[permaculture] Obama's Science Advisor on soil carbon

Nicholas Roberts nicholas at themediasociety.org
Sat Feb 7 01:43:13 EST 2009


below is a link to a presentation from John Holdren, Ooooooobamas
Science Advisor .... its nice to see soil carbon and agricultural
practices included

Mitigation possibilities include…
(CERTAINLY)
• Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases & soot
from the energy sector
• Reduce deforestation; increase reforestation &
afforestation
• Modify agricultural practices to reduce emissions
of greenhouse gases & build up soil carbon
(CONCEIVABLY)
• "Scrub" greenhouse gases from the atmosphere
technologically
• "Geo-engineering" to create cooling effects
offsetting greenhouse heating


This is the html version of the file
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/uploads/2007_11-6_Forum_(NXPowerLite).pdf.

Google automatically generates html versions of documents as we crawl the web.
Page 1

Global Climate Disruption
What Do We Know? What Should We Do?
John P. Holdren
Teresa & John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy
and Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Harvard University
Director, The Woods Hole Research Center
Chair of the Board, AAAS
Presentation at
The Forum
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University • 6 November 2007

Page 2
Main messages
• "Global warming" is a misnomer because it implies some-
thing gradual, uniform, & benign, none of which is true;
"global climatic disruption" is a more accurate description.
• The disruption & its impacts are growing more rapidly than
was expected; widespread harm is already occurring.
• In this situation society has only 3 options: mitigation,
adaptation, & suffering. We're already doing some of each
& will do more of all three; mix still up for grabs.
• Minimizing suffering will require early & large deflections
from the "business as usual" emissions path.
• There's no panacea; many things must be done. Most
important is putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions.
• The United States must switch from laggard to leader –
and sooner rather than later – if the world is to act in time.
Page 3
What climate is & what climate change means
Climate is the pattern of weather, meaning averages,
extremes, timing, spatial distribution of…
• hot & cold
• cloudy & clear
• humid & dry
• drizzles & downpours
• snowfall, snowpack, & snowmelt
• zephyrs, blizzards, tornadoes, & typhoons
Climate change means altered patterns.
Global average temperature is just an index of the state of
the global climate as expressed in these patterns. Small
changes in the index  big changes in the patterns.
Page 4
What climate change puts at risk
Climate governs (so climate change affects)
• availability of water
• productivity of farms, forests, & fisheries
• prevalence of oppressive heat & humidity
• formation & dispersion of air pollutants
• geography of disease
• damages from storms, floods, droughts, wildfires
• property losses from sea-level rise
• expenditures on engineered environments
• distribution & abundance of species
Page 5
2005 was the hottest year on record;
the 13 hottest all occurred since 1990,
23 out of the 24 hottest since 1980.
J. Hansen et al., PNAS 103: 14288-293 (26 Sept 2006)
Green bars show 95%
confidence intervals
The Earth is getting hotter.
°C
Page 6
We know why:
Human vs natural influences 1750-2005 (watts/m
2
)
Human emissions leading to increases in…
atmospheric carbon dioxide
+ 1.7
methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs
+ 1.0
net ozone (troposphere↑, stratosphere↓)
+ 0.3
absorptive particles (soot)
+ 0.3
reflective particles (sulfates, etc.)
- 0.7
indirect (cloud forming) effect of particles
- 0.7
Human land-use change increasing reflectivity - 0.2
Natural changes in sunlight reaching Earth + 0.1
The warming influence of anthropogenic GHG and absorbing
particles is30x the warming influence of the estimated change
in input from the Sun.
IPCC AR4, WG1 SPM, 2007
Page 7
The key greenhouse-gas
increases were caused by
human activities.
Compared to natural
changes over the past
10,000 years, the spike in
concentrations of CO
2
&
CH
4
in the past 250 years is
extraordinary.
We know humans are
responsible for the CO
2
spike because fossil CO
2
lacks carbon-14, and the
drop in atmospheric C-14
from the fossil-CO
2
additions is measurable.
IPCC AR4, WG1 SPM, 2007
Page 8
Source: Hansen et al.,
Science 308, 1431, 2005.
The smoking gun
for human influence
Top panel shows
best estimates of
human & natural
forcings 1880-2005.
Bottom panel shows
that state-of-the-art
climate model, fed
these forcings,
reproduces almost
perfectly the last
125 years of
observed
temperatures.
Page 9
J. Hansen et al., PNAS 103: 14288-293 ( 2006)
The current heating is not uniform geographically
Average T for 2001-2005 compared to 1951-80, degrees C
Page 10
Year
1965
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
Mean
wind
speed
(m/s)
2.0
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2.7
2.8
Windy
days
w
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
Y = -0.02161X + 45.275
(R
2
= 0.94, p < 0.001)
wind speed
windy days
Y = -0.8022X + 1620.66
(R
2
= 0.95, p < 0.001)
Qi Ye, Tsinghua University, May 2006
Chinese studies conclude that this phenomenon is indeed a result of
greenhouse-gas-driven global climatic change.
Circulation patterns are changing
Weakening of the East Asia Monsoon is an example
Page 11
Evaporation & precipitation are increasing
NCDC, 2000
Effect is not uniform; most places getting wetter, some getting drier.
Page 12
Permafrost thaws when T ≥ 0°C
ACIA 2004
Permafrost is thawing
Average ground temperature near Fairbanks, Alaska, degrees C
Page 13
Arctic summer sea ice is disappearing
September 2005
September 2007
US National Snow & Ice Data Center, 2007
Page 14
Surface melting on Greenland is expanding
1992
2002
2005
Source: ACIA, 2004 and CIRES, 2005
In 1992 scientists measured this
amount of melting in Greenland as
indicated by red areas on the map
Ten years later, in 2002, the
melting was much worse
And in 2005, it accelerated
dramatically yet again
Page 15
1993-2003 ≈ 30 mm = 3.0 mm/yr; compare 1910-1990 = 1.5±0.5 mm/yr.
Sea-level is rising
mm
ACIA, 2004
Page 16
There's a consistent 50-year upward trend in every region except Oceania.
These changes are already causing harm
Major floods per decade,
1950-2000
Page 17
Harm is already occurring
(continued)
Source: Westerling et al. 2006
Western US area burned
Wildfires in the Western USA have increased 4-fold in the last 30 years.
Page 18
Harm is already occurring
(continued)
Total power released by tropical cyclones (green) has
increased along with sea surface temperatures (blue).
Source: Kerry Emanuel, MIT, http://wind.mit.edu/emanuel/anthro2.htm.
SST anomaly (deg C) with arbitrary vertical offset. PDI scaled by
constant.
Kerry Emanuel, MIT, 2006
Page 19
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<-60
-60
-40
-20
0
20
60
40
>60
B
Precipitationtrend
(mm/decade)
Harm is already occurring
(continued)
Weakening East-Asia monsoon has meant less moisture
flow South to North, producing increased flooding in
South, drought in North
Qi Ye, Tsinghua University, May 2006
Page 20
Harm is already occurring
(continued)
The Amazon is drying & burning
Nepstad et al., Forest Ecology & Management 154, 2001
Drying results
from
combined
effects of
altered
regional
atmospheric
circulation
linked to
global climate
change and
local
influence of
deforestation
itself.
Page 21
Harm is already occurring
(concluded)
WHO estimates climate change already causing
≥150,000 premature deaths/yr in 2000
Page 22
Bigger disruption is coming: IPCC 2007 scenarios
Last time T was 2ºC
above 1900 level was
130,000 yr BP, with
sea level 4-6 m higher
than today.
Last time T was 3ºC
above 1900 level was
30 million yr BP, with
sea level 20-30 m
higher than today.
Note: Shaded bands
denote 1 standard
deviation from mean
in ensembles of model
runs
IPCC 2007
EU target ∆T ≤ 2ºC
Page 23
Where we're headed: Heat waves
Extreme heat waves in Europe, already 2X more frequent because of
global warming, will be "normal" in mid-range scenario by 2050
Black lines are
observed
temps,
smoothed &
unsmoothed;
red, blue, &
green lines are
Hadley Centre
simulations w
natural &
anthropogenic
forcing; yellow
is natural only.
Asterisk and
inset show 2003
heat wave that
killed 35,000.
Stott et al., Nature 432: 610-613 (2004)
Page 24
Easterling and Apps, 2005
Crop yields in tropics start dropping at local ∆T ≥ 1-1.5°C
Where we're headed: Agriculture in the tropics
Page 25
Easterling and Apps, 2005
Temperate-zone crop yields start dropping at local ∆T ≥ 1-2°C
Drops are more gradual than
in tropics, but still significant.
Where we're headed: Temperate-zone agriculture
Page 26
Percentage change in average duration of longest dry period, 30-year
average for 2071-2100 compared to that for 1961-1990.
Drought projections for IPCC's A1B scenario
Where we're headed: droughts
Page 27
Where we're headed: Oceans acidifying as well as
warming
pH history and "business as usual" projection
Red line is global annual
average; blue lines show
ocean-to-ocean and
seasonal variation.
Surface ocean pH has already
fallen by 0.1 pH unit. Projected
additional changes are likely to
have large impacts on corals and
other ocean organisms that make
skeletons/ shells from calcium
carbonate.
Page 28
+7 m
+12 m
+70 m
GIS = Greenland Ice
Sheet
WAIS = West
Antarctic Ice Sheet
EAIS = East
Antarctic Ice Sheet
Where we're
headed: sea level
Melting the
Greenland and
Antarctic Ice Sheets
would raise sea level
up to 70 meters.
This would probably
take 1000s of years,
but rates of 2-5 m
per century are
possible.
Dr. Richard Alley, 2005
Page 29
Courtesy Jeffrey Bielicki, Kennedy School of Government
Page 30
Facing the dangers from climate change…
…there are only three options:
• Mitigation, meaning measures to reduce the pace
& magnitude of the changes in global climate being
caused by human activities.
• Adaptation, meaning measures to reduce the
adverse impacts on human well-being resulting
from the changes in climate that do occur.
• Suffering the adverse impacts that are not avoided
by either mitigation or adaptation.
Page 31
Concerning the three options…
• We're already doing some of each.
• What's up for grabs is the future mix.
• Minimizing the amount of suffering in that mix
can only be achieved by doing a lot of mitigation
and a lot of adaptation.
– Mitigation alone won't work because climate change
is already occurring & can't be stopped quickly.
– Adaptation alone won't work because adaptation gets
costlier & less effective as climate change grows.
– We need enough mitigation to avoid the unmanage-
able, enough adaptation to manage the unavoidable.
Page 32
Mitigation leverage: The sources of GHG
emissions
IPCC WG3, 2007
2004
Page 33
Mitigation possibilities include…
(CERTAINLY)
• Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases & soot
from the energy sector
• Reduce deforestation; increase reforestation &
afforestation
• Modify agricultural practices to reduce emissions
of greenhouse gases & build up soil carbon
(CONCEIVABLY)
• "Scrub" greenhouse gases from the atmosphere
technologically
• "Geo-engineering" to create cooling effects
offsetting greenhouse heating
Page 34
How much mitigation is needed, how soon?
• The UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change of 1992 is "the law of the land" in 191
countries (including the United States).
• It calls for
"stabilization of greenhouse gas
concentrations in the atmosphere at a level
that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic
interference with the climate system".
• But there was no formal consensus in 1992 as
to what constitutes "dangerous anthropogenic
interference" or what level of GHG
concentrations will produce it.
Page 35
How much, how soon?
(continued)
• There's still no "official" consensus, but it's
becoming clear that the current level of interfer-
ence is dangerous.
• Can we avoid catastrophic interference?
– T
avg
would rise 0.6°C more (to 1.4ºC above pre-
industrial) even if concentrations were stabilized today.
– Chance of a tipping point into catastrophic change grows
rapidly for T
avg
more than 2ºC above pre-industrial (IPCC
2007, UNSEG 2007).
• Limiting ∆Tavg to ≤2ºC is the most prudent target
that still might be attainable; as a fallback, 2.5ºC
gives better odds of avoiding catastrophe than 3ºC.
Page 36
Key mitigation realities
• Human CO
2
emissions are the biggest piece of the
problem (50% and growing)
– 3/4 comes from burning coal, oil, & natural gas (80% of
world energy)
– 1/4 comes from deforestation & burning in the tropics
• While 60% of fossil CO
2
still came from industrial-
ized countries in 2006, developing countries will
dominate after 2015.
• Global energy system can't be changed quickly:
$15T is invested in it, w normal turnover40 yrs.
• Deforestation isn't easy to change either: forces
driving it are deeply embedded in the economics of
food, fuel, timber, trade, & development.
Page 37
World Energy 1850-2000
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
1850 1875 1900 1925 1950 1975 2000
Year
E
J
/
y
e
a
r
Gas
Oil
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro +
Biomass
The biggest cause: 150+ years of world energy
growth driven by fossil fuels
The 20-fold Increase in world energy use in this period came mostly
from coal (1850-1950) and oil & gas (1950-2000).
Page 38
World energy system is huge, costly, long-lived
Capital investment
is $15 trillion,
turnover time is
40 years.
Page 39
2
nd
biggest cause: 150 years of deforestation
Houghton in Moutinho & Schwartzman, 2005
Page 40
Fossil CO
2
emissions paths: BAU versus
stabilizing CO
2
concentration to limit ∆T
avg
Global Energy Technology Strategy, Battelle, 2007
(3°C)
(2°C)
Page 41
Leverage on fossil-fuel CO
2
emissions
The emissions arise from a 4-fold product…
C = P x GDP / P x E / GDP x C / E
where C = carbon content of emitted CO
2
(kilograms),
and the four contributing factors are
P = population, persons
GDP / P = economic activity per person, $/pers
E / GDP = energy intensity of economic activity, GJ/$
C / E = carbon intensity of energy supply, kg/GJ
For example, in the year 2000, the world figures were…
6.1x10
9
pers x $7400/pers x 0.01 GJ/$ x 14 kgC/GJ
= 6.4x10
12
kgC = 6.4 billion tonnes C
Page 42
Options for reductions
Reduce growth of energy use by…
• reducing population growth
• reducing growth of GDP/person
• reducing E/GDP ratio by
– increasing efficiency of conversion to end-use forms
– increasing technical efficiency of energy end-use
– changing mix of economic activities
Reduce CO
2
/E ratio by…
• substituting natural gas for oil & coal
• replacing fossil fuels with renewables
• replacing fossil fuels with nuclear energy
• capturing & sequestering CO
2
from fossil-fuel use
Page 43
There is no panacea
All of the options have limitations & liabilities.
• limiting population: social & political sensitivities
• slowing GDP/person: economic aspirations
• expanding natural gas: resource size & distribution
• wind: intermittency, siting (NIMBYBANANA
• biofuels: net energy, land, food/ecosystem impacts
• photovoltaics: intermittency, cost, toxics
• nuclear fission: cost, waste, safety, proliferation
• nuclear fusion: doesn't work yet
• CO
2
capture/sequestration: cost, scale, complexity
• end-use efficiency: education, other barriers
Note: H
2
is not a stand-alone option; one has to make it.
Page 44
Big problem & lack of panacea mean…
• We'll need a portfolio of approaches
– Not just one or two, but many;
– although not necessarily everything on the menu, as
developing the better options to their full potential may
allow foregoing some that prove very costly or risky.
• We need increased research & development on
all of the options to try to
– improve their performance,
– lower their costs, and
– reduce their adverse side effects,
so that the future menu can be better than
today's.
Page 45
Good & bad news re mitigation
• G: The cheapest, fastest, cleanest, surest source of
emissions reductions is to increase the efficiency of energy
use in buildings, industry, and transport.
• G: Many such approaches are "win-win": their co-benefits
in saved energy, increased energy security, reduced
conventional pollution, etc., are more than worth their costs.
• G: Some supply-side mitigation options (wind, some bio-
fuels) are also "win-win", as are many adaptation options.
• B: The "win-win" approaches will not be enough. Adequate
mitigation will require putting a price on emissions of GHG
(via emissions tax or tradable emissions permits).
Page 46
Supply curve for GHG abatement in 2030
McKinsey, 2007
Page 47
The challenge of scale
Stabilizing at 500 ppmv CO
2
-e requires reducing
global CO
2
emissions by7 GtC/yr in 2050
compared to BAU. Avoiding 1 GtC/yr requires…
• energy use in buildings cut 20-25% below BAU in
2050, or
• fuel economy of 2 billion cars increased from 30 to
60 mpg, or
• carbon capture & storage for 800 1-GWe coal-
burning power plants, or
• 700 1-GWe nuclear plants replacing coal plants, or
• 1 million 2-MWe(peak) wind turbines replacing coal
power plants.
Socolow & Pacala, 2004
Page 48
Some mitigation-policy realities
• In applying the costlier solutions, the industrialized nations
must lead – going first, paying more of the up-front costs,
offering assistance to developing countries.
This is a matter of historical responsibility, capacity, equity,
and international law (the UNFCCC).
• Developing countries will need to be compensated for
reducing/avoiding deforestation.
• Without a formal & binding global agreement on the alloca-
tion of emissions in the post-Kyoto period, the needed
global reductions will not be achieved.
• The best basis for such an agreement in the short term is
probably reductions in emission intensity (GHG/GDP); in
the longer run, the only politically acceptable basis will be
equal per-capita emissions rights.
Page 49
Economics of mitigation
• Current global CO
2
emission rate from fossil fuels +
deforestation ≈ 9-10 billion tonnes of C per year.
Paying $100/tC to avoid half of it would be $0.5
trillion/year, about 1% of the Global World Product
(much of it a transfer, not money down a black hole).
• World spends 2.5% of GWP on defense; USA spends
5% of GDP on defense, 2% on environmental protection.
• More sophisticated analyses of economic impact of
mitigation to stabilize at 550 ppmv CO
2
e  1
loss (range 0.5-2%) in 2100 (Stern review); mid-range
IPCC 2007 estimates are 0.5% GWP loss in 2030.
Page 50
Adaptation possibilities include…
• Changing cropping patterns
• Developing heat-, drought-, and salt-resistant
crop varieties
• Strengthening public-health & environmental-
engineering defenses against tropical diseases
• Building new water projects for flood control &
drought management
• Building dikes and storm-surge barriers against
sea-level rise
• Avoiding further development on flood plains &
near sea level
Many of these are "win-win".
Page 51
The most important next steps
• Accelerate "win-win" mitigation and adaptation
measures; integrate adaptation with development
• Put a price on GHG emissions so marketplace can
work to find cheapest reductions
• Pursue a new global framework for mitigation and
adaptation in the post-Kyoto period
• Sharply increase investments in energy-technology
research, development, demonstration
• Expand international cooperation on deploying
advanced energy technologies
The United States must lead!
Page 52
Some references
John P. Holdren, "The energy innovation imperative",
Innovations: Technology/ Globalization/Governance,
Vol. 1, No. 2, Spring 2006
http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/In
novations_The_Imperative_6_06.pdf
UN Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change &
Sustainable Development, Confronting Climate
Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing
the Unavoidable, United Nations Foundation, 2007
http://www.unfoundation.org/SEG/
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate
Change 2007 http://www.ipcc.ch/
KSG Belfer Center, Energy Technology Innovation Policy
website: http://www.belfercenter.org/energy/
Page 53
Supplementary materials
Page 54
What's happening reverses a long cooling trend
National Research Council, 2006
"Proxy" temperature reconstructions + 125-yr thermometer record
T leveled off 1600, started to rise after 1700 & more sharply after 1800.
Page 55
Computer models match observed ∆T on all continents
Black lines are decadally averaged observations. Blue bands are
computer models with
natural forcings only. Pink bands are computer models with human +
natural forcings.
IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM, 2007
Page 56
Observations = Vostok ΔT/2.
Calculated temperature = Forcing x 0.75°C /W/m
2
The same computer models capture the essentials
of long-term climate change from natural causes.
Observations are Antarctic temperature anomaly (derived from ice-core δD)
divided by 2 to give global-average T change. Calculated T is based on known
forcings assuming sensitivity of 0.75°C per W/m
2
. From J. Hansen 2005.
1000s of years before the present
Page 57
Fossil-fuel dominance in detail
World
USA China
Primary Energy (exajoules)
514 106 80
of which… Oil
34% 40% 18%
Natural Gas
21% 24% 2%
Coal
26% 25% 62%
Nuclear Energy
6% 8% 0.6%
Hydropower
2% 1% 2%
Biomass and Other
11% 3% 15%
In 2005, fossil fuels were 81% of world energy, 88% in
USA, 82% in China.
2005
Page 58
"Leadership" in emissions shifting to LDCs
Page 59
Capturing CO
2
from power plants will be costly, but concen-
trations can't be stabilized soon enough unless we do it.
Courtesy David Hawkins, Rob Socolow, & Scientific American
All CO
2
emissions
from 1750 to 2002
Lifetime CO
2
emissions from
power plants built 2003-2030
Page 60
The impending US political tipping point
• Drumbeat of climate science about pace & impacts
• People's everyday experience (and news reports) of
floods, droughts, heat, fires; Katrina
• Changing corporate attitudes & publicity: BP, Shell, GE,
Dupont, Duke Energy, Exelon, Alcoa, PG&E…
• Shifting position of labor & religious communities
• Bipartisan, multi-sectoral consensus on policy reflected in
high-profile US reports (e.g., Energy Futures Coalition,
National Commission on Energy Policy)
• 2005 Sense of Senate resolution
• 2006 elections  Congress changes hands
• Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth", Oscar, Nobel Prize
• 2007 IPCC, UNSEG reports underscore science, urgency
• Climate policies embraced by cities (300) & states (30)
Page 61
What about China?
• China is the world's largest coal burner & now the 1
st
or 2
nd
largest emitter of GHG overall.
• Expectations have been that China would not sacrifice
economic growth to reduce GHG emissions.
• Prospect that China, India, Brazil, and other large
developing countries wouldn't participate has been the
nightmare of architects of a global climate framework.
• This has recently been changing in China (and India)
• Chinese leaders now recognize that climate change is
already harming China, leading to…
– sharp changes in rhetoric about the climate issue;
– increased impetus behind actions to raise vehicle fuel
efficiency;
– potential for switch to carbon-capture ready coal technologies.

--
Nicholas Roberts
[im] skype:niccolor



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