Mario Molina: Energy and Climate Change


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Nobel Laureate Mario Molina spoke about the impact of energy on climate change at the Joint Public Advisory Committee's public forum on Greening North America's Energy Economy in Calgary on 24 April 2013. More at:

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Mario Molina: Energy and Climate Change

  1. 1. Energy and Climate ChangeMario MolinaUniversity of California, San DiegoMario Molina Center for Strategic Studies inEnergy and the EnvironmentCommission for EnvironmentalCooperation of North AmericaJoint Public Advisory CommitteeGreening North America’s Energy EconomyCalgary, AlbertaApril 24, 2013
  2. 2. 77% 77%71%57% 59%63%67%47% 47% 47%36%34%38%42%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012Yes, solid evidence theearth is warmingWarming mostly because ofhuman activityTwo-Thirds Say the Earth is WarmingSource: More Say There Is Solid Evidence of Global Warming, Pew Research Center (2012)
  3. 3. Public Perception of Climate ChangeIs the public convinced?• Media coverage of climate change is not “balanced” and is affectingpublic opinion throughout the worldYES26%Of people believeclimate change ishappening andhumans arecausing itNO74%Of people are notconvinced ordeny humans arecausing climatechangeSource: BBC CLIMATE CHANGE POLL – February 2010
  4. 4. Media CoverageDoes reporting reflect the consensus?• Media coverage misrepresents scientific understanding of man-made climatechange.• Because of the institutionalized journalistic norm of balanced reporting, UStelevision news coverage has perpetrated an informational bias by significantlydiverging from the consensus view in climate science that humans contribute toclimate change.YES28%Of news coveragedepicts humancontribution towarming assignificantNO72%Of news coverageincludes a skepticviewpoint ordenies man-madewarmingSource: Boykoff M.T. and J.M. Boykoff , Balance as bias: global warming and the US prestige press,Global Environmental Change ,14, 125–136.
  5. 5. Scientific EvidenceAre scientists convinced?YES97%Of climatescientist thinkclimate change issignificantly dueto human activityNO3%Of climate scientistdo not thinkclimate change issignificantly due tohuman activitySources: Anderegg et al, Expert credibility in climate change, PNAS, 107(27), 2010Doran PT and Zimmerman MK, Examining the scientific consensus on climate change,Eos Trans AGU, 90:22–23, 2009.• There’s a consensus of scientists because there’s a consensus of evidence.• Not only is there a vast difference in the number of convinced vs. unconvincedscientists there is also a considerable gap in expertise between the twogroups.
  6. 6. Chemical Composition ofEarth’s Atmosphere
  7. 7. Atmospheric Concentration ofCO2 for the past 10,000 yearsTime before present (years)Source: IPCC, WG1- AR4, IPCC 200710,000 5,000 0Concentration(ppm)3503002501.00Carbondioxide
  8. 8. Global Mean Surface TemperatureReconstructions
  9. 9. Floods 1950-2009Source:
  10. 10. Major Wild Fires 1950-2009Source:
  11. 11. YALE ENVIRONMENT 36002 JUN 2011: OPINIONForum: Is Extreme WeatherLinked to Global Warming?In the past year, the world has seen a large number of extremeweather events, from the Russian heat wave last summer, to thesevere flooding in Pakistan, to the recent tornadoes in the U.S. Ina Yale Environment 360 forum, a panel of experts weighs in onwhether the wild weather may be tied to increasing globaltemperatures.
  12. 12. Temperature Anomaly Distribution inthe North Hemisphere• Statistical analysis of measuredtemperatures from 1951 to 20111σ = “Hot” summer2σ = “Very Hot” summer3σ = “Extremely Hot” summer• The probability of an extreme heatwave has increase by about 40 times inthe last 50 years.Frequency of occurrence of local temperature anomalies in units of thelocal standard deviation.Recent examples of summer temperatureanomalies exceeding +3σ include the heatwave and drought in Oklahoma, Texas andMexico in 2011.Extremely Hot SummerProbabilityTemperature anomalies (σ)Source: J. Hansen et al., Public Perception of Climate Change and the New Climate Dice, 2012
  13. 13. The short answer isyes.A warming climate puts moreenergy into storms, including hurricanes, loading them with morerainfall and the stronger winds pushing more of a storm surge.Overall, climate change has stacked the deck so that this kind ofevent happens more frequently.Source: Robert Corell, Jeff Masters and Kevin TrenberthPolitico, November 5, 2012.Did climate change contribute toHurricane Sandy?
  14. 14. The Conference of the Parties takes note ofthe Copenhagen Accordof 18 December 2009.• The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and otherheads … have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which isoperational immediately.• We underline that climate change is one of the greatestchallenges of our time.• We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required… to reduce global emissions to hold the increase inglobal temperature below 2 degrees Celsius …The Copenhagen Accord
  15. 15. Stabilization Wedges: Solving the ClimateProblem for the Next 50 Years withCurrent TechnologiesS. Pacala & R. Socolow• Improved fuel economy• More efficient buildings• Improved power plant efficiency• Replacing natural gas for coal• Carbon capture and storage• Nuclear fission• Wind electricity• Solar energy• Biofuels• Forest management
  16. 16. 450 ppm Pathway: < 2 oC Temperature IncreaseSource: McKinsey Global GHG Abatement Cost Curve v2.0; Den Elzen, M.G.J. and M. Meinshausen, 2006: Multi-gas emission pathways for meeting the EU 2°C climate target.; IEA World Economic Outlook 2007; ProjectCatalyst analysis.Global Greenhouse Gas emissions5060701990 2000 2010 2020 2030040526170Referencepathway-50%-28%445060701990 2000 2010 2020 2030040 44 35 450ppmpathwayGtCO2e/year
  17. 17. New generation of nuclearpower plants
  18. 18. CO2 Capture andGeological StorageThe IPCC and MIT haveconcluded that using fossilfuels is sustainable ifcarbon dioxide capture andgeological storagetechnologies, which arecurrently beingdeveloped, areimplemented.IPCCThird Report on Mitigation, 2007Massachusetts Institute ofTechnologyThe Future of Coal. Options for acarbon-constrained world. Aninterdisciplinary MIT study. 2007Ilustration: IPCC. Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. 2005
  19. 19. Actions Needed To AddressClimate Change• Put a price on carbon emissions so marketplacecan work to find cheapest reductions, through anew international agreement in the post-Kyotoperiod• Increase investments in energy-technologyresearch, development and demonstration• Expand international cooperation on deployingadvanced energy technologies• Accelerate “win-win” measures
  20. 20. Value of a Climate PolicyUnder Uncertaintyrprinn@mit.eduA NEW WHEELwith lower oddsof EXTREMESWhat would webuy with STABILIZATIONof CO2 at 550 ppm?NO POLICYSource:MIT2009
  21. 21. GHG Abatement Cost CurvesAbatement cost€ / tCO2eAbatement potentialGtCO2e /yearMeasures with costEfficiency measures10 15 20 25 30 35 38Transportation SectorBuilding SectorAgricultureFirst Generation BiofuelsMini Hydroelectric PowerPlantsGeothermal Energy2nd Generation BiofuelsNuclear EnergySolar EnergyWind EnergyReforestationTransport (Hybrid)Carbon Capture & StorageMassive Photovoltaic SystemsImprovement Processes for AgricultureSource: McKinsey, 2009
  22. 22. • Recent OECD data reveals a system offossil fuel subsidies and taxes that ishorribly overcomplicated and illogical.• The principal conclusion is thatgovernment support for oil, coal andnatural gas is still increasing acrossthe developed world.• The 2011 total value of fossil fuelsubsidies for the OECD countriesamounted to more than USD$80billion, 3/4 being for petroleum.Fossil fuel subsidies and taxbreaks are still rising
  23. 23. Human Population GrowthSource: United Nations Population Division, World Urbanization Prospects, 2010.(2011)(1930)(1960)(1975)(2000)(1800)(1987)7 billion