Sunday, June 17, 2012


cc: "John Shepherd" <>
date: Fri, 8 Oct 2004 02:04:13 +1300
from: "Peter Read" <>
subject: Fw: Fw: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
to: "Mike Hulme" <>, "John SCHELLNHUBER" <>

Dear Mike and John

I fear that that idea seemed to go down like the proverbial lead balloon so I am off to
Wales next week to work on the Workshop outputs with Edward Sumoto, my very able
assistant. I hope it was not out of place to ask and guess pressure of business precluded
reply, as it does so much else.

I am of course still keen to meet with you before I leave these shores to see if there is
any way that I can collaborate in the development of these ideas, especially as John
Shepherd mentioned to me at last week's workshop your continuing interests in the concepts
I am working on. It seemed Oct 15th is a deadline in your work programme, and maybe you
can suggest a less pressured date between that and 24th, when I depart for NZ, that I might
visit you in Norwich. I would be happy to give a seminar if that would be welcomed.

The workshop went much better than I expected and concluded with an intention to try to
insert a policy proposal into the upcoming G8 discussions. As you will see from the
attached draft Press Release, this focuses on the bio-energy aspect, with the abrupt
climate change aspect somewhat muted. This was because large scale bio-energy was seen as
such a winner in a great many directions that it would be a mistake to tie it to the still
emerging concern for abrupt climate change

I hope that it will be possible to meet with you,

Best regards


----- Original Message -----

From: [1]Peter Read
To: [2]Mike Hulme ; [3]John SCHELLNHUBER
Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 1:36 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x

Dear Mike, Dear John

I am sorry that you can't come either, Mike.

There remains the question raised in previous correspondence whether, given the timeliness
of these ideas, and given the shortness of my up-coming stay in England - and, I guess,
given the pressure of business on both of you over the weeks ahead - whether it may
facilitate any contribution I might be able to make to the development of British thinking
before the end of the year, if I were to visit the Tyndall Centre for two or three weeks in
October, leaving to return to NZ on the 24th on present plans. Maybe it was not clear that
this is what I was suggesting, or maybe the Centre has no funds for sponsoring academic
visitors, or maybe the UEA's guest accommodation is booked out, but it would be helpful to
clarify if this will work out. In considering it, please bear in mind that my day-job over
this period is to work with my assistant editor, Mr Edward Sumoto, on the Workshop
Proceedings, so that there would need to be accommodation for two if this idea is to work.

What I have in mind -- beyond a simple exchange of ideas to see if I have anything extra to
contribute beyond what is in circulation already -- is to inform you of work I am doing in
Washington to insert these ideas into the policy process there and to investigate
possibilities of collaboration with a research centre or centres there.

As regards the first, I am hopeful, through contacts in Washington, of stimulating -
possibly providing research backing for - a bi-partizan article in the influential DC
policy journal 'Foreign Affairs' . This would pick up on themes advanced by former Senator
Tim Wirth with Boyden Gray (Counsel to former President GW Bush) and John Podesta
(Clinton's Chief of Staff) in an Article published in the Spring on 'Strategic Energy
Policy: Hurrying the Future'. The new article would adumbrate bio-energy based
responsiveness to abrupt climate change as effective in the pursuit of the three concerns
in Wirth et al, i.e. energy [read 'oil'] security, climate change and energy poverty.
Obviously the Article has to await the election and be appropriately slanted to its outcome
("different from Kyoto" if Bush 2 "adding to Kyoto" if Kerry). Since a key purpose of such
responsiveness would be to provide a bridge towards rapprochement with the EU, a major
concern in developing the Article would be to maintain links with thinking in Britain
(which would doubtless play its traditional brokering role between the USA and Europe).

As regards the second, I feel there is potential to generate funding for a trans-Atlantic
research collaboration on the prospects for global land use change, driven by the need for
bio-fuel, by WTO movement towards liberalisation of agricultural trade, by a revised
tropical timber trade regime, etc. I would be interested to see if I could play any part in
getting that going.

Hoping that something will be possible at UEA next month -- anycase I would aim to come for
a day visit, maybe after your 15 Oct FP6 deadline

Best regards


----- Original Message -----

From: [4]Mike Hulme

To: [5]Peter Read

Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 11:12 PM

Subject: Re: Fw: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x

Thank you for your invitation, but I too will have to decline. These next few weeks are
extraordinarily busy, since not only do I have to work with John on our Tyndall Phase 2
bid, but I also am co-ordinating an EU FP6 Integrated Project proposal with a deadline
of 15 October.
I therefore have to clear my diary as much as possible over the next 6-7 weeks, so will
have to miss your Paris workshop.
With best wishes,
At 11:16 25/08/2004 +1200, you wrote:

Dear Mike

I think John will probably discuss the possibility of a visit to UEA with you when he
gets back.

Meanwhile, the Paris event: following earlier correspondence with John Shepherd, some of
it copied to you, it seemed a good idea to ask John Schellnhuber to act as discussant
for this expert workshop, which I am convening (with the support of the UN Foundation's
Better World Fund). It will, I believe the first attempt to address the policy
implications of potential abrupt climate change.

However, he is too committed. But his mention, in his most recent message, of your
interests in M&A matters leads me to hope that maybe you could fill the gap. So this is
your invitation, in the hope there some chance that you could take two days out for this
pathbreaking event. If so, I will happily provide you with more info, or for self-help,
please visit our website, [6] .

Best regards


----- Original Message -----
From: [7]John Schellnhuber
To: [8]Peter Read
Cc: [9]John Schellnhuber ; [10]Mike Hulme
Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2004 4:51 AM
Subject: Re: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
Dear Peter,

Yes, I tried two times. Anyway...

Regarding your suggestion, I can see the mutual benefits. The only problem is that we
have to prepare our proposal for the next 5 Tyndall years during the period of time in
question, so we will be very busy. On the other hand, the M&A discourse with you might
be quite helpful. I copy our e-dialogue to Mike Hulme, who is back next week and
actually very interested in these topics. Let us stay in touch - I will be back from
Sweden next Friday.

Best regards,

----- Original Message -----

From: [11]Peter Read
To: [12]John Schellnhuber
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 6:20 AM
Subject: Re: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
Dear John
I am concerned that you may have tried calling me and found the line engaged as both
Lesley and I do our e-mailing through a modem-landline connection. Please let me
know by e-mail if there is a particular day (evening in England) when you intend
trying. Meantime, I have been wondering if you would consider supporting the Paris
Workshop by helping with a problem that has cropped up.
This arises because I have planned to be in England after the Workshop, and until
the third week-end in October, in the hope that I could contribute something to the
policy process if my ideas prove to be useful in that context. (In case it matters,
you may like to know that I was positively vetted for security purposes during my
time in Whitehall).
After the Workshop, my background task will be to work with assistant editor Edward
Sumoto (an 'intern' from Georgetown University who maintains our web-site
[13] ) on producing a transcript of the Workshop discussion.
This will provide the raw material for the 2005 book mentioned in the Prospectus as
"Papers presented at the workshop will be refereed for publication in a Special
Issue of the Journal of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. In
order to serve its purpose of informing the IPPCs Fourth Assessment Report, this
Journal Special Issue will be ready to go to the publisher (Kluwer Academic
Publishers) by the end of 2004. It is also intended that an Assessment of the
Workshops purposes and outcomes will be published in a 2005 book. This book will
contain: commentaries based on presentations at the Workshop by distinguished
discussants; summaries of the Workshop papers prepared by their authors and designed
for a general audience; reportage of the Workshop discussions; and, maybe, policy

It had been our intention to work together in London (where I can stay with friends and
have grace and favour access to facilities at Imperial College, as a hangover from a
period visiting in May and June). But it appears that the friend Edward was relying on
to host him in London during that period is no longer able to do so.

There is some prospect that we could retire to rural seclusion in central Wales, where
there would be peace and quiet but few facilities, e.g. for printing hard copy. So,
since hearing of Edward's problem, it has passed though my mind that maybe the Tyndall
Centre would be able to host us as UEA Visitors for that period. This arrangement would
enable you and I to interact on joined-up thinking in early October and facilitate any
input I might make (either directly or through you) into the high level policy work that
you mentioned previously (if it is not by then getting too late).

I hope you will have success calling me before too long - for your convenience, here
again is my phone number: ++64 6355 9194.

Best regards


----- Original Message -----
From: [14]John Schellnhuber
To: [15]Peter Read
Cc: [16]John Schellnhuber
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 10:33 PM
Subject: Re: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
Dear Peter,
I will try to get you before breakfast next week.
----- Original Message -----
From: [17]Peter Read
To: [18]John Schellnhuber
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 2:27 AM
Subject: Re: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
Dear John
Many thanks for this message.
May I suggest you call about 10-11a.m Friday, or Monday, when it will be after
dinner here, 9-10p.m., and hopefully I will not be too sleepy.
The number is ++64 63 55 91 94
p.s if you do not mind calling out of your working hours, 8-9p.m. in England gets
me 7-8a.m. when I am usually doing some work before breakfast.
----- Original Message -----
From: [19]John Schellnhuber
To: [20]Peter Read ; [21]John Shepherd
Cc: [22]John Schellnhuber
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 11:50 PM
Subject: Re: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
Dear Peter,
First of all, let me apologize for entering this email discourse so late: I have
been busy with many things concerning the second 5a-phase of the Tyndall Centre, but
it's August at last and people have fortunately disappeared to their resorts.
I will not be able to join you in Paris because of competing obligations, although
it would be tempting to go for this interesting event. However, I found much wisdom
in your messages to John, Jim and Paul ( particularly regarding the need to act
strategically and orchestrated right now ), so I wonder whether we should not try to
get in touch anyway. There are actually many high-level policy things going on at
present, and I am involved in some of them.
May I suggest that we start with a phone chat at a convenient time? Please indicate
whether you are interested and if so, when you are available.
John Schellnhuber
Tyndall Centre Research Director
----- Original Message -----
From: [23]Peter Read
To: [24]John Shepherd ; [25]
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 1:47 PM
Subject: Re: Joined-up thinking and expert workshop, Paris, 30.ix/1.x
PPS Please excuse me marking this for acknowledgement of receipt, but with the
holiday season in full swing it is hard to know if messages have been seen.
Dear John and John,
The immediate purpose of this message is to reiterate previous messages requesting
you both, please, to submit your registration/travelform (attached for convenience)
for the Paris Workshop to which you are both invited, one as committed presenter and
the other as hoped-for discussant. The reason for asking you to get ahead with this
is because the UN Foundation's travel agent in New York needs to finalise room
allocations in Paris (and purchase of tickets where requested) by end third week of
August when she will be going on vacation. And because, a bit before that, I need
to know how many second choice people to take off the reserve list and put into the
invited list.
In reiterating the invitation I take the opportunity to emphasize the timeliness,
nay urgency, of joined-up thinking over the coming months. Also I am following up
on a couple of points outstanding from previous correspondence with John Shepherd,
consigned to a PS.
On timeliness, I was delighted to hear from John that I am pushing at an open door.
To thoroughly mix metaphors, I believe there is now a window of opportunity to catch
'a tide that, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune' (or at least that could so
lead, to fortune of a global environmental variety). I fully take John's point that
there are no magic bullets. But I hope to get across to the policy process in
Britain first the recognition that large-scale land use change is inevitable, and
second my vision that, with the right intellectual groundwork, and with effective
trans-Atlantic networking, the next few months could see this change pushed in a
benign direction. My hope is for the global community to learn, with Candide, that
'we must cultivate our garden'.
Recent hopeful news of progress with the Doha round, current renegotiation of the
tropical forest agreement, the role of bio-energy in relation to the Kyoto Protocol
obligation to address the post-2012 regime, not to mention the increasing impact of
predicted climate change on managed and wilderness ecosystems, all point to changing
land use. This could lie in the hopeful directions of the A1/B1 type SRES
scenarios, as agriculture, forestry and energy relocate to reflect market
fundamentals. Or be less hopeful, if it leads to corruption, land grabs, mega-scale
industrialised farming, displaced populations, unsustainable pillage of soil
quality, etc.
Over the next Presidential term, policy directions will be taken that will have long
term land use implications, and in which far sighted building on the framework
provided by the Rio Convention could lead not only to the win-win outcomes mentioned
previously (energy security, farm support, sustainable rural development with ended
energy poverty, effective early control of GHG levels, a hedge against possible
abrupt climate change) but also to the evolution by example of a constructive modus
vivendi between the WTO and the Multilateral Environmental Agreements. With second
term Bush, the hope would be that some of the frustrations of the first term would
be reflected in a greater willingness to build bridges. With Kerry the risk would
be of gridlock with a Senate that is unwilling to eat its words over Kyoto. In each
case the need is for there to be something different from, and complementary to,
Kyoto, where the USA could 'take the lead' and earn the respect of Europe.
With the stated priorities of Downing Street (both Numbers 10 and 11, I believe)
towards Africa and towards climate change, it may be that John's open door could
lead to the mobilization of these ideas in London's traditional role as go-between
for DC and Brussels - a role that could be facilitated by trans-Atlantic networking
in advance, to reduce risks of crossed wires. In finding an entry point in London,
I have a concern that the High Level Energy Group might be too narrowly focused to
take in the developmental, agricultural and broader environmental and trade policy
dimensions of prospective global land use change. But if that's the way in, so be
it, though I cannot help feeling that my original suggestion of a small ad hoc group
to get the ideas into a concise format has some merit. If I can help I will be in
England for two or three weeks after the Paris meeting.
So, to revert to the invitation, the rather tight link in the workshop prospectus
between abrupt climate change and bio-energy, as central to a be-prepared strategy,
springs from the potential which such linkage has not only for escaping the Kyoto
impasse, but also for establishing hopeful long term directions in some of the wider
areas indicated above. I very much hope you will both be able to come to the Paris
meeting, where the intent is to make it possible to explore these ideas informally
with European and US participants.
Best regards
Peter Read
P.S. outstanding points from correspondence with John Shepherd.
First, the water constraint issue raised from the floor at my Southampton seminar
and mentioned again in subsequently. One of the multiple benefits claimed for
'terra preta' charcoal soil amendment is that it improves soil water retention: this
emerges from the Japanese literature of which I have now had time to peruse some
samples. Linked with enhanced soil productivity, this offers the prospect that the
'terra preta' approach to bio-energy-linked C-sequestration may serve to ameliorate
rather than - as under simple competition for land-and-water models - exacerbate
future water-resource driven conflicts. For instance the use of tree-lines in
anti-desertification could be facilitated by mixing charcoal with the mulch pits
used for arid zone tree establishment. Another aspect in which there is a synergy
with water management is in riparian application of charcoal resulting in improved
nutrient retention, less polluted run-off and better water downstream.
In essence, what the 'terra preta' story does is suggest a type of investment in
land that goes to mitigate not only GHG's but other environmental problems as well.
A further aspect is D. Day's technology for loading the charcoal with inorganic
fertilizing molecules by exposing it in powder form to combustion products. This
removes some NOX, SOX and COX from flue gases (visit [26] ). These
examples add specificity to the suggestion that it may be easier to mitigate GHG's
in the under-capitalized land use sector than in the heavily capital-intensive
energy sector. I say 'suggestion' : obviously a huge amount of research and
(especially) learning by doing is needed, in cooperation with many millions of
land-stakeholders globally, to particularize the detailed investment projects that
would be best for different soil and climatic types and under different
socio-economic circumstances.
Second, how much carbon can be sequestered this way? I have done a ball-park
estimate of 11e10 tons based on 2 cm of charcoal on all 1.4bHa of arable land
globally, i.e. about 8Kg per square meter or 80 tons per Ha. From Japan Okimori
advises " The amount and frequency of charcoal application is depend on the
condition of soil. Generally speaking, charcoal powder can be added with 5 - 10
ton/ha at a few years interval". So I guess 80 tons could be reached with 10
applications over 30 say years. I am trying to find out whether excess application
(when the main objective is CO2 sequestration) is merely a waste from the point of
view of soil improvement or whether it can do harm. If no harm is done then it is
low cost sequestration (about half the cost of CO2 separation and deep
sequestration) but the energy from combusting the carbon in the charcoal is lost.
So the choice of technique depends on the relative prices (scarcity) of land, energy
and atmospheric GHG disposal.
Of course, 11e10 tons is a lot of charcoal and implies the use of ~600b tons of
biomass raw material and co-production of ~300btons of pyrolysis fluids for
conversion to synthetic diesel or gasoline. For a 30 year programme and at 20/40
tons per Ha-yr, that requires 30/15bHa-yrs or 1000/500m Ha, well within the amount
of surplus farmland likely to be available on hi-tech globalized SRES scenarios
according to GIS based modelling at Utrecht University. 300btons of pyrolysis
fluids, 10 be tons a year for 30 years, might yield 100EJ up.a. of syn-transport
fuels, rather more than current consumption.
Of course, further research on terra preta may be disappointing, leading to the need
to employ mainly CO2 capture, compression and deep sequestration to get a large
scale negative emissions energy system. I continue to concur fully with the need
to keep all options open : i.e the portfolio approach, in relation to both projected
gradual climate change and potential abrupt climate change. Yes there are other
negative emissions options, and yes there are various albedo modification ideas that
also need to be be researched and assessed.
But as Johannes Lehmann, co-editor of one of the books I mentioned previously writes
" In terms of references etc,- there is probably not much of what you are looking
for. We have work published on the soil effects of charcoal and terra preta
properties, but not really about the economics of it or the larger scheme." So,
quite apart from the broad potential of addressing abrupt climate change at the
Paris meeting, terra preta is the new kid on the block as regards climate policy
options, and it is a kid that can run in a number of directions simultaneously,
including a convergence of mitigation and adaptation options. I hope you will both
want to be there for the kid's first run out.
Best regards
----- Original Message -----
From: [27]Peter Read
To: [28]John Shepherd
Cc: [29] ; [30]B.E. Launder ; [31]Mike Hulme
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: Serious need for joined-up thinking on this
Dear John
Many thanks for this reply. Yes, I completely agree on the need for a portfolio
approach and the need to hedge bets in developing a robust strategy.
The important thing to bear in mind is that focusing on 'domestic action' in the
energy sector in Annex 1 countries limits the portfolio available under Kyoto and
raises costs of effective action to the point where cooperation is hard to secure
even in response to gradual climate change, with abrupt climate change in the 'too
hard' basket.
Looking at land use change in a much more pro-active way than was done in the LULUCF
special report, including Terra Preta in the portfolio of permanent sink
technologies, and including mutually beneficial trade with non-Annex 1 countries as
central to the response strategy, means that we can shift ACC out of the 'too hard'
basket and into the 'for action' basket.
But I agree that, to achieve robustness, we need geo-engineering technologies as
alternatives, and hence research programs to assess their risks and the logistics
and costs of achieving preparedness to implement them, as well as to analyse how to
detect precursor signals of potential ACC mechanisms.
I hope that, after our end-September Workshop, it will be possible inject into the
briefing for David King something of the Terra Preta story. I was already intending
to be in the UK for a few weeks after our workshop, and will be very glad to assist
if that would help.
I hope to come back to you on several points after I have met with some of the
people in DC on Tuesday (where I am breaking my journey for 24 hours on my way back
to NZ where I must be to teach for 9 weeks - see attached luncheon workshop doc).
Meanwhile, may I draw your attention to a couple of books,
Glaser, Bruno and William I Woods (eds) 2004. Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations
in Space and Time Springer Verlag, Berlin.
Lehmann, Johannes, Dirse C Kern and William I Woods (eds) 2003. Amazonian Dark
Earths: Origin, Properties, Management Kluwer AP, Dordrecht, Netherlands
By the way, Bill Woods has agreed to act as one of the discussants at our Workshop.
Best regards
----- Original Message -----
From: [32]John Shepherd
To: [33]Peter Read
Cc: [34] ; [35]B.E. Launder ; [36]Mike Hulme
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 12:38 AM
Subject: Re: Serious need for joined-up thinking on this
Dear Peter
Actually I think you are pushing at an open door in the UK, and Jim Skea may
actually be right that this lies more in Tyndall territory than that of the new
UKERC (but we now have an MoU for collaboration anyway). Your views are not far from
those of some/many people working in the Tyndall arena (visit the web-site at and search (button at top RHS) for "biofuel" to find a few
useful entry points).
Anyway, I am copying this reply and your message to my fellow Tyndall
directors, to see whether we want to take up your suggestion for joining some sort
of action group, but I suspect that they will feel that we are doing enough already
(we shall be making a presentation to Dave King's High Level Energy Group in
October, for instance), and the publication of the IPCC Special Report on Carbon
Capture & Storage (now doing the rounds in draft) next year will bring all this very
much more into the international picture. There is a danger of being perceived as a
single-issue pressure group, which we would certainly wish to avoid.... I think we
would argue that the UK is belatedly now doing some joined up thinking (in high
places) on these issues (c.f. Dave King's various pronouncements on the subject),
and that this will feed through into the international arena since at present we do
seem to have top-level political commitment to the issue.
Meanwhile, I haven't checked your sums but 100 Gt(C) sounds high to me, see
the Royal Society report to which I contributed (at Assuming some modest
percentage of actual global arable crop production (not sure what that is) might be
more persuasive. Also I think that (as at Southampton) you will fail to carry the
argument unless you address the water/irrigation issue more thoroughly. Which is not
to say that I don't think that biofuels don't have an important role to play,
especially for dealing with the otherwise very difficult transport issue, but I'm a
fan of portfolios of solutions, since I don't think that there is a single magic
bullet out there waiting to be found...
Hope that helps a bit

Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\Draft 1 Press Release.doc"

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