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

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
^
Sea level 100m lower than today

## The size of future climate change depends on cumulative emissions

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

# Energy arithmetic

## A rough guide to sustainable energy

### 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

80 kWh per day

80 kWh per day

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

### 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

## Demand-side options – Transport

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

## 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

## 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

## 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

# What we need for most 2050 pathways

## What we need for most 2050 pathways

Thermablok

### Electric vehicles

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

## What we need for most 2050 pathways

### Cheaper wind, especially offshore

2benergy.com
Makani Power
 Makani Power

## What we need for most 2050 pathways

### Waste-to-good stuff

• what are the best uses of biomass?

## 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

### Energy storage

 Dinorwig – 10 GWh energy; 2 GW maximum power

## 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 we need for most 2050 pathways

### 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

## 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

Department of Energy and Climate Change

# Why DECC's work is difficult

## The 2050 Calculator

2050-calculator-tool.decc.gov.uk

- 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

- 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

## "BEaC"

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:

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

 Electricity price in pounds per MWh

www.energy-charts.de

Electricity production in Germany: Week 29

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

Electricity production in Germany: Week 25

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

## 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)

NOT caps.

 ....

## 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

Department of Energy and Climate Change
United Kingdom Government

## 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

## 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

# Designing effective negotiations

## Reciprocity needs a common commitment

• Global quantity commitment?
• or Global price commitment?

## Global carbon-price commitment seems possible

• Each country would commit to place charges on carbon emissions (by taxes or cap-and-trade schemes, for example) sufficient to match an agreed global price
• The global price could be agreed by voting
• Unlike global cap-and-trade, countries keep all carbon revenues
• Green tax shift → overall taxes need not rise
• Carbon-price approach is resilient to uncertainties

## 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.

## 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 

## Drigg

llwrsite.com
 Sellafield HAW store

## 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

## 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":

"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.

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

## 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

## 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

• Land area required
• Cost of storage
(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

## 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

## 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

## this presentation was written in HTML using: Christian Steinruecken's 'slides.css' and 'slides.js'

manuals, examples, keyboard shortcuts