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Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science
and Policy

Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government
There are three challenges relating to climate
change

Scientific

Communications

Policy
(Credit: Reuters)

2

Energy and...
The scientific challenge:
Observing, understanding, and predicting the
behaviour of a complex system

3

Energy and Climat...
There are a number of natural influences on our
climate, operating on different timescales
Examples include:
• Seasonal cy...
Ice core records show a close correlation between
past trends in atmospheric CO2 and temperature

(Credit: BAS)

(Credit: ...
Recent levels of atmospheric CO2 are higher
than at any time in the past 800,000 years

Records of atmospheric CO2 concent...
In a warming world we would expect to see
consistent trends across the climate system

Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate...
Climate observations show clear trends

Inter-Governmental Panel
on Climate Change (2013)
8

Energy and Climate Change: Ch...
The Inter-Governmental Panel on
Climate Change report on The
Physical Science Basis of Climate
Change recently concluded t...
There is increasing confidence that human
emissions are increasing the risk of some types of
extreme events
A report by UK...
Increased water availability in mid tropics and high latitudes

Water

Decreasing water availability and increasing drough...
Increased damage from floods and storms

Coast

About 30% loss of
coastal wetlands

Additional
people at risk
of coastal
f...
Future temperature rise depends on cumulative
emissions

Source: Met Office, 2013 (adapted from IPCC AR5 (2013))
13 The fi...
The communications challenge:
Translating complex science for policymakers and the public

14

Energy and Climate Change: ...
There is scientific consensus that the climate is
changing, but the public is divided
As far as you know, do you personall...
Communicating complex information is
challenging
Excellent in one context, challenging in public engagement!

Switch off w...
Visualisation is also a challenge

There are some very big
numbers involved...
Estimated global carbon emissions in 2012
(...
The policy challenge:
Responding to the risks

18

Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
Carbon dioxide emissions from human activities
continue to rise

Fossil fuel
and cement
CO2
emissions
(GtC yr-1)

Annual C...
CO2 has a long atmospheric lifetime

For any given
addition (or ‘pulse’)
of CO2 to the
atmosphere around
half is taken up ...
The UK currently produces less than 2% of global
emissions

<2%
Tonnes
CO2 per
capita

Source: The Carbon Map

21

Energy ...
But looking at historical emissions tells a
different story

~6%
Tonnes
CO2 per
capita

Source: The Carbon Map

22

Energy...
What are the policy responses?

Mitigate

(Credit: Harvey McDaniel)

Adapt
(Credit: iStockphoto)

Suffer
(Credit: Reuters)...
What do policy makers need to understand?
What are the consequences of
unmitigated climate change?
(Credit: Capt'Gorgeous/...
A number of key
national risks can be
expected to increase in
likelihood and impact as
a result of climate
change

25

Ene...
More extreme weather could impact on the global
supply and price of commodities
FAO Food Price Index

The record-breaking ...
Risks from climate disruption in other parts of the
world may be just as significant for the UK
• The UK is part of a high...
The policy challenge: Viewing difficult issues
through lenses

(Credit: Thomas Shahan/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Parkhill et al, Tr...
Energy policy needs to take account of public
values
Reducing the use of
finite resources
Avoiding waste
Efficient

Reduci...
De-carbonisation can bring many co-benefits
•

Energy security

•

Reduced pollution

•

Improved health outcomes

•

Redu...
www.gov.uk/2050-pathways-analysis
There are different possible scenarios which meet the
UK’s legislated emissions reduction targets
Cost optimised

Higher r...
Meeting any one of these scenarios presents
challenges
90.00
80.00

50.00
40.00
30.00
20.00
10.00
0.00

DECC Energy Trends...
Do we need another Apollo or Manhattan project?
• The challenge is at
least as great
• Major projects are
required, with f...
Challenges and opportunities: high nuclear
scenario

Challenges

Opportunities

High nuclear scenario
requires 75 GW nucle...
Challenges and opportunities: high renewables /
high efficiency scenario
Challenges
Renewable
technologies need to
be chea...
Challenges and opportunities: high CCS / high
bioenergy scenario
Challenges

Opportunities

Full scale CCS remains
unprove...
Which ever policy options are adopted there will
be a cost, whether now or later….what price a
grandchild?

(Credit: RoHer...
@uksciencechief
www.bis.gov.uk/go-science

Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permi...
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Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy

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Presentation given by Sir Mark Walport at the CSaP Distinguished Lecture on 17 October 2013.

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Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy

  1. 1. Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government
  2. 2. There are three challenges relating to climate change Scientific Communications Policy (Credit: Reuters) 2 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  3. 3. The scientific challenge: Observing, understanding, and predicting the behaviour of a complex system 3 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  4. 4. There are a number of natural influences on our climate, operating on different timescales Examples include: • Seasonal cycles • Multi-annual cycles (e.g. El Niño and La Niña which recur every few years) • Multi-decadal cycles (e.g. the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) which causes shifts in the climate every 20-30 years) • Multi-century cycles (solar cycles range from the 11 year cycle between sunspot minima and sunspot maxima to much longer Milankovitch cycles related to the Earth’s orbital parameters, most obviously seen in the 100,000 year ice age cycles) (Credit: Met Office) 4 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  5. 5. Ice core records show a close correlation between past trends in atmospheric CO2 and temperature (Credit: BAS) (Credit: BAS) Ice core records of temperature change in Antarctica and atmospheric CO 2 concentrations over the 800,000 years prior to the start of the Twentieth Century (source: graphs NOAA, NCDC, and pictures of ice cores courtesy of Eric Wolff, Cambs) 5 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  6. 6. Recent levels of atmospheric CO2 are higher than at any time in the past 800,000 years Records of atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the past 800,000 years, including the Twentieth Century (source: NOAA, NCDC) 6 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  7. 7. In a warming world we would expect to see consistent trends across the climate system Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) 7 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  8. 8. Climate observations show clear trends Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) 8 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  9. 9. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report on The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change recently concluded that human emissions were the dominant cause of warming since the midTwentieth Century Global surface temperature anomalies from 1870 to 2010 and the natural (solar, volcanic and internal (here related to the El Niño Southern Oscillation)) and anthropogenic factors (a warming component from greenhouse gases and cooling component from most aerosols) that influence them (InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2013) 9 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  10. 10. There is increasing confidence that human emissions are increasing the risk of some types of extreme events A report by UK and US scientists looking at extreme events in 2012 found that half of the extreme events studied displayed some evidence that human induced climate change was a contributing factor. (Credit: Todd Heisler/New York Times) (Credit: Glyn Baker/CC-BY-SA-2.0) (Credit: NASA) USA heatwave, spring 2012 Iberian drought winter 2011/12 Arctic sea ice minimum, autumn 2012 (Credit: ABC News) (Credit: FNDC) (Credit: US Air Force) Australian rainfall, summer 2012 New Zealand rainfall, winter 2011 10 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy Australian rainfall, summer 2012 New Zealand rainfall, winter 2011 Inundation from Hurricane Sandy, autumn 2012 Inundation from Hurricane Sandy, autumn 2012
  11. 11. Increased water availability in mid tropics and high latitudes Water Decreasing water availability and increasing drought in mid-latitudes and semi-arid low latitudes 0.4 – 1.7 billion 1.0 – 2.0 billion 1.1 – 3.2 billion Additional people with increased water stress Increasing amphibian extinction Ecosystems About 20 – 30% species at increasingly high risk of extinction Increased coral bleaching Most corals bleached Increased species range shifts and wildfire risk Low latitudes Food Crop productivity Major extinctions around the globe Widespread coral mortality Terrestrial biosphere tends towards a net carbon source as: ~40% of ecosystems ~15% affected Decreases for some cereals All cereals decrease Increases for some cereals Decreases in some regions Mid to high latitudes 1°C 2°C 3°C Temperature above pre-industrial 4°C 5°C Adapted from IPCC AR4 (2007)
  12. 12. Increased damage from floods and storms Coast About 30% loss of coastal wetlands Additional people at risk of coastal flooding each year 0 – 3 million 2 – 15 million Increasing burden from malnutrition, diarrhoeal, cardio-respiratory and infectious diseases Health Increased morbidity and mortality from heatwaves, floods and droughts Changed distribution of some disease vectors Singular events Local retreat of ice in Greenland and West Antarctic Substantial burden on health services Leading to reconfiguration of coastlines worldwide and inundation of low lying areas Long term commitment to several metres of sea level rise due to ice sheet loss Ecosystem changes due to weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning circulation 1°C 2°C 3°C Temperature above pre-industrial 4°C 5°C Adapted from IPCC AR4 (2007)
  13. 13. Future temperature rise depends on cumulative emissions Source: Met Office, 2013 (adapted from IPCC AR5 (2013)) 13 The findings of the IPCC and implications for science and technology in support of climate change and energy policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  14. 14. The communications challenge: Translating complex science for policymakers and the public 14 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  15. 15. There is scientific consensus that the climate is changing, but the public is divided As far as you know, do you personally think that the world’s climate is changing? (in %) Concern about climate change (in %) Possible Explanations • Global economic downturn • Sceptic voices in the media • Increasing climate fatigue Source: Poortinga et al (2013) 15 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  16. 16. Communicating complex information is challenging Excellent in one context, challenging in public engagement! Switch off words…. Mitigation/adaptation, Discount rate, pH, Gigatonnes, Petagrams, Billion tonnes (of carbon, carbon dioxide), PPM, eqCO2, Attribution, Negative emissions, Climate sensitivity, Anthropogenic, Multi-decadal oscillation, Datasets, Urban heat island...
  17. 17. Visualisation is also a challenge There are some very big numbers involved... Estimated global carbon emissions in 2012 (from fossil fuels and cement production) close to 10 GtC ...and some very small ones Annual global average sea level rise ~3mm yr-1 (Credit: Reuters) 17 Climate and Climate Change: for Science andScience and Policy Energy Change: Challenges Challenges for Policy
  18. 18. The policy challenge: Responding to the risks 18 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  19. 19. Carbon dioxide emissions from human activities continue to rise Fossil fuel and cement CO2 emissions (GtC yr-1) Annual CO2 emissions from human activities, estimated by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) (from IPCC, 2013) 19 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  20. 20. CO2 has a long atmospheric lifetime For any given addition (or ‘pulse’) of CO2 to the atmosphere around half is taken up by the land and oceans within a few decades, the other half will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years 100 (GtC) 5000 (GtC) Decay of atmospheric CO2 pulse, as calculated by a range of coupled climate-carbon models (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, 2013) 20 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy © Crown copyright Met Office
  21. 21. The UK currently produces less than 2% of global emissions <2% Tonnes CO2 per capita Source: The Carbon Map 21 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy
  22. 22. But looking at historical emissions tells a different story ~6% Tonnes CO2 per capita Source: The Carbon Map 22 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy
  23. 23. What are the policy responses? Mitigate (Credit: Harvey McDaniel) Adapt (Credit: iStockphoto) Suffer (Credit: Reuters) 23 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  24. 24. What do policy makers need to understand? What are the consequences of unmitigated climate change? (Credit: Capt'Gorgeous/ CC-BY-2.0) What do the public think? (Credit: TckTckTck) What are the existing, and new, technological opportunities? (Credit: efergy) 24 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy
  25. 25. A number of key national risks can be expected to increase in likelihood and impact as a result of climate change 25 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  26. 26. More extreme weather could impact on the global supply and price of commodities FAO Food Price Index The record-breaking heat wave and drought in Russia in 2010 caused extensive wildfires, thousands of deaths, and grain harvest was reduced by 30%. There were restrictions on grain exports and the global wheat price rose rapidly. 26 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  27. 27. Risks from climate disruption in other parts of the world may be just as significant for the UK • The UK is part of a highly interdependent global economic system: Direct investment abroad by UK companies (in 2011) stood at £1.1 trillion. The total level of direct investment in the UK by overseas companies at the end of 2011 was estimated at £766 billion. • Climate disruption will impact on UK overseas interests, and the flow of natural resources and commodities to the UK • UK business has strengths and skills that will help with mitigation and adaptation activities overseas, if opportunities are taken. 27 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  28. 28. The policy challenge: Viewing difficult issues through lenses (Credit: Thomas Shahan/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0) Parkhill et al, Transforming the Energy System – Public Values, Attitudes and Acceptability, 2013 (UKERC) 28 Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science
  29. 29. Energy policy needs to take account of public values Reducing the use of finite resources Avoiding waste Efficient Reducing overall levels of energy use Environmental protection Availability and Affordability Reliability Naturalness and Capturing opportunities Nature Social Justice Fairness, Honesty & Transparency Long-term trajectories Safety Autonomy and Freedom Interconnected Improvement and quality 29 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy Choice and Control (Source: Cardiff University, 2013)
  30. 30. De-carbonisation can bring many co-benefits • Energy security • Reduced pollution • Improved health outcomes • Reduced fossil fuel import bills • Reduced risk of energyrelated water stress • Community benefits (Credit: AP) (Credit: PD) 30 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy
  31. 31. www.gov.uk/2050-pathways-analysis
  32. 32. There are different possible scenarios which meet the UK’s legislated emissions reduction targets Cost optimised Higher renewables; more efficient Higher nuclear; less efficient Higher CCS; more bioenergy Energy saving per capita Electricity Demand Energy saving per capita Electricity Demand 50% reduction 470 TWh 54% reduction 530 TWh 31% reduction 610 TWh 43% reduction 490 TWh 33 GW nuclear 18 GW wind 28 GW CCS 27 GW other renew 33 GW gas 16 GW nuclear 82 GW wind 13 GW CCS 14 GW solar 10 GW marine 24 GW back-up gas 75 GW nuclear 20 GW wind 2 GW CCS 2 GW hydro 11 GW back-up gas Heating mix of heat pumps, resistive heat, biomass pellets, district heat 7.7m SWIs, 8.8m CWIs, 100% houselevel heating systems 5.6m SWIs, 6.9m CWIs, 90% house-level heating systems, 10% network-level 5.6m SWIs, 6.9m CWIs, 50% houselevel heating systems, 50% network-level 75% ULEVs, unclear on modal shift 100% ULEVs, high modal shift 80% ULEVs, 20% ICEs, low modal shift 65% ULEVs, 35% ICEs, medium modal shift Medium growth, over half of emissions captured by CCS Medium growth, 48% of emissions captured by CCS Medium growth, 0% of emissions captured by CCS Medium growth, 48% of emissions captured by CCS ~350 TWh of bioenergy, low ambition on land mgmt 181 TWh of bioenergy, low ambition on land mgmt 461 TWh of bioenergy, high ambition on land mgmt 471 TWh of bioenergy, medium ambition on land mgmt Bio energy / land use Electricity Electricity Demand Buildings Energy saving per capita Transport Electricity Demand Industry Energy saving per capita CO2 20 GW nuclear 34 GW wind 40 GW CCS 2 GW hydro No back-up gas
  33. 33. Meeting any one of these scenarios presents challenges 90.00 80.00 50.00 40.00 30.00 20.00 10.00 0.00 DECC Energy Trends 2013 GW 60.00 ~10GW 5,545 turbines higher renewables scenario Installed: ~10GW 33 NUCLEAR ~10GW 9 plants higher nuclear scenario Installed: ~10GW Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics 2013 70.00 Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics 2013 WIND CCS CO2 higher CCS scenario Installed: 0GW
  34. 34. Do we need another Apollo or Manhattan project? • The challenge is at least as great • Major projects are required, with funding on a large scale (Credit: PD) • However, both had a well-defined single, technological objective • The objective now is a planetary one and no single roadmap can be drawn • (Credit: NASA) Need to take the best elements of the approach taken in these projects and apply them to a more complex scenario 34 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy (Credit: NASA)
  35. 35. Challenges and opportunities: high nuclear scenario Challenges Opportunities High nuclear scenario requires 75 GW nuclear online by 2050 – more that seven times the current capacity The UK is already a world leader in fusion technologies, and could be at the forefront of developing other new technologies Requires: • new sites • storage solutions • new technologies (Credit: Stacey Peak Media) 35 Energy change: science to policy issues Climate and Climate Change: Challenges forfor Science and Policy Energy and Climate Change: Challenges Science and Policy
  36. 36. Challenges and opportunities: high renewables / high efficiency scenario Challenges Renewable technologies need to be cheaper Scale of wind deployment a real challenge – 82GW is over 16,000 5MW turbines Opportunities Energy efficiency can be a win-win, reducing demand = lower emissions and lower fuel bills Take up of electric vehicles is low at present. Needs considerable new supporting infrastructure High export potential – UK is at the forefront of research in a number of areas, including innovation in wind turbines and next generation solar Requires significant behaviour change (Credit: edupic) 36 Energy change: science to policy issues Climate and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  37. 37. Challenges and opportunities: high CCS / high bioenergy scenario Challenges Opportunities Full scale CCS remains unproven so far CCS of global interest, allows fossil fuels to continue as part of the energy mix – high export potential Land use and sustainability concerns relating to high bioenergy scenario UK is one of the first countries with a full scale test planned potential first-mover advantage Bioenergy and CCS together could actually reduce net emissions (Credit: Bellona) 37 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  38. 38. Which ever policy options are adopted there will be a cost, whether now or later….what price a grandchild? (Credit: RoHerreraP/CC-BY-2.0) 38 Energy and Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy
  39. 39. @uksciencechief www.bis.gov.uk/go-science Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. We apologise for any errors or omissions in the included attributions and would be grateful if notified of any corrections that should be incorporated in future versions of this slide set. We can be contacted through enquiries@bis.gsi.gov.uk .

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