BP International Centre for Advanced Materials Annual Conference – 20 October 2015

Why climate change action is difficult
– and how we can make a difference



David MacKay FRS
   
Department of Engineering
University of Cambridge

Former Chief Scientific Advisor
Department of Energy and Climate Change
United Kingdom Government




tinyurl.com/ClimateBP
 

wie breit müsste die Biokraftstoff-Plantage sein?

One lane of cars

60 miles per hour
 
30 miles per gallon
1200 litres of biofuel per hectare per year
80 metres car-spacing

One lane of cars

60 miles per hour
30 miles per gallon
1200 litres of biofuel per hectare per year
80 metres car-spacing

= 8 kilometres wide

This book is free online


www.withouthotair.com

This book is free online


www.withouthotair.com

Climate science

The size of future climate change depends on cumulative emissions


DECC/Met Office, adapted from IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2013)

Global-mean surface temperature 1880-2013 (NASA GISS data)
Grey line shows annual values, the blue line a LOESS smooth
burning embers
              ^
Sea level 100m lower than today
Jos Hagelaars / realclimate.org

Summer of 2003

The size of future climate change depends on cumulative emissions


DECC/Met Office, adapted from IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2013)

Why climate change action is difficult

1. Emission rate must drop to zero

2. The '2°C'* budget is roughly half gone

* NB, climate sensitivity is still uncertain

Energy arithmetic

A rough guide to sustainable energy

No millions, billions, or trillions

Make quantities comprehensible and comparable

Do calculations per person, to one significant figure

Energy unit: kWh

Power: 1 kWh per day ≈ 40 W



  

Examples

  • one lightbulb for 24 h – 1 kWh
  • food – 3 kWh / day (*)
  • bath – 5 kWh (*)
  • litre of petrol – 10 kWh
  • aluminium can – 0.6 kWh

Drive a car 100 km per day...

80 kWh per day

Run this North-American house

80 kWh per day

Fly London to Los Angeles and back, once per year...

26 kWh per day

June 2007

         

'If every London household unplugged their mobile phone chargers when not in use,
we could save 31,000 tonnes of CO2 and 7.75m per year.'

Numbers

Energy saved by
switching off for one day
= Energy used by
driving an average car for
one second
0.5 W × 86,400 s = 40,000 W × 1 s

Numbers

Energy saved by
switching off for one day
= Energy used by
driving an average car for
one second
0.5 W × 86,400 s = 40,000 W × 1 s
0.01 kWh
Transport
Heating
Electricity



UK energy consumption:

125 kWh per day
per person


and more,
if we take
into account imports







90% fossil fuels

A rough guide to sustainable energy

No millions, billions, or trillions

Make quantities comprehensible and comparable

Do calculations per person, to one significant figure

Energy unit: kWh

Power: 1 kWh per day ≈ 40 W



  

Examples

  • one lightbulb for 24 h – 1 kWh
  • food – 3 kWh / day (*)
  • bath – 5 kWh (*)
  • litre of petrol – 10 kWh
  • aluminium can – 0.6 kWh

Population density: square metres per person

UK:4000 m2 per person
250 people per sq km

Power per unit area: W per square metre

(point size shows land area)

Photo provided by the University of Illinois

Plant power per unit area


* assumes genetic modification, fertilizer application, and irrigation
For sources, see D J C MacKay (2008) Sustainable Energy – without the hot air

Powers per unit area of British wind farms, v farm size


20 W/m2


Data and photo by Jonathan Kimmitt – 25 sq m of panels

Bavaria Solar Park: 5 W/m2
www.powerlight.com

3.8 W/m2
Photo by Robert Hargraves
Data from www.allearthrenewables.com

14 W/m2
www.stirlingenergy.com

Andasol, Spain

10 W/m2

RWE.com

PS10, Solucar

5 W/m2


Photo by afloresm

All renewables are diffuse

Wind 2.5 W/m2
Plants 0.5 W/m2
Solar PV panels 5–20 W/m2
Tidal pools 3 W/m2
Tidal stream 8 W/m2
Rain-water (highlands) 0.24 W/m2
Concentrating solar power (desert)      15–20 W/m2

   Fission: 1000 W/m2   

A consultation exercise in full swing




Demand-side options – Transport


Have small frontal area per person
Have small weight per person
Go slowly
Go steadily
Convert energy
    efficiently


We need a plan that adds up!



We need a plan that adds up —





... every month, every day, and every hour!
Electricity, gas, and transport demand; and fictional wind (assuming 33 GW of capacity), all on the same vertical scale.

Why climate change action is difficult

3. People are unaware of the scale of action required to decarbonize the energy system

4. and they've been misled by myths

The 2050 Calculator



2050-calculator-tool.decc.gov.uk



"I believe [the UK 2050 Calculator] has been the best value for money we’ve spent on climate change"
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, 28 Jan 2015

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/launch-of-the-2050-global-calculator



Discuss social acceptance

Influence on social acceptance

2050.edp.pt
www.wbc2050.be
china-cn.2050calculator.net
2050.sejong.ac.kr
http://indiaenergy.gov.in
http://www.2050-low-carbon-navi.jp/
http://www.energietransitiemodel.nl – open source at https://github.com/quintel

The Global Calculator – globalcalculator.org

Why climate change action is difficult

5. Most low-carbon technologies are either expensive, today

6. ... or they have front-loaded costs

Part 3

Innovation support

What we need for most 2050 pathways

lots of low-carbon deployment

and innovation to drive down costs

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Amazing insulation


Thermablok

and cheap building-retrofit

Electric vehicles

  • batteries
  • capacitors
  • light-weighting
  • fly-wheels

Smart meters and smart controls that induce behaviour change

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Heat pumps that work

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Cheaper wind, especially offshore

2benergy.com
Makani Power
Makani Power

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Biomass-to-good stuff

Waste-to-good stuff

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Proliferation-resistant, safe, low-waste nuclear power

Jules Horowitz materials test reactor

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Carbon capture and storage at scale


NET Power, LLC

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Smart grids, DSR

Interconnectors

Energy storage

Dinorwig – 10 GWh energy; 2 GW maximum power

Energy storage

What we need for most 2050 pathways, in the long term

Carbon dioxide removal technologies

What we need for most 2050 pathways


Backup plans


  • eg, in case low-cost electric vehicles don't materialise
    • hydrogen, ammonia

  • in case sustainable bioenergy can't be delivered
    • air-fuel synthesis

  • or in case climate sensitivity turns out on the big side
    • geoengineering research

What the world needs for 2050


Solar power

Deep geothermal

What we need for most 2050 pathways

Public and political support for a numerate approach

An ever-improving energy model for each country

Innovation support to drive down costs

Well-trained engineers


  'Okay – it's agreed; we announce – "to do nothing is not an option!" then we wait and see how things pan out...'
Lowe, Private Eye

Why climate change action is difficult

7. Making good energy policies is difficult


Why DECC's work is difficult –
Reflections on 5 years in the Department of Energy and Climate Change


David MacKay FRS

Department of Engineering
University of Cambridge

Former Chief Scientific Advisor
Department of Energy and Climate Change


 

Why DECC's work is difficult

Multiple misaligned objectives

Wishful thinking

Lack of evidence

The 2050 Calculator



2050-calculator-tool.decc.gov.uk

"Renewable" target misaligned with primary energy-saving and emissions reduction


- example 1

Which is more valuable?


1 cup of boiling water and nine cups of ice-cold water

or


10 cups of water at 10 °C?


[The quantities of heat are identical]

The value of heat depends on its temperature

Standards for Heat-pump Installations

Chris Wickins and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Heat-pump Working Group

"Renewable" target misaligned with primary energy-saving and emissions reduction

- example 2

Source: IPCC

Policies

  • Renewable transport fuel obligation
  • Renewable obligation
  • Renewable heat incentive
  • International negotiations: prevention of deforestation


Vancouver to Immingham: 8888 nautical miles

(skip to pv example)

Could bioenergy be in tension with climate-change action?

"BEaC"

more about BEaC [see also Amsterdam talk]


Using these assumptions, and assuming all harvested wood goes to power station
Area required for 30 M odt/y of pellets, delivering roughly 35 TWh/y:
about 40,000-50,000 km2 (two Wales)

"Renewable" target misaligned with energy security and with value-for-money

 
Electricity price in pounds per MWh

(skip to ivc example)

www.energy-charts.de

(skip to ivc example)

Electricity production in Germany: Week 29

Graphs: B Burger, Fraunhofer ISE; data: EEX Transparency Platform

(skip to ivc example)

Electricity production in Germany: Week 25

Graphs: B Burger, Fraunhofer ISE; data: EEX Transparency Platform

(skip to ivc example)

GB Electricity Supply, June 2012

(skip to ivc example)

Lowest demand in Summer, 2012

Source: National Grid 2013

simulation of 40 GW of solar capacity in the UK
clear-sky, partially sunny, overcast: 1, 0.547, 0.1

Renewable target in conflict with energy efficiency

Impington Village College

Why climate change action is difficult

(at least, while low-carbon technologies are more expensive than fossil fuels)


8. The atmosphere is a commons


9. Solutions must be fair

Negotiate a carbon price

or a carbon price mechanism

giving a predictable price
and with compensation for poorer people


NOT caps.
NOT cap and trade.
 

Why negotiating a price can yield a better outcome





See also carbon-price.com
....

Price Carbon – I will if you will



David J C MacKay FRS, Peter Cramton,
Axel Ockenfels, and Steven Stoft


   
David J C MacKay FRS,
Department of Engineering
University of Cambridge

Former Chief Scientific Advisor
Department of Energy and Climate Change
United Kingdom Government


Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?



Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science?  

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science
Common goals?

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science
Common goals

[UNclimatechange/Flickr]

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science
Common goals

[UNclimatechange/Flickr]
Blueprints for action?

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science
Common goals

[UNclimatechange/Flickr]
Blueprints for action

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science
Common goals

[UNclimatechange/Flickr]
Blueprints for action
International cooperation?

Why is global climate change action scarcely happening?

Knowledge of climate science
Common goals

[UNclimatechange/Flickr]
Blueprints for action
International cooperation Use the science of cooperation
repair the design of negotiations.



You can't solve a commons problem by replacing it with another commons problem
"Individual commitments"



Paris




Do individual commitments & review lead to an 
“upward spiral of ambition over time”?

Individual commitments 
cannot promote cooperation

"The most powerful driving force is the self-interest of every country."
– Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC

  • 10 players, each holding $10
  • Each $ pledged to the pot will be doubled and distributed evenly to all players
  • Voluntary pledges are enforced

Individual commitments 
cannot promote cooperation

"The most powerful driving force [is] the self-interest of every country."
– Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC

  • 10 players, each holding $10
  • Each $ pledged to the pot will be doubled and distributed evenly to all players
  • Voluntary pledges are enforced
  • Result [assuming self-interested players]: Zero cooperation, all pledge $0

Christiana Figueres


Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC



The driving force behind the pledges is simply “the self-interest of every country” 
and their pledges are 
“not because they want to save the planet.”
CBS Interview, October 2015

The science of cooperation

Dynamics of individual commitments: “Upward spiral of ambition”?

No.

  • History: Japan, Russia, Canada, and New Zealand left the Kyoto agreement
  • Field studies: insufficient reciprocity leads to a 
“downward cascade” (Ostrom 2010)
  • Supported by theory and laboratory experiments

The key to cooperation is reciprocity



I will abate more if you will
I will abate less if you abate less
I will tax your exports if you do not price your carbon
I will give you technology if you price your carbon
... other possibilities






NB: Reciprocity is not strange or new - it is widespread!

“I will if you will” 
promotes cooperation



  • 10 players, each holding $10
  • Each $ put in the pot will be doubled and distributed evenly to all players
  • Pledge is a commitment to reciprocally match the lowest offer of all
  • Voluntary pledges are enforced

“I will if you will” 
promotes cooperation



  • 10 players, each holding $10
  • Each $ put in the pot will be doubled and distributed evenly to all players
  • Pledge is a commitment to reciprocally match the lowest offer of all
  • Voluntary pledges are enforced
  • Result: Full cooperation, all pledge $10


Designing effective negotiations

Reciprocity needs a common commitment

Global carbon-price commitment seems possible

The UK already has policies equivalent to high carbon prices


Source: IFS 2013
  • ∼£100/tCO2 [electricity, gas]
  • ∼£220/tCO2 [vehicle fuel duty]
  • £30/t in 2020 and £70/t by 2030. [carbon price floor]


NB: Some people don't like the UK's climate policies because "what's the point if others don't"; so the reciprocal carbon price commitment should appeal to them.

The UK already has a carbon floor price

In the budget of 23 March 2011 the Chancellor announced the floor would start in April 2013 at about £25/tonne and rise steadily to £30/t in 2020 and £70/t by 2030.

How to get developing countries to support a strong global carbon price?



A ‘Green Climate Fund’ can be used to incentivise support for a higher price –

eg, Climate-fund payments proportional to the agreed carbon price.

Summary

Negotiations can be designed to realign self-interests and promote cooperation.

Self-interest

Individual commitments and reviews will not solve the tragedy of the commons.

Reciprocity

A common commitment ("I will if you will") can.

Don't negotiate Caps

Emission quantity caps cannot support a strong agreement.

Negotiate Price

A global carbon-price commitment could yield a strong treaty.

Green Climate Fund

Coupled climate-fund transfers can encourage poor countries to support a high carbon price.

carbon-price.com

Summary


Negotiations can be designed to realign self-interests and promote cooperation.

Reciprocity

Individual commitments and reviews will not solve the tragedy of the commons.
A common commitment ("I will if you will") can.

Negotiate Price

A global carbon-price commitment could yield a strong treaty, especially if coupled to Green Fund transfers, incentivizing low-emitting countries to support a high carbon price.

This book is free online


www.withouthotair.com

Spare slides

azuri-technologies.com / Indigo
azuri-technologies.com / Indigo
azuri-technologies.com / Indigo



azuri-technologies.com

Nuclear Waste Disposal
By Alexei V. Byalko
http://www.wise-uranium.org/nfca.html
1 t of ore, 0.002 t of uranium
yielding 0.001669 t of depleted uranium and 0.073 GWh(e)
and 0.000266 t spent fuel
horizontal axis shows years
  

Sellafield

Drigg


llwrsite.com

Sellafield HAW store
DU 'waste' in Paducah

Asse

126,000 drums [Spiegel] Joachim Breckow, professor for medical physics and radiation protection, and president of the German-Swiss Radiation Protection Association (FS):.
Even in the case of "an uncontrollable influx of solvents" -- in other words, if Asse became completely flooded -- many decades in the future, the population would be subject to a maximum radiation exposure of 0.1 millisievert, which corresponds to 3 percent of the annual exposure from naturally occurring radiation. The local population would, at most, have to avoid drinking water from the area.
Anyone who is given a standard X-ray is exposed to roughly 0.5 millisievert – or five times the annual "Asse dosage."

Spare slides





Keeping energy demand and supply in balance

Electricity, gas, and transport demand; and fictional wind (assuming 33 GW of capacity), all on the same vertical scale.

How subsidies are often set

The "50th percentile" method for setting subsidies The "50th percentile" method for setting subsidies The "50th percentile" method for setting subsidies
The "50th percentile" method for setting subsidies

The end game – reducing net emissions to zero

Role of bioenergy and BECCS




How much bioenergy?

How much bioenergy?


450ppm: 275 EJ/year primary energy, and 75% going to BECCS
550ppm: 200 EJ/year, 60% going to BECCS
baseline: 140 EJ/year

275 EJ/year

= 23 kWh/d/person × 9 billion people

assuming 0.5 W/m2, requires 17 million km2

roughly 10% of world's land surface area
roughly 17 Gt per year of biomass

Is there any inconsistency?

Page 73 of SR:
Rural areas are expected to experience major impacts on water availability and supply, food security, infrastructure, and agricultural incomes, including shifts in the production areas of food and non-food crops around the world (high confidence). These impacts will disproportionately affect the welfare of the poor in rural areas, such as female-headed households and those with limited access to land, modern agricultural inputs, infrastructure, and education. {WGII 5.4, 9.3, 25.9, 26.8, 28.2, 28.4,Box 25-5}

"Limited bioenergy"


"Limited Bioenergy":


"a maximum of 100 EJ/yr modern bioenergy supply globally
(modern bioenergy used for heat, power, combinations, and
industry was around 18 EJ/yr in 2008)."
(AR5-WG3)

So "limited" means 5.6-fold increase,
whereas 275-300 EJ/y is a 15-17-fold increase over 2008.

100 EJ/y / 9 billion people = 8.5 kWh/d per person

So UK 'share' would be
100 EJ/y × 75 million / (9 billion ) in GW = 26.4 GW
100 EJ/y × 75 million / (9 billion ) / (0.5 W/m2) in km2
= 52 814 km2

2.5 Waleses

100 EJ/y / 6e9 = 12.7 kWh per day per person
100 EJ/y / 7.125e9 = 10.7 kWh per day per person
projected population of UK: 75 million in 2100

100 EJ/y / 9 billion people
2.34 New Jerseys
2.54 Wales

using today's population
((100 (exajoules / year) × 64 million) / 7.125 billion) / (0.5 ((W / m) / m)) =
57000 km2 – nearly 3 Wales



wind: 20-fold increase over 2012 (grey sq = 100 sq km)
nuclear: 4-fold increase over 2012
solar in deserts: 2700 sq km, 2 x Greater London

How much carbon burial?




10-20 (or 40) Gt CO2 / year

(85 M barrels per day)

"World Oil Production" by Plazak.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons



after John Shepherd FRS


after John Shepherd FRS


after John Shepherd FRS


after John Shepherd FRS


after John Shepherd FRS


after John Shepherd FRS

The Global Calculator
globalcalculator.org
UK: 4000 m2 per person
250 people per sq km

Land area of world is 20,000 m2 per person

Britain

http://www.maps-of-britain.co.uk/

Things that you might want to do with land area

Reforestation: 3400 m2 per person
would deliver –2 t CO2/y per person
Fly (bioenergy): 8300 m2 per person
enables one London-LA return per year per person
[oilseed rape, today's aviation technology]
Drive (bioenergy): 5100 m2 per person
enables 17 km per day in a 30 mpg car [oilseed rape, today's technology]
Biomass-CCS: 4000 m2 per person
enables 16 kWh/d/p of carbon-negative electricity,
(–7 t CO2/y/p) assuming sustainable biomass
Food: 180 m2 per person 1300 kcal/d of veg
116 m2 per person 2 eggs per day
150-1400 m2 per person 1 pint milk, 50 g cheese per day
450-3500 m2 per person 0.5 lb meat/d (chicken, pork, beef)
Not forgetting:nature; recreation; environmental services; buildings; roads

I'd suggest more on


Other carbon dioxide removal technologies

Role of diet and farming methods

PV efficiencies

2012 2013 2014
J M Martinez-Duart
"Photovoltaics firmly moving to the terawatt scale"
March 2013

'Do it all with solar & batteries' – what terms of reference?

All energy? Or just today's electricity?
Maintaining secure supply every day and night, or just an average day?
Generating how close to the population?
Panel area or land area?





Fact-check

'Do it all with solar & batteries' – two issues:

Land area required Cost of storage

'Do it all with solar & batteries' – two issues:

Land area required Cost of storage

Summer-to-winter storage?

Not if battery cost is $300 per kWh!


20 year life → $15 per kWh stored

If every State's demand were 60 kWh/d/p

Electricity-only; storage is free


Electricity storage costs

Storage costs – assume $125 per kWh [optimistic?]

installed June 2011 — cost $12M ($28 per average watt)


Solar system cost: $28k per average kW;
(to compete, aiming perhaps for $10k per average kW?)

To keep 1 kW going for 12 hours of darkness, need 12 kWh of storage, which costs an extra $1.5k
To keep 1 kW going for 5 dull days, need 120 kWh of storage, which costs an extra $15k
So, for PV to deliver cost-competitive reliable electricity in a sometimes-cloudy location, we need two cost breakthroughs!

From "Solar energy in the context of energy use, energy transportation, and energy storage"
by David MacKay (2013)
(NB: assumes that battery, as costed, will last 20 years)

'Do it all with solar & batteries' – two issues

(point size shows land area)
Ivanpah CA: 377 MW capacity
1079 GWh/y (123 MW)
  from 14.2 km2 of land
Power per unit area: 8.7 W/m2
Kagoshima: 70 MW capacity
expected load factor 12.8%.
1.04 km2 of land
Power per unit area: 8.6 W/m2
Solana AZ: 280 MW capacity
944 GWh/year (108 MW)
  from 12.6 km2 of land
Power per unit area: 8.6 W/m2

What pause?


skepticalscience.com



Temperature data, corrected for the ENSO effects Source: Real Climate

Global warming has not stopped

This book is free online


www.withouthotair.com

Information theory, inference, and learning algorithms


Cambridge University Press
Also available free online
www.inference.org.uk/mackay/itila/

Information Theory and Sustainable Energy

What can the UAI community do?



It looks like you're attending a conference


www.withouthotair.com

Information Theory and Sustainable Energy

Inference of energy demand

Forecasting renewable power

Smart building controls

Automated recycling

Climate modelling [See "allen" graph]

Understanding entropy

Enabling telepresence

Engaging and educational software

Decision support tools, especially with multiple objectives, uncertainty, and data

ASHRAE Building Energy Predictor Shootout (1993)

Automatic Relevance Determination (1993)

Abstract

I will discuss several reasons why climate-change action is difficult.
First, the climate has a long-lasting response to cumulative emissions of carbon. This inconvenient truth implies that it is not enough to cut the emissions rate by some fraction such as 50% or 80%. Climate change will stop increasing only when the net emissions rate is cut to zero; and, equally inconveniently, undoing climate change requires negative emissions.
Second, the public and many decision makers have been misled by myths and wishful thinking about the scale of action required to decarbonize the energy system.
Third, effective climate change action will require the large-scale deployment of low-carbon technologies, most of which are expensive.
We can make a difference by
a) getting involved in innovation and research and development of lower-cost solutions;
b) supporting a numerate approach to energy policy; and
c) supporting the development of open-source energy models for all countries.

7. Making good energy policies is difficult
8. The atmosphere is a commons
9. Solutions must be fair

De Energievoorziening van Nederland — Delft Energy Initiative (2010)


www.tudelft.nl/onderzoek/thematische-samenwerking/delft-research-based-initiatives/energy/onderzoek/cijfers-over-energie/





wind: 20-fold increase over 2012 (grey sq = 100 sq km)
nuclear: 4-fold increase over 2012
solar in deserts: 2700 sq km, 2 x Greater London



2005

Germany



8-fold increase in wind
3-fold increase in nuclear
2-fold increase in domestic bioenergy
12-fold increase in solar PV
2100 GW of wind (60-fold increase)
525 one-gigawatt nuclear power stations (five-fold increase)

Personalized

One 2-MW turbine for every 300 people
7 nukes for LA
5 nukes for Chicago
4 nukes for Houston
2 nukes for San Diego
1 nuke for Denver CO
1 nuke for Boston MA
1 nuke for Las Vegas NV
1 nuke for Portland OR...
4000 m2 per person

30 eSolar mirrors per person; &
one tower for every 400 people

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