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This week’s UN warning of climate chaos: is the total world rewrite they say we need doable?


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The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a landmark report warning that global warming must be kept to 1.5˚C. This would entail a zero carbon world by 2050.....

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This week’s UN warning of climate chaos: is the total world rewrite they say we need doable?

  1. 1. This week’s UN warning of climate chaos: is the total world rewrite they say we need doable? An analysis in 10 pictures and charts Jeremy Leggett
  2. 2. Preface The slides are from the Future Today chronology of selected developments in climate, energy, tech and the future of civilization: The powerpoint version of this summary includes source urls as notes, and is available free for any use in this folder:
  3. 3. 7th Jan 2016 7th Oct 2018 Landmark UN scientists’ report confirms difference between 1.5˚C & 2˚C global warming is ruinous IPCC concludes that for 1.5˚C limit, emissions must be cut from 2010 levels by 45% by 2030, and to net zero by 2050 (20% and 2075 for 2˚C). This requires reconfiguring of the human world within a generation.
  4. 4. 7th Jan 2016 7th Oct 2018 The IPCC 1.5˚C emissions trajectory entails systems transitions that are “unprecedented in scale….” “In 1.5°C pathways with no or limited overshoot, renewables are projected to supply 70–85% of electricity in 2050 (high confidence).” Net global CO2 emission pathway 1980 20202000 2040 2060 2080 2100 BilliontonnesofCO2peryear “…but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options.” 42 Budget: 580 GtC02 for a 50% chance of limiting global mean surface air temperature to 1.5˚C
  5. 5. Let us start with that requirement for 70-85% renewable electricity by 2050. What happens if we model electricity using a lowest-cost approach with technology available today, plus real data for weather? (But not considering intensive energy-efficiency measures, which offer many even lower-cost options)
  6. 6. 2015 7th Jan 2016 6th Nov 2017 First 100% RE global power system model published using full hourly resolution at global – local scale Energy Watch Group / Lappeenranta Technology University Coal Gas Hydro Wind Oil Nuclear Solar Bioenergy 69% 18% 8% 2% RE 22% LCOE €70 MWh €52 MWh 20302020 2040 2050 …and it finds that, making choices purely on economic grounds, renewables provide well over 90% by 2050.
  7. 7. But what about the rest of energy demand? Transportation, heating, heavy industry etc
  8. 8. Jerome Pecresse, GE Renewables: “We are inventing things that we did not even imagine three years ago …renewable baseload is coming fast.” “Utilities dispel all doubts about renewables' ability to power planet”: Recharge on Eurelectric summit 7th Jan 2016 6th Jun 2018 Francesco Starace, Enel CEO: electrifying the transport sector “is not only a winning strategy, it’s a must.”
  9. 9. Mark Dooley, Macquarie Capital: “while it makes sense that an aluminium producer is in the vanguard (Norsk Hydro’s giant wind plans), there is every reason to expect that all heavy industrial will follow.” 7th Jan 2016 24th July 2018 Heavy industry turns to renewables, including aluminium smelters, cement plants & “green steel”
  10. 10. What about the “significant upscaling of investments” that the IPCC highlighted?
  11. 11. “$300 bn is less than the amount of losses in the United States alone from weather and climate disasters in the single year of 2017.” 7th Jan 2016 9th Aug 2018 $2 trillion a year clean-energy investment needed for 100% decarbonisation by 2050 Annual Global Renewable Energy Capex Source:DNVGL.Asof9/30/18. Datafrom2015-2050isestimatedorforecast. 7th Jan 2016 9th Aug 2018 From “The Race of Our Lives”: investment guru Jeremy Grantham’s update of his classic on climate change in holistic context
  12. 12. A report by CERES sees realistic opportunities in the tens of trillions of dollars across an array of asset classes in multiple sectors. The “clean trillion” - the extra needed on average through 2050 for Paris 2˚C - is “eminently feasible” 7th Jan 2016 10th May 2018 Summary of conclusion in the original 2014 CERES report on closing the clean energy investment gap
  13. 13. How would this total system change go down with citizens around the world?
  14. 14. 7th Jan 2016 13th Nov 2017 82% in 13 countries believe it is important to create a world fully powered by renewable energy This is the largest ever such study: 26,000 people surveyed by Edelman for Orsted
  15. 15. Spectacular cost reductions - real, present, and ongoing - are making all this possible…. ….and they pose existential threat to one of the most powerful set of vested interests the world has ever seen
  16. 16. “Wind and solar are going to be cheaper than the operating costs of coal and nuclear, even the best coal and the best nuclear.” “Our one material advantage is in the accelerating burst of green technologies” Unsubsidized Levelized Cost of Renewable Energy over Time Source:Lazard,asofend2016 “….better than anyone expected 10 or even 5 years ago” 7th Jan 2016 9th Aug 2018 7th Jan 2016 9th Aug 2018
  17. 17. Case for coal and gas plants is “crumbling” as wind, solar and battery costs plunge 7th Jan 2016 28th Mar 2018 Bloomberg New Energy Finance says its latest conclusions have “chilling” implications for fossil generators. • Global LCOE falls 18% YOY for both onshore wind and PV in first six months of 2018 …to $55/MWh and $70MWh respectively • Offshore wind down 5% to $118/MWh • 79% fall in lithium-ion battery costs since 2010
  18. 18. Conclusions 1. The total system change that the IPCC warns is imperative is eminently doable in the energy sector 2. It would actually cost less to do this than to persist with the status quo, or anything like it 3. Most of global emissions derive from energy use, and the other emissions sectors are dependent on energy – so if we can decarbonize in energy, we have a good chance of doing so in land use etc
  19. 19. Conclusions 4. To stop the energy system change happening (should they choose to do so) oil and gas interests will have to fight very dirty, including - in the case of some petrostates, because of the popularity of clean energy - actively subverting the world’s liberal democracies 4. And that couldn’t happen in today’s world ….could it?
  20. 20. Key developments summarized daily on Future Today: 7th Jan 2016 2018 onwards