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IPS Seminar


can lead a carbon negative world. Peter Read. Massey University Centre ... The Parties should take ... phases) coinciding with the commencement of paddy ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: IPS Seminar

IPS Seminar 3rd August, 2007 Policy near the
tipping point how carbon neutral NewZealand
can lead a carbon negative world
Peter Read Massey University Centre for Energy
WHY ? Art 3.3
  • The Parties should take precautionary measures….
  • Where there are threats of serious or
    irreversible damage , lack of full scientific
    certainty should not be used as reason for
    postponing such measures …which … should be
    cost effective so as to ensure global benefits

Compare Art 4.2(d)
  • The Conference of Parties shall review the
    adequacy of the Rio Convention commitments in
    the light of the best available scientific
    information. …
  • so whats the best scientific information?
    what everybody assents to ?? The law of gravity
  • Based on this review the COP shall… adopt
    amendments to the commitments….
  • which became the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, finalized
    (with the COP convoy sailing at the speed of the
    slowest ship i.e., Saudi Arabia, briefed by the
    US coal lobby) after four years of tortuous
    negotiation, with the Marrakesh accords of 2001.

Is there a threat ? Some controversial climate
science (But note that the IPCC 4th Assessment
Report the best scientific information ? is
sanitized in its references to climatic
instability visit http//www.meridian.org.uk/Re
) http//w ww.meridian.org.uk/Resources/Global20D
ynamics/IPCC/contents.htm) So vide Hansen, J.,
M. Sato, P. Kharecha, G. Russell D.W. Lea and M.
Siddall, 2007. Climate change and trace gases,
Phil Trans Roy Soc (A), 365, 1925-54. Ruddiman,
W., 2003. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era Began
Thousands of Years Ago, Climatic Change, 61,
261-293. Controversial ? They disagree with each
other ! that cant be good science, surely ??
But first a cautionary tale
  • The ozone hole
  • It had long been known that CFCs could destroy
    the ozone of the upper atmosphere that protects
    life on earth from damaging ultra-violet
    radiation. Balloons were flown worldwide since
    1974 to monitor this process and seasonal polar
    ozone depletion was apparent long before the
    Antarctic ozone hole appeared. But the
    observations were attributed to faulty
    instrumentation by the computers set up to
    process the data, which embodied theory that
    projected uniform depletion worldwide. Only
    after a U2 flight showed that the instrument
    readings were correct was theory developed to
    explain this scientific surprise that very
    cold high altitude ice crystals at the end of
    Antarctic winter could concentrate CFC molecules
    and catalyse accelerated local destruction of
    ozone. So theory-led denial of observations led
    to continued use of CFCs and to more severe and
    longer lasting ozone hole damage than need have
  • Conclusion The absence of a theory for a
    potential disaster mechanism, and/or its
    non-incorporation into models is no assurance of

There is little doubt that projected warmings
under BAU would initiate albedo-flip changes as
great as those that occurred at earlier times in
the Earths history. The West Antarctic ice sheet
today is at least as vulnerable as any of
the earlier ice sheets. The processes that give
rise to nonlinear ice sheet response (almost
universal retreat of ice shelves buttressing the
West Antarctic ice sheet and portions of
Greenland, increased surface melt and basal
lubrication, speed-up of the flux of icebergs
from ice streams to the ocean, ice sheet thinning
and thus lowering of its surface in the critical
coastal regions, and an increase in the number of
icequakes that signify lurching motions by
portions of the ice sheets) are observed to be
increasing Part of the explanation for the
inconsistency between palaeoclimate data and IPCC
projections lies in the fact that existing ice
sheet models are missing realistic (if any)
representation of the physics of ice streams and
icequakes, processes that are needed to obtain
realistic nonlinear behaviour. In the absence of
realistic models, it is better to rely on
information from the Earths history. That
history reveals large changes of sea level on
century and shorter timescales. All, or at least
most, of glacial-to-interglacial sea-level rise
is completed during the ca 6 kyr quarter cycle of
increasing insolation forcing as
additional portions of the ice sheet experience
albedo flip. There is no evidence in
the accurately dated terminations (I and II) of
multi-millennia lag in ice sheet response. We
infer that it would be not only dangerous, but
also foolhardy to follow a BAU path for future
GHG emissions. Hansen, et al, op cit
Surface Melt on Greenland
Melt descending into a moulin, a vertical shaft
carrying water to ice sheet base
Quite a bit of basal lubrication here ! (PR)
Source Roger Braithwaite, University of
This and following slides from W. Ruddiman,
op cit (PR)
Ca. 6000 year deglaciations followed by slower
glaciating phases in the last half million
years. indicates the insolation peaks ending
the warming phases. Note ? the increase of CO2
levels since the last (St1) insolation peak,
attributed to anthropogenic emissions related to
forest fire deforestation in the course of land
clearance for agricultural expansion (PR)
Depopulation due to plagues caused abandonment of
agricultural land and forest regrowth, taking
CO2 out of the atmosphere and leading to cool
climatic phases the little ice age after the
Black Death and the dark ages after the
plagues that occurred with the collapse of the
Roman empire (PR)
Methane in atmosphere trended upwards
(anomalously compared with earlier glaciating
phases) coinciding with the commencement of
paddy field rice cultivation about 5000 years ago
Conclusion Earths climate is extremely
sensitive to anthropogenic forcing Most
critically, researchers know relatively little
about feedback effects that might enhance or
weaken the pace and effects of climate
change.. Key sticking points include the
inability of global climate models to reproduce
the amount of sea level rise observed over the
past couple of decades and whether ice flows at
the bases of glaciers is accelerating or not.
How volatile the Antarctic and Greenland glaciers
might become in a warmer world is therefore
pretty much guesswork Nature, pp280-281, 8.Feb,
2007 So yes, the science is uncertain OK We
(posterity and NZ Inc.) need a precautionary
WHAT? CARBON REMOVALS Biosphere Carbon Stock
Management maybe enough but maybe need albedo
enhancement also Read P., Lermit J., 2005.
Bio-energy with carbon storage (BECS) A
sequential decision approach to the threat of
abrupt climate change, Energy. 30 2654-2671.
Read, P. and A. Parshotam, 2007. Holistic
Greenhouse Gas Management Strategy (with
Reviewers Comments and author rejoinders).
Institute of Policy Studies Working Paper 07/1,
VUW //ips.ac.nz/publications/publications/list/7
Read, P., 2008 Biosphere Management of Carbon
Stocks.Addressing the threat of abrupt climate
change in the next few decades. Forthcoming
Editorial Essay in Climatic Change
  • Biosphere Carbon Stock Management
  • extract more CO2 from the atmosphere
  • stock it somewhere safer
  • As a precautionary strategy
  • A Do low cost enabling things first (be prepared)
  • B Do costly things later if need be (enabled by

As regards 1, there is only one way It involves
large scale land improvement to raise its
productivity and yield all we need in co-produced
food/fibre with fuel (call it Global Gardening
if we look after Mother Nature theres some
chance she will look after us ) It should be
good news for farmers and landowners instead of
difficult emissions reductions, the energy sector
invests in low cost land based activities to
secure a strategic (biomass) raw material supply
and provide a hedge against high cost oil
  • As regards 2
  • standing forest
  • Biochar soil improvement bio-oils
  • BECS (Bio-Energy with CCS)
  • More wooden houses and other structures

  • As regards A
  • 1. Invest in forest plantations to stock carbon
    and act as a strategic reserve of biomass
    raw material
  • (quite useful as timber if the climate change
    panic goes away)
  • 2. Invest in a vehicle fleet that is compatible
    with biofuels
  • (a useful hedge against peak oil the dear
    oil age
  • 3. Invest in biofuel supply systems
  • maybe 2nd generation cellulosic ethanol
  • maybe gasification and Fischer Tropsche
  • maybe pyrolysis with biochar for soil
  • maybe on-farm gasification linked to
    herd-homes and riparian
    tree plantations to prevent pollution of our
  • An investment should not be treated as a cost

As regards B Be ready to retrofit CCS onto all
large stationary furnaces CCS is a pure
cost But it can very easily be made 100 per cent
effective biomass is coals best friend !
But, mix in 20 per cent wood chips and you get
zero emissions From 100 tons fuel, 80 tons
fossil results in 64 tons sequestered and 16 tons
emissions 20 tons wood chips results in another
16 tons sequestered Net emissions - zero
Comparison of carbon removals (F) with emission
reductions (Z) in mitigating the level of CO2 (in
ppm) in the atmosphere  
A SRES-A2 Z SRES-A2 with a transition to zero
emissions technologies between 2011 and
2035 F SRES-A2 with a transition to land
improvement carbon removal technologies over the
same period, with land use change complete by
2035 and technological progress to 2060
Table 1 Summary of key illustrative
data Outputs linear increase
to2035 then 1.5 tech progress till 2060 Forestry
(co-produced timber and bio-energy on1 b Ha by
2035) Lumber 10Gt/yr 14.5Gt/yr C content of
Biochar 1.2Gt/yr 1.74Gt/yr Biodiesel 20EJ/
yr 29EJ/yr Electricity 23.1EJ/yr 33.5EJ/yr
Ethanol 31.4EJ/yr 45.6EJ/yr Stock of C in
bio-char soil improvement 15Gt 52Gt Stock
of C in standing plantation 120Gt 183Gt Stock
of C in avoided deforestation 8Gt
38Gt Stock of C from CO2 of fermentation
2.4Gt 11.5Gt Stock of C from flue gas CCS
9Gt 60Gt Sugar Cane (co-produced sugar and
bio-energy on 0.43 b Ha by 2035) Ethanol 115EJ
/yr 167EJ/yr Electricity 85EJ/yr
123EJ/yr Stock of C from CO2 of fermentation
7.2Gt 34.7Gt Stock of C from flue gas CCS
9.2Gt 60.5Gt Switchgrass (co-produced
protein and bio-energy on 0.72 b Ha by
2035) Ethanol 113EJ/yr 163EJ/yr Electricity(
net) 4.8EJ/yr 7.0EJ/yr Stock of C from CO2
of fermentation 8.6Gt 41.6Gt Stock of C
from flue gas CCS 13.8Gt 90Gt
Aggregate energy supplies (not optimised just
an illustration) Ethanol 259EJ/yr
376EJ/yr Biodiesel 20 EJ/yr
29EJ/yr Electricity 113 EJ/yr 164
EJ/yr Carbon cycle impacts C in oil displaced by
bio-fuels 8.38Gt/yr 12.2Gt/yr \C in coal
displaced by bio-electricity 4.23Gt/yr
6.14Gt/yr Stock of C left as in situ fossil
fuel 164Gt 549Gt Stock of C in standing
plantation 120Gt 183Gt Stock of C in avoided
deforestation 8Gt 38Gt Stock of C in
bio-char soil improvement 15Gt 52Gt Stock of
C from CO2 of fermentation 18Gt 88Gt Stock
of C from flue gas CCS 32Gt 210Gt Total C
reduction in atmosphere and proximate sinks
(e.g. ocean surface layers)with 357Gt 1120Gt and
without flue gas CCS 325Gt 910Gt
So carbon removals is far more powerful than
emissions reductions And therefore peak oil and
carbon removals go hand in hand ? Not
quite Sustainability is costly and sustainable
best practice constitutes proof of
Additionality up to leaky bucket standards
see How ? below. So unsustainably produced
bioenergy does more harm than good
A SRES-A2 D SRES-A2 with sugar cane,
switch-grass and forestry land use change
activities but no CCS G SRES-A2 with three land
use change activities and 30 tC per ha released
through land use change H SRES-A2 with three land
use change activities and 90 tC per ha released
through land use change I SRES-A2 with three
land use change activities and 300 tC per ha
released through land use change
HOW? global implementation
  • Calculations illustrates impact of BCSM on C in
  • Do NOT illustrate how it could be implemented
  • NOT a thousand million Ha plantations worldwide
    (3 in NZ) BUT
  • a million thousand Ha plantations (3000 in NZ)
    and many other types of BCSM project each
    serving local needs and providing sustainable
    rural development paths
  • Capacity building programme to train 100,000
    grassroots entrepreneurs with skills to engage
    commitment of farmers, communities, villages,
    etc., to initiate country-driven projects funded
    by energy consumers seeking sustainable best
    practice bio-fuel supplies
  • A framework of bi-lateral bio-energy partnerships
    in which South partners agree to objective
    sustainability criteria in exchange for
    investment, technology transfer and a shared
    hedge against peak oil, shared with North partner
    (e.g. NZ and selected Pacific Island partners).

A problem
  • Most carbon removals systems involve land use
    change with a large margin of error in
    determining how much C has been removed (OK, you
    can measure how much biochar goes into the soil,
    but what about claimed methane and nitrous oxide
    emissions reductions, and increased soil organic
    matter and increased crop yield…..?
  • But an emissions cap generates a need for
    rigorous accounting
  • History of difficulty in negotiating land use
    change offsets in Kyoto (Art 3.3, forestation)
    leads to complex rules and high transactions
    costs. Hence only 2 LUC projects under the CDM,
    neither forestry.
  • A small but beautifully formed teaspoon is not
    much use for bailing CO2 out of the S.S.
    Atmosphere if the ship is sinking a leaky
    bucket is much more use
  • So aim to drive policy-desirable BCSM projects
    with minimal trasnsactions cost through bilateral
    bio-energy partnerships
  • (Eventually, learning from experience, converging
    on a second and complementary Wellington?
    protocol hanging from Art 3.3).
  • Then the psychology is quite different instead
    of a punitive zero sum emissions cap game, such a
    project oriented approach releases
    entrepreneurial energy to get ahead with securing
    market share and competitive edge with the new
    policy oriented technologies

HOW ? a leading role for NZ
  • Because
  • NZ economy is more exposed to accelerating
    climate change impacts than any other Annex 1
    country and needs an effective post-2012 regime
  • NZ economy has comparative advantage in the land
    based activities that are central to BCSM, and
    consultancy expertise for relevant technology
  • And because BCSM serves multiple objectives in
    the Millennium Development Goals and Multilateral
    Environmental Agreements that New Zealand supports

Another problem Carbon neutral NZ ? (from Ward,
Royal Soc says 3m Ha low return land in NZ Plant
150,000 Ha p.a. for 22 yrs from 2011 to establish
a 22yr rotation normal forest (better get busy
propagating seedlings next year ! ) Assume zero
growth for 2 years and 8 tons C p.a. per Ha for
20 yrs 30 t CO2 captured per Ha p.a.
Then 30 x 150,000 4.5 Mt CO2 in 2013, 9
Mt CO2 in 2014, 13.5 Mt CO2 in 2015 etc…
……till 85.5 Mt CO2 in 2031 and 90 Mt
CO2 in 2032 This gives 945Mt CO2 permanently
stocked in the normal plantation forest by
2032 NZ Business As Usual emissions 2010-2030
average 42Mt p.a. 2012-2032 20 yrs x 42 Mt
p.a. 840mt CO2 BINGO carbon neutral NZ
!! Carbon negative if all those other emissions
reductions policies work OK From 2033 there is
an annual crop of 320 tons / Ha x 150,000 Ha
48m tons p.a. Say 24 m tons timber for more
wooden houses, etc And 24m.t. x 16GJ/ton
400PJ bioenergy raw material p.a. for ever
(around half NZ demand for primary
energy) Forestry (commercial) is NOT as has been
stated a trivial tool for mitigation
  • Then, in domestic policy
  • Adopt ambitious aspirational targets
  • Aspire towards a rising proportion of
    sustainably produced (not all in NZ) biofuels
  • Aspire towards a large proportion of flexifuel
    cars in the new car import mix
  • Aspire towards importers of 2nd hand cars to
    adapt them to 10 per cent ethanol
  • Aspire towards investment by stationary
    emitters both energy, and land use based in a
    rising area of sustainably managed new
    plantations (not all in NZ)

Getting action on these aspirations Given that
the carbon price is already serving the emissions
reduction commitment, we need a second tool to
drive the BCSM programme Make use of the policy
tool that is wasted in the pork-barrel politics
of grandfathering versus auctioning the initial
issue of emissions permits Give the permits
away up to the level of the cap on condition
that recipients surrender Carbon Removals
Vouchers certified independantly (e.g. by
Veritas) in a proportion to the permit issue that
increases over time. Equivalent to Renewable
Portfolio Standards used in the USA (e.g.
California, and proposed in Bills before the
Federal Congress). Also equivalent to recycling
auction revenues but keeps government agencies
out of the front line. Initially grandfathered
to incumbent firms but with an increasing
proportion for new entrants
  • Forestry is the most powerful technique available
    for carbon removals
  • Yet the NZ Government has totally stuffed up its
    dealings with the forestry sector
  • Carbon Removal Vouchers put the job in the hands
    of firms at the point of policy obligation
    energy firms and other emitters (livestock
    farmers, Fonterra, meat processing firms?)

Through diplomacy Draw attention of Conference
of Parties to the threat of ACC and
responsibilities under Art 3.3 . NZ is doing
this what are you doing? Seek partners for
BBPs Network other industrialized countries to
initiate their own BBPs Work through the G8
Global Bioenergy Partnership towards consensus
on sustainability criteria and eventual
convergence on a second Protocol, complementary
to Kyoto Negotiate emissions reductions
commitments that reflect carbon removals
activity without the nausea of detailed
accounting or demonstrating additionality (i.e.
sustainable best practice is sufficient).
  • Thank you for coming
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