M Trexler The Climatographers Dilemma 201004

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A refreshingly pragmatic view on the challenge of confronting Climate change by Mark Trexler, Director, Climate Markets and Strategies at Det Norske Veritas. After reviewing it, be sure to take share your thoughts by completing the survey he developed at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KWG7JXB.

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M Trexler The Climatographers Dilemma 201004

  1. 1. In my LinkedIn profile I define “climatography” as the science of mapping how to get from “here to there” in successfully tackling climate change. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of us know how to get there. This presentation argues that we stand a better chance of success by accepting this fact, and deploying new strategies and tools in the fight. The Climatographer’s Dilemma: Not Knowing How to Get From Here to There Dr. Mark C. Trexler (mark.trexler@dnv.com) Director, Climate Markets and Strategies 25 February 2010
  2. 2. A Problem Well Stated is a Problem Half-Solved Charles Kettering February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. Appropriately framing the climate change problem is certainly crucial, and I don’t think we’re there today. A Problem Well Stated is a Problem Half-Solved Charles Kettering February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. The Climate Policy End Game February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. The Climate Policy End Game I think it’s safe to say that any response to climate change will be defined by: 1) a carbon price that changes behaviors, 2) radical technology innovation that changes costs, and/or 3) adaptation that picks up the pieces. #1 and/or #2 have to be the end game of climate policy. #3 is inevitable. February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. Today’s Climate Change Toolbox February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 6
  7. 7. Today’s climate change toolbox is relatively simple, and is dominated by efforts to Today’s Climate Change Toolbox implement legislation at several levels, and incentives in key areas like energy efficiency and renewables February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 7
  8. 8. But Climate Change is Different February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 8
  9. 9. I would argue that the challenges listed below make climate change But Climate Change is Different dramatically unlike any other environmental problem we have faced. It is almost impossible to imagine a problem our economic and political systems are less suited to addressing. Well understood problems with risk and scientific literacy at the level of individuals (voters) compound the problem. February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 9
  10. 10. Which Creates a Problem There’s a great (copyrighted) Sidney Harris cartoon showing a complicated mathematical formula on a blackboard, with “insert miracle here” as step two. And one of the professors is saying “I think you need to focus on step two!” I don’t think its an overstatement to say that successfully overcoming the climate change problem as characterized in the prior slide would be a miracle by almost any definition. The notion of a miracle also helps illustrate my argument that we don’t know how to get from here to there when it comes to climate change. February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 10
  11. 11. Charting the Miracle February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 11
  12. 12. Charting the Miracle The magnitude of the miracle that’s required can be graphically illustrated, although any such graph doesn’t do justice to the challenges associated with actually changing global GHG emissions trajectories to the required degree (pun intended). February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 12
  13. 13. Miracle Solving 101 Source: istockphoto.com February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 13
  14. 14. Miracle Solving 101 Going back to the idea of “climatography,” and combining it with the challenges discussed in slide 5, what we need to do to get “from here to there” is to wend our way through a particularly complicated economic, political, and behavioral maze. As with any complicated maze, you don’t know before hand how exactly you’re going to get to the finish line, or if you’ll succeed at all. Source: istockphoto.com February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 14
  15. 15. Climate Change as a Technology Challenge Source: Socolow’s Wedges February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 15
  16. 16. It is very easy to characterize climate change as a technology challenge, and Climate Change as a Technology Challenge technology will be key if climate change is successfully addressed. But if problem- solving were as simple as pointing to technologies that “could” solve the problem, the world would face far fewer problems than it does today. Source: Socolow’s Wedges February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 16
  17. 17. Climate Change as a Very Large Puzzle Source: istockphoto.com February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 17
  18. 18. Climate Change as a Very Large Puzzle Complementing the notion of a complicated maze, I think an effective way to think about climate change mitigation is as a complicated jigsaw puzzle. Without scientific literacy we are unlikely to see the needed policy? Without a carbon price, can we get the needed technology innovation? There are lots of pieces in the climate change Source: istockphoto.com jigsaw puzzle. February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 18
  19. 19. We Need a Bigger Climate Toolbox February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 19
  20. 20. We Need a Bigger Climate Toolbox Befitting the complexity of the climate change problem, and the absence of any silver bullet solutions, the expanded toolbox illustrated here suggests that we have a lot more options at our disposal than an exclusive emphasis on national and international legislation (as important as they might be, and they’re still in this toolbox). Deploying a wider variety of tools might result in outcomes and synergies that we simply can’t anticipate today. Aggressively deploying this diversity of tools might show us the way to successfully addressing climate change. It might even be easier than we have any right to expect (if we can incentivize radical technology innovation for example). February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 20
  21. 21. With the Right Tools, What Might Happen? Source: istockphoto.com February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 21
  22. 22. With the Right Tools, What Might Happen? Many of the tools shown in the prior slide may strike observers as indirect, or as likely taking too long to have an effect. “We don’t have time for this” is a common response to the point I’m trying to make about reframing the climate change problem. But even though the tools in today’s climate change toolbox (slide 4) seem a lot more direct and faster-acting, are they really? Kyoto was 13 years ago. Where are we today? Source: istockphoto.com February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 22
  23. 23. The Real Path to Climate Change Mitigation? © Rube Goldberg Inc. February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 23
  24. 24. The Real Path to Climate Change Mitigation? Another way to re-frame the climate change problem is to get away from the focus on “straight line” solutions that dominate today’s climate change toolbox. Any successful climate change effort is likely to look much more like a Rube Goldberg machine than a straight line. If we can accept this fact, it can free us up to be much more innovative in our approaches to tackling climate change. Specifically, let’s start looking for ways to deploy the many tools in the expanded climate change toolbox, and see how quickly synergies start to emerge. © Rube Goldberg Inc. February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 24
  25. 25. Again and again, the impossible problem is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made. Robert Shuller February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 25
  26. 26. I think this is a great metaphor for climate change. But don’t we already understand that addressing climate change requires tough decisions to be made? The problem is that we appear fundamentally unwilling to make those decisions, and that’s why climate change may be the impossible problem. But since we can’t give up, let’s at least increase the odds of success by thinking outside the box. Again and again, the impossible problem is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made. Robert Shuller February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 26
  27. 27. Key Presentation Issues The Nature of the Today’s Climate Climate Policy End Game Change Toolbox Climate Change as a The Expanded Climate Different Problem Change Toolbox Climate Change Policy A Climate Solution as a As a Jigsaw Puzzle Rube Goldberg Machine February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 27
  28. 28. These boxes reflect key points that underpin the case I’m trying to make in this Key Presentation Issues presentation. Your feedback on these points, and on the presentation itself, would be very welcome. You can reach me through LinkedIn or at mark.trexler@dnv.com The Nature of the Today’s Climate Climate Policy End Game Change Toolbox Climate Change as a The Expanded Climate Different Problem Change Toolbox Climate Change Policy A Climate Solution as a As a Jigsaw Puzzle Rube Goldberg Machine February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 28
  29. 29. Safeguarding life, property and the environment www.dnv.com February 25, 2010 © Det Norske Veritas AS. All rights reserved. 29

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