Top Climate Scientists to Issue Stark Challenge at COP21

Top Climate Scientists Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Ken Caldeira and Dr. Kerry Emanuel to Issue Stark Challenge at Paris COP21 Climate Conference

The scientists will outline how only a combined strategy employing all the major sustainable clean energy options — including renewables and nuclear — can prevent the worst effects of climate change by 2100, such as the loss of coral reefs, severe damages from extreme weather events, and the destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide.

The challenge from the scientists comes as nuclear power is back on the table at Paris as a major climate mitigation option, appearing as a significant component of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of major emitters including China, the U.S. and India. The four scientists call for an increase in ambition in the deployment of improved light-water reactors, with the accelerated development of advanced fission technologies to accompany planned increases in solar, wind and hydro power generation.

In light of the urgency of tackling climate change and nuclear power’s essential role in limiting temperature rises, the four scientists will therefore challenge environmental leaders who still hold anti-nuclear positions to instead support development and deployment of safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power.

We must say that it is great to be a small part of this process of getting evidence and science back to the climate policies of the world. This is very encouraging, and we sincerely hope that climate activists of all persuasions refuse to gamble with our climate any more, and start backing the science on the matter. It is the good, responsible and sensible thing to do. It is these paths we now choose that our grandchildren will judge us upon.

We are also very pleased to be attending various events with said top scientists during COP21. It should be highly interesting and very enlightening.

Below is the full media alert from here.

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MEDIA ALERT

Top Climate Scientists Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Ken Caldeira and Dr. Kerry Emanuel to Issue Stark Challenge at Paris COP21 Climate Conference

Press Conference to take place on Thursday, December 3 at 14:00 in the Gallery of Solutions – Media Stage – Air and Space Museum, Paris, Le Bourget

Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Ken Caldeira and Dr. Kerry Emanuel will present research showing the increasing urgency of fully decarbonizing the world economy. However, they will also show that renewables alone cannot realistically meet the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C, and that a major expansion of nuclear power is essential to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system this century. (1)

The scientists will outline how only a combined strategy employing all the major sustainable clean energy options — including renewables and nuclear — can prevent the worst effects of climate change by 2100, such as the loss of coral reefs, severe damages from extreme weather events, and the destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide.

The challenge from the scientists comes as nuclear power is back on the table at Paris as a major climate mitigation option, appearing as a significant component of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of major emitters including China, the U.S. and India. The four scientists call for an increase in ambition in the deployment of improved light-water reactors, with the accelerated development of advanced fission technologies to accompany planned increases in solar, wind and hydro power generation.

In light of the urgency of tackling climate change and nuclear power’s essential role in limiting temperature rises, the four scientists will therefore challenge environmental leaders who still hold anti-nuclear positions to instead support development and deployment of safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power. For example, the Climate Action Network, representing all the major environmental groups, still insists despite all evidence to the contrary that “nuclear has no role to play in a fully decarbonized power sector.”  The four scientists will state that the anti-nuclear position of these environmental leaders is in fact causing unnecessary and severe harm to the environment and to the future of young people.

The scientists will outline the latest research on sea level rise, ocean acidification and ice sheet collapse supporting their conclusions about the increased urgency of tackling carbon emissions.

Dr. Hansen will brief journalists on his latest collaborative modelling and paleoclimate work, concluding that even 2C of global warming is “highly dangerous” and could lead to non-linear disintegration of ice sheets, ocean stratification and multi-meter sea level rise even within this century.

The four presenting climate scientists are each leading pioneers in the field of climate and atmospheric science, having made major contributions to our understanding of climate change. Dr. James Hansen is a professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. Kerry Emanuel is a professor of atmospheric science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Tom Wigley is a climate scientist at the University of Adelaide and Dr. Ken Caldeira is a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and at the Stanford University Department of Earth System Science. For brief biographies, please see below.

The lead speaker at the press conference, Dr. James Hansen, is widely regarded as having been the first to raise the alarm about climate change, more than 25 years ago.

Press Conference at Paris UNFCC COP21
Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Tom Wigley, Dr. Ken Caldeira & Dr. Kerry Emanuel
Thursday, December 3 at 14:00
Gallery of Solutions – Media Stage – Air and Space Museum, Paris, Le Bourget
Media may RSVP to: Paris@jmpverdant.com

Biographies

James Edward Hansen is an American professor at the Columbia University Earth Institute. Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become a climate activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change, which on a few occasions has led to his arrest. From 1981 to 2013, he was the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. As of 2014, Hansen directs the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. The program is working to continue to “connect the dots” from advancing basic climate science to promoting public awareness to advocating policy actions.

Tom Wigley is a climate scientist with the University of Adelaide and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) for his major contributions to climate and carbon cycle modeling and to climate data analysis, and because he is “one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change and one of the most highly cited scientists in the discipline.” He has contributed to many of the reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the work of the IPCC, including the contributions of many scientists, was recognized by the joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize).

Ken Caldeira is a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, where his job is “to make important scientific discoveries.” He also serves as a Professor (by courtesy) in the Stanford University Department of Earth System Science. Caldeira is a member of the committee producing the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Sciences report “Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts.” He is also a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. In 2010, he was a co-author of the 2010 US National Academy America’s Climate Choices report and was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He participated in the UK Royal Society geoengineering panel in 2009 and ocean acidification panel in 2005. Caldeira was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage.

Kerry Emanuel is an American professor of atmospheric science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In particular he has specialized in atmospheric convection and the mechanisms acting to intensify hurricanes. He is the author or co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and two books, including Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes, recently released by Oxford University Press and aimed at a general audience, and What We Know about Climate Change, published by the MIT Press. He was named one of the Time 100 influential people of 2006. In 2007, he was elected as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

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Contact:

Paul Roberts: paul@jmpverdant.com
Tel: +33 6 25 02 20 12
Julia Pacetti: julia@jmpverdant.com
Tel: +1 718 399 0400 or +1 917 584 7846


(1) Nearly every serious look at the energy technology required over the next several decades to supply the world’s growing energy appetite while effectively mitigating climate change has concluded that there is likely to be a need for large amounts of nuclear energy. In 2014 alone, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency, the UN Sustainable Solutions Network and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate argued for a doubling or trebling of nuclear energy – requiring as many as 1,000 new reactors or more in view of scheduled retirements – to stabilize carbon emissions e.g. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change, http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/, Presentation, slides 32-33; International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2014, p. 396; UN Sustainable Solutions Network, “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization” (July 2014), at page 33; Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, “Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report” (September 2014), Figure 5 at page 26.
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Spreading the word in French!

web-cover_editedWe are just finalizing a contract with a respected French publisher for translating and publishing Climate Gamble. The translation is almost finished already.

Did we tell you how marvelous this is? 🙂

Anyway, stay tuned, we will let you know more (and there IS more) when the contract is signed!

Meanwhile, today is the last day of our crowdfunding campaign. Check it out!

We are going to Paris COP21

web-cover_editedBig thanks to everyone who contributed to our indiegogo-campaign or bought books directly from us so far.

Thanks to you, we now have enough money to be able to go to Paris, print at least a dozen boxes of books, and distribute them there. We have the lodging there already booked.

This is GREAT!

Of course, we would like to have as much to do while there as possible. We would like to have a hundred boxes of books. There are thousands upon thousands of participants and other people at COP21 to whom we would love to give a free copy. Also, if we make enough waves, maybe the media will take some interest in the matter.

In short, this is just the first milestone. We need to keep our eye on the target: Get as many books as possible to Paris. Help us to help save the world with independent research and evidence based policy. Participate in our campaign now!

Are renewable installations stalling? (Weekly pic)

How soon are renewables peaking?
Renewable energy installations (nameplate capacity) have recently even declined, long before the build rates required for decarbonization have been achieved. Particularly worrying is the sharp decline in solar PV installations in Europe. Sources: EPIA & GWEC.

The previous weekly pic introduced the calculations of Loftus et al. (2015), which show that decarbonization scenarios that do not allow nuclear energy require stunning, unprecedented rates of new clean energy installations. Even though the popular press is today awash with news of renewable energy achievements, these required rates are still far away. More ominously, there are some indications that the rate of increase in renewable energy installations may be slowing down, perhaps even stalling.

The most prominent example comes from solar PV installations in Europe. Compared to peak in 2011, new solar PV generation capacity is being installed far slower. Subsidies have dried up, and although installations still continue, the major problem is that the rate is far from what’s required for decarbonizing the economy. Furthermore, as solar panels (and other energy generators) inevitably age and need to be replaced, the rate of new capacity addition soon needs to increase even further, simply to replace retiring generation.

It is more than likely that the installation rates will increase from the lows presented here. Nevertheless, one needs to remember the previous post’s message: if we want to decarbonize without nuclear power, we need absolutely huge increases from current installation rates. It bodes ill for the prospects of these rates being achieved that these hiccups occur already, when solar and wind together still provide less energy to the world than nuclear power alone.

Nevertheless, some members of our society still think the required increases in renewable installations and energy savings rates are done deal, and that we can forget about nuclear power entirely. These graphs point out again that this stance is a huge gamble with the climate.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

The great gamble of renewables-only advocates, in detail (Weekly pic)

Required new energy generation build rates and sustained annual energy efficiency improvements in different climate mitigation scenarios, and historical record rates. Source: Loftus, P. J., Cohen, A. M., Long, J. C. S., & Jenkins, J. D. (2015). A critical review of global decarbonization scenarios: what do they tell us about feasibility? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 6(1), 93–112. doi:10.1002/wcc.324
Required new energy generation build rates and sustained annual energy efficiency improvements in different climate mitigation scenarios, and historical record rates. Source: Loftus, P. J., Cohen, A. M., Long, J. C. S., & Jenkins, J. D. (2015). A critical review of global decarbonization scenarios: what do they tell us about feasibility? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 6(1), 93–112. doi:10.1002/wcc.324

In the previous two posts, we showed with IPCC data how the climate mitigation scenarios proffered by anti-nuclear groups are based on extreme optimism on not just one but two counts: they assume that renewables will grow at least as fast as, and that energy demand increase can be checked at least as well, as the most optimistic IPCC projections allow. Generally speaking, if the plan depends on not just one but two factors developing according to the most optimistic assumptions, one might want to have a different plan – especially if at the stake is the future of our only habitable planet.

But how much are these plans assuming, in fact? This important question is partially answered in a recent study by Loftus et al. (2015), which examined 17 widely publicized global decarbonization scenarios. These included three scenarios (from World Watch, Greenpeace, and Stanford professor Mark Jacobson et al.) that explicitly attempted to stabilize the climate without nuclear energy – relying solely on energy efficiency, renewables, and fossil fuels.

The key results are summarized to the graphic above, and compared to short term, historically achieved records (that is, the best single year ever). For renewable only scenarios, energy efficiency needs to improve every year almost twice as fast as has been achieved in the best year in record. Simultaneously, new (renewable) energy generation must be built 1.4 to 15 times (!) faster than new energy generation from all sources together has been ever added in a single year – and this build rate must be sustained for decades.

Succeeding in either one of these alone would be a monumental undertaking. Succeeding at the both at the same time may be technically possible, but it is most certainly a gamble – a Climate Gamble.

This series of posts introduces graphics from our book Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future? The book is now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback formats; see also our crowdfunding initiative which aims to deliver a copy of the book to COP21 climate delegates in Paris this December.

References

Loftus, P. J., Cohen, A. M., Long, J. C. S., & Jenkins, J. D. (2015). A critical review of global decarbonization scenarios: what do they tell us about feasibility? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 6(1), 93–112. doi:10.1002/wcc.324

Launching our COP21 crowdfunding campaign

NewcoveringogoWe are happy to announce our greatest endeavour ever!

We have been gathering steam, making new contacts, planning and preparing for months.

Now we are launching our most ambitious crowd-funding campaign ever. We aim to deliver thousands of our book to participants in the COP21 climate negotiations, held in Paris in December this year!

We know! It’s an AWESOME idea! 🙂 See the campaign here!

Why?

From what we have learned, there are some big gaps in the knowledge of the negotiators on several issues regarding mitigating climate change. These include:

  • The science on the realities of the needed decarbonization efforts; several percent each year for decades to come in most western nations.
  • The consensus on the best, and the most likely, speed with which we could build renewable energy production and increase efficiency, and if this can be matched with the needed rate of decarbonization with any likelyhood of success (it cannot).
  • The IPCC’s conclusion on the carbon balances of various energy sources, namely the fact that nuclear is very low carbon, and that biomass is not necessarily low carbon.
  • The consensus of various organizations, IPCC and IEA included, on the absolute necessity that we use all available tools – including nuclear energy, renewables, efficiency, conservation and carbon capture and storage – to mitigate climate change if we are to have any practical chance to avert catastrophic consequences.

And much, much more.

We are also very, very sad about the fact that several groups that call themselves environmentalists, are actively, even forcefully campaigning against the scientific consensus on the matter. They would like to see nuclear excluded from our toolbox of mitigating climate change. According to scientific consensus, this is a certain road to disaster.

We need all the tools. Help us spread this message. Participate in our campaign, spread infromation about it.