Managing Sustainability in a Changing Climate


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  • A survey conducted in 2007 by George Mason University of U.S. scientists who have expertise in climate science (not just a scientific background) what they think. 97% of the 489 respondents agreed that “global average temperatures have increased” during the past century. That’s up from 60% in 1991. [click, Image 2] 84% believe human activities are causing the warming, and only 5% disagree. So the survey does indicate the bulk of climate scientists—those most knowledgeable about the field—now agree that human activity contributes to global warming.
  • The oceans will continue their rise in the coming century. The IPCC’s best estimates range from a few inches to a few feet by 2100. If the rise is 2 feet, the US could lose 10,000 square miles, If they rise three, they will inundate Miami and most of coastal Florida. Sea-level rise also increases coastal erosion and the loss of coastal wetlands, and saltwater spoils freshwater drinking supplies. Coastal populations become even more vulnerable to storm surge and flooding. Considering that half of the world’s population lives near coasts, sea-level rise is a serious concern. The big unknown in all this is how much the planet’s ice sheets will melt. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal Very high confidence that global average net effect of human activities since 1750 one of warming Human-caused warming over last 30 years has likely had a visible influence on many physical and biological systems Continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21 st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20 th century.”
  • More policies are in place – but the gap remains large EU 20:20:20 UK Climate Bill - 60% 2050 Various US states China 20% energy intensity reduction (2006-2010) Renewable energy - 10% (2010) and 15% (2020) Higher CAFE standards then US China - Leading manufacturer of solar voltaic technology- employing 300,000 people Solar hot water industry worth $2b and growing- employing 150,000 people Second to Germany in wind energy and set to become the leading turbine exporter by 2009 Sold 1.6 million electric vehicles in 2007
  • The burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are increasing the levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, causing global average temperatures to rise. Ü The Northeast is already experiencing changes consistent with global warming: rising temperatures, decreasing snow cover, and earlier arrival of spring. Ü Due to emissions in the recent past, average temperatures across the Northeast are projected to rise another 2.5 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) in winter and 1.5°F to 3.5°F in summer above historic levels over the next several decades. The extent and severity of climate change beyond mid- century, however, will be determined by emissions choices we make now—in the Northeast and around the world. Ü If emissions remain high, average temperatures across the Northeast are projected to rise, by late this century, 8°F to 12°F above historic levels in winter and 6°F to 14°F in summer. Cities across the Northeast are projected to average 20 days per summer over 100°F and some (such as Philadelphia and Hartford, CT ) could average nearly 30 such days. The length of the winter snow season could be cut in half across Maine, New Hampshire, northern New York, and Vermont. Ü Smaller climate-related changes can be expected if the world follows the lower-emissions pathway used in this assessment—typically about half the change expected under the higheremissions scenario. By late-century, for example, average temperature is projected to increase 5°F to 8°F in winter and 3°F to 7°F in summer under the lower-emissions scenario. Most cities are projected to average only a few days over 100°F. NYC : Today’s 100-Year Flood Could Occur Every 10 Years under the Higher-Emissions Scenario40 The light blue area in these maps depicts today’s FEMA 100-year flood zone for New York City (i.e., the area of the city that is expected to be flooded once every 100 years). With additional sea-level rise by 2100 under the higheremissions scenario, this approximate area is projected to have a 10 percent chance of flooding in any given year; under the lower-emissions scenario, a 5 percent chance. As the close-up shows, critical transportation infrastructure located in the Battery could be flooded far more frequently unless protected. The 100-year flood at the end of the century (not mapped here) is projected to inundate a far larger area of New York City, especially under the higher-emissions scenario.
  • Craft messages that respond to the regional concerns of lawmakers from the Midwest & the South Economic opportunities for the Midwest Highlight examples of low-carbon growth (UK, Germany) Breaking the Climate Deadlock
  • Companies providing goods and services that tackle climate change now form a bigger industry grouping than the global software and biotech sectors combined. HSBC said that 390 companies around the world could now be classed as providing goods or services that tackle climate change. Companies include large multinationals (SIEMANS, PHELPS) and large renewable companies. 4% of global market cap. Up from 2% last year.
  • The value of the global carbon market surged 84 percent to $118 billion in 2008 The value of the global carbon market surged 84 percent to $118 billion in 2008 despite the worldwide financial crisis, reports New Carbon Finance. Data from the market research firm shows that transaction volume for carbon dioxide emissions allowances reached four billion tons for the year, an increase of 42 percent over 2007. The average price across all transactions rose to $29 per ton of CO2 from $23. New Carbon Finance says it expects the market to reach $150 billion in 2009, despite falling carbon prices amid the global economic slowdown. The European Union Allowance (EUA) market accounted for 70 percent of carbon emissions trading volume and 80% of value in 2008. The market share of Secondary Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) — credits sanctioned under the Clean Development Mechanism — reached 13 percent in 2008, up from 8 percent in 2007. "Our analysis suggests a total market size of $150bn by year-end 2009,"
  • Managing Sustainability in a Changing Climate

    1. 1. “ Never have so few asked so much of so many” Presented by Chris Walker St. John’s University November 17, 2009 Managing Sustainability in a changing climate
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>So few….. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The depressing field of climatology and the imperative to act </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  So much … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The magnitude of the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The magnitude of the solution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Of so many… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is being done…? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The need for US leadership - Where is the US going, anticipation for US national action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outlook for Copenhagen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>China and India </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples of corporate action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investment, growth potential </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. The Few
    4. 4. Key Trends <ul><ul><li>One year ago…so 2008…. Politics has shifted - not if but when on carbon constraints in the US and globally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Imperatives driving action: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Climate Science (we can not afford to wait); </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Growth in emissions – deep cuts required … 80% in Developed nations; 60% Global emissions by 2050. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Political Process - More policies are in place – but the gap remains large with what needs to be done </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic – sea change from Bush to Obama; </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Int’l - need for a s uccessor to Kyoto to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December 2009 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Climate Change and NYC Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA)
    6. 6. Asked so much -
    7. 7. Economics - The Magnitude of the Problem <ul><li>Emissions intensity of world economy (per unit gross global product, GGP) needs to be 75% lower by mid-century </li></ul><ul><li>Costs of Inaction – Business as Usual: Decrease of 5-20% in consumption income over the next 50 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of Action – 550 parts per million CO2: 1% of annual global GDP for the next 50 years. </li></ul>“ Climate Change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure the world has ever seen” - Nicholas Stern Comparables % of global GDP 2005 Total cost of abatement* % of global GDP 2030 0.5 1.1 0.3 1.4 1.8 1.0 450 ppm 400 ppm 550 ppm Defence spending Insurance spending Oil price increase (USD +30/bbl) Global foreign Aid
    8. 8. 2055 2005 14 7 Billion of Tons of Carbon Emitted per Year 1955 0 Currently projected path Flat path Historical emissions 1.9  2105 14 GtC/y 7 GtC/y Seven “wedges” - A “wedge” is a strategy to reduce carbon emissions that grows in 50 years from zero to 1.0 GtC/yr. Magnitude of the Sol ution O Socolow & Pacala: Stabilization Wedges
    9. 9. Energy Efficiency Decarbonized Electricity Fuel Displacement by Low-Carbon Electricity Forests & Soils Decarbonized Fuels Stabilization Triangle 2004 2054 7 GtC/y 14 GtC/y Fill the Stabilization Triangle with Seven Wedges Methane Management Magnitude of the Solution
    10. 10. The Carbon Cost Curve or what do we do first... Slide
    11. 11. Greenhouse Gas emissions by sector
    12. 12. Of the Many
    13. 13. Regional Initiatives
    14. 14. State Emissions Are Significant … Based on 2001 emissions China in 07
    15. 15. What will US Congress do? <ul><li>The Senate is the key power in the climate debate… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pass domestic legislation - House majority + 60 Senators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ratify international agreements – 67 Senators </li></ul></ul>Proxy = Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 : Vote to proceed by State (Blue : Yea-Yea, Red: Nay-Nay; Gray: Yea-Nay)
    16. 16. Managing Expectations on the Road to Copenhagen
    17. 17. Largest CO2 emittors
    18. 18. Per-capita fossil-fuel CO2 emissions
    19. 19. Managing the problem….
    20. 20. The reaction….Business is: <ul><li>Speaking Out – US CAP (Fortune 500 call for US legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business Council Survey: 40% CEOs believe global warming may be most serious policy challenge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Acting –Companies servicing low carbon economy revenue hit $300bn last year according to HSBC Climate Index </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google launched ‘Google RE<C initiative to develop clean, alternative sources of energy (stands for ‘Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon Down Profits Up – 33 companies have documented financial benefits totally US$9.3 billion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carbon Disclosure Project (institutional investors </li></ul>
    21. 21. More evidence of Business reaction <ul><li>You know its serious when the Lawyers and Accountants get involved….. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are now an estimated 2,340 lobbyists on climate change – an Increase of more than 300% in five years. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Climate as a corporate board risk management issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting - “material events and uncertainties” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shareholder resolutions about carbon disclosure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liability </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. The Insurance Industry: Natural catastrophe losses have increased Insured losses 1970-2008 (Property and business interruption losses)
    23. 23. Slide High Density = 210 Rooftops Residential Flood Cover Freeport (13,819) 2705 policies Rockville Centre (9,421) 104 policies Baldwin (2,718) 19 policies Concentration of Risk source: NHC, Google earth Natural catastrophe losses have increased
    24. 24. Tesla Motors Energy Innovations Amyris Biotechnologies Pacific Ethanol Nanosolar Nanosys Microsoft Sun Microsystems Google eBay PayPal Hewlett Packard The Greening of Silicon Valley Information Technology - 1990’s Green Technology - 2008
    25. 25. Global New Clean Energy Investment Source: New Energy Finance
    26. 26. Global Carbon Trading Markets
    27. 27. If we don’t act we will need to adapt….if possible