from: Merylyn McKenzie Hedger <merylyn.hedgeratXYZxyzironmental-change.oxford.ac.uk>
subject: FW: Battelle Labs climate thoughts
to: "'m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk'" <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Thought this chilling stuff might be of interest.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charlie Kronick/Chris Gore [SMTP:canukatXYZxyzapc.org]
> Sent: 23 April 1999 02:29
> Subject: Battelle Labs climate thoughts
> Dear Colleagues,
> "If engineers ran the worldS..
> I attended an interesting and potentially worrying meeting today (
> Friday 16 April) at Chatham House, the Royal Institute for
> Affairs in London. It was a presentation by Dr Jae Edmonds and
> Benedick - formerly chief negotiator of the US in the Montreal
> - of Battelle Memorial Institute in the US on their Global Energy
> Technology Strategy. The project is a public private partnership -
> with lots of industry participation - EPRI in the US, plus BP- Amoco,
> some Japanese utilities and many other partners, plus what seems to be
> fairly extensive
> The presentation was fascinating - as much for what was not said as
> what was included -with further discussion from a variety of industry
> and academic practitioners. It was a fairly technocratic crowd,
> of any Chatham House gathering, with Mike Grubb in the chair, and only
> John Lanchberry of the RSPB (here in the UK) representing the anything
> like an alternative viewpoint.
> The presentation was complex, and fairly long winded. It represents
> summary of the first year of three year study looking at a
> strategy to respond to climate change. While nodding their heads
> towards policy issues, this presentation at least was dominated by a
> down analysis of how technological innovation could deliver
> stabilisation of carbon concentrations in the atmosphere at 2X
> pre-industrial levels.(There was no discussion if this was an
> appropriate target, but seemed a de-facto admission that 2X was the
> that anyone could hope forS) This was compared for the purposes of
> illustration with the IPCC IS 92a reference scenario - more or less
> business as usual. Battelle ran the model with a variety of
> assumptions, including plentiful oil and gas, scarce oil and gas, coal
> as a bridging fuel (God help us) and a rosie, cuddly solar future. It
> was an economic model, attempting to determine what the new suite of
> technologies might be that would deliver a permanent 550 ppmv future.
> I couldn't begin even to summarise all the arguments - they have a web
> site - http://gtsp.pnl.gov - note it does not include "www" - which
> should have all the main technical papers.
> The key conclusions of the presentation are relatively simple to
> * anything like stabilisation at 550 ppmv will require relatively high
> levels of performance from technologies that are relatively
> unsophisticated at the present time
> * technology will be central to any response to cc
> * need to reverse current trends in energy R&D spending
> * carbon management is basically risk managementS
> These conclusions are relatively anondyne ,but what was interesting
> disturbing was the technology mix that emerged from a relatively
> complete presentation of one model run:
> 1. The good news: nuclear power was nearly a non-factor in any
> that you care to name.
> 2. The bad news: solar (their short hand for renewables) was barely
> 3. Energy efficiency was significant but S
> 4. The key new technologies were carbon capture, carbon transport,
> carbon sequestration, and de-carbonisation and in some variations some
> types of synthetic fuels.
> They touched upon every example of deep ocean injection,
> carbon stripping, hydrogen from methane, transformation into calcium
> carbonate, etc. etc. There was a nod to every "not here, not now"
> response to reducing carbon emissions ever conceived, and several that
> have barely seen the light of day - there was even one enthusiast for
> genetically engineered carbon sinksS.
> It was a classic top down, technologically driven performance.
> There were some interesting assumptions imbedded in the conclusions:
> n a world government, or at least some kind of global regime of
> governance would make this system work (the WTO perhaps?)
> n current climate policy - the KP with its first steps to incremental
> reductions of ghgs - could be a red-herring, distracting vital
> away from key policies and measures.
> n emissions caps, and general policies like carbon taxes could obscure
> from the target of protecting the climate system
> n policy measures - whether improving local air quality, transport
> efficiency, banning sports utility vehicles in the US (this was
> Benedick's suggestion, not mine I'll have you know) were much more
> likely to be effective than any ongoing ratcheting down of emissions
> n at the moment, Government policies are largely inconsistent -e.g. US
> negotiating a target, but not implementing any measures to meet it.
> Now I'm not sure where these guys fit into the continuum of US
> to cc, but there is a slightly worrying synchronicity with the new US
> legislation which tends to ignore the UNFCCC process in favour of
> implementation, on their terms. Though I have my doubts about the
> ultimate benefits of the global political process delivering a
> solution to cc, I am even more worried about a group of engineers
> ignoring social constraints or even such goals as a more equitable
> allocation of future emissions.
> I think that the analyses probably offer some really useful and
> interesting information, but I would be very interested to hear the
> views of US colleagues on the political positioning of the GTSP. It
> not a value free zone, and its enthusiasm for various kinds of carbon
> sequestration as opposed to support for renewables and any kind of
> bottom up approach seems almost a calculated play for the more
> reactionary aspects of the North American/Japanese axis on climate
> mitigation responses. What do you all think?
> Charlie Kronick
> 49 Wellington Street
> London WC2E 7BN
> Tel (+44) 171-836 1110
> Fax (+44) 171-497 0447