tall as his glamorous spouse clearly has security issues high on his agenda. As it happens, the new entente cordiale between Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is based, amongst other things, on a shared passion for the atom. Together, Britain and France will supply the world with nuclear technology, simultaneously saving the industry, creating thousands of jobs, and sorting our energy security issues. I've already explored why these arguments don't really stack up. The Labor Party's newfound zeal for nuclear power -- and Business Secretary John Hutton's recent speech in which he said expanded nuclear power could be akin to North Sea oil for the British economy -- make these interesting times to ask what the legacy of New Labor will be for the environment. It still seems as if, at some fundamental level, they just don't get it.

Ford lays out how it will reduce fleet emissions

Ford Motor Co. has laid out specific plans for reducing the greenhouse-gas emissions of its vehicle fleet at least 30 percent by 2020. The announcement comes in response to shareholder resolutions filed by members of …

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