Is Climate Change, a modern tragedy of the commons?
Is Climate Change, a modern tragedy of the commons? Looking forward for a Low Carbon Society. Gio Conte Introduction to Sustainability University of Illinois, April 2013
The Tragedy of the commons• Have we reached the earth´s carrying capacity?• Are the populations at risk, especially in the least developed countries and underdeveloped counties in developed countries will be the next dead toll that will save the earth´s ecosystems from extinction?• Is the climate change an illness, a tragedy of the commons or a cure from mankind environmental mishandling?• How the climate change´s impacts will deteriorate sustainability measurement in the future?• In the history of humanity there had been several social and environmental tragedies that help us to go back to a more conscience & innovative society.• We need to be in a tragedy to start implementing solutions, and maybe, climate change is the tragedy we need to implement change in our lifestyle and our awareness of the importance of sustainable use of resources, the emerging of renewable energy as mainstream energy and the ecosystems services and carbon tax as a new ways to pay for the use of natural resources;• Energy efficiency, Low Carbon Economies, as the way to move the carrying capacity of the earth on the verge of 10 billion people by the 2100.
Climate Change Science in history1. The history of the scientific discovery of climate change began in the early 19th century when ice ages and other natural changes in palioclimate were first suspected and the natural greenhouse effect first identified.2. In the late 19th century, scientists first argued that human emissions of greenhouse gases could change the climate, but the calculations were disputed. Many other theories of climate change were advanced, involving forces from volcanism to solar variation.3. In the 1960s, the warming effect of carbon dioxide gas became increasingly convincing, although some scientists also pointed out that human activities, in the form of atmospheric aerosols (e.g., "pollution"), could have cooling effects as well.4. During the 1970s, scientific opinion increasingly favored the warming viewpoint.5. By the 1990s, as a result of improving fidelity of computer models and observational work confirming the Milankovich¹ Theory of the ice ages, a consensus position formed: greenhouse gases were deeply involved in most climate changes, and human emissions were bringing serious global warming.6. Since then most work has been oriented toward producing reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC²).Notes:¹Milankovitch theory describes the collective effects of changes in the earth´s movements upon itsclimate.²The IPCC provides an internationally accepted authority on climate change, producing reportswhich have the agreement of all the leading climate scientists and the consensus of every one of theparticipating governments. Created in 1998 by the WMO and supported by the UNEP.
Climate Change around the worldUSA Warming in western mountains is very likely to reduce snowpack, bringing more floods in winter and reduced water supplies in summer. Increases in problems with pests, diseases and forest fires are likely. Cities with a history of heat waves are likely to experience many more, with potential health impacts, especially for the elderly. Rising sea levels, severe weather and storm surges, combined with population growth in coastal areas, are very likely to increase economic losses.
EUROPE Nearly all European regions are expected to be negatively affected by some future impacts of climate change. Central and Eastern European countries could face less summer rainfall, causing higher water stress. Health risks due to heat waves are expected to increase. Forest productivity is expected to fall and the frequency of peatland fires to increase. Southern European countries are very likely to see reduced water supplies, lower crop production, more wildfires and health impacts from increased heatwaves. Northern countries are likely to benefit from increased crop yields, forest productivity, and food supplies from the North Atlantic. By 2020, most areas of Europe are likely to see an increased flood risk.
ASIA Glacier melting in the Himalayas is virtually certain to disrupt water supplies within the next 20 to 30 years. Floods and rock avalanches are virtually certain to increase. Heavily-populated coastal regions, including the deltas of rivers such as the Ganges and Mekong, are likely to be at risk of increased flooding. Economic development is likely to be impacted by the combination of climatic change, urbanisation, and rapid economic and population growth. Forecast changes in temperature and rainfall are likely to reduce crop yields overall, increasing the risk of hunger. The presence of lethal diarrhoeal diseases associated with floods and droughts is expected to rise in East, South and Southeast Asia and rises in coastal water temperature could exacerbate cholera in South Asia
Australia & New Zealand Ongoing water shortages, notably in southern and eastern Australia, are likely to get worse by 2030. Ecologically important regions such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National Park are likely to lose a significant part of their wildlife before then, by 2020. Some coastal communities are very likely to see an increased risk of coastal storms and flooding. Temperature rises of 1C-2C are likely to bring benefits to cooler areas, such as New Zealand, in the form of longer growing seasons and reduced energy demand. Greater warming is likely to bring a net negative impact - such as increased risk of drought and fire.
Latin America & Caribbean• Increasing temperatures and decreases in soil water in the eastern Amazon region would lead to replacement of tropical forest by savannah. Species extinctions are likely.• Drier areas are likely to see salinization and desertification of agricultural land, with falling crop yields and livestock productivity reducing food security.• However, soybean yields are likely to increase in temperate zones.• Sea level rise is very likely to bring flooding to low-lying regions such as the coast of El Salvador, Guyana and the Rio de la Plata estuary.• Increasing sea temperatures are likely to impact coral reefs and south-east Pacific fish stocks.• Changes in rainfall patterns and the disappearance of glaciers are projected to significantly affect water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation.
AFRICA Some regions are likely to experience water shortages. Coupled with increasing demand, this is likely to result in large increases in the number of people at risk of water scarcity. It is likely to affect livelihoods, the report by the International Panel on Climate Change says. Projected reductions in the area suitable for growing crops, and in the length of the growing season, are likely to produce an increased risk of hunger. In some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50% by 2020. Rising sea levels threaten large cities. Degradation of coral reefs and mangroves is likely, with impacts on local fisheries and tourism. Rising temperatures, coupled with over-fishing, will decrease the supply of fish from large lakes, with important impacts on food supplies.
Polar Regions Reductions are likely in the thickness and extent of glaciers and ice sheets, and the extent of sea ice and permafrost. The depth of summer permafrost melting is likely to increase. Changes to natural ecosystems are likely to impact migrating birds, mammals and higher predators adversely. Specific ecosystems and habitats are expected to be vulnerable, as climatic barriers to species invasions are lowered. There are virtually certain to be both negative and positive effects on Arctic peoples. Detrimental impacts would include those on infrastructure and traditional indigenous ways of life while beneficial effects would include reduced heating costs and more navigable northern sea routes.
SMALL ISLANDS Sea level rise is likely to worsen floods, storm surges and coastal erosion, with impacts on the socio-economic wellbeing of island communities. Beach erosion and coral bleaching are likely to reduce tourism. There is strong evidence that water resources in small islands are likely to be seriously compromised. Increased invasion by non-native species is likely.
Effects on Resources & EcosystemsWater The supply of water is very likely to increase at higher latitudes and in some wet tropics, including populous areas in east and southeast Asia. It is very likely to decrease over much of the mid-latitudes and dry tropics, which are presently water-stressed areas. Drought-affected areas will likely increase. Instances of extreme rainfall are likely to increase in frequency and intensity, raising the risk of floods. Increases in the frequency and severity of floods and droughts will have implications on sustainable development. Water volumes stored in glaciers and snow cover are very likely to decline, reducing summer and autumn flows in regions where more than one sixth of the world population currently live.
Ecosystems Many ecosystems are likely to be challenged beyond their capacity to adapt over the course of the century by an unprecedented combination of climate change, associated disturbances such as wildfires, and other aspects of modern-day global change. In the second half of this century, ecosystems on land are likely to become a net source of carbon rather than a net absorber. This extra carbon will amplify climate change. Roughly 20-30% of species are likely to be at high risk of irreversible extinction if the global average temperature rises by 1.5-2.5C beyond 1990 levels. For increases in global average temperature exceeding 1.5- 2.5C, there are very likely to be major changes in ecosystems which will adversely effect the environmental goods and services which humans use.
FOOD Crop yields are likely to increase at higher latitudes for global average temperature increases of up to 1-3C (depending on the crop), and then decrease beyond that. This is even after allowing for effects of CO2 fertilization. At lower latitudes, especially the seasonally dry tropics, crop yield potential is likely to decrease for even small global temperature increases, which would increase risk of hunger. Global agricultural production potential is likely to increase with increases in global average temperature up to about 3C, but above this it is very likely to decrease. Increased frequency of droughts and floods would affect local production negatively, especially in subsistence sectors at low latitudes.
Physical water scarcity: More than 75% of river flows are allocated to agriculture, industries or domestic purposes(accounting for recycling of return flows). This definition of scarcity - relating water availability to water demand - impliesthat dry areas are not necessarily water-scarce, eg Mauritania.Approaching physical water scarcity: More than 60% of river flows are allocated. These basins will experience physical waterscarcity in the near future.Economic water scarcity: Water resources are abundant relative to water use, with less than 25% of water from riverswithdrawn for human purposes, but malnutrition exists. These areas could benefit by development of additional blue andgreen water, but human and financial capacity are limiting.Little or no water scarcity: Abundant water resources relative to use. Less than 25% of water from rivers is withdrawn forhuman purposes.
COASTS Coasts are very likely to be exposed to increasing risks due to climate change and sea level rise, and the effect will be exacerbated by increasing human-induced pressures on coastal areas. It is likely that corals will experience a major decline due to increased bleaching and mortality due to rising seawater temperatures. Salt marshes and mangroves will also be negatively affected by sea-level rise. Many millions more people are expected to be flooded every year due to sea-level rise by the 2080s, especially in densely populated and low-lying settlements which already face other challenges such as tropical storms or local coastal subsidence. The numbers affected will be largest in the mega-deltas of Asia, but small islands face the highest relative increase in risk.
INDUSTRY The benefits and costs of climate change for industry, settlement, and society will vary widely by location and scale. Some of the effects in temperate and polar regions will be positive, and others elsewhere will be negative. Generally, a higher degree of warming is more likely to bring negative consequences. The most vulnerable industries, settlements and societies are those in coastal and river flood plains, those whose economies are closely linked with climate-sensitive resources, and those in areas prone to extreme weather events, especially where rapid urbanisation is occurring. Poor communities can be especially vulnerable because they tend to be concentrated in relatively high-risk areas, have more limited coping capacities, and can be more dependent on climate-sensitive resources such as local water and food supplies . Where extreme weather events become more intense, the economic costs of those events will increase, and these increases are likely to be substantial in the areas most directly affected.
HEALTH Projected climate change is likely to affect millions of people, particularly those with low capacity to adapt, through increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders. This will have implications for child growth and development; increased deaths, disease and injury due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts, the altered burden of water- related diseases. The increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground level ozone, and the movement of some infectious disease carriers into new regions. vectors. Climate change is likely to have some mixed effects, such as the expansion and contraction of the range of malaria in different regions. In some places, climate change is likely to bring some benefits to health such as fewer deaths from cold exposure.
The carbon cycle• Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas of concern.• A finite amount of carbon is stored in fossil fuels, the sea, living matter and the atmosphere.• Without human influence, transfers between these stores roughly balance each other – for example, plants absorb carbon as they grow, but release it as they decay.• But when humans cut down trees or burn fossil fuels, they release extra carbon into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect.
Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
Climate Change´s Mitigation programsRenewable Energy Energy efficiency and Renewable Energy, are said to be the ―twin pillars‖ of a sustainable energy policy. Both strategies must be developed concurrently in order to stabilize and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Efficient energy use is essential to slowing the energy demand growth so that rising clean energy supplies can make deep cuts in fossil fuel use. If energy use grows too rapidly, renewable energy development will chase a receding target. Likewise, unless clean energy supplies come online rapidly, slowing demand growth will only begin to reduce total carbon emissions; a reduction in the carbon content of energy sources is also needed. A sustainable energy economy thus requires major commitments to both efficiency and renewables
Energy Efficiency• Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.• For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature. Installing fluorescent lights or natural skylights reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared with using traditional incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights use one-third the energy of incandescent lights and may last 6 to 10 times longer.• Improvements in energy efficiency are most often achieved by adopting a more efficient technology or production process.• There are various motivations to improve energy efficiency.• Reducing energy use reduces energy costs and may result in a financial cost saving to consumers if the energy savings offset any additional costs of implementing an energy efficient technology.• The Vienna Climate Change Talks 2007 Report, under the auspices of the Unites States Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), clearly shows "that energy efficiency can achieve real emission reductions at low cost." 
How to become energy efficiency at any level• Reducing energy use is also seen as a solution to the problem of reducing emissions.• Energy Conservation is broader than energy efficiency in including active efforts to decrease energy consumption, for example through behavioral change, in addition to using energy more efficiently. Examples of conservation without efficiency improvements are heating a room less in winter, using the car less, or enabling energy saving modes on a computer.• As with other definitions, the boundary between efficient energy use and energy conservation can be fuzzy, but both are important in environmental and economic terms. This is especially the case when actions are directed at the saving of fossil fuels. • Energy conservation is a challenge requiring policy programs, technological development and behavioral change to go hand in hand. Many energy intermediary organizations, for example governmental or non-governmental organizations on local, regional, or national level, are working on often publicly funded programs or projects to meet this challenge. • According to the International Energy Agency, improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce the worlds energy needs in 2050 by one third, and help control global emissions of greenhouse gases.• Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy and are high priorities in the sustainable energy hierarchy.• In many countries energy efficiency is also seen to have a national security benefit because it can be used to reduce the level of energy imports from foreign countries and may slow down the rate at which domestic energy resources are depleted.
How about some Geoengineering?• Is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system with the aim of reducing global warming.• The discipline divides broadly into two categories- carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. Carbon dioxide removal addresses a cause of climate change by removing one of the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.• Solar radiation management attempts to offset effects of greenhouse gases by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation.• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) concluded in 2007 that geoengineering options remained largely unproven.• Geoengineering has been proposed as a potential third option for tackling global warming, alongside mitigation and adaptation.• Scientists do not typically suggest geoengineering as an alternative to emissions control, but rather an accompanying strategy.• Reviews of geoengineering techniques have emphasised that they are not substitutes for emission controls and have identified potentially stronger and weaker schemes.• There are no known large-scale geoengineering projects except one conducted outside the scientific mainstream by Russ George. Almost all research has consisted of computer modelling or laboratory tests, and attempts to move to real-world experimentation has proved controversial.• Some limited tree planting and cool roof projects are already underway. Ocean iron fertilization has been given small-scale research trials. Field research into sulfur aerosols has also started.• Some criticisms have suggested that the concept of geoengineering presents a moral hazard because it could reduce the political and popular pressure for emissions reduction.• Groups such as ETC Group and individuals such as Raymond Pierrehumbert have called for a moratorium on deployment and out-of-doors testing of geoengineering techniques.• The full effects of various geoengineering schemes are not well understood.
Reflective surfaces (―Cool Roof‖& Pavements)• Reflective surfaces are artificially-altered surfaces that can deliver high solar reflectance (the ability to reflect the visible, infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of the sun, reducing heat transfer to the surface) and high thermal remittance (the ability to radiate absorbed, or non-reflected solar energy). Reflective surfaces are a form of geoengineering.• The most well-known type of reflective surface is the cool roof. While it is true that cool roofs are mostly associated with white roofs, they come in a variety of colors and materials and are available for both commercial and residential buildings. Note that todays "cool roof" pigments allow metal roofing products to be EnergyStar rated in dark colors, even black. They arent as reflective as whites or light colors, but can still save energy over other paints.• Solar reflective cars or cool cars reflect more sunlight than dark cars, reducing the amount of heat that is transmitted into the car’s interior. Therefore, it helps decreasing the need for air conditioning, fuel consumption, and emissions of greenhouse gases and urban air pollutants.• In California, over 95% of the cars and small trucks are equipped with air conditioners, burning fossil fuels and producing greenhouse gas emissions. The Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) conducted the cool cars project since 2010, sponsored by the California Energy Commission (CEC), with the goal of reducing air conditioning usage of cars by lowering cabin air temperatures.• Cool color parking lots are parking lots made with a reflective layer of paint. The project is being undertaken by Jordan Woods of the Berkeley Lab.
Or some Carbon sequestration?• Carbon sequestration is the process of capture and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)• Carbon sequestration describes long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid dangerous climate change. It has been proposed as a way to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels.• Carbon dioxide may be captured as a pure by-product in processes related to petroleum refining or from flue gases from power generation• CO2 sequestration includes the storage part of carbon capture and storage, which refers to large-scale, permanent artificial capture and sequestration of industrially produced CO2 using subsurface saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, aging oil fields, or other carbon sinks.Biological processes• Peat production – Peat bogs are a very important carbon store. By creating new bogs, or enhancing existing ones, carbon can be sequestered.• Reforestation – Reforestation is the replanting of trees on marginal crop and pasture lands to incorporate carbon from atmospheric CO2 into biomass.• Wetland restoration, Agriculture, Reducing emissions & Enhancing carbon removalOcean-related Iron fertilization & Urea fertilisation• Iron fertilization attempts to encourage phytoplankton growth, which removes carbon from the atmosphere for at least a period of time.• Natural iron fertilisation can enhance carbon sequestration. Sperm whales act as agents of iron fertilisation when they transport iron from the deep ocean to the surface during prey consumption and defecation. By reducing the abundance of sperm whales in the Southern Ocean, whaling has resulted in an extra 2 million tonnes of carbon remaining in the atmosphere each year. Mixing layers• Encouraging various ocean layers to mix can move nutrients and dissolved gases around, offering avenues for geoengineering. Mixing may be achieved by placing large vertical pipes in the oceans to pump nutrient rich water to the surface, triggering blooms of algae, which store carbon when they grow and export carbon when they die. This produces results somewhat similar to iron fertilization. One side-effect is a short-term rise in CO2, which limits its attractiveness.
Carbon Tax & Eco Services, ¿way to go?• A carbon tax is a Pigovian Tax levied on the carbon content of fuels. It is a form of carbon pricing.• Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel ( coal, petroleum, and natural gas) and is released as carbon dioxide (CO2) when they are burnt. In contrast, non-combustion energy sources— wind, sunlight. Hydropower and nuclear—do not convert hydrocarbons to CO2. CO2 is a heat-trapping greenhouse gas.• Scientists have pointed to the potential effects on the climate system of releasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.• Since GHG emissions caused by the combustion of fossil fuels are closely related to the carbon content of the respective fuels, a tax on these emissions can be levied by taxing the carbon content of fossil fuels at any point in the product cycle of the fuel.• Carbon taxes offer a potentially cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. From an economic perspective, carbon taxes are a type of Pigovian tax. They help to address the problem of emitters of greenhouse gases not facing the full social costs of their actions. Note: A Pigovian tax (also spelled Pigouvian tax) is a tax applied to a market activity that generates negative externalities.
Carbon Taxation• Carbon taxes can be a regressive tax, in that they may directly or indirectly affect low-income groups disproportionately . The regressive impact of carbon taxes could be addressed by using tax revenues to favor low-income groups. However, there are about USD $550 billion in fossil fuel subsidies annually worldwide.• A number of countries have implemented carbon taxes or energy taxes that are related to carbon content.• Most environmentally related taxes with implications for greenhouse gas emissions in OECD countries are levied on energy products and motor vehicles, rather than on CO2 emissions directly.• Opposition to increased environmental regulation such as carbon taxes often centers on concerns that firms might relocate and/or people might lose their jobs.• It has been argued, however, that carbon taxes are more efficient than direct regulation and may even lead to higher employment .• Many large users of carbon resources in electricity generation, such as the Unites States, Russia and China, are resisting carbon taxation.
Ecosystem Services• Humankind benefits from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services and include products like clean drinking water and processes such as the decomposition of wastes.• While scientists and environmentalists have discussed ecosystem services for decades, these services were popularized and their definitions formalized by the United Nations 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), a four-year study involving more than 1,300 scientists worldwide.• This grouped ecosystem services into four broad categories: • provisioning, such as the production of food and water; • regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; • supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and • cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits.
• As human populations grow, so do the resource demands imposed on ecosystems and the impacts of our global footprint. Natural resources are not invulnerable and infinitely available.• The environmental impacts of anthropogenic actions, which are processes or materials derived from human activities, are becoming more apparent – air and water quality are increasingly compromised, oceans are being overfished, pests and diseases are extending beyond their historical boundaries, and deforestation is exacerbating flooding downstream.• It has been reported that approximately 40-50% of Earth’s ice-free land surface has been heavily transformed or degraded by anthropogenic activities, 66% of marine fisheries are either overexploited or at their limit, atmospheric CO2 has increased more than 30% since the advent of industrialization, and nearly 25% of Earth’s bird species have gone extinct in the last two thousand years.• Society is increasingly becoming aware that ecosystem services are not only limited, but also that they are threatened by human activities. The need to better consider long-term ecosystem health and its role in enabling human habitation and economic activity is urgent.• To help inform decision-makers, many ecosystem services are being assigned economic values, often based on the cost of replacement with anthropogenic alternatives. The ongoing challenge of prescribing economic value to nature, for example through biodiversity banking, is prompting trans disciplinary shifts in how we recognize and manage the environment, social responsibility, business opportunities, and our future as a species.
Ecosystem services and business Risk & OpportunitiesEcosystem services degradation can pose a number of risks to corporate performance as well as provide businessopportunities through ecosystem restoration and enhancement. Risks and opportunities include:Operational• Risks such as higher costs for freshwater due to scarcity or lower output for hydroelectric facilities due to siltation.• Opportunities such as increasing water-use efficiency or building an on-site wetland to circumvent the need for new water treatment infrastructureRegulatory and legal• Risks such as new fines, government regulations, or lawsuits from local communities that lose ecosystem services due to corporate activities.• Opportunities such as engaging governments to develop policies and incentives to protect or restore ecosystems that provide services a company needsReputational• Risks such as retail companies being targeted by nongovernmental organization campaigns for purchasing wood or paper from sensitive forests.• Opportunities such as implementing and communicating sustainable purchasing, operating, or investment practices in order to differentiate corporate brands• Market and product• Risks such as customers switching to other suppliers that offer products with lower ecosystem impacts or governments implementing new sustainable procurement policies.• Opportunities such as launching new products and services that reduce customer impacts on ecosystems or participating in emerging markets for carbon sequestration and watershed protection other products• Financing• Risks such as banks implementing more rigorous lending requirements for corporate loans.• Opportunities such as banks offering more favorable loan terms or investors taking positions in companies supplying products and services that improve resource use efficiency or restore degraded ecosystems
Low-carbon economy (LCE)• A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonized economy is an economy that has a minimal output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the environment biosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.• GHG emissions due to anthropogenic (human) activity are increasingly either causing climate change (global warming) or making climate change worse.• Scientists are concerned about the negative impacts of climate change on humanity in the foreseeable future.• Globally implemented LCEs are therefore proposed by those having drawn this conclusion, as a means to avoid catastrophic climate change, and as a precursor to the more advanced, zero-carbon society and renewable energy economy.Measuring Carbon Footprint (GHG´s)• A carbon footprint measures the impact of human activities on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by specific activities.• Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for over 80% of emitted GHGs, but others include methane, and nitrous oxides.• Calculating the carbon footprint provides a benchmark for measuring future GHG reductions.• Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas - it traps the suns heat and keeps the earth warm. Too much CO2 in the air leads to climate change, also known as global warming.• You can measure your CO2 footprint at: http://carboncalculator.direct.gov.uk/index.html
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Examples of Low Carbon economic activities• Forestry – Focused on low-impact practices and regrowth. – Do not disturb soil-based carbon reserves too much. – Specialized tree farms will be the main source of material for many products. – Quick maturing tree varieties will be grown on short rotations in order to maximize output• Basic metals processing – high efficiency electric motors – induction furnaces – heat recovery• Nonmetallic product processing – variable speed drives• Injection Molding – replace hydraulic with electric servo motors• Wood processing – high efficiency motors – high efficiency fans – dehumidifier driers• Paper and pulp making – variable s speed drives – high efficiency motors• Food processing – high efficiency boilers – heat recovery e.g. refrigeration – solar hot water for pre-heating – biofuels e.g. tallow, wood
Examples of Low Carbon activities• Retail – High-efficiency lighting such as compact fluorescent, halogen, and eventually LED light sources. – Roof-top solar panel arrays. These make sense because solar panels produce the most energy during the daytime and during the summer. These are the same times that electricity is the most expensive and also the same times that stores use the most electricity.• Transportation services Decarbonisation of (urban) mobility by means of: – More energy efficiency and alternative propulsion: – Increased focus on fuel efficient vehicle shapes and configurations, with more vehicle electrification, particularly through plug-in hybrids. – More alternative and flex-fuel vehicles (based on local conditions and availability) – Driver training for more fuel efficiency. – Low-carbon biofuels cellulosic (biodiesel, bioethanol, biobutanol) – Petroleum fuel surcharges will be a more significant part of consumer costs. – Less international trade of physical objects, despite more overall trade (as measure by value of goods) – Greater use of marine and electric rail transport, less use of air and truck transport. – Increased non-motorized transport (i.e. walking and cycling) and public transport usage, less reliance on private motor vehicles. – More pipeline capacity for common fluid commodities such as water, ethanol, butanol, natural gas, petroleum, and hydrogen (in addition to gasoline and diesel).
Examples of Low Carbon activities• Health services – Quantification of where the health services emissions stem from. – Information on the environmental impacts of alternative models of treatment and service provision – Greater efficiency and lower ecological impact of energy, buildings, and procurement choices (e.g., in-patient meals, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment). – A shift from focusing solely on cure to prevention, through the promotion of healthier, lower-carbon lifestyles, e.g. diets lower in red meat and dairy products, walking or cycling wherever possible, better town planning to encourage more outdoor lifestyles. – Improving public transport and liftsharing options for transport to and from hospitals and clinics.
Personal Actions for Low carbon SocietiesThere are local public benefits that people can receive at the sametime they’re generating benefits for the global environment.• If more people would walk or bicycle to work and use their car only when they have to go some distance, then their health would be better, their personal pocketbooks would be better, and the atmosphere would be better.• If more and more people feel ―This is the kind of life I should be living,‖ that can substantially help the global problem.• If we invest in re-doing the insulation of a lot of buildings, we can save money as well as help the global environment.• Reduce, Reuse & Recycle whenever possible.• Eliminate & Recycle toxic waste properly.• Change to green alternatives to products you use today, like digital thermometer, rechargeable small appliances and power tools, hybrid cars, mercury free products, reusable shopping bags.
US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.• Cleaner electricity production,• Reducing energy consumption in buildings• New constructions under the Green Buildings codes (LEED)• Encouraging clean-burning cars and transportation• Investing heavily in mass transit systems.• Making it easier to cycle and walk to work/schools/home• Garbage trucks run on cleaner biodiesel;• Cruise ships based in Seattle´s ports now plug into shore power rather than run their massive fossil fuels engines.• Broad, action-oriented public campaign to encourage energy conservation in transportation, heating and lighting.• Private sector is also joining the effort by working to reduce their emissions .• Environmental organizations like http://ClimateRealityProject.org promotes global initiatives on carbon pollution. http://youtu.be/kY-ZnpWbJdw
Where the money goes in renewable energies worldwide? http://www.unep.org/Renewable_Energy_Investment/A straight line projection from where we are to where we needto be to meet global energy demand in 2015, post peak oil wouldrequire wind increasing by 155%/year and solar by 265%/year.The ratio of solar and wind in 2025 is speculative andarbitrary, as each can more than supply all of our energyneeds. The ratio shown is 65% solar, 25% wind, and 10% allother renewables, such as geothermal and hydropower. Thenumbers shown are not installed capacity, but averageoutput, i.e. TWh/year or GWh/year divided by 8760 hrs/year.This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
UE Actions Against Climate ChangeModernising EU energy policy• Cutting energy consumption by 20% compared with business as usual levels through a major improvement in the energy efficiency of a wide range of appliances and equipment.• Increasing renewable energy sources’ share of energy consumption to 20%, from around 7% in 2007.• Raising biofuels’ share of petrol and diesel to 10%, from around just 1% in 2007.• Adopting a policy framework to ensure and promote environmentally safe use of carbon capture and geological storage (CCS)2 technology.• The aim is to deploy CCS technology in new fossil-fuel power plants, if possible by 2020.• The European Commission aims to encourage the construction of 12 large-scale demonstration plants in Europe by 2015
Limiting transport emissions• While the EU is successfully reducing greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing, energy and waste, emissions from transport have continued to grow. This trend has to be reversed.• Legislation is under discussion to bring emissions from aviation into the EU ETS from 2011. Emissions from all flights arriving in or departing from the EU would be covered from 2012.• The European Commission is also considering how to address emissions from shipping.• Legislation is planned to ensure that the EU’s target of reducing average CO2 emissions from new cars to 120 grammes per kilometre is met by 2012.• The European Commission has proposed new transport fuel quality standards that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, transport and use of petrol and diesel by 10% by 2020.• Ways to achieve this include accelerating the development and use of sustainable biofuels produced from non-food sources.
Improving energy efficiency and security• The EU is becoming increasingly dependent on imported energy, so security of supply is a growing concern.• With ―business as usual‖, the EU’s energy import dependence will jump from 50% of total EU energy consumption today to 65% in 2030.• Reliance on imports of gas is expected to increase from 57% to 84% by 2030, and of oil from 82% to 93%.• There is thus a very strong economic case for making more efficient use of resources, as a contribution towards improving EU competitiveness, even without the associated benefits of cutting emissions.• The measures the EU plans to take under its integrated climate and energy strategy will improve energy security by reducing imports of oil and gas by around 20% by 2030 compared with these business as usual projections.• Without policy changes the USA, China and India are also expected to import 70% of their oil by 2030.• As resources become scarcer the risk of price volatility and international conflict will grow.
Making reductions in other sectors• Energy use in buildings can be reduced by up to 30% by expanding the scope of EU legislation on the energy performance of buildings and introducing performance requirements that promote very low energy (’passive’) buildings.• Action is needed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO2, which make up 17% of EU emissions.• Taking measures to limit methane output, for example from gas engines, and nitrous oxide from combustion plants, for instance by including them in the EU ETS.• Furthermore, measures to reduce the use of fluorinated gases and emissions from the agricultural sector will need to be reinforced.
Increasing research and technological development• The substantially increased budget (€8.4 billion) allocated for environment, energy and transport should be spent early.• Soonest possible deployment of clean technologies as well as further strengthening knowledge of climate change and its impacts.• The research budget should be further increased after 2013 and this rise should be mirrored at national level.Other measures• Trade-related ones, to encourage other developed countries to take effective action to combat climate change.• Major awareness-raising campaign to draw the general public’s attention to the climate change impacts of their actions and engage it in efforts to reduce these.
Creating the global carbon market• Estimates show that emissions trading schemes can reduce the cost of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 75%.• Schemes similar to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) will be a key tool in enabling developed countries to meet their future commitments cost-effectively.• The post-2012 framework should enable comparable trading schemes to be linked with each other, with the EU ETS as the central pillar of the future global carbon trading market, in order to maximize trading opportunities and lower the costs of action as far as possible.• The EU ETS stimulates investment in emission-saving projects in third countries by accepting carbon credits from Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation projects under theKyoto Protocol, andthis will continue after 2012.• It will be crucial to improve and expand this type of instrument.
Reducing air pollution and health costs• Cutting greenhouse gas emissions will also reduce air pollution, which still causes 370,000 premature deaths in Europe every year.• Bringing down CO2 emissions by just 10% by 2020 would yield healthcare savings of up to €27 billion per year.• Air pollution is increasing in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries.• The 10 cities with the highest levels of harmful airborne particles are in Asia and Africa.Increasing employment• Eco-industries are one of the most dynamic sectors in the European economy, growing at around 5% a year in response to global demand for green technologies, products and services.• They already employ over 2 millionpeople.• Climate change policies create more new employment opportunities: for example, increasing the use of biomass for electricity production and of biofuels for transport could create up to 300,000 extra jobs across the EU.
Policy options for developing countriesMany developing countries are already making efforts that areresulting in significant reductions in their emissions growth.There are many policy options available to developing countrieswhere the benefits outweigh the costs. These include: – Boosting energy efficiency and thus also energy security. – Implementing policies to promote renewable sources of energy. – These policies are often cost-effective,including for rural communities – Improving air quality and thereby also public health. – Capturing methane from industrial and agricultural sources for cheap energy.
New Theories on the Tragedy of the commons.An economic experiment reveals that humans prefer poolpunishment to maintain the commons.Arne Traulsen, Torsten Röhl, and Manfred Milinski. The Royal Society, Jul. 2012• Punishment can stabilize costly cooperation and ensure the success of a common project that is threatened by free-riders.• Punishment mechanisms can be classified into pool punishment, where the punishment act is carried out by a paid third party, (e.g. a police system or a sheriff), and peer punishment, where the punishment act is carried out by peers.• Which punishment mechanism is preferred when both are concurrently available within a society?• In an economic experiment, we show that the majority of subjects choose pool punishment, despite being costly even in the absence of defectors, when second-order free-riders, cooperators that do not punish, are also punished.• Pool punishers are mutually enforcing their support for the punishment organization, stably trapping each other.• Our experimental results show how organized punishment could have displaced individual punishment in human societies.
Plasticity facilitates sustainable growth in the commons Matteo Cavaliere and Juan F. Poyatos, Royal Society, January 30, 2013• In the commons, communities whose growth depends on public good, individuals often rely on surprisingly simple strategies, or heuristics, to decide whether to contribute to the shared resource (at risk of exploitation by free-riders).• Although this appears a limitation, we show here how four heuristics lead to sustainable growth when coupled to specific ecological constraints.• The two simplest ones—contribute permanently or switch stochastically between contributing or not—are first shown to bring sustainability when the public good efficiently promotes growth.• If efficiency declines and the commons is structured in small groups, the most effective strategy resides in contributing only when a majority of individuals are also contributors.• In contrast, when group size becomes large, the most effective behavior follows a minimal-effort rule: contribute only when it is strictly necessary.• Both plastic strategies are observed in natural scenarios across scales that present them as relevant social motifs for the sustainable management of public goods.
Shame and honor drive cooperation Jennifer Jacquet, Christoph Hauert, Arne Traulsen and Manfred Milinski, Biology Letter, Dec. 23, 2011• Hypothesis : Can the threat of being shamed or the prospect of being honored lead to greater cooperation?• Methodology: With anonymous six-player public goods experiments, an experimental paradigm used to investigate problems related to overusing common resources.• We instructed the players that the two individuals who were least generous after 10 rounds would be exposed to the group.• As the natural antithesis, we also test the effects of honor by revealing the identities of the two players who were most generous.• Results: The non-monetary, reputational effects induced by shame and honor each led to approximately 50 per cent higher donations to the public good when compared with the control.• Demonstrating that both shame and honor can drive cooperation and can help alleviate the tragedy of the commons.
Fresh News from around the worldEU Carbon Emissions Declined 1.4% in 2012, Initial Data Show• By Alessandro Vitelli - Apr 2, 2013. Carbon emissions fell 1.4 percent in Europe last year, according to European Commission data, as industrial output slowed and renewable energy generation jumped. Greenhouse-gas discharges reported by 89 percent of the installations covered by the European Union’s carbon market were 1.787 billion metric tons, excluding airlines, the data published today show. Aviation emissions totaled 55 million tons in 2012, the first year of coverage for the industry, according to figures accounting for 68 percent of the sector – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-02/carbon-emissions-declined-1-4-in-europe-last-year-eu-data-show.htmlSoils in Newly Forested Areas Store Substantial Carbon That Could Help Offset Climate Change Apr. 1, 2013 — Surface appearances can be so misleading: In most forests, the amount of carbon held in soils is substantially greater thanthe amount contained in the trees themselves. • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401110744.htmDominion Energy Must Pay $14 Million for Air Pollution• SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 1, 2013 (ENS) – Dominion Energy has agreed to pay a $3.4 million civil penalty and spend $9.75 million on environmental mitigation projects to resolve Clean Air Act violations at coal-fired power plants in three states. The U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the settlement will result in reductions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter by more than 70,000 tons per year. – http://ens-newswire.com/2013/04/01/dominion-energy-must-pay-14-million-for-air-pollution/Can Green Buildings Promote Green Behavior? Author: Anthony Morales• A study by UBC psychology students suggests that green architecture can actually prompt those in the building to act in a more environmentally friendly way. – http://designbuildsource.ca/2013/03/can-green-buildings-promote-green-behaviour/‘Zero Illegal Deforestation’ Target Set on First World Forests Day• ―In many countries, illegal deforestation is degrading ecosystems, diminishing water availability and limiting the supply of fuelwood – all of which reduce food security, especially for the poor,‖ he said. ―Stopping illegal deforestation and forest degradation would do much to end hunger, extreme poverty and bring about sustainability.‖ – http://ens-newswire.com/2013/03/22/zero-illegal-deforestation-target-set-on-first-world-forests-day/Energy Efficient Homes Reduce Risk of Mortgage Default• Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks, produced by the Chapel Hill Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina and the Washington, D.C.-based energy conservation advocate Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), is the first academic study to investigate the connection between energy efficiency and the ability to repay a mortgage. The risk of mortgage default is one-third lower for energy-efficient, Energy-Star rated homes, according to a March 19 statement accompanying the report. – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-02/energy-efficient-homes-reduce-risk-of-mortgage-default.htmlLeast developed countries agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions• In what could be a far-reaching move, the worlds poorest countries say they are now prepared to commit themselves to binding cuts in their emissions of greenhouse gases. – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/03/climate-change-greenhouse-gas-emissions