Arquivo de etiquetas: alterações climáticas

Energy and Development V

Sustainable Energy for All

We’ve been talking in this lecture about the challenges of energy poverty and how they relate to the challenges of poverty more generally. We’ve also discussed the imperative of combining the fight against poverty and the fight against uncontrolled climate change. These can’t be put in chronological sequence or prioritized that fighting poverty comes first and climate change comes later, because as I emphasized in the previous chapter, if climate change runs out of control, if we continue with the business-as-usual path, our hopes of even basic food security, much less an escape from poverty are going to be dashed.

I’ve emphasized therefore the importance of putting the poverty agenda within a context more generally of sustainable development. Fighting poverty is part of the larger cause of sustainable development.

And in this chapter I want to put it the other way, that fighting climate change also is part of that larger effort. To have success in 2015 in COP21 in Paris, we’re going to need success at the United Nations in September 2015 in adopting a set of sustainable development goals or SDGs, which will frame exactly that holistic approach in which fighting poverty, fighting for social inclusion of women and minorities and the poor, and fighting against uncontrolled climate change are all combined into an integrated and holistic framework. 2015 is indeed a period of extraordinarily interesting and complex negotiations.

851Remember, you’re going to be a delegate to the climate negotiations in the global online negotiation that will take place at the beginning of 2015. But let’s note that there are three big negotiations that need to be completed successfully in 2015 and each plays off of the other and depends on the success of the others. Paris we know comes at the end of the year. Before Paris comes the negotiation on sustainable development goals in 2015 in September at the United Nations.

And even before that, in July 2015, will come the first major summit, diplomatically for next year and that is the Conference on Financing for Sustainable Development which will take place in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. What is that conference about?

That conference is to help find the ways that poor countries can access electricity, the ways that we can help to finance the research, development and demonstration of new technologies for low-carbon energy. The way that we can help to compensate countries that experience significant climate losses, a principle that was agreed in COP19 in Warsaw, last year, that losses and damages from climate change should be compensated.

So we’ll have a conference on finance, we’ll have a conference on sustainable development in general and then we’ll have the COP21 in Paris at the end of 2015. I’m excited about sustainable development being the overarching framework. I think this is right. And I think that it is a proper intellectual framing of our interconnected challenges, but also a proper framing from the point of finding a way through the complexity that confronts us now. Of course the idea of sustainable development has been around for a quarter century. And I’m delighted to have an online course available for your viewing pleasure, The Age of Sustainable Development, to look at this concept in more detail. But here in chapter five of lecture eight I want to stress how the framing of sustainable development will help to shape the climate and energy discussions in the coming year and then of course in the years beyond.

Back in 2012 at the twentieth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, remember that the Earth Summit is where the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change was first adopted. On the twentieth anniversary the conferees looked at the results of the UNFCCC and of the other two big treaties that had been adopted at Rio, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification and they said, these are good documents, we still live by them, but we’re not getting the, the global buy-in, the political will, the public energy and commitment that’s needed really to implement these three treaties. And they looked at the quite different process of the Millennium Development Goals which are not legally binding; they’re not a treaty. They were adopted as a spirit of the world, as a commitment of the world, but not in a legally binding way back in September 2000, at the start of the new millennium. So in 2012 the conferees at the twentieth anniversary of the Earth Summit said, hmm, if those MDGs are, they’re working.

They’re drawing the world’s attention to the plight of extreme poverty and to the ways that we can address and solve and overcome extreme poverty. Why don’t we use a similar mechanism, not to replace the Framework Convention on Climate Change, not to undermine the treaties, but to complement the treaties by helping to bring the challenges of sustainable development more generally to the world’s attention. And they called on the U.N. General Assembly to adopt a concise set of sustainable development goals that would cover the three main dimensions of sustainable development.

Fighting poverty and promoting economic development, dimension one. Promoting social inclusion of women and minorities especially in insuring the human rights of all individuals, of access to public services as number two. And environmental sustainability of which controlling climate change is by far the most urgent as number three. And those three dimensions of sustainable development, they noted back in 2012 need to be girded by a fourth crucial dimension and that is good governance and global partnership. So in that spirit, the 2012 twentieth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit passed the baton to the U.N. General Assembly and said, come up with a concise set of sustainable development goals that will incorporate the fight against poverty, the fight against climate change, and the other crucial aspects of sustainable development.

852I’m happy to say that the U.N. General Assembly took this challenge on fully and has now been in two years of intensive analysis and negotiation about the sustainable development goals. And there is a, an increasingly strong chance indeed that a concise set of SDGs will be adopted in September 2015, just a few months ahead of the Paris COP21. For a while it was thought this could conflict, this could make things complicated.

But I think by now the governments understand that the two processes are complementary. They’re not contradictory. And climate change will be part of both the sustainable development goals and the COP21, not that one will negotiate different targets and different ambitions, but rather within the sustainable development context the world will reconfirm its commitment to the framework convention and to the decisions that are to be taken in Paris to ensure that in the 15 years between 2016 and 2030 in which these new sustainable development goals are the world’s guideposts, climate change will be one of the headlines of that new global commitment.

So we are now in the middle of the process of adopting sustainable development goals and I think the process is working well for exactly the themes that I’ve been discussing in this eighth lecture. Recently the working group of the General Assembly has put out a provisional list of some of these sustainable development goals. And while I won’t go through the whole list, I want to highlight some of the main conclusions of the two years of negotiation that have been underway.

First, there is general agreement that goal number one of the SDGs, SDG  number one will be end poverty. End poverty in all its forms by the year 2030. And specifically in terms of measurement, what this means is that the World Bank’s poverty line which is a $1.25 per person per day for extreme poverty. That using that line we should be able to get to near zero in terms of the proportions of households still stuck below poverty from the roughly one billion people today under the World Bank poverty line to near zero. But helpfully, as with the Millennium Development Goals, these sustainable development goals will define ending extreme poverty not only income terms, but in many other forms as well. In terms of food security, health security, schooling for children, access to safe water and sanitation, access to modern energy services, these will all be part of the commitment to ensure that everybody’s basic needs are met by the world economy as of 2030, whether through markets or whether through government or other kinds of social help, the basic needs of everybody should be met and achieved by the year 2030.

Goal number two on this new list of the U.N. General Assembly open working group is to end hunger, to ensure food security. Now remember, as we just discussed, if climate change is running rampant; this is going to be an absolutely forlorn and failed ambition. We’re going to have to improve productivity of agriculture but at the same time, ensure that the consequences of runaway climate change are, are not seen.

Goal number three of the proposed list is to ensure health for all. That’s access to health services. That means electricity in the health clinics. It means emergency transport to those health clinics. It means modern information systems, also requiring electricity,so that those clinics can run effectively. It means environmental health as well. It means that people are not choking and dying of indoor air pollution or the particulate pollution of coal fire power plants and the smog of Asia’s cities. And so again, the interconnection of the health agenda and the safe energy and climate change mitigation agendas.

Goal number four, ensure inclusive and equitable education for all children. Again, information technology, electricity in the classroom can play a very, very big role in this. And there are lots of innovations possible to bring education and information to places that right now don’t have a book but could have the world of online information opened to them.

Goal number six proposed by the open working group is to ensure access to water and sanitation. Once again, modern energy services of pumped water, solar irrigation, solar systems for water safety, even for desalination in some locations will be part of water security and therefore intertwined with energy services.

Proposed goal number seven of the open working group is specifically about universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

This is good. Energy is put straight on the table. And the commitment to ending energy poverty as one of the most powerful tools to raising human well-being and ending other forms of poverty is now clear and it’s linked also strongly to climate change mitigation through the very strong emphasis on renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and cleaner fossil fuel technologies, perhaps carbon capture and sequestration or other, other potential solutions.

But the point is, energy for all in a way that is compatible with the 2-degree centigrade carbon budget. Notably, proposed goal thirteen is on climate change itself. This is extremely important as I’ve been emphasizing, climate change is one of the absolute core aspects of sustainable development. This was contentious within the open working group. For a while many governments said, “don’t put in a separate goal on climate change because we have the climate change negotiations that will come just after the sustainable development goals are adopted.” But that was not really the correct way to think about this challenge.

The sustainable development goals will apply for a 15-year period, for the years 2016 to 2030. Therefore, during that whole period the signal, the message much go out to the whole world that to achieve sustainable development we need to achieve climate change mitigation. We need to honor the 2-degree centigrade goal. And the governments came to understand that the sustainable development goals are not the place to negotiate the climate change details. There’ll be enough negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, thank you, during 2015 not to confuse the negotiations with yet another venue. But the governments did come to understand that of course climate change needs to be a headline within the sustainable development goals because the sustainable development goals are not legally binding treaties, they’re not the UNFCCC substitute. They are the guideposts. They’re the compass for the world. And climate change must be there to remind the, the world every day that to achieve sustainable development, we must achieve climate change control.

And finally, I want to emphasize that the poor countries have been saying throughout these negotiations, “well that’s all fine and good, we like that goal on ending poverty. We definitely want energy services. But how, how is this going to be done?” And the poor countries have insisted therefore that one of the goals be on what is called in the jargon, the means of implementation. And this is the same jargon used in the climate negotiations as well. Where is the money on the table when it’s needed? How will research and development be financed? How can we ensure that impoverished populations, that by themselves cannot afford crucial needs on a market basis, are nonetheless availed of those needs whether it’s healthcare or access to energy, that through public services as a crucial way to meet their human needs.

And so the commitment needs to be made together with the broad aspirations that the ways to actually achieve those goals is found in terms of financing, in terms of requisite technology, in terms of building local capacities and expertise and education of the next generation of sustainable development leaders, of trade policies that facilitate these solutions, of the partnerships that are needed and of systems of data monitoring and feedback to make sure that we stay on track and when we get off track, the alarm bells go off to say we’re not achieving the goals that we have set ourselves, we have to push back onto that path.

And these are the same means of implementation that will be needed in Paris in December 2015. It will be one thing to state goals; it will be another thing to lay out pathways on how to achieve the goals.

But then there will have to be clarity about how those goals, those aspirations, those pathways can actually be achieved and issues of finance, trade, monitoring will be front and center on the climate negotiations just as they are on the sustainable development goal negotiations.

Finally, let me talk about the means of implementation specifically on energy for the poor.

One thing is clear from the experience of bringing healthcare to all that has been very successful during the Millennium Development Goal period.

For the poorest of the poor, we need to give a bit of help. For people who have nothing, asking them to buy the energy services that they need or the healthcare is a route to failure.

We need to recognize that for the poorest people in the world, an added hand-up, a helping hand, to achieve these goals is vital. In the case of healthcare, a big innovation was to create the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria back in 2002.

That provided some of the financing to ensure that even impoverished populations could gain access to lifesaving health technologies. I believe that we need a similar global fund for energy for all.

That the idea that this will come only through market forces could be right for even six-sevenths of the world’s population, but for the poorest of the poor, we’re going to need to do more.

We also know in the context of climate change mitigation, but also in the context of overcoming energy poverty that research and development is crucial. And research and development intrinsically is both a public and a private initiative for some of those breakthroughs in off-grid, or microgrid energy, or in tapping geothermal power, or in new forms of mobilizing solar power for irrigation and so on. Research and development can lead to significant advances and this needs to be on the list of the to-dos to end energy poverty.

We know that we’re going to need large-scale investment, $50 or $60 billion dollars for example for Inga Falls. That’s not going to come out of public money, that is going to come out of pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance company funds.

And so we’re going to need institutional cooperation to channel private sector funds, perhaps with some public guarantees or some public insurance or some public sector participation in order to be able to fund the large-scale solar grids of west Africa or the large-scale hydropower grids of central Africa or the large-scale natural gas networks that could power east Africa in the coming decades.

And finally we know that all of these efforts require both the market forces, companies out for a profit, companies out to look for new innovation through market-driven incentives, as well as the cooperation of government and civil society, guided by these broad global goals.

In other words, projects like Inga Falls or projects like overcoming extreme energy poverty in Africa are complex tasks that require a considerable amount of project design, a high degree of cooperation across every major stakeholder group from the local communities, the national governments, the African Union, the international private sector, international financial institutions and the U.N. agencies.

It’s a hard job. That cooperation is vital for success. It’s at the heart of the call to end energy poverty; it’s at the very heart of the challenge of sustainable development itself.

Energy and Development IV

How Climate Change Threatens the Poorest of the Poor

And we continue on the discussion about energy poverty, overall poverty and how energy services can help Africa in particular escape from chronic poverty.

Now I’ve been privileged to be special advisor to first United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and now to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.

The commitments that were made in the year 2000 to help Africa and other poor regions of the world end extreme poverty. And I have been every day trying as best I can to make the point that ending poverty is within reach. And it should be both a moral and practical commitment for the world.

841In recent years I’ve been emphasizing also the importance of the battle against climate change. And it’s been interesting for me that on occasion I’ve been asked, though less frequently now than say a year or two ago, why am I putting emphasis on climate change, why not continue to focus on poverty? Don’t dilute the message, I’ve been told. When the sustainable development goals were first proposed some poverty activists said, let’s not go there to sustainable development, environment and other issues. Those are not our priority, our priority has to be to end extreme poverty.

Well I want to spend a few minutes in this chapter explaining why that point of view is understandable, but not correct. And indeed once one reflects on the enormity of the burdens that climate change is already imposing on the poorest people in the world and on the devastation that climate change can potentially impose on the poor regions of the world, you come to a very, very different conclusion. And the conclusion is, even if you’re focus is only on ending extreme poverty and that’s a pretty plausible focus of high moral and practical priority, climate change should be front and center of your concern.

I’ll put it this way, there is no way in the world that we’re going to end extreme poverty and no way in the world that if we even temporarily end it that it will stay gone if climate change runs rampantly out of control. If we exceed the 2-degree Celsius limit, if we continue on the business-as-usual path, I shudder for the consequences for Africa.

All of the hopes of the Millennium Development Goals, all of the progress that is being achieved now will easily be swept aside and tragically be swept aside by the consequences of climate change.

842This is not a hypothetical warning. And it’s not one that I make casually or idly or because you’re taking a class on climate change. It’s because I see it with my own eyes and of course it’s not just me, it is Africans who are feeling already the derangement of their climate and the incredibly severe consequences that result from that. It’s quite obvious that if you live on the edge of survival, that shocks can push you right over the edge. And when you see the consequences of a drought such as the Sahel experienced in 2012 and such as is seen by this farmer standing by a dead camel who died of lack of water in Chad and this view, this, this scene has been repeated so many countless times across the region, one begins to understand the reality.

All through Africa and especially through the drylands, which are the most vulnerable part of the world to climate change in this phase that we’re in right now, places that already by virtue of their longstanding climate always have the risk of drought and famine, are being pushed into disasters of increasing frequency and intensity.

843And moreover, because of rapid population growth in these countries, demographic pressures that are rising and rainfall that is declining is cutting these societies. Like the blades of a scissors, they’re caught between these two very powerful trends. And the result is a tremendous amount of dislocation of populations. Here are refugees from the Sahel drought and with the tents set up of migrants trying to escape from the drought in Niger. But this kind of phenomenon of people on the move, trying to survive in the face of ecological shocks is something that we have seen repeatedly and with the devastation in many parts of drylands Africa. Somalia. A country that is so bereft of basic resources with water at the start, and energy resources next, that it has not even been able to maintain a government intact for more than two decades has faced repeated droughts in recent years.
Part of a long-term decline of overall rainfall and because of warming temperatures and overall increase of evaporation of the water and therefore the drying of the soil moisture. In 2012-13, there were more displaced populations. This is a Somali mother and her children that have fled across the border to Kenya. They’re in a refugee camp, waiting for some emergency help. And this massive stream of refugees across the Somalia border to Kenya has been very destabilizing.

We work in northeast Kenya in a village area near the city of Garissa. There is a tremendous increase of violence, of lawlessness, of theft of livestock, of insecurity. And this is the pervasive spillovers when one experiences famine and drought and populations on the move as a result of this.

844This is a map of the United Nations. It’s an unfortunately and increasingly typical map. It shows the extreme drought conditions in two 2011 in Somalia, in the horn of Africa. This kind of map is of the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Assistance, OCHA. And it’s the basis typically of an emergency appeal.

We need a hundred million, three hundred million dollars to help people survive the, just the latest ecological catastrophe. Well the experience is that the world doesn’t respond. Sometimes it’s called donor fatigue, although I’m not so sure how much fatigue you can get if you don’t try very hard.

845But the fact of the matter is that not only are these shocks coming in increasing frequency, but they are not met with the kind of emergency response that is commensurate with the scale of the challenge. Now the climate science tells us that it is these dryland regions that have already experienced significant declines of soil moisture, significant increases of drought frequency and severity.

Declines in many cases of overall precipitation levels. And this is one example of very notable study of a few years ago of changing drought conditions using something called the Palmer Drought Severity Index, or PDSI. And this is showing increasing drought severity during the historical period of 1950 to 2008.

Look at how much of Africa is covered by pinks and reds and purples, signifying a chronic increase of drought severity during this period. When climate models are used to project forward, the likelihood of drought severity, the picture is absolutely terrifying. These models measure estimated changes of precipitation, or projected changes of precipitation. And changes of soil moisture as the result of the higher rates of evaporation and transpiration of water in the soil.

Transpiration means the water that exits the leaves of plants, sometimes the evaporation and the transpiration are combined into the term, evapotranspiration. And what we have is declining precipitation, declining rainfall and rising potential evapotranspiration, meaning that whatever comes to the ground returns as water vapor to the atmosphere much more quickly. And the result is a chronic drying of the soils. And that chronic drying of the soils of course can have devastating effects on crop productivity.

So many studies now take the climate estimates of temperature and evapotranspiration and other climate phenomena, for example, likelihood of heat waves, or likelihood of dry spells and use those data to with the, the randomness and the uncertainty attached to them as inputs to estimates of crop production, through so-called crop models.

And those then give us a sign of where we should worry about changing crop productivity. And again, here is a map based on such a study which starts with the climate change 846models and then feeds them through crop models.

And where you see red, dark red means a decrease of crop production with high confidence of the model, saying that the model is really signaling with very high probability a decline of crop productivity. Or in just a bit lighter red, a decrease with medium confidence. And you can see that a very large part of tropical Africa is caught in that band. Not just tropical Africa, we see that large swaths of South America, of North America, of India, Australia, the Mediterranean basin, are all facing these challenges.

That’s why we’re here trying to understand how to stay below the 2-degree centigrade. But it’s why the idea that climate change is extraneous or ancillary or secondary to the concern about poverty misses the point.

How is Africa going to feed itself in a world of unconstrained climate change? The answer is there is no good answer. This map that you’re looking at is for the 2030s. Let me forward towards the end of the century on a business-as-usual trajectory. It’s terrifying. It’s terrifying because many of the food centers of the world show up in bright red. What the models are telling us is that the decline of soil moisture combined with the direct effects of higher temperatures, which by themselves reduce the photosynthetic productivity put in realistic possibility a massive crisis of food production.847

Step back and remind ourselves that we’re at 7.2 billion people now. But the  world population is continuing to rise by 75 to 80 million people every year. And by the 2080s or 2090s, we could well have 10 billion people in the world, facing a food  production catastrophe coming from unconstrained climate change

The point I think is clear, there is no way to fight poverty except by also fighting climate change. We need to put these two core needs and imperatives for the world together. That is the whole principle of sustainable development. We need a holistic approach and it is only by a holistic approach that we can find our way through this very serious bottleneck. If we do so, there is high potential at the other end with all of our technologies the ability to escape from poverty is in hand, but only if climate change is brought under control.

Energy and Development III

Energy for All in Africa

I’m continuing on the discussion about energy services for the poor. How to end energy poverty and thereby to help end poverty overall. And I’ll continue with the focus on tropical Africa which we’ve seen is a region that has a lot of poverty, but also a lot of potential where technology is now enabling Africa to break free of its chronic low levels of modern energy services.

And in this chapter I’d like to discuss some of the continent scale solutions that can be at hand given the advances of energy technologies.

831If you look at the maps here, you see a depiction of energy potential from four types of very much underdeveloped energy resources within the African continent.831

In the map on the upper left we see the hydropower potential. And I want to draw your attention to the country right in the middle of the continent, the one that is shown as having the highest hydro potential. 831hThat’s the Democratic Republic of Congo with the Congo River that offers a potential for a vast supply of hydroelectric power, but a supply that has not yet been tapped given the poverty, the disorganization, the chronic wars and violence and the difficulties of regional cooperation. I’ll return to that shortly.

If you look at the upper right-hand map, you see a corner of Africa, especially in the northeast, where there is considerable wind power potential.831w And some of that wind power is now being developed. If you look at the northwest corner, of Morocco, you see another place with tremendous wind power, even enough wind power not only to meet Morocco’s own needs, but potentially to export to Europe through long distance power transmission.

On the lower left-hand side, the continent is filled with high potential to solar power. Not surprising. 831sAfrica is tropical, it has a tremendous amount of solar radiation. And much of Africa is a dryland climate, meaning that cloud cover is relatively low and therefore solar radiation and the potential for solar energy is commensurately high. And solar power is perhaps one of the greatest breakthroughs that is possible in some of the very, very poorest parts of the world, and especially in west Africa, the Sahel, a region that we’ll look at in just a moment in more detail.

And then finally and very interestingly, if you look at a, the band of countries from Egypt in the north of Africa, shaded here in light blue, through Sudan, through the great lakes region, including Kenya, the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, and going down into southern Africa you see a potential area of high geothermal energy.831g

What is that region? That is the Great Rift Valley of Africa. It is part of the spreading continental plates that open the access of countries along the Rift Valley to potentially very large amounts of geothermal energy. And this is now beginning to be tapped in very promising ways in Kenya, in Tanzania, in Rwanda and a lot more can be done.

All of this is to say that while Africa was poor in coal resources, the decisive primary energy source of the 19th Century and relatively poor or at least with undiscovered potential of hydrocarbons during the 20th Century, because of technological advances in renewable energy, in wind and in solar power, in geothermal, and because of increased know-how and potential on hydropower, Africa has within the continent itself a tremendous potential for a massive advance in electrification.

This is a picture of a, a power generation, hydropower at Inga Falls along the Congo River. There is a small amount of electricity being produced at this site of high hydropower potential in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But since the mid-1960s it’s been recognized that if this hydropower were tapped in full, there’s actually one of the world’s largest hydroelectric power potentials available at the Grand Inga Falls.

832Current estimates say that between 40 and 50 billion watts of hydropower are potentially available here. And by developing this hydropower, Inga Falls could transform the prospects of central Africa, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, of the Republic of Congo, of Rwanda, Burundi, and other neighboring countries that have been largely bereft of modern energy sources and electrification, but could tap into a regional grid. Of course it’s a big project.

It’s a project that perhaps requires 50 or 60 billion dollars of investment. That’s not a huge sum in macroeconomic terms. Projects like that are developed all over the world. But it is a lot of money to flow to central Africa which is a region of poverty and of instability. It’s an example of a highly promising, but rather complex project which would require regional cooperation, a regional power transmission system, regional governance because it’s pretty clear that investors are not going to turn 50 or 60 billion dollars over to the DRC or to any particular government in the region.

But it’s an example of the kind of project that if we think in a creative way, with the design of creative, multinational institutions, could get developed and could make a, an absolutely decisive difference in the, for the economies and the people of the region.

834It turns out that when one maps the potential for such large-scale projects throughout Africa, they now exist in many places with the specific local energy context taken into account. In this map created by my colleague, Professor Vijay Modi of Columbia University, he’s analyzed the areas of high potential hydropower, shown in the big blue circles, the biggest of which is Inga Falls.

Of wind power shown by the green circles on the map. And the regions of high solar energy. And across that oval of the Sahel, Professor Modi is indicating the extraordinary importance of solar power for that long stretch of very impoverished, semi-desert countries of west Africa. Mali, Niger, Chad are countries that have very, very low access to electricity but the one thing they have complete access to is sunshine.834a

And the potential now to tap the solar power of the Sahel, both at a very small scale in highly distributed microgrids or even individual solar panels for individual households and on large grid basis using concentrated solar thermal technology or massive arrays of photovoltaic fields is now at hand, given the dramatic changes of prices that have occurred for solar energy in recent decades.

835Remember that the cost of a one-watt solar cell has declined from about $77 per watt back in the late 1970s to about .70-cents per watt today by a decline of a factor of 100. And this makes it possible that in a very poor region with massive solar radiation like the Sahel there could be a mass electrification just in a few years. One of the most exciting discoveries of resources in Africa in recent years has been findings of natural gas deposits off the coast of east Africa.

Normally I wouldn’t be so thrilled with another hydrocarbon find. We’ve been emphasizing that we can’t use all the hydrocarbons we have in the world.

836That many of the hydrocarbons, the unconventional oil and gas and the, the preponderance of coal can never safely be used in the world, certainly not within the 2-degree Celsius budget. But when we’re talking about impoverished countries that contribute basically nothing of significance to the global scale challenge, a find of energy resources in those places that would enable impoverished economies to escape from the trap of poverty must be greeted with enthusiasm.

And I think that the world as it negotiates next year at COP21 will have to be clear that while many fossil fuel resources will have to be stranded, that should not occur and certainly not be mandated in the poorest of the poor in the world, when these resources make possible a decisive breakthrough out of extreme poverty.

837Well the, the biggest of these finds has been in that green circle that one sees off of the east coast of Africa, Mozambique has been identified as a place with the, perhaps, a hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas offshore and available for development. And this again, like the Inga Falls project or like the large-scale solar energy potential of the Sahel, will require a complex analysis and project design and implementation to make it possible to use these resources for Africa’s true long-term benefit.

Why do I say this? Because the natural thing to do when gas or oil is discovered off the coast of an impoverished country has been to develop that resource and ship it off to a major market. And indeed, the first impulse of the oil companies that have discovered these large natural gas deposits off the coast of Mozambique and Tanzania has been to say, well let’s bring it to shore in a pipeline.

We’ll liquefy it, put it on a tanker, and send it to China. And the idea has been that with these vast gas resources, that that can be another resource for China. We know the problems of that. We know the problems of emissions. But the other problem is that when energy is not used for domestic development but merely becomes an enclave economy for export to high income markets, the contribution of these energy resources to Africa’s own development are likely to be lost.

And so on second thought, some of the…these companies such as Eni, the Italian large oil and gas company has thought perhaps we ought to be thinking much harder about how those natural gas deposits can also be used fruitfully for east Africa’s own development. And with the Professor Modi having a close look at this, he’s identified ways that natural gas could play a role, fundamentally in enabling modern energy services throughout the entire eastern coast of, of Africa, running from Ethiopia and Somalia through Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and, and other countries.

Natural gas offers the potential in this region for electrification. It enables the potential for a petrochemical industry around fertilizers desperately needed by the poor, smallholder farmers of the region. Transport, instead of being dependent on import of petroleum, can run on natural gas. And of course safe cooking stoves to replace the three-stone cookstoves used throughout this region, could enable families to enjoy modern cooking services without the devastating smoke inhalation and lung disease that accompanies the, the daily cooking chores, currently.

The point is, think creatively. In this case, we worry less about the carbon dioxide emissions per se because on a global scale they’d still be very small. But the transformative potential for this region of economic development is absolutely huge. And that’s why when we’re facing the challenges of the poorest of the poor, we have to give due attention to the core of their economic development needs.

For those places in, especially in rural Africa, far from pipelines and, and grids and even potentially so, we also have highly distributed energy potential now such as depicted in one of my favorite projects of Professor Modi, the shared solar system where a village has its own power generation in a microgrid of solar panels depicted here, shown here in one of these microgrid systems. And from those solar panels there is a distribution throughout a village, connecting 20, 30, 40 households in the village and enabling those households to have electricity, to power lights, to power perhaps small refrigerators or food processing units, a sewing machine. Other small appliances.

To charge a mobile phone. To become more productive. To increase the quality of life. To share in the benefits of modern energy services even when living in remote rural areas. If we put the pieces together, tropical Africa, the region of the world that is the poorest and that suffers chronically from energy poverty has the potential for huge breakthroughs. And we see here three and we can add the fourth.

In the yellow oval across west Africa there is the vast potential for large-scale solar. In the blue circled in central Africa, there is the potential to tap into the massive hydropower of Inga Falls and other hydropower projects. And in the large pink oval, in the east of Africa there is the potential to tap into the large-scale natural gas reserves that have been discovered off the coast of east Africa.

Add to that the fourth potential for highly distributed renewable energy through solar power, wind power, geothermal and other potential and we see that we are on a threshold in which energy poverty can be brought to an end and thereby help Africa to bring overall income poverty to an end once and for all.

Energy and Development II

A World Without Modern Energy

Welcome to lecture eight, chapter two, where I want to talk about life in an economy without modern energy services. I want to do this to make it absolutely clear that for poor places in the world, our most important mission and goal is to increase access to modern energy.

Sometimes people say, oh who needs electricity? Who needs all of these frills of modern life? But it’s nothing like this. The life in places without access to electricity and other modern energy services are not the kind of life that people want or deserve in the 21st Century. I think about this often because I have the chance to visit and work in many very poor parts of the world and especially in very poor villages in rural Africa. And I have seen and I feel the burdens that come from that, especially when I fly home to Manhattan to an affluent neighborhood near Columbia University and I experience in daily life the benefits and conveniences that seem so remote in some of the poorest parts of the world. I’m almost, feel compelled to think about this almost every day when I get my breakfast. I get a bowl of cereal and I cut some fruit into it. Fruit from a refrigerator which has kept the fruit fresh and safe. I stick it in the microwave. Press a button and within a couple minutes, I have my breakfast. Truth be told, I press another button and there is a cup of coffee and of course that’s a super convenience, but when I think about it, in five minutes

I’ve accomplished what may take a woman, a mother in sub-Saharan Africa four or five hours of arduous labor to accomplish. A woman may start her day often walking many kilometers, carrying an incredibly heavy burden of fuel wood, which she has collected on her own. And I’ve tried lifting these, I can’t do it. And the burdens that this woman and millions like her start the day with are startling. And there is the walk maybe two or three or four times a day to get water in a jerry can or in a, you know bucket like this, carrying ten or fifteen kilograms of water on the woman’s head. Baby at the side, often a one-hour or two-hour walk to a water hole or to a water point. And often a wait of half an hour or an hour to get that water. And then the cooking starts. It’s not the press of the microwave button. It’s cooking over a three-stone stove. Arduous work. But also very dangerous. Look at the smoke in, in these two pictures of women using traditional cookstoves in, in Africa. That smoke we know from epidemiological studies claims more than a million lives a year of young children. It creates lung disease, infection and death of children from respiratory causes. Of course it impairs a mother who cooks every day under these conditions. And then after hours, the woman is out in the field. There’s no machinery there. There is no tractor. She has her hand hoe and she is perhaps weeding, bent over, hunched over. Again, I’ve tried it and one day is exhausting. I have to say, this is a woman’s life every day and it’s not a matter of an option for her to feed her household, for her to ensure some minimum level of food security for her children and for her family is arduous, hours a day.

It will be broken perhaps by another walk to the water hole, by collecting fuel wood late in the afternoon, by cooking again, late in the evening. Or perhaps by a long walk carrying a child to a clinic, if there is a clinic. This is a makeshift clinic of Medicins Sans Frontieres, of the famous NGO MSF, which provides emergency medical services in places that otherwise wouldn’t have it at all. But in places that I have been working over the past 15 years, mothers often carry a child, febrile in their arms, ten kilometers to a clinic.

That clinic when she arrives doesn’t have electricity, can’t run some most basic laboratory or diagnostic equipment because of, of the lack of electricity. Often there has been no cold chain maintained to preserve vaccines. And a child’s life of course is repeatedly imperiled and that’s why millions of children in, in such poor places die before their fifth birthday of causes that are 100% preventable at almost no cost. Think of the role of energy in all of this. No transport, no access to basic lab services or to being able to provide the medicines and this is what life is like when one doesn’t have electricity.

Then comes end of the day and perhaps the child’s able to read and do a little bit of homework in the dark with a kerosene light. It’s not only expensive but dangerous for fires inside the household. The quality of lighting on the eyes is, is not good, the fumes of course are also very debilitating. This is a day without modern energy services. And it’s a day of profound hardship, a day of risk, a day when a mosquito bite can cause an end of a child’s life because of lack of transport or lack of access to life-saving health services.

When a bite of food can also be life-threatening because there’s been no refrigeration, or proper care that could be taken to keep the food safe from various kinds of pathogens and disease.

This is what it means when one lives without modern energy services. That is the grim reality still for hundreds of millions of people.

But the extraordinarily positive side of the story is that advances of technology and finally some common sense and mobilization of the world around doing something about this can help people to break free of this energy poverty and by doing so, break free of the poverty trap more generally. F

or every one of the problems that I just described, there are low cost solutions. And what’s wonderful about them is that not only can these low cost solutions be made available to households, but if they are made available, they empower the households to be far more productive. Rather than spending hours a day in basic tasks, they enable mothers and fathers to focus their attention on important, highly productive work to earn higher incomes, to improve farm productivity, to help keep their children safer and in source and thereby to provide a major lever for ending poverty once and for all.

We know now through the creative design of many engineers during the past ten years much safer cookstoves.

It can be still woodburning cookstoves, but with much lower smoke, and therefore, much more household safety and much less need for wood. It can be this kind of LPG, liquefied petroleum gas cooking that you see here, which is clean burning and a lot more efficient for this woman depicted here.

Water can be pumped now at far lower cost and avoiding the hours that women across Africa now spend in fetching water or the children spend fetching water, rather than in being in school.

Water can be pumped through low cost solar powered pumps as depicted here. And these are being rapidly improved. A lot of them are being developed in India. And they are easily adapted to the African context .And the very low wattage illumination of LED bulbs and solar power with even a modest amount of battery storage is allowing for, for illumination through electricity rather than through kerosene. And the households greatly prefer this. Gentlemen like this reports to us in a village where we’re working that it has enabled him to increase his income tremendously. He can now work extra hours in the evening, productively in his tailoring activities and earn a lot of extra income and easily pay for the costs of the electricity services that he is now buying in, instead of the kerosene that he relied on before.

There is a lot of small equipment appropriate for smallholder farming, such as this two-wheel tractor. Again, adapted from India in a wonderful case of so-called South-South Technology Transfer, where technologies now are going to enable smallholder farmers in Africa to increase their yields, to cut back dramatically on the backbreaking labor and by doing so, to find their way out of poverty for the long term. I can’t help thinking about this every day. I hope that you will think about it as well. There are more than a billion people in the world that lack access to electricity. There are a billion people or more that lack access to safe cooking energy, cooking services of one form or another. And yet the solutions are at hand. And as I’ll describe in a later chapter of this lecture, there is now fortunately, not only the technology available but there is the growing political will and the realization that by ending energy poverty we can also help end income poverty once and for all.

Energy & Development I

Energy & Poverty

Welcome to Lecture eight on energy and development. In this lecture, I want to discuss not the high income and high energy using countries of the world, but the parts of the world that are poor and energy poor, those that use very little energy, emit very little of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases per person and yet are bearing the brunt of global climate change.

811Today I want to talk about the poorest of the poor. The poorest of the poor are a population of around one billion people, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of South Asia who consume very little modern energy, who emit very little greenhouse gas emissions through their economic activities and yet who ironically bear a huge amount of the brunt of human induced climate change. So it behooves us morally, practically, ethically as part of an overall concept of global sustainable development to focus our attention on those most in need, least responsible for global climate change, absolutely desperate for modern energy resources and right now not at the center of the negotiations certainly on climate change but needing their place at the table to say,”we’re part of this, we need modern energy, we need the world to help us face the challenges that haven’t come from our part, but have become our burden through what’s happening in other parts of the world.”

812To do this, let’s start in lecture one on the whole question of the relationship of energy and economic development. And I’ll start with this iconic picture known throughout the world. It’s a great satellite shot of NASA’s satellites looking at the night vision image of the earth. And of course what’s shown here in the lights are the places with nighttime electricity and we have a very vivid image of the eastern half of the United States in bright lights.

The western half, other than all the way on the west coast, California, being sparsely populated and America’s drylands. You see the bright lights of western Europe. You see the bright lights of Japan and coastal China. And the bright lights of the eastern seaboard of Australia. And the east coast of South America stretching from Rio and Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires and the strong economic development in that region. And you also see the vast preponderance of Africa, almost without night lights.

813There is a very thin strip of electrification in the very north of Africa, the northern African countries of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Egypt. There is the lights evident in South Africa. But in the whole tropical band of Africa, in between North Africa and South Africa you see very little of nighttime lights. And this is an extraordinary and very vivid demonstration of the fact that hundreds of millions of people, especially in rural Africa lack access to electricity and to other modern energy services.

We can see this in a less stylized and vivid way through a measure shown in this graphic of the amount of every use per capita in the world. And again, we see the very high use of energy in the United States and Canada and Australia and New Zealand, in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the whole Arabian peninsula, in western Europe. But that strong area of tropical Africa where you see the greens and the blues in this depiction show that these are the countries with the absolutely lowest consumption of primary energy per capita in the world.

814Now this is a quite different map, but it looks almost the same in terms of the distribution across countries. This is a map of income per capita. And just as we have very high energy use per person in Canada and the United States and Australia and New Zealand and western Europe and Japan, here we see that these are of course the countries with the highest per capita gross domestic product in the world. And where is the poorest part of the world? Once again, it is tropical Africa. In between the northern African countries and South Africa, we see countries that are living where half the population and sometimes more is below the line of extreme poverty drawn by the World Bank at a $1.25 per person per day. Energy use and output per person and income per person all are very, very closely aligned in this world. And one can say indeed that access to modern energy is a fundamental necessity for having a modern economy.

815Primary energy use, access to electricity, access to other modern energy services for transportation, for home use, such as for cooking, for use in provisioning basic services such as clean water and sanitation, it is a sine qua non of economic development. It’s not surprising therefore that when we graph on the horizontal axis, again the income per person in countries and we graph on the vertical axis, the amount of energy per person, here measured as kilowatts per person, you find almost a straight line fitting through this scatter of countries.

On the lower left-hand side you have the poorest countries with the lowest energy consumption. And on the upper right-hand side you have the high income countries that also have high consumption per capita. This is verified in very detailed accounts, for example, the energy data that are produced annually by the International Energy Agency. And I want to draw your attention specifically to Africa. Now in the geographic classification used by the International Energy Agency, Africa in this table includes North Africa and South Africa. In a way therefore, it will tend to overstate the energy use in that tropical band which is the poorest part of the continent. But still the numbers are absolutely telling. We see that as of 2011 in the classifications use by the International Energy Agency, Africa is roughly one-seventh of the world’s population, about a billion people out of around seven billion. So Africa’s population share is 15% of the world total.

In terms of output, since Africa is poor, with low income per person, its total output is of course less than its population share. We tend to measure output when we want to make international comparisons at what are called purchasing power adjusted prices. So we look at the annual output in Africa or in any other part of the world, measured at international prices for the goods and services that are being valued. And when we use that classification, gross domestic product at purchasing power parity or the PPP that you see in the table, Africa’s economy in total is $2.8 trillion dollars according to the measures of the International Energy Agency. For the world as a whole, annual output, the gross world product at international prices was $70.3 trillion dollars. So Africa’s share of output was only 4% of world output compared to the population share of 15%. And now look at the columns on the right which measure total primary energy use and electricity consumption.

816For total primary energy measured as millions of tons of oil equivalent, taking all of the energy sources, putting them into an energy equivalence as tons of oil, we find that Africa had a total use of 700 million tons oil equivalent of energy compared to 13,000 million, 13 billion tons of oil equivalent for the world. Just 5% of the world’s energy. And for electricity consumption, measured in terawatt hours, again, even less than the primary energy use, just at 3% of the world electricity consumption. And finally, not surprisingly, given Africa’s very low use of electricity and low use of primary energy overall, Africa’s carbon dioxide emissions of course are a very, very tiny part of the problem. They constituted about one billion tons of CO2 emissions in 2010–sorry, 2011 data–and that is out of about 31 billion tons that year worldwide. So Africa’s emissions are only 3%.

Fifteen per cent of the world’s population, three per cent of the emissions, or one-fifth per person of the world average emissions. Think of the other end that we’ve been focusing on in the deep decarbonization pathways discussion. Just the five major economies of the world, China, the United States, European Union, India and Russia, just those five account for two-thirds, 65% of the world’s total emissions. So a few very big, quite wealthy economies in general are at the top end of energy use and at the top end of emissions. And a very significant part of the world and a large part of the world population, in Africa, is impoverished, using very, very low amounts of energy and emitting a very small proportion of the carbon dioxide emissions and the greenhouse gas emissions more generally.

817Now I think it’s quite interesting actually to look back historically at both how Africa’s poverty in income terms and its energy poverty, the phrase that is now widely used, have been part of the long history of the continent. And through no fault of Africa, I want to stress, one of the most telling aspects of modern economic development is that it has taken place primarily in countries that had adequate domestic energy resources. The industrial revolution took off originally in England, in a place where coal resources were vast and where the creativity of James Watt in inventing the modern steam engine at the, towards the end of the 18th Century made it possible to tap this large coal resource and help propel England and Britain to the forefront of global economic development. When one traces the history of industrialization in the 19th Century, coal is a big part of the story. If the country had it there was a pretty good chance that it could achieve industrialization in the 19th Century. The United States is an example of that. Australia is an example of that. Japan is an example of that. But notably in looking at this map of coal reserves, ironically, tellingly, there were certain parts of the world that just don’t have coal.

This isn’t a matter of their governance, their strategy, anything else, it’s a matter of their basic geology. And what you can see on this map is that the continent of Africa with the small exception of the very southern tip of Africa, the part of South Africa is essentially without any significant coal reserves. This was an absolutely decisive factor in Africa’s continuing underdevelopment in the 19th Century. Not only did it make industrialization virtually impossible in the 19th Century and even countries in north Africa that tried to industrialize found out that they couldn’t do it because they didn’t have access to low cost modern energy resources. But because the lack of coal put Africa in such a weak position, it also rendered the continent vulnerable to the total conquest by Europe towards the end of the 19th Century. It was one of the factors that made Africa vulnerable to imperial domination for about a hundred years from the second half of the 19th Century to the 1960s to ’80s. So simply the access to energy resources was a propellant of development.

And the lack of access to these resources was a pretty fundamental barrier to development. Towards the end of the 19th Century, coal became less decisive because with the invention of the internal combustion engine, petroleum became a more important resource.

And while Africa has a few pockets of petroleum resources, we find essential the same story as we found with coal, that while Africa is a bit better provisioned with oil and there are parts of Africa such as Nigeria or Gabon or Angola with significant hydrocarbon resources, measured in per person terms and looked at in the aggregate, sub-Saharan Africa is once again, relatively on the short side compared to the United States, compared certainly to the Arabian peninsula and the Persian Gulf region and other parts of the world.

We could say that fortunately there have been some important discoveries of oil and natural gas in recent years in some of the poorest parts of the world and parts of Africa, notably in Mozambique and Tanzania, off the coast, this gives a chance for domestic-based energy in very poor countries that never had it before. What’s the moral of the story?

The moral of the story is that Africa remains today impoverished in part because of the lack of modern energy services. In order for Africa to develop it’s going to absolutely require an infrastructure of modern energy.

Fortunately there are a lot more choices today for that than there were in the 19th Century, while coal was indisputably the king during the first phase of industrialization and now we’re going to see that because of the advent of low-cost photovoltaics and concentrated solar thermal energy, because of advances in potential for geothermal energy, for hydroelectric power, for wind energy, Africa now has a chance to develop modern energy services based on a much wider array of primary energy sources than ever before. And this is extraordinarily heartening.

For Africa to develop, it will need to develop the energy infrastructure. We should expect and we should build into all global forecasts and policies a significant rise of energy consumption and production within Africa to enable this part of the world, still the world’s poorest, finally to escape from the poverty trap and to achieve economic development. In the following chapters of this lecture I’m going to describe in far more detail how this can be accomplished.

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies IV

Lessons for the Global Agreement on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris in 2015

I’d like to draw some conclusions from the results of the deep decarbonization pathways project. But also from the very process of the project for the official this time, international negotiations and the agreement to be reached in Paris at COP21 in December 2015. So what are these lessons?

Well in essence what the results and also the approach of the DDPP revealed is the critical importance of preparing these country-level deep Decarbonization pathways to 2050.

741These pathways and the discussion of their results, the discussion of their assumptions are essential tools for learning and problem-solving. This process is absolutely fundamental to developing a long-term vision for deep decarbonization and shaping the expectations of the different countries, the businesses, the investors about what are really the future development opportunities?

It really affords a unique opportunity to work together as we’ve done as part of the project. But we now hope this is going to become an issue for the real world. An opportunity to work together across countries to map out how the global 2-degree limits can be operationalized because we have it, but it needs to be made real and achieved at the country level.

More precisely it, it also highlights the need to introduce what I called long-term backcasting into the scope of the climate negotiations preparing COP21. Because as we have already pointed out, unfortunately the current focus of the negotiations is, is primarily and, and in fact almost exclusively on mitigation targets in the relatively short-term, maybe for the year 2030.

Some countries are even suggesting that the focus should be on 2025 emission reduction targets. Yet, as I hope we made clear through this lecture, if countries do not work with a longer-term time horizon in mind and, and backcast from this long-term target, they’re likely to adopt strategies that fall short of what is needed to stay below the 2-degree limit. So almost by its structure, by definition if you want, the current incremental approach will fail to consider the deep systemic changes that are needed and, and the key technologies that are still pre-commercial but that need to be developed to reach the long-term goal.

Surprisingly and, and to be frank, also quite shockingly, very few countries so far have developed such long-term deep decarbonization pathways which means that very few of them have looked seriously at what it means for them to stay within the 2-degree limit. Since Copenhagen, in 2009 and a year after that, Cancun in 2010, all the large emitting countries have adopted quantified targets to reduce their greenhouse gases emissions by the year 2020.

But these targets and I want to say that sometimes they have to be backed by concrete policy action plans, because it’s not always the case, but even more profoundly than that, these targets are collectively insufficient to put the world on a trajectory that would be consistent with the 2-degree limit.

In fact, most of the 2020 emission reduction targets that were adopted in, in Copenhagen in 2009 were framed as either incremental deviation from business-as-usual trends or rather small reductions in the carbon intensity of GD, or rather modest decrease in absolute emissions compared to a given base here most of the time in 1990. But by and large, these country targets were not even derived from an assessment of what is needed simply to stay within the 2-degree limit. So it should really not come as a surprise that their widely insufficient to limit global warming below 2-degrees Celsius, but if we want to succeed and to be frank, simply if we want to be internally consistent, if we want to have country targets that are consistent with the global goal, then we need to adopt a completely different approach to the climate negotiations on the run-up to Paris in December 2015.

742To conclude, I’d like to say that at least two new elements will need to be part of the global deal at COP21 in Paris. And they certainly do not cover the full scope of the agreement, in particular the need to provide adequate support, all different types of support, financial, technological and capacity building to the countries that need it to undertake the necessary mitigation and adaptation actions, in particular the poor and vulnerable countries. But I want to emphasize these two new dimensions as I think an essential component to the success of the global negotiations in Paris.

  1. First, we need a shared global commitment that each country will develop and, and make publicly available a deep decarbonization pathway to 2050 that is consistent with the 2-degree limit, but also with country and national circumstances. These pathways to 2050 as opposed to the targets by 2025 or 2030 do not necessarily have to be binding. I mean it’s not the main point of having them. They should be predicated on a shared commitment to the 2-degree limit, but also to all the aspects of the global cooperation that will be needed to achieve it in some countries, in particular the poor countries including the technology cooperation, financial support, the policy cooperation. But it’s really very important that every country has one and has one soon because it’s the only way to explore how you can make your economic growth, your development pathway consistent with our global objective of avoiding dangerous climate change. So that’s the first element, pathways to 2050 for each and every country.
  2. The second element is that we need an absolutely massive and, and sustained global public-private effort to develop, demonstrate and, and diffuse many new low carbon technologies which we discussed and are not yet technically mature or competitive but yet are absolutely key to the success of deep decarbonization strategies. They will need to be made available to all countries, so technology cooperation mechanisms, but also fund will have to be established to this purpose. But it’s also very important that businesses and governments, the national science funds for example commit to real money this time and serious action to develop these new technologies.

By the time we record this course, we have already published the interim 2014 report of the deep decarbonization pathways project. The report was received by the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. We launched the interim report at a press conference in the U.N. headquarters on July 8 of 2014.

We’ve also submitted the report to the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, who will be the president of the COP21 in Paris. And we have started to discuss about the project with many different people across the globe, in particular we have discussed the project in the context of what is called the Major Economies Forum.

So that’s a political forum gathering all the largest emitting countries. And we presented the results of the project to all the energy and climate ministers attending the meeting. We’re very encouraged by the support that we received so far and we’re clearly not there yet. It’s not yet the primary focus of the negotiations.

People want to understand I’d say a bit better what it really means, what it really implies and, and how it can be operationalized in the context of the agreement to be reached in Paris in 2015. But there is clearly a momentum around this new approach. Much more effort is still needed and we count on you.

We count on your creativity to develop your own country deep decarbonization pathway, looking forward to receive them. And we count also on your commitment to put pressure on the political negotiation process to make COP21 in Paris a real success.

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies III

What We Learn From Countries’ Deep Decarbonization Pathways

In the previous chapter I described briefly some of the key elements of the methodology we adopted in the deep decarbonization pathways project. In this chapter, we’re going to look at some of the results now.

So what we learned from the analysis of the 15 research teams of their respective countries’ pathways to deep decarbonization.731

Well first and, and very importantly, so let me pause a moment on that. Their results show that deep decarbonization is feasible. It’s a very important result. It shows that we can avoid dangerous climate change if we take strong and early action to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, if we invest heavily and rapidly also into some of the key pre-commercial low carbon technologies that are critical to achieve deep decarbonization at relatively low cost.

And also if we more profoundly reorient our development trajectory. I must say that the DDPP is still at an early stage. We have much more research and analysis and I hope good results coming in the upcoming months or even years. So far the country research teams have only produced a first set of interim results.

732So the precise level of emission reductions that is reached by the different pathways and that I’m going to show you is in many ways less meaningful than simply their order of magnitude. So that’s what I want you to concentrate on.

The order of magnitude of emission reductions achieved by these pathways is very substantial. As you can see on this graph, it represents an absolute decrease of emissions by 45% in 2050 compared to the level of emissions in the same 15 countries in 2010. As you can see on this other graph, it also represents a 56% decrease in emissions per capita and even an 88%, so very close to 90% decrease in emissions per unit of GDP. So the CO2 energy-related emissions divided by the GDP in 2050 compared to the level in 2010. Let’s look more closely at some of the results sector by sector.

The results also show the pivotal role played by electricity in the deep decarbonization strategies of all 15 countries. In aggregate across the 15 countries the carbon intensity of electricity, so the ratio in between the CO2 emissions and the electricity generated, measured in kilowatt hour is reduced by a stunning 94% in 2050 compared to 2010. So that’s a huge number. It means that by 2050, really electricity is almost completely decarbonized in these 15 countries taken together.

733As you can see on the graph, the carbon intensity of power generation goes from a bit more than 600 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour in 2010 to approximately 30 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour in 2050. So it’s really, really a huge drop and it means as I said, that essentially electricity is almost zero carbon by 2050.

That’s why electricity plays such a pivotal role in the deep decarbonization strategy, but it’s not the only one. There is another explanation and it’s because in the meantime electricity plays an increasing role in the energy system. A higher share of the electricity consumption is met through electricity as opposed to other energy carriers.

734As you can see on the graph, the share of electricity in final energy consumption increases from 19% to 35% in 2050 compared to 2010. But that was for the results in aggregate, so making averages across countries or looking at the total out of the 15 countries. But what is especially interesting is that the results also show the different options that are available to the different countries, in particular, to reach that common goal of the deep decarbonization of power generation, electricity supply.

It’s true that by 2050 all countries generate electricity almost exclusively through zero or very low carbon energy sources, but they rely on very different options to be frank to do this, as you can see on this graph. So let me just pick a few examples. Australia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea, for example, rely heavily on solar energy as part of their power mix.

735It can be different types by the way of solar energy. It can be solar photovoltaic, or it can be concentrated solar power. It can be centralized solar energy or decentralized solar energy. But all of these countries have a very high share of their electricity that is coming from solar energy by 2050 in the pathways and developed by the research teams. Wind power plays a very important role in Canada, in China, in France, in Germany, in India, in Japan and also in the United States, where there is a significant potential for wind power that can be tapped into.

Hydropower plays a very important role in Brazil and Canada, also because there are large and sometimes still untapped resources of hydropower in these countries. Nuclear on the other hand represents a significant fraction of power production in many countries, France, the U.K., China, India, the U.S., and Russia. It plays a very little role, but, but still a role in some other countries such as Brazil and Canada and Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. And CCS, very importantly, also plays a role in some of these scenarios.

Remember as we have discussed in the previous lecture, CCS is not yet deployed at scale, even though each and every element of the technology is a proven technology, but in the project we’ve made the assumption that as a result of a strong and sustained effort on research and development, CCS could become available and in fact many of the countries in the project with high shares of fossil fuels, so coal or gas in their power generation today felt like it was an important element of their decarbonization strategy going forward.

So you find carbon capture and sequestration in the scenarios that were developed by Canada, by China, by Indonesia, by Japan, by Mexico, by Russia, or the U.K. and the U.S. I want to mention here that these pathways and their results are of course only illustrative. I mean they shouldn’t be confused with the precise reality of what is going to happen in these countries or even what should happen in these countries, because there are many different ways in which the deep Decarbonization of power generation in particular can be achieved at the national level.

For example, in the project, the team producing the pathway for the U.S. developed not just one but three different pathways. Within the different pathways, higher shares of renewable energies for one or nuclear for the other or fossil fuels with CCS for the third pathway. And it’s very important to recognize that the most effective but also cost efficient way of achieving deep decarbonization is of subject to debates.

736First within the expert community. We had disagreements first. We tried to settle in the project, but it should also of course be the topic not only for an expert discussion but it should become the basis for a political debate within each country and each society.

So for sure, there are different options, different trajectories to deep Decarbonization in the future. But it is absolutely critical that these debates happen on the basis of detailed road maps for the deep decarbonization of the power sector, but also of the economy more broadly.

These detailed road maps need to be based on transparent assumptions regarding the availability of some pre-commercial technologies.

  • They need to be based on transparent assumptions regarding the projected cost of these technologies.
  • Also, transparent assumptions regarding their resource requirements. I mean how much water do we need to use? Or, how much land do we need to use to operate these technologies?
  • And also transparent assumptions regarding their possible side environmental and health impacts.

There are really important choices to be made regarding the best options for deep Decarbonization based on considerations regarding economic competitiveness, energy security or public preferences.

But these choices need to be made within the constraints of a global carbon budget to stay within 2-degree of global warming. The result of the pathway analysis also reveals in which sectors the emission reductions are relatively at least most difficult to achieve. Because in total, if the 15 pathways achieve an absolute reduction of CO2 energy emissions, the share of the emissions of some sectors and in particular the share of emissions from transport and industry is increasing in the pathways taken collectively.

737The analysis reveals that within the transport sector it is the emissions from freight as opposed to passenger transport which are again relatively more difficult to decarbonize.

As we have discussed, there are lots of different technological options to achieve the deep decarbonization of the freight and heavy industry sectors. Natural gas, electric hybrid, and hydrogen and fuel cells powered trucks. Biofuels or synthesized fuels for air and ocean shipping. Electrification of heating processes but also carbon capture and sequestration maybe for industry.

But it’s true that the feasibility and the scalability of these options is sometimes still uncertain and their costs are also likely to be quite high. And this is why some of the teams in some countries found it difficult to build in these technologies in their decarbonization model.

So to conclude this chapter, the pathway analysis that was developed by each of the country research teams and although their only at an interim phase at this stage, they already provide lots of very interesting insights on the country’s specific challenges of deep decarbonization, but also and most importantly the possible solutions to them. We will revise the analysis in the coming months.

We will for sure explore the potential for even deeper emission reductions because we’re not completely there yet. We will test the robustness of the analysis, add some new dimensions such as infrastructure stocks and analysis of the cost and benefits, and analysis of the policy frameworks to support the implementation of these different actions. But really you should also try to think about it yourself.

You should try to come up with alternatives to what we developed and who knows, maybe you would come up with even better solutions.

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies II

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project

All the reasons I mentioned in the previous chapter why countries need a deep decarbonization pathway are precisely why we’ve launched the deep decarbonization pathways project. We’ve built this project as a collaborative effort to understand how countries can transition to a low-carbon economy by mid-century and how the world can meet the objective of limiting global warming below 2-degrees Celsius.

The project gathers some of the leading research institutions from 15 countries, all of them among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases emissions. Together and combined, they represent a little bit more than 70% of the global emissions. So, which are these countries? It’s Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

It’s a long list and I can tell you it was not easy to manage a project with so many participants scattered across the so many different time zones. The day very often started with an early Skype with colleagues in China or India and finished many times with a late call with colleagues in Australia or South Korea. But it was really great fun for sure.

These 15 countries are at different stages of development. And that’s an important point. They have different historic responsibilities in climate change, also different capacities to invest in climate change mitigation. But as I said, they represent more than 70% of the global greenhouse gases emissions.

721So their strong actions are really, really important to meet the global goal of limiting global warming below 2-degrees Celsius. So what was the task of the 15-country research teams. Well each of them has been developing a deep decarbonization pathway to 2050 for its country and we’re going to look in this lecture at some of the key results coming from their very insightful analysis.

The objective was really to take into account in detail all the relevant country-specific national circumstances. As I said, their socioeconomic conditions, their model for economic growth and development going forward, their infrastructure stocks very importantly, or their natural resources endowment. Why did, did we want to do that? I mean why be so detailed?

It’s really because we wanted to make a convincing case for action at the national level, because before we started the DDPP, there were already many results of global studies produced through global models showing how to achieve deep emission reductions. And the result of these global studies provide many important insights. And we have already discussed them at length into some of the previous lectures. But on their own they’re a bit insufficient to make a really convincing case for action at the national level. And that’s at least for two different reasons.

  1. The first is obviously because they are not sufficiently detailed. And yet deep decarbonization strategies need to be based on the most precise available estimates of the mitigation potential within countries and even more than that, in different regions and locations.
  2. But there is another reason, less technical, more process related. It’s because if we want them to really become the basis for a public and a policy discussion, then the need to be developed within countries.

They cannot be imposed by an international institution or by a bunch of consultants sitting in New York or Paris. They really need to be developed by local experts and discussed within countries with all the different stakeholders that have a stake in the issue of climate change negotiation. Defining country-specific targets for deep decarbonization pathways was not an easy task I can tell you, because it raises many practical, but also political issues. And in fact, the reason why the international negotiations have made such slow and disappointing progress since the entry into force of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change is in part because of a continued disagreement about how to share the global effort of emission reductions across countries. It is certainly not the only obstacle, but it’s an important part of the deadlock, because countries have different interpretations of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

One of the key principles of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change, they disagree over the criteria that could be used to share global emission reductions between countries. Should we take into account historic emissions? How can we account for the fact that some countries have high emissions because they’re exporting the carbon intensive products that are consumed by other countries? How can we account also for the fact that countries have different mitigation potentials and therefore different costs of mitigation, but also, different capacities to invest in these mitigation options? All these questions, all these unresolved issues so far have blocked the international negotiations, and they have resulted in insufficient, widely insufficient action to date to reduce the emissions.

But in a way what is even more problematic is that it has prevented countries from even looking at what it would take to limit global warming below 2-degrees Celsius. The truth is that in order to stay within the 2-degree global carbon budget, every country with the notable exception of the least developed countries, but we have a full lecture dedicated to that, every country except the poorest among the poor countries will have to achieve deep emission reductions. And in particular, all of today’s large emitting countries.

The issue of who pays for the investment cost of deep decarbonization is of course essential to ensure that the global effort to reduce emissions is shared in an equitable manner. But before looking at the issue of these investment costs and who pays for them, it is critical to explore how each and every country can transition to a low-carbon economy. We need to identify technically feasible and sustainable deep decarbonization pathways, even before we quantify their costs and benefits and discuss who has to pay for them.

So how can we do that? Well we have already explained why the convergence of per capita emissions by 2050, although it cannot be used as a criteria for the fair allocation of the global carbon budget, is still a pretty good benchmark to set the target of deep decarbonization pathways; at least one of them. It cannot be considered as a criteria for the equitable sharing of the global carbon budget because it doesn’t reflect some important considerations such as historic emissions or the fact that some countries export carbon intensive goods that others consume.

But it is nonetheless a pretty good benchmark because very few countries will technically be able to fall below the 1.6 tons of CO2 energy per capita that is necessary to have a 50% chance of staying within the 2-degree limit, or the 1.1 tons of CO2 energy per capita if we want to have a higher chance, a higher than two-third chance of staying within the 2-degree limit.

Not even the low-income countries with emissions per capita lower than this level today because the catch-up economic growth in their countries will and should drive their emissions up, even as they improve the carbon intensity of their GDP growth. So as a result a very few countries can be below the global average, then very few countries can be above.

But I should say that even more important than the precise level of emissions in 2050, it is really the order of magnitude of the emission reductions that is important and that needs to be consistent with the globally agreed 2-degree limit. And this is what we’ve been looking at in the deep decarbonization pathways project as a way to explore the options for the deep decarbonization of each and every country and in a way break the deadlock of the climate negotiations.

Deep Decarbonization Pathways: Country Case Studies I

Why Countries Need Deep Decarbonization Pathways to 2050

Today we’re going to look at some of the results coming from the deep decarbonization pathways project. We kept talking about the DDPP.

This is an important step forward in this course because it means that for the first time we’re going to discuss in detail the country-specific ways in which countries can transition to a low-carbon economy, deeply reduce their emissions but also continue to grow their economy and ultimately achieve sustainable development. So far we’ve looked at the results of a global mitigation scenario. And we have calculated by how much the emissions from each sectors, the emissions from power supply, from industry, from transports and buildings must decrease to stay within the 2-degrees limit.

We’ve also described the three pillars of the deep decarbonization of energy systems. The energy efficiency, the low-carbon electricity, and the fuel switching, which we said represents the foundations to design successful deep decarbonization strategies. And finally, we have identified the key technological challenges that must be met through directed and accelerated technical change to meet the global challenge of deep decarbonization.

But a key question remains. How can these general principles, how can these high-level strategies be applied to particular country with vastly different national circumstances?

Today we’re going to see what specific solutions are available to individual countries taking into account their different national circumstances. We’re going to take into account their different socioeconomic contexts, their different aspirations and model of development going forward, but also their different natural resources endowments. And we’re going to see how these country-specific solutions can be implemented.

Defining country-specific solutions to deep decarbonization is really essential, because if the world collectively is to meet the challenge of climate change mitigation, then every country, but in particular, all the large emitting countries in need to have a good strategy to achieve both their economic objective, growth development, but also the global goal of deep emission reductions consistent and in line with the 2-degree limit.

To do so, countries need what we’re going to call in the rest of the lecture, deep decarbonization pathways, or DDPs. What is this? Well it’s a road map or a blueprint if you want for each country to map out how they can transition to a low carbon economy in line with the 2-degree limit. So why is it so important that countries develop these deep decarbonization pathways?

Well it’s for a number of pretty simple reasons, although to be frank, they’ve not been fully grasped by many, but it is our hope that as a result of the deep decarbonization pathways project, each country will soon have one and that the global agreement to be reached in Paris at COP21 in 2015 will encourage countries to produce one. But we’re going to discuss that in further detail in the last chapter of this lecture.

Countries need deep decarbonization pathways to, mid-century, to the year 2050 because the nature and the scale of the global warming problem are such that there is unfortunately no quick or no easy fix to it. Deep Decarbonization will not happen overnight. As we’ve seen, the ultimate objective is the phasing out of the freely emitting fossil fuels, but that’s not going to happen tomorrow.

It will only happen as a result of our sustained efforts during the second half of the century. So that’s a pretty long time scale. And there is also no silver bullet to the challenge of deep decarbonization. There are many critical technologies.

And we’ve been discussing in detail some of them. Solar photovoltaic for example, wind power, nuclear for some countries, carbon capture and sequestration if it becomes available, electric vehicles for sure. A bit everywhere. But none of them is sufficient alone to deliver the necessary emission reduction.

So they need to be combined all together. Deep decarbonization is not about incremental change or small deviation from business-as-usual. And if we don’t design even the rather short-term climate change mitigation strategies with the view of achieving a long-term objective that is consistent with the 2-degree limit, then we really run the risk of being misled because we could lock in some high carbon infrastructures that could prevent us from reaching that long-term goal in the future.

711Let me simply pick one example to make this point very clear. Shifting from coal to gas as the United States is currently doing through shale gas and fracking delivers some significant short-term emission reductions, because gas is a lower carbon source of energy than coal. But it is still a pretty high carbon source of energy, at least compared to renewable energies or nuclear. So a power mix that would be primarily made of gas would emit way too much CO2 compared to the objective of deep decarbonization in line with the 2-degree limit. So the shift from coal to gas can in a way only be a matter of buying time, a bridging option if you want, towards a truly decarbonized energy system.

The deep decarbonization pathways we’re talking about therefore need to backcast from the global goal of limiting the temperature increase below 2-degrees Celsius. The need to explore the transformations that are required to reach this goal. What do I mean by backcasting? Well it’s, it’s a term I use to describe a process where a target is set for the future and then the changes needed to achieve that target are determined through the process of backcasting.

It’s very important that you don’t confuse backcasting with rigid, central planning because a process of deep decarbonization must be very adaptive. These deep Decarbonization pathways will have to be continually revised and updated based on your results from climate science, new technological innovation along the way and also the lessons learned from the early implementation phases of these pathways. But it is really essential that countries explore the changes to their growth models, to their development frameworks and in particular to their energy systems to reach the global goal of staying below 2-degrees Celsius of global warming.

There are also less technical, more process-related in a way reasons why deep decarbonization pathways are so important. They’re important because they’re an essential tool for promoting a national dialogue on climate change mitigation options, to launch what is really necessary, a process of intense and complex problem-solving. They’re really a critical instrument to enable a, a public, but also a policy discussion in every country on how best to achieve these emission reduction objectives, how to understand the possible tradeoffs in between multiple objectives, but also to identify the synergies, the win-win solutions.

The discussion over these deep Decarbonization pathways should involve all the relevant stakeholders, the policymakers, the business, the civil society. All the different types of expert communities with some knowledge on the issue, the climatologists, the engineers, the geologists, the economists, the other social scientists, they should all debate very intensively the best options for deep decarbonization, identify the bottlenecks and propose new approaches. In fact, you should try to develop a deep decarbonization pathway for your own country.

Look at the pathways that were produced in the context of the deep decarbonization pathways project, or at other studies if unfortunately your country was not part of the first phase of the project. Try to come up with different possibly even better solutions, discuss them with your professors, other experts, NGOs, business people. Even your politicians if you have access to them. Send your proposals to us. I can promise that it will not only be a very interesting assignment but something very useful to do

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization VI

The Role of Technology Roadmaps and Roundtables

To conclude this lecture, I want us to spend a bit of time discussing the mechanisms that could ensure the timely deployment at scale of some of the technologies we reviewed, but also the many others we did not have time to talk about, but which are also critical to the success of deep decarbonization strategies in our economies.

661Some skeptics try to discredit climate change mitigation efforts by saying that this is against progress, that this is an anti-technological innovation agenda that we’re trying to impose limits to growth, that we’re trying to limit the right to development.

The truth is I’m not even sure if they’re convinced by their own arguments. What is sure is that they’re often made by the incumbents of the fossil fuel economy and it’s probably not randomly, because they have a biased interest in more of the same technological innovation. I hope I’ve managed to convince you that climate change mitigation is certainly not an anti-technological innovation agenda. In fact, achieving deep decarbonization is a formidable technological challenge and one that will require years of sustained efforts to develop and demonstrate these breakthrough new low carbon technologies.

But what is very true is that we don’t need just any kind of technological innovation. We don’t need new sophisticated technologies to explore always deeper fossil fuel resources and new technologies to drill under the Artic. What we need is directed and accelerated technological change. Directed first because we need technological innovation and human creativity to confront to the challenge of human induced climate change and find solution, not further add to the problem.

And accelerated technological change because we have a very tight timeline to avoid the dangerous effects from human induced climate change whose effects are irreversible. So we need these critical low carbon technologies to become available quickly and to be rapidly deployed at scale.

There are pretty good reasons to believe that the necessary technologies for deep decarbonization are within reach, from an engineering and a cost standpoint. But their commercial readiness needs to be accelerated by providing the adequate policy support and also by building the necessary public and private partners. Effective global strategies for a deep decarbonization must include strategies for promoting actively the development and the diffusion of these low carbon technology.

What is interesting is that there is a great deal we can learn from the previous successful attempts to drive technological innovation in a particular direction. All these previous successful attempts share a number of important characteristics.

  • First, clear goals and timelines for technology performance were set.
  • Second, public and private actors were organized around the development of long-term technology road maps.
  • Third, the industry both competed but also cooperated to identify the promising lines of inquiry and demonstration of these technologies.
  • Four, grants were sometimes issued on a always highly competitive basis.
  • And five, and quite importantly the intellectual property of these new technology was frequently shared or at least open-source in between the different participants to the research and development efforts.

There is one element in particular I want to stress because I think it is of high relevance when we’re talking about low carbon energy innovation. It is that technology road maps and technology round tables can play a key role in driving oriented technological innovation.

They could play a key role because they could complement the more market based instruments for the transition to a low carbon economy such as putting a price on carbon through a carbon tax, or an emission permit system, or implementing all different types of regulations.

It, it’s very important that you don’t confuse these technology road maps with rigid, central planning, because this is really not what this is about. It’s very important that a technological innovation process be adaptive. It’s very important that it does not preclude any promising technology from playing an active role in future mitigation efforts.

We need to leave room for new discoveries. And therefore the goals that are set in these technology road maps should be frequently revised. They need to take into account the new developments from science, the lessons learned from the previous faces of discussions in these technology round tables.

So it’s really not an exercise to pick the winning technologies for a deep decarbonization, because eventually the market will have to reveal which are the lowest cost option. But you should look at this process of technology road maps and round tables as an essential process to make sure the market has enough winners to pick from eventually.

These technology road maps have been used successfully in, in many technology eras, including a very successful one, the semiconductor industry, but also in genetics. And they were used to identify the priorities for research and, and development. It’s really true that these road maps help mobilize and organize the public and private stakeholders and expert communities around the definition of shared priorities and, and really help insuring the effective use of, of scarce unfortunately, resources for research. So they will also really be a key tool in driving directed technological innovation for the low carbon technologies.

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization V

Electric Vehicles and Advanced Biofuels

Here I want to introduce to the debate some of the key low carbon technologies in the transport sector, because so far in the previous chapters we’ve been discussing mostly about promising new technologies in the power sector.

We’ve been discussing about smart grids and energy storage to operate power systems with high penetration of intermittent renewable energies such as solar or wind. We’ve been discussing about carbon capture and sequestration. We’ve been discussing about fourth generation nuclear reactors.

So mainly technologies for the power sectors. Although that’s not completely true, because carbon capture and sequestration, although its main market in the future might well be in the power sector could also and very importantly be used in industry, in the carbon intensive industries such as cement or steel for example.

652But as we saw when we were analyzing the results of the global mitigation scenario in the previous lecture, the decarbonization of the transport fleet is also absolutely fundamental to achieve emissions, reductions, levels consistent with the 2-degree limit. So it must start with the decarbonization of personal vehicles, but it must also extend to the Decarbonization of the heavy-duty vehicles, the decarbonization of aviation and also of ocean shipping.

So how can we do that? What are the options that are available to reduce emissions in the transport sector? Well there is a very wide range of cutting edge technology that hold great potential to decarbonize much or all of the transport sector. Which are the options? It includes in particular, high performance batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or advanced biofuels or even synthesized fuels. But the truth is that most of these low carbon technologies for transport are still pre-commercial or at least they’re not yet deployed at a very large scale.

Electric vehicles in particular offer great potential, especially for the private vehicles, but also for buses and even some say, possibly for trucks. But it’s important to underline here that electric vehicles can only be considered as a genuine low carbon solution for transport if electricity is produced by using low carbon energy sources.

This is why it’s so important to design comprehensive, deep Decarbonization strategies within the framework of the three pillars we have introduced. The electrification of energy consumption, in particular electrification of the transport sector must be combined with the shift to the low carbon electricity in the power sector.

651Most electric vehicles today use lithium batteries. And the performance of these batteries has already made great improvements in the recent past and it is expected to improve even further. Although the performance of that particular type of batteries, the lithium batteries is expected to improve only incrementally. But the good news is that we have many other option for electric vehicle batteries. They will be required to achieve higher energy and power density, lengthen the vehicle range and lower the upfront vehicle costs but there are many development programs currently underway.

I should stress that lengthening the vehicle range in particular is really critical to the success and the large-scale deployment of electric vehicles in the future because it would make sure that electric vehicles can be used for all sorts of purposes and not only for the short distance travels that we do within our cities.

It’s also important to understand that theuptake of electric vehicles is also limited today by the lack of infrastructure to charge the batteries of these vehicles. So to insure the large-scale deployment of these electric vehicles in the future, the infrastructure will also have to be built and not only the technology of the vehicles be improved and the, the network of the charging stations will have to be expanded insure the success and uptake of electric vehicles.

It will most likely require public-private partnerships with cities and local authorities in particular playing an important role together of course with car manufacturers and electricity companies. They should strike these partnerships to share the payment of the upfront investment costs of building this infrastructure network.

So that was for, I mean one of the most promising option of reducing emissions in the transport sector through the electrification of biofuels. There is another option potentially which is the use of biofuels. And especially liquid biofuels. They’re interesting because they offer the prospect of decarbonization of the transport sector together with the continued use of the existing infrastructure and technologies, including the internal combustion engines, but also the oil pipeline and the gas station pumps we have already built. So the fact that they use, they would use the existing infrastructure is of course a, a very big asset in favor of the biofuels.

But the truth is that the biofuels also have a very clear downside unfortunately. Or at least some of them have. Because many of the existing biofuels such as a maize based ethanol produced in the U.S. compete with other critical land uses such as food production or ecosystem needs like land and water utilization.

So it’s a serious concern. There is potentially a solution to this problem, a response to this concern and it lies in the, the development of a new generation of advanced biofuels and, who precisely aim to overcome the issue of the competition in between the biofuels, the food production and the other important ecosystem services.

There are many different types of advanced biofuels that are currently under development. Let me mention just a few. Again, it’s not a comprehensive list, but you can think of the bioengineered organism such algae or bacteria used to produce biofuels. Another example is the processing of non-foodstuff from non-arable land into biofuels and, such as cellulosic biofuels produced from wood products. And there are even efforts to produce fuels directly from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide without using any biological organisms, a process which we call artificial photosynthesis. Although it is still at an early stage of research and focuses on, primarily on producing hydrogen.

But overall and to conclude this chapter on the most important technologies in the transport sector, it’s really important that we would further, and I would say, harder on the research, development and demonstration of these next generation biofuels to make really sure their large-scale use doesn’t induce deforestation or doesn’t compete with a food production which would be a…a terrible news for food security in a world where we expect to have 9.5 billion people by 2050.

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization III

Carbon Capture & Sequestration

Here we’re going to discuss about carbon capture and sequestration. So what is it, what kind of a technology is that? It looks almost frightening. So carbon capture and sequestration or CCS, I’m going to use the acronym a lot because otherwise it’s too long, is the capture of CO2 at large stationary point sources such as coal or gas fired power plants, oil refineries, cement plants, or steel mills.

625What are the common characteristics between these different types of activities? It is that they emit exhaust gases with a relatively high concentration of CO2. And it’s an important aspect of where CCS could be feasible.

We need to have somehow a pretty high concentration of CO2 within the entire exhaust gases to be able to operate the CCS technology. That being said, there are broadly speaking, I mean of course there are many more than that, but broadly speaking there are two different types of CCS technologies. What is called pre-combustion CCS technology and post-combustion CCS technologies.

So very simply with post-combustion technologies the CO2 is captured after combustion through a chemical process that separates CO2 from the other gases. Whereas for the pre-combustion technologies the CO2 is removed from the fuels themselves through other chemical processes, but this time as the name obviously indicates, before combustion. So that’s for the capture part of carbon capture and sequestration, CCS. But what happens after that, what do we do with the CO2, because it cannot simply remain in the air once we have separated it through one of these two different techniques?632

Well after the CO2 would be captured at the point source, it would be transported by pipeline to an appropriate geological site for storage under the ground. So what does that mean? I mean what could be considered as an appropriate geological site? I mean what are the conditions that must be met by these sites to safely sequester the CO2 under the ground for a very long period of time? Well as you can see on the picture in front of you there are broadly speaking again, there are more than that, but broadly speaking, three main different options for the geological sequestration of CO2.

  • The first is that what is called mineable coal beds, so it’s a fancy term to speak about the coal veins that cannot be mined.
  • The second type is the depleted oil or gas reserves.

So very simply the empty oil and gas fields, ones that have been exploited where you could put the CO2 back in. And the third and in fact the most important because the scale of these third categories is potentially much higher than the other two, the third type is what we call the deep saline aquifers. So types of geological grounds that are found deep under the earth’s surface.

633So that was for a very general description of the different steps in the process of carbon, capture, we should add, transportation and sequestration of this CCS. So where are we in the process of developing this technology? Well CCS has not yet been proved as a whole system at a large scale. But all the individual components of CCS, so the capture, the transport, the sequestration, all of them are pretty well established technologies and they have been tested in demonstration projects. And to date there are approximately 12 CCS projects that operate under the globe at stationary point sources and most of them are projects on natural gas processing plants while some others are on fertilizer production plants.

So what is really the challenge going forward? I mean what are the obstacles that would need to be overcome if carbon capture and sequestration was to become a real option that could be deployed at scale in many countries? Well there are serious challenges, different types of challenges.  One is costs. The other is scale. And finally there is an issue, an unresolved issue so far regarding the verification that carbon is really sequestered under the ground.

  • So the first open question, what is the optimal power plant design to facilitate carbon capture at relatively low costs?
  • Second open question, what is the best choice of geological sites for the storage of CO2 potentially at a very large scale? I mean we might be talking about tens or hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 to be sequestered during the coming decades. So where is the geological potential for that? I mean which sites would we select to do that?
  • Third open question, what is the design of a reliable and economic hope infrastructure for the transport of CO2?
  • And if you want a fourth question, what are the mechanisms for insuring that the CO2 that is stored remains permanently out of the atmosphere, a very important question indeed, because it determines the success of CCS eventually.

So these are important questions. There are of course other questions. All of them need good answers. But given the importance of carbon and capture and sequestration in many of the deep decarbonization scenarios, including the ones

634I’m going to present when I discuss the results of the deep decarbonization pathway project, given the importance of this technology in so many of these scenarios there is really an urgent need to scale up the research, the development and the demonstration of CCS to test if it can be deployed at scale, if it can be deployed at, at scale safely.

And if it can be deployed at scale at acceptable costs, because the truth is that being able to rely on the large-scale deployment of CCS would greatly facilitate the deep Decarbonization efforts, given what we stressed many, many times now and it is the obvious very heavy dependence of the energy systems on fossil fuels today.

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization IV

Advanced Nuclear Power

Here we’re going to discuss about the new generation of nuclear power reactors.

Today there are approximately 40 countries with nuclear energy as part of their power mix. Countries in very different situations. Some of these countries are proposing to phase out their nuclear power fleet. This is the case for example in Germany. Germany will have no more nuclear power plants in 2023. Other countries are planning to scale back, such as France. France has decided to reduce their share of nuclear energy and its electricity consumption from 75% today to 50% by 2025. But other countries are planning to expand and sometimes dramatically their nuclear capacity. This is the case for example in China. China intends to build the equivalent of the entire existing French nuclear power fleet in the coming years.

641There are, to be frank, serious obstacles standing in the way of the larger scale deployment of nuclear energy worldwide. And the demand to be looked carefully and to be seriously taken into account. Issues of public resistance, in particular, especially following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

But also more generally speaking and unrelated to a particular event, concerns over the safety of the operation of nuclear reactors. Anxiety about the risk of proliferation. And worries about the issues of waste management. And also I should add, concerns over the costs of nuclear energy because grading the existing nuclear reactors or building new reactors to improve their safety following the recommendations that were made after the Fukushima accident will most likely increase their costs and probably quite significantly.

So it’s also important to recognize that the public support for a nuclear technology as important known technical dimensions that are therefore not easily addressed by engineering improvements.

Different societies have different attitudes towards nuclear energy because they have different histories; they have different cultures, different belief systems. But also because the management of the inherent risks of nuclear energy require the existence of an independent safety agency. And the truth is that the conditions of the independence of this safety agency are not really met in all countries.

That being said, the technical advances can play a critical role in the improvement of the nuclear reactors. And they will be needed in order for nuclear energy to remain a significant part of the power mix in some countries or even potentially to play a growing role and an important role given the need to produce low or zero carbon electricity to avoid dangerous climate change. What are these potential critical technical advances?

Well there are plenty of them, such as breakthrough in the safety systems, advances in fuel security, options for a fuel recyclingor techniques to reduce the costs. All of that will be needed if nuclear energy is to play an important and growing role in the future.

The development of a fourth generation of nuclear reactors offers the prospect of addressing some of these important issues. So what is it, a fourth generation of nuclear reactors? What were the three first generations anyway? We use the term, fourth generation nuclear power to bring together different kinds of advanced nuclear fission energy technology that share a number of key characteristics.

  • The first is the modularity of the production systems and the building of smaller scale units.
  • The second is the use of alternative systems for fuel repossessing or the use of alternative fuels to uranium such thorium.
  • And the third is the design of improved automatic and even passive safety systems.

And I’ll explain in a minute what that is because it’s one of the potentially most important breakthroughs of nuclear reactors in the future. What are the objectives of this fourth generation of nuclear reactors? I mean why do that, why build them differently from the previous generations? Well a number of reason.642

The first is that we’re trying to make the nuclear reactors more simple so that the reactors are less vulnerable to construction delays and cost overruns, which sometimes have been very significant in the past and still are today.

But also objective to address the proliferation concerns, a very serious concern. By making it much more difficult to divert materials for nuclear weapons at any point in the fuel cycle. And some of the fourth generation nuclear reactors address this point. But also and as I said, very importantly, almost the driving force of this fourth generation of nuclear reactors, the objective is to improve safety.

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And in particular, through the use of passive safety systems. So what is it? Well it means that the reactor core would be assured by physical principles to be safe from the meltdown, even in the absence of active cooling. So that’s why we call it passive safety systems. So as you can see, this fourth generation of nuclear reactors offers interesting prospects. The prospect of significant improvements to the existing nuclear reactors, but they still require a high level of research and development and also demonstration before they could be eventually deployed and play a role in the deep decarbonization strategies

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization II

Grid Management of Power Systems with High Penetration of Renewable Energies

Here we’re going to discuss how the challenge of managing power system, so the way we produce electricity; how the challenge of managing power system with high shares, high proportion of intermittent renewable energies can be met.

So by intermittent renewable energies we mean some of the renewable energies that are intrinsically time variable in the way they produce energy such as wind power or solar energy, but I’ll come back to that in a moment. The good news, to start with is that the cost of power generation through renewable energies is declining very sharply as a result of at least two different effects.

  • The first being technological advancements as a result of research and development.
  • The second being the economies of scale as they progressively become more and more deployed in our energy systems.

621The cost of the solar photovoltaic cells in particular has declined very, very sharply in the recent years as you can see on this graph. You can see on the graph that the cost per watt of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, so that is the main technology that is being used today to generate electricity out of solar energy, that I’ll discuss in a moment, which other types of technologies potentially even more could be used in the future.

But you already see on that graph a very, very compelling decline in the prices of these cells. I mean they went from $76 U.S. dollars per watt in 1970 to $0.74 in 2013, some…an effect that is sometimes called the Swanson effect and that should, well ring a bell. I mean it really looks like the Moore’s law in the semiconductor industry.

622The cost of the wind turbines has also declined, although a bit more gradually. I mean nothing as spectacular than the cost of the photovoltaic cells, but still a significant decline in the recent years.

It’s important to underline here that the price per watt of solar photovoltaic cells is not the same thing that the price of producing electricity through solar photovoltaic energy which is sometimes called by the energy experts, the levelized cost of energy, LCOE. And in fact the price of producing electricity through solar photovoltaic energy remains more expensive than the alternative sources of electricity production, at least in many places.

It’s not the case everywhere. It’s true that solar photovoltaic energy has reached what we have called in the previous chapter, the grid parity. So the cost at which it is competitive with other sources of power generation. So solar photovoltaic energy has reached this grid parity in several regions and, and countries, but not everywhere and…by far. So their costs still need to significantly further decline to enable eventually their very large-scale deployment at a competitive cost. That being said, and it’s an important point I want to make, going forward, the main challenge in relation to renewable energies is likely to be not their costs but how to operate power system with high penetration of intermittent renewable energy.

623So what is that? I mean what is really the problem and, and how do these renewable energies really differ from the other sources of power generation we have today, like coal or gas or hydro or nuclear? And why does it make the operation of the power system more difficult and more challenging? Well as I said, it’s because solar and wind energy are intrinsically in a way time variable for a very simple reason, it’s because wind is not always blowing and sun is not always shining.

So that’s a defining characteristics of these technologies. But on the other hand, the power grid needs to be able to match energy demand and energy supply on a moment by moment basis to maintain the functionality of the power system to make sure that each and every time you need energy there is an energy source to supply and meet your demand.

Traditionally, this is accomplished by using large generators such as coal-fire power plants, or nuclear power plants to provide what is called base load power. And these stable base load generators are then complemented by flexible, readily dispatchable units of power generations such as gas turbines to make a system overall capable of as I said, matching supply and demand at any point in time by the addition of base load power and flexible, readily dispatchable units of power generation.

B624ut going forward, we need to find new low carbon solutions to the issue of supply and demand balancing because as you can see, we cannot in a world where we try to avoid the dangerous effects of human-induced climate change and therefore in a world where we try to deeply reduce the energy emissions, we cannot rely on coal powered generation and gas turbines to, or at least not without carbon capture and sequestration to ensure the balancing of the energy system and going forward, dealing with the intrinsic time variability of some of the renewable energy.

So how can we do that? How can we ensure power system balancing while meeting the constraint of deep emission reductions? Well there are three main ways in which a power system with high penetration of renewable energies can be balanced while again, meeting this constraint of deep decarbonization.

  • The first one is that the intermittent renewable energies, so again, wind, solar, typical examples, can be complemented with other stable sources of low-carbon power supply such as nuclear power, or coal and gas fired power plants, but with carbon capture and sequestration. That’s very important. Not freely emitting coal and gas. Coal and gas plus CCS, or other example, hydropower for countries that have such a potential. Or we can also build a system that links the uncorrelated or that links negatively correlated sources of intermittent renewable energies because that’s a way of dealing with the intermittency of each type of renewable energy; by making sure that combined, we don’t have or this intermittency or at least that we reduce it. So that was for the first broad category of things we can do to balance the energy and the energy supply and the energy consumption with high penetration of renewable energy.
  • Second, there is also great potential to better adjust the time profile of energy demand to the time profile of power supply. And this is broadly speaking what we call demand management. And the truth is that the cost of demand management technologies have declined very significantly.

So it’s not so much an issue of cost going forward, but the main challenges are going to lie in information management, grid management, but also in setting the appropriate economic incentives for demand management. So this is something really interesting, that has great potential to help operate power system with high share of intermittent renewable energies, but the truth is that it’s not going to be sufficient. What will be absolutely critical is to improve our energy storage options.

That’s really important, energy storage. And there is already a variety of electric storage technologies that are known and have been demonstrated on a broad range of time scale from seasonal to daily to hourly to second by second storage, because we need all of that to ensure the functionality of the power system.

625For example, large-scale pumped hydroelectric storage has been cost effective in many countries for decades, but the problem is that it is not available everywhere.

So it will be very important to develop other storage technology options and there are currently a number of options being considered such as batteries or compressed air or hydrogen, but it’s also clear that further research, development and demonstration is going to be required to determine how best to match diverse storage technology options and their cost effective applications and how to commercialize these technologies at a large scale and at a competitive cos

The Key Technological Challenges of Deep Decarbonization I

The Need for Accelerated Development of Low-Carbon Technologies / Key technologies For RDD&D

Today we’re going to discuss in detail some of the key technological challenges that must be met to achieve the deep decarbonization of our energy systems. This is a very important theme of this course. And in fact, also a very important era for action at the international level because we’ve stressed many times now the importance of developing these new low carbon technologies in addition to the ones that are already available today and already deployed to realize the deep transformation of our energy system that is required.

As I hope you remember, at the end of Lecture that (see The Deep Decarbonization of Energy Systems IV )I presented you the results of a global mitigation scenario that achieves a level of CO2 emission reductions consistent with the objective of limiting the temperature increase below 2-degree Celsius. And we saw that achieving deep decarbonization was certainly challenging, but also very feasible and required in particular the almost complete Decarbonization of electricity supply, the largest source of CO2 energy emissions today. But also the very significant, although less radical emission reductions in the end use energy sectors such as transport, building or industry.

611But if you remember correctly, I also emphasized that the implementation of the scenario depended on the deployment and the development at scale of technologies that are either not yet completely technologically mature, or whose costs are still very high. And today in this lecture, starting with this first chapter I want us to identify which of these technologies in particular are key to the process of deep decarbonization. But I also want us to go through each of these technologies one by one and review which are the main technological challenges that must be overcome if these technologies are to be eventually deployed at scale.

Make no mistake here, many of the technologies that are required to reduce the emissions from our energy systems are already available and many of them in fact are already deployed, at least at a pretty significant scale in the global economy. And this is true by the way for each of the three pillars we said were the overarching framework of deep decarbonization. So remember, improving energy efficiency, decarbonizing electricity generation and switching to low carbon fuels. In each of these three pillars we can pick many examples to make this point.

For example there are many existing technological options to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and our industries. Many options for energy efficient heating and cooling. The use of thermostat in particular can save you a lot of energy simply by turning down the temperature when there is nobody at home, or at night. Replacing the incandescent lights by light bulbs also saves a lot of energy. And there are also many options to improve the insulation of the building envelope, for example, by using double or even triple glaze windows. Appliances and electronics are also much more energy efficient than they used to be in the past.612

And what I’m sure you’ve noticed, the Energy Star label can help purchasing the most energy efficient equipment. So that was for just a few by the way of a very wide range of existing energy efficiency technology.

Let’s turn to the second pillar, the low carbon electricity. Here too there are already many existing options to produce electricity in a low carbon way with either low carbon sources of energy or even completely zero sources of electricity production. Example, hydropower has been used for a very long time now and is by the way one of the cheapest way to generate electricity. Many other renewable energies are also being used, although they’re being used at different scales. Onshore or offshore wind. Solar photovoltaic or concentrated solar power. Some of them have even reached what we call the grid parity.

What is it, the grid parity? Complex term for a very simple concept. It is the cost at which the low carbon technologies are, become competitive with the other alternative forms of energy. And some of the renewable energy, certainly not all of them, and certainly not everywhere, have reached the grid parity with some of their high carbon alternatives. Nuclear power is also used by several countries, in fact close to 40 countries to generate electricity. If we go to the transport sector to discuss some of the existing low carbon technologies, there are already a wide-range of fuel efficient hybrid, sometimes even completely battery electric, light duty vehicles. So for passenger transportation there are also vehicles using ethanol produced from biomass derived sugars and starch. Lots of them for example in Brazil. And also some natural gas or electric hybrid powered buses in many of the cities around the world and by the way, not only in the developed countries but also in, in large parts of the developing world already.613

So to summarize, there are already lots of energy efficient and low carbon technologies that are available today and deployed at some scale. It’s true that they might, they might not yet be deployed at a sufficient scale to reach the challenge, to meet the challenge of the deep decarbonization of our energy system, but it’s also true that they’re poised somehow to achieve much higher penetration rates in the future if we are to implement the right policies to incentivize their further deployment and in particular, the pricing of carbon that will increase the price of their high carbon alternatives.

And you can think of many, many different ways that we will discuss in the next lectures of pricing carbon, either directly through a carbon tax or through an emission trading system or even the implicit pricing of carbon through different types of regulations. But the point I want to make here is that the technologies that are commercially available today, alone, will not be sufficient, at least in many national contexts to achieve deep decarbonization, or at least they are not sufficient at reasonable costs.

The existing technologies might be able to do the job, but they will do so at a very high cost. So the development of the new technologies, some of them we’re going to be talking about in the next chapter, really offers the opportunity of lowering the overall costs, the overall investment costs of climate change mitigation.

But it will require important levels of research, development, and demonstration before we go to the deployment phase eventually. And in the next chapters, we will discuss some, not all of them unfortunately because we don’t have the time, but we will discuss some of the most promising technologies of the future. All of these technologies are known to some degree.

It’s not science fiction, not at all. But most of them are still under development of some form. Some of them have been demonstrated in pilot projects or in small commercial niches and not at very large scale. Some others are technically viable but at a way-too-high cost for their mass adoption.614

Some others yet the complimentary infrastructure that is needed for their deployment and yet some others face barriers for public concerns, so lack the necessary public support for their adoption due to concerns about safety, reliability or other types of environmental impacts, because it’s very important of course to take a sustainable development perspective at these technologies and not to look only at their potential to reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

Some of these technologies might have other important environmental risks that we need to identify and hopefully be able to mitigate. So in the next chapters, let’s see how we can confront these important technological challenges.