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Climate Change Science, Policy Options and Opportunities for University Environmental Managers


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Title: Climate Change Science, Policy Options and Opportunities for University Environmental Managers

Climate ChangeScience, Policy Options and
Opportunities for University Environmental
  • presented by
  • Gordon Evans
  • Environmental Manager
  • The Texas AM University System

25rd CUHWC Ithaca, New York August 2007
What is the bother?
  • Not mere climate change, but the high rate of
    change (challenge for adaptation).
  • If man is much of the recent cause, will others
    be affected disproportionately?
  • Can it be slowed?
  • How?
  • In what time frame?
  • At what cost?
  • What should we do?
  • Personally
  • As a university
  • As a state, nation and world

This Is Not About an Energy Shortage
The world will eventually leave the age of oil,
but there is no geologic reason for this to
happen until near the end of the 21st century.
  • World oil reserves at least 100 years
  • World coal reserves at least 350 years
  • If we can find it, it will burn.

David Deming, University of Oklahoma. 2003. Are
We Running Out of Oil? Policy Backgrounder, No.
159, January 29, 2003. http//
Energy How We Have Benefited
  • The last century's consumption of oil, coal, and
    gas has
  • Raised living standards throughout the world
  • Driven malnourishment to an all-time low
  • Doubled global life expectancy
  • Pushed most rates of disease into decline

23.5º N

Images from NASA at http//
North Korea
South Korea
Hong Kong
North Korea
South Korea
The U.S. Leads the Way
  • Climate change and related research (e.g.,
    effects of change) has become one of the
    best-funded areas of science.
  • Despite claims that the U.S. is the major
    culprit in the so-called climate catastrophe,
    we are also the dominant leader and funder of the
  • In the U.S. alone, this amounts to gt 4 billion /

Some of Todays Themes
  • A question of balance
  • The past remember
  • Errors in modern science paleoclimate clues
    (there is nothing new under the sun)
  • The future the trouble with prophesies
  • The unknowable future extrapolation errors
    dependence on models earths complexity

Some of Todays Themes
  • Fear not
  • Life is change
  • Guilt and repentance
  • American consumerism lessons learned (and
    unlearned) carbon emissions history
  • The good and faithful steward
  • What can we do (you, higher education, the U.S.,
    the world)?

A question of balance
Environmentalist religion and its priesthood -
Errors of logic - Buzzwords
  • The cult of
  • consumerism
  • development
  • Paid skeptics
  • Libertines
  • A clash of world views
  • Climate change is neither right nor left
  • Response a matter of conscience

EnvironmentalGrand Narratives
  • Stories a culture tells itself about its
    practices and beliefs
  • Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)
  • The unifying grand narrative
  • Poster child of the environmentalist movement /
  • Not to deny that man is affecting climate, but
    one need not accept the world view underlying
    the advocacy

True BelieversWord Choices
  • Unprecedented
  • Irreversible
  • Forever
  • Crisis
  • Urgent
  • Tipping point
  • Runaway
  • Catastrophe

Tools of Persuasion
  • Images and stories
  • Logical fallacies
  • Parade of horribles appeal by listing extremely
    undesirable, but unlikely, events.
  • Argumentum ad populum (Latin "appeal to the
    people") if many believe, it is so.
  • Appeal to emotion manipulate the recipient's
  • Think of (the children the polar bears
    New Orleans)."
  • Argumentum ad infinitum / ad nauseam repeat an
    idea until nobody cares to refute it anymore,
    then call it true.

Common AGW Fallacies
  • Glacier retreat
  • Polar bears
  • Polar ice fluctuations
  • Calving glaciers
  • Ice shelf breakups
  • Sea level rise
  • Future generations

Glacial Retreat (Recession) McCarty Glacier,
  • But when did the retreat occur relative to human
    effects (post-1975)?

Photos courtesy National Snow and Ice Data
Center / World Data Center for Glaciology Boulder
(NSIDC/WDC) http//
Greenlands Jakobshavn Glacier Recession
  • NASA has constructed this helpful (?)

Illustration courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight
Center - Scientific Visualization Studio
Greenlands Jakobshavn Glacier Recession
Polar Bears
  • Polar bears have always been swimmers, and
    population studies show generally stable or
    increasing numbers
  • If threatened by warmth, how did the bears
    survive the Medieval Warm Period, Holocene
    Climate Optimum and the Eemian Interglacial
    occurring 1,000 and 10,000 and 125,000 years ago?

Arctic Ice Cap
  • Ice fluctuates year-to-year based on natural
  • Ice caps have ALWAYS varied, only now we can see
  • Arctic ice was declining long before late 20th
    century human effects.

Glaciers Calving
  • Glaciers have always calved at the sea.
  • It is seasonal and as common as falling leaves.
  • For decades, people have traveled to see this
    wonder of the natural world.
  • Only now everyone has access to video, Internet,
    and cable to see it for themselves.

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
Ice Shelf Breakups
Latitude 67 30 S
Ice Shelf Breakups
  • There have been many breakups since 1900, when
    ice shelves were first discovered.
  • Before then, no one knows.
  • Lost forever? If only 3,000 years old, then
    others will form when Earth cools again.

Florida after a 3 Meter Sea Level Rise
  • IPCC and recent data project a 0.3 meter rise
    over the next 100 years
  • Only 1/10 of the impact shown here.
  • Mostly due to ocean thermal expansion.

Weather Channel
  • Selling a product, so make weather exciting
  • Storm Stories (weather happens)
  • It Could Happen Tomorrow (if pigs could fly)
  • The Climate Code (a la The DaVinci Code)
  • 100 Biggest Weather Moments (hosted by musician,
    Harry Connick, Jr. )
  • Its entertainment!

Fun with Graphs
A Different Time
  • The rate of increase in years 80-61 was 0.017
  • Since 30 years ago, the rate has again been the

  • Since T began to rise again (1980-2000), the rate
    has been about the same (0.016 C/yr) as before.
  • Thus, even for the period of measurements, the
    present rate is not unprecedented.
  • At a constant rate, we would expect 1.6 C by the
    year 2100, IPCCs low end projection.
  • But T does not always increase. If the future is
    similar, the 1860-2006 rate would raise T only
    0.6 C by 2100.

The Real Global Temperature
Upper limit of past global temperature from
paleoclimate reconstructions
  • Al Gore says, The planet has a fever.
  • When plotted on a temperature scale of the
    earths life range (0 - 25C), Mr. Gores
    analogy is meaningless.

Freezing point of water
Errors of Extrapolation
Making Too Muchof Too Little
  • With regard to recent (30 yrs) of Antarctic
    cooling The lesson here is that changes
    observed over very short time intervals do not
    provide a reliable picture of how the climate is
  • by Eric Steig, isotope geochemist, and
  • Gavin Schmidt, climate modeler,
  • on http//
  • Then how should one explain alarmism based on the
    same 30 years of late 20th century global
    temperature data?
  • According to Steig and Schmidt, we should
    speculate about neither.

Finite Man and the Limits of Science
  • Yucca Mountain Project (YMP)
  • Money spent gt6 billion (2007 budget ? 500 M/yr)
  • Studied gt30 yrs
  • Scientists and Engineers gt3,000 FTE
  • YMP Area 1,500 acres
  • What do we know? Little for sure
  • Little experimental data
  • Model projections use worst-case estimates.
  • Lesson
  • For all of the effort, the future of a mere speck
    eludes us.
  • How confident are we of our 100 year climate

The Past Remember
  • Past mistakes errors of modern science
  • Paleoclimate clues nothing new under the sun

Consensus Science Has Been Wrong Before
  • Smokey Bear said, Only you can prevent forest
    fires. Now we know our folly.
  • Heart stints prevent heart attacks. Recent
    evidence says, No.
  • Vioxx is safe. Well, maybe not.
  • Milk is bad. No, milk is good.
  • Eat carbs / dont eat carbs. Eat meat / dont
    eat meat.
  • Depletion of natural resources by name a date
    (didnt happen)
  • Massive species extinctions by name a date
    (didnt happen)

Consensus Science Has Been Wrong Before
  • Acid rain the disaster that wasnt
  • Ozone hole did we cause it or merely observe
    it? Did we solve a non-problem?
  • Rampant cancers from manmade chemicals? Never
  • DDT will wipe out birds. No, but uncontrolled
    mosquitoes are killing millions of Africans.
  • The list goes on.

Unprecedented?Paleoclimate (Earths Past)
  • Mid-Cretaceous Period (ca. 120 to 90 Million
    Years Ago)
  • Distinctly warmer than today, particularly at
    high latitudes
  • CO2 gt2x to 4x today
  • Eemian Interglacial Period (ca. 125,000 Years
  • 1-2C warmer than today, with poles 3-5C higher
  • Sea levels 4-6 meters (13-20 ft) higher than today

Temperature varies, CO2 follows
Vostok is located in Antarctica
Penultimate (Eemian) Interglacial
Another Look at the Previous Graph
  • Many abrupt changes of 2-4C in less than a
  • Our present interglacial has been long,
  • Temperatures could be much higher than they are.
  • Warmth and sea level rise are less than the last
  • Currently, we naturally expect continued
    recession of glaciers and polar ice, even without
  • Abrupt cooling could begin at almost any time.

Unprecedented?Paleoclimate (Earths Past)
  • Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum (ca. 6,000 Years
  • Warmer than today by 2-4C, at least in northern
  • Medieval Warm Period (ca. 1,000 years ago,
    10th-12th centuries)
  • Peak temperatures, lasting more than 100 years,
    were as high as the 20th century prior to 1985.

Mid-Holocene Warm Period (Climatic Optimum, 6000
Medieval Warm Period
Most 20th century warming has been considered to
be good. In the 1970s, scientists were lamenting
a possible decline in global temperature.
The Current Interglacial Has Seen the Advent of
Human Civilization, so ...
  • Warm Is Good.

Climate Activists in Chicago
18,000 BC
GO Cubbies!
Climate Activists
130,000 BC
GO Cubbies!
Conclusions from Paleoclimate
  • CO2 and temperature vary together, but which
    causes which?
  • Higher T causes higher CO2, up to 20 ppm / C
  • T alone could raise current CO2 to gt300 ppm
  • CO2 greenhouse acts as a positive feedback
  • Natural climate has been warmer than now.
  • Natural climate has changed abruptly (in 5-40 yr)
    and violently (4-8C) many times.

Conclusions from Paleoclimate
  • Based on the past, we can expect a return to the
    Ice Age norm.
  • Todays changing climate is not unprecedented.
  • What is different now, and should it matter?
  • Very recent (last 30 years) warmth appears to
    have a strong human influence.
  • It matters only if we think that it merits
    control to slow the warming.

Is it our fault?Let the climate scientists speak.
  • A Short Primer

Where Do We Get the Data?
  • Ancient (millions of years)
  • Medieval (1000s of years)
  • Recent (150 years)
  • Modern Times (40 years)
  • proxies (tree rings, sediment / ice cores,
    isotopes, astronomy)
  • proxies observation (e.g., sunspots)
  • proxies observation direct measurements
  • proxies observation direct measurements

Levels of Knowledge of Causes of Climate Change
  • Level 1 Simple correlation
  • Level 2 Plausible physical mechanism
  • Level 3 Demonstration of viability from simple
  • Level 4 Simulation of role in fully complex
    climate system

Increasing confidence
What Drives Climate?Natural Drivers
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Direct solar output 1,2,3,4
  • Cosmic rays 1,2
  • Orbital variations 1,2,3
  • Plate tectonics 1,2,3,4
  • Volcanic activity 1,2,3,4

What Drives Climate?Natural Drivers
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Direct solar output 1,2,3,4
  • Cosmic rays 1,2
  • Orbital variations 1,2,3
  • Plate tectonics 1,2,3,4
  • Volcanic activity 1,2,3,4

What Drives Climate?Natural Drivers
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Direct solar output 1,2,3,4
  • Cosmic rays 1,2
  • Orbital variations 1,2,3
  • Plate tectonics 1,2,3,4
  • Volcanic activity 1,2,3,4

What Drives Climate?Natural Drivers
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Direct solar output 1,2,3,4
  • Cosmic rays 1,2
  • Orbital variations 1,2,3
  • Plate tectonics 1,2,3,4
  • Volcanic activity 1,2,3,4

What Drives Climate?Natural Drivers
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Direct solar output 1,2,3,4
  • Cosmic rays 1,2
  • Orbital variations 1,2,3
  • Plate tectonics 1,2,3,4
  • Volcanic activity 1,2,3,4

What Drives Climate? and - Feedbacks
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Snow and ice 1,2,3,4
  • Vegetation cover 1,2,3,4
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Water vapor (major) 1,2,3,4
  • Other (minor, such as CO2)1,2,3,4

What Drives Climate?UN-Natural Drivers
  • Driver Level of Knowledge
  • Land use 1,2,3,4
  • Aerosols (small particles) 1,2,3
  • Greenhouse gases 1,2,3,4

Attributing Causes to Recent Climate Changes
  • Figure out whats happened to climate
  • Figure out whats happened to drivers
  • Worry about natural variability
  • Find unique patterns in data
  • Plug drivers into models, reproduce climate

Noticeable human influence after 1980
Pre-1980, mostly natural warming
Source http//
Estimating Future Climate Change
  • UN IPCC projections use storylines
  • Natural drivers uncontrollable and
  • Unnatural drivers Economic / social trends and
    energy mix, without controls
  • Plug drivers into models, see what happens

IPCC Multi-model Averages for Various Storylines
3.6 C w/ Rampant growth
0.6 C w/ No CO2 increase
Source IPCC AR4 Working Group 1 SPM
Temperature in the Life Zone
Cretaceous Era Temperature (25C)
Global Average Temperature (C)
Estimate of Lowest Ice Age Temperature
The CO2 Story
Where Does CO2 It Come From?
  • 97 of emissions are natural
  • The growth rate of human emissions has begun to
    slow since 1973, EXCEPT
  • China, India and Pacific Rim

AnthropogenicCO2 Emissions by Sector
Power Stations
Industrial Processes
Fossil fuel retrieval, processing and distribution
Transportation Fuels
Land use and biomass burning
Residential, commercial and other sources
Source http//
(72 of Total Human GHGs)
U.S. Carbon Emissions
  • U.S. emissions (total and per capita) peaked
    after the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo.
  • Total was flat for 15 years, but has since
  • Per capita declined for 10 years, increased a bit
    during the Soviet arms race, but is flat since
    the late-80s.

U.S. Carbon Emissions
  • With per capita emissions steady, recent
    increases directly due to
  • Population increases and
  • Increasing consumerism
  • More than offsetting efficiency improvements.

Immigration and CO2
  • Immigrants and their recent offspring now account
    for nearly 90 of U.S. population growth
  • About 50 of that growth is due to illegal
  • Energy use from population growth is far
    outpacing our gains in efficiency

Projections and graph courtesy Population
Environment Balance, Sources U.S. Census
Bureau2 Statistical Yearbook40, Bureau of
Citizenship and Immigration ServicesAverage
195,000 per year from 1921-1970
Per Capita Differences Among States
  • Texas is a major exporter of electricity,
    petroleum and petrochemical products.
  • California is a heavy importer from other states.

World Carbon Dioxide Trends
North America
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
Source Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1995
All of Europe
North America
North America
Eastern Europe
W. Europe plus Germany
Western Europe
Source Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1995
The rest of the worldWhere is the rapid growth?
These two include China, India, Japan Taiwan
Centrally Planned Asia
Far East
Cen. S. America
Middle East
CO2 and World Events
The Torching of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein, the
worlds 1 worst environmental criminal (Feb 1991)
Middle East
CO2 and World Events
Reagans 1st Inauguration (Jan 1981)
Fall of the Berlin Wall (Nov 1989)
Soviet Union Collapses (1991)
North America
Eastern Europe
Arms Race
Western Europe
Europe stagnates
CO2 and World Events
Kyoto CO2 Emissions Baseline Year 1990
Eastern Europe Emissions Drop 36 due to
Americas Cold War Victory
  • Ronald Reagan wrt CO2, the worlds greatest
    environmental hero.
  • Combined U.S.-former USSR emissions are still
    below 1980s levels.

World Carbon Dioxide Trends
  • In 2006, China surpassed the U.S in total CO2
  • Chinas emissions growth rate far exceeds the U.S.

Uncertainties in Climate Projections
  • Tools?
  • Simple extrapolation from real-world data
  • Global circulation models (GCMs)
  • Economic development projections (energy demand)
  • Projections of future energy / technology mix
  • Using todays tools to project the next 100 years
  • What is likely to happen?
  • What is possible but unlikely?
  • What is very unlikely to happen?

IPCC (U.N.) Scenarios
  • Best storylines subtly incorporate a global
    socialist model under the guise of
  • Mass redistribution of wealth
  • Forced social programs
  • Loss of individual freedoms
  • Strengthened world government and denigration
    of U.S.-style representative democracy
  • All storylines assume NO climate-change
    initiatives are undertaken (very unlikely)

Climate Sensitivity to CO2
  • Not a projection, climate sensitivity is an
    estimate of warming following a doubling of
    carbon dioxide concentrations.
  • IPCC says it is likely to be about 3C 1.5C.
  • Estimates based on models tuned to data,
    paleoclimate reconstructions, and assumed

Radiative Forcing Uncertainties
  • Omits water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas.
  • Solar irradiance is not the only or best measure
    of the suns influence.
  • Recent solar research suggests that the IPCC
    solar estimate may be low.
  • Higher solar means lower CO2.

Climate Sensitivity to CO2
  • Question If CO2 is the causal factor, how long
    before CO2 doubles?
  • Based on recent trends, CO2 will double the
    pre-industrial level of 280 ppm in about the year
    2,200 AD.
  • Most projections extend to only 2,100 AD, at
    which time T would increase 1C from present.
  • Changes in solar activity and its effect on
    climate are still debated. As the sun gains
    importance, CO2 must lose importance.

Regional-Scale Changes
  • Caution Models are not effective at
    regional-scale climate
  • Climate is more than just average temperature or

Adapting in Texas Cities
  • The 2090-2099 change would be equivalent to
    present-day urban heat islands (UHI) compared to
    rural areas.

To adapt, cities could adopt UHI control
strategies to partly offset the effects.
?3C (5.4F)
If the World Acts Reasonably with Climate
Change Initiatives
  • 2090-2099 Expect to shave about 1-1.5C locally
    from IPCCs business as usual storyline

?2-3C (3.6-5.4F)
The Energy Conservation vs. Efficiency Debate
  • Efforts to increase efficiency have helped,
  • But, absolute consumption continues to rise.
  • Efficiency alone will not lower consumption.
  • Nothing short of dramatic changes in behavior and
    social values are needed.
  • Rick Diamond, Lawrence Berkeley National
  • Et al.

Residential Energy Use
  • Population growth dominates the graph (21).
  • 1978-82 Rapid early gains from improved
    efficiency and muted consumption.
  • 1982-86 Flat performance due to economic
  • Since 1986 Wealth and population growth
    overtake efficiency.

U.S. House Size 1950-2000
  • Housing reflects broader trends in consumption.
  • House size has doubled since 1960 as the number
    of persons per household has dwindled.
  • Does not account for conditioned volume

The Cleavers (1957-63)
  • Ward Cleaver, Executive (possibly Sr. Engineer)
  • Salary ? 13,000/yr in 1957 (90,000/yr in 2007
  • The Cleaver House
  • 3 BR, 2-story
  • Cleavers owned one car
  • Plymouth Fury, fuel economy 18 mpg

  • How Much Can We Achieve by Conservation Alone?
    (Reduced consumerism / societal change)
  • Strong nuclear families
  • Saving vs. credit
  • Lower expectations (home size, smaller and fewer
    cars, fewer luxury amenities and services, eat at
  • Maybe 20 ???

Global warming.
Some say irreversible consequences are 30 years
30 years?
That wont affect me.
(No Transcript)
Priorities Todays Problems or Tomorrows
  • U.N.s World Health Report
  • Copenhagen Consensus

Theres still time.Fight global warming
But what about those who suffer TODAY?
Whose Rainfall Might Be Adversely Affected?The
10/40 Window
  • 82 of the poorest of the world's poor (per
    capita GDP less than US500 per year)
  • 84 of those with lowest quality of life (life
    expectancy, infant mortality, and literacy)
  • Population (non-Christian) ? 2 billion

Copenhagen Consensus
A False Dichotomy?
  • Care for the poor need not conflict with prudent
    responses to climate.
  • We can address many issues together.
  • Living small can free funds for the less
  • Economic efficiency, cost-effectiveness and
    environmental protection can co- exist

What Economists Say
  • Economists modeling climate effects vs. control
    costs urge modest 1st steps
  • Small carbon tax on the order of 1-4 per ton
  • Worldwide carbon trading
  • Participation by ALL countries

How Far and How Fast?
  • Should humanity take any action to limit GHG
  • The fundamental question is, What do you
  • Is change accelerating or staying the same?
  • How fast will temperature rise?
  • How far will it rise?
  • How helpful or damaging will the results be?
  • How does this stack up against other local,
    state, national and world problems?

How Far and How Fast?
  • Your answers (taken on informed faith) will
    affect the scope and timing of extraordinary
    actions, IF ANY!
  • If you believe in modest temperature changes,
    based on
  • Data 19th-20th century and recent (25 yr) trends
    project 0.6 to 1.6C by 2100 AD,
  • Then little action needed.

How Far and How Fast?
  • If you believe in moderate temperature changes,
    based on
  • Low to mid-range model projections Expect 1.5
    to 3.5C by 2100 AD
  • Then mitigate by moderate actions

How Far and How Fast?
  • If you believe in large temperature changes,
    based on
  • Mid to high-range model projections Expect
    gt4.0C by 2100 AD, based on model projections
    with very low probability of occurrence.
  • Then dramatic action would be needed to stabilize
    emissions within 50 years.

What To Do?
  • 1st, Remember
  • Energy prosperity and health (remember N. Korea
    vs. S. Korea)
  • While the U.S. leads other countries except China
    in CO2 emissions, and has one of the highest per
    capita emission rates, the U.S. economy is also
    unparalleled in productivity and prosperity.
  • The U.S. began to tame the CO2 beast 30 years
    ago, having turned the tide after the 1973 Arab
    oil embargo.
  • Together, U.S. former Soviet emissions are
    below 1980s levels.

What To Do?
  • 1st, Remember (continued)
  • The U.S. leads the world in climate-change
    research and alternate energy research and
  • Drastic technologically driven cuts (electric
    generation transportation sectors) will take
    Trillions and many decades!
  • Most U.S. emissions growth is directly tied to
    population growth, and 90 of population growth
    is immigration, much of it illegal.
  • Drastic personal conservation could cut U.S.
    emissions 20 (down to 1970 level) IF immigration
    is controlled.

What Can YOU Do?
  • 2nd, Conserve makes economic and moral sense
  • BUT, for measurable effect, American culture
    would face major moral, social and material
    consumption changes. For example
  • Stop immigration
  • Live small (homes, cars, luxuries)
  • Increase savings and investment
  • Give to international charity
  • Marry early strive for stable family life
  • Largest quick change available to us is our
    choice of automobile
  • Simply changing light bulbs just wont do

What To Do?
  • 3rd, for modest change believers, conservation
    may be enough, alongside the normal course of
    developing and deploying innovations and
    technology, or
  • For high change believers, support aggressive
    carbon trading, consumption taxes, and
    accelerated government/industry development and
    deployment of technologies

What Should We Do?
  • Dont panic

What Should We Do?
  • Possible actions
  • Economists and climate science suggests modest C
    emissions controls initially.
  • Take the sensible path to conservation to save
    and emissions.
  • Public education and accountability
  • Institutional change
  • Set national energy policy based on
  • 1st energy security and
  • 2nd risk of climate effects.

What CouldHigher Education Do?
  • Learn what science says and decide
  • Is earth warming?
  • Is it unprecedented?
  • Is it natural and/or human influenced?
  • How severe is it likely to be (modest, midrange,

AM Climate Change Statement
  • We agree with the recent reports of the
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that
  • It is virtually certain that the climate is
    warming, and that it has warmed by about 0.7 deg.
    C over the last 100 years.
  • It is very likely that humans are responsible for
    most of the recent warming.
  • If we do nothing to reduce our emissions of
    greenhouse gases, future warming will likely be
    at least two degrees Celsius over the next
  • Such a climate change brings with it a risk of
    serious adverse impacts on our environment and
  • Unanimously agreed, tenured and tenure-track
  • Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas AM

What CouldHigher Education Do?
  • Existing infrastructure
  • Economical energy conservation measures (e.g.,
    lighting retrofits refined HVAC controls on
    buildings all already being done)
  • New construction
  • Design and build to latest Green Building (LEED)
  • Long range planning
  • In infrastructure development, anticipate
    adaptation to future climate
  • Alternate energy
  • Evaluate the outlook for candidate technologies

What CouldHigher Education Do?
  • Personal behavior
  • Modify building systems and cost-accounting for
    personal / departmental energy accountability
  • Change transit and student policy (e.g.,
    dormitory utiity use student autos enhanced
    bike, pedestrian and public transit)
  • More aggressively highlight and market campus
    energy conservation programs
  • Add home economics and personal finance to core
  • Research Engage academia in relevant research
  • Outreach Educate the public through extension

Prospects for Alternative Energy
  • Renewables
  • Wind the not for profit charity
  • Cannot meet large part of demand
  • Requires duplicate standby generation capacity
    due to wind variability and load management
  • DOE goal of 5 by 2020
  • gt30 yrs for full deployment
  • Biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, biomass)
  • Marginal outlook (MAX 5 of demand and major
    ecological disruption likely 1 of demand)
  • 30 yrs for full deployment
  • Solar industrial scale not yet competitive

Prospects for Alternative Energy
  • Clean coal (carbon sequestration FutureGen)
  • 10 yr to demonstrate
  • 30-50 yrs to fully deploy
  • Nuclear
  • Now 104 reactors in the U.S., the last built in
  • Currently 30 license applications (lt3 of current
    total generation capacity)
  • 10-20 yrs to come on-line
  • Other fusion, hydrogen
  • Early stage development
  • Not for the foreseeable future

Wind generation potential is FAR from the areas
demanding it
U.S. Wind Resources
As the Wind Blows(Instability in a Stable Grid)
  • Wind generation is both variable and intermittent
  • 1 MW wind generation capacity is only credited
    with 0.1 to 0.2 MW of capacity credit
  • (TX ERCOT is proposing only 0.02 capacity credit)
  • Actual GHG reductions are minimal not fully

Wind generated electricity in Western Denmark,
May 2002
a substantial part of the theoretical CO2 saving
does not accrue in practice. In some
circumstances there may be only minimal benefit.
  • Because of winds capacity credit of essentially
  • every new MW of installed wind generation
    capacity must be matched by installation of equal
    conventional capacity
  • Thus, wind energy should be viewed as a public,
    not for profit, charity with the sole benefit of
    CO2 emissions reductions

Impact of Full-Scale Wind Energy
This is just a toy (only 15 units)
Picture 3,000 to 5,000 as the equivalent of one
typical power plant!
  • What you never see
  • Full-scale projects and their sheer magnitude
  • The complex of access roads and the aboveground
    transmission grid
  • Emphasis on spotty performance, requiring
    available back-up plants, since electricity is
    not storable

Ah, the pastoral Welsh countryside
  • Picture this times 100 !
  • But it may beat the heat.

  • Aesthetic
  • Visual nuisance
  • Day - Impaired vistas
  • Night strobe lights
  • Noise (need 1-2 mi. setback)
  • Shadow flicker
  • Reflections
  • Ecological
  • Microclimate higher surface wind, temperature
    and evaporation
  • Habitat disruption (clearing, 4 acres/turbine
    35 to 65 acres for infrastructure)
  • Bird kills
  • Other
  • Signal disruption

Elk River (Kansas) industrial wind facility
before and after photos.
  • A Texas goal of 10,000 MW (only 8 of state
    generating capacity) in wind energy would require
    an area of 5,000 sq. mi.
  • The Texas Panhandle from Dumas to the Oklahoma
  • Assuming no terrain effects or other obstacles
  • In Texas, market price still substantially higher
    than conventional gas or coal-fired generation

  • Capacity factor
  • (Actual output ? rated output) ? 100
  • 10 to 30 (based on reported experience)
  • Capacity credit
  • The ability to replace other sources of power
  • Actual capacity credits
  • 16 (UK)
  • 4 (Germany)
  • 14 (Ireland)
  • 10 (New York State)

Biofuels Ethanol from Corn or Other Biomass
  • Best estimates from ethanol proponents
  • 5-10 acres of corn must be grown to supply the
    fuel to net 1 acres worth of ethanol delivered
    to market
  • Assumes a ready market for low-value corn
  • To meet the total U.S. transportation fuel demand
    would require the total land area of the US.
  • Only 19 is arable, and most is needed for food,
    feed fiber.
  • Realistically, corn ethanol or other biofuels can
    meet lt5 of the need
  • Brazils efforts are at the expense of rain
    forests and fragile tropical soils
  • In Europe. due to limited farmland and northern
    latitudes, ethanol is not feasible

  • Mostly small-scale applications (home,
  • Not generally cost-competitive (50 yr ROI)
  • No utility-scale generation capacity worldwide

Total installed capacity of 354 MW Installed from
1985 1991 Account for ½ of the worlds total
solar power production
The cost of a commercial-scale power tower today
is estimated at about 7,200/kW, or 0.16/kWh.
SEGS - Solar Electricity Generating Systems
Aerial view of the five 30MW parabolic trough
plants at Kramer Junction in the Mojave desert of
Fossil Fuel Conversion Carbon Sequestration
  • DOEs goal by 2012
  • Fossil fuel conversion that captures/stores 90
    of CO2
  • lt10 increase in the cost of energy
  • Timing
  • Research plant (FutureGen) in operation by 2012
  • Commercial-scale units on line around 2020
  • Assumption
  • Unlikely that accessible fossil fuel resources
    will be left unused, irrespective of climate
  • Especially in developing nations that have fossil

If youre really ambitious, try the Tesla
(electric car)
  • American designed, assembled in the UK by Lotus
  • Base price 92,000
  • Zero to 60 mph in about 4 seconds
  • Top speed gt130 mph
  • Range about 250 miles on a charge
  • Recharges in as little as 3.5 hours
  • Mobile charging kit allows recharging from any
    available electrical outlet
  • Batteries will last about 100,000 miles

Comparison to the Cost to Get to the Moon (in
2007 )
  • Apollo ? 146 billion (2006 ) 10 years
  • Assume
  • Nuclear and clean coal are competitive feasible
  • All new generating capacity is nuclear and/or
    clean coal
  • Cost to replace existing U.S. fossil-fuel
    generating capacity 2 to 5 Trillion 50 years
    (13 to 30 x Apollo)
  • Cost to replace U.S. transportation fuels with
    clean electricity 1.3 to 3.3 Trillion (9 to
    23 x Apollo)
  • TOTAL replacement cost (with NO increase in
    demand) 3 to 9 Trillion (20 to 50 x Apollo)

About 1 million MW in 2005 U.S. DOE Energy
Information Administration (http//
/cneaf/electricity/page/capacity/capacity.html )
AnthropogenicCO2 Emissions by Sector
9 Trillion stops ½ of the CO2
  • Most formal climatic impact assessments have
    called for cautious, but positive steps ...
  • To slow the rate at which we modify climate, and
  • To adapt to changes that do materialize.
  • Stephen Schneider
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