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Unformatted text preview: This page intentionally left blank Controlling Climate Change Controlling Climate Change is an unbiased and comprehensive overview that is free of jargon and solidly based on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It looks at what we can do to solve the problem of man-made climate change, working through the often confusing potential solutions. Readers will find answers to the vital questions:      What What What What What will happen if climate change is not controlled? is the magnitude of the challenge to avoid climate change? is the role of prevention and adaptation? measures can we take to control climate change and what do they cost? policies are available to make it happen? Bert Metz is a leading expert on climate change science and policy. As a former co-chair of the IPCC Working Group on Mitigation of Climate Change and an international climate change negotiator, his insider expertise provides a cutting edge, completely up-to-date assessment that gives the reader an insight to issues at the top of the political agenda. He leads the reader through the scenarios of ambitious actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our forests, in the context of the challenges of countries to provide for economic growth and development and the need for societies to adapt to different climate conditions. Technical solutions, behavioural issues, costs, and policies and measures are discussed for each of the main economic sectors. The complexities of international climate negotiations are explained in a succinct manner. Damage to ecosystems, impact on food production, health and the very existence of a large proportion of the world’s population are all tackled with an emphasis on the potential solutions. Illustrations, tables of data, and extensive boxed examples motivate students to engage with this essential global debate. Questions for each chapter are available online for course instructors, so students can test their knowledge. This textbook is ideal for any course on the consequences of climate change and its mitigation and adaptation. Written in accessible language with a minimum of technical jargon, it will also be valuable to anyone with an interest in what action should be taken to combat climate change, from the layman to scientists, professionals and policy makers. Bert Metz has vast experience in the field of climate change policy. He served as the coordinator of climate policy at the Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment and chief negotiator for the Netherlands and the European Union in the international climate change negotiations from 1992 to 1998. He was elected co-chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group on climate change mitigation for the IPCC Third Assessment Report (1997–2002) and was re-elected for the Fourth Assessment report (2002–2008; in which period the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize). At the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency from 1998 to 2005, he led the group on climate change and global sustainability, publishing a large series of national and international policy analyses on climate change and sustainability. Since retiring, he is serving as advisor to the European Climate Foundation and other organizations. In 2009 he received the European Practitioner Achievement Award in applying environmental economics from the European Association for Environmental and Resource Economists. Controlling Climate Change BERT METZ CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York Information on this title: © Bert Metz 2010 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published in print format 2009 ISBN-13 978-0-511-67661-1 eBook (NetLibrary) ISBN-13 978-0-521-76403-2 Hardback ISBN-13 978-0-521-74784-4 Paperback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. This book is dedicated to my grandchildren Mare, Nica, Phine, Thijmen, Lotte, and Kiek Contents Preface 1 page xiii Climate change and its impacts: a short summary What is covered in this chapter? The climate has changed Are ice and snow cover and sea level consistent with the temperature trends? Are observations of biological systems also consistent with the measurements of a changed climate? Are human activities responsible for this climate change? How is the climate going to change further in the future? Climate models What will be the impact of future climate change? What is the combined effect of these impacts regionally? How can we characterise the overall vulnerability to climate change? What does this mean for development? 1 1 1 5 5 9 12 13 21 21 27 2 Greenhouse gas emissions What is covered in this chapter? Contributions to warming Kyoto greenhouse gases Other gases and aerosols How will emissions develop in the future? Emission projections Are actual emissions higher than what scenarios project? So what does this mean? 30 30 30 32 40 42 46 49 49 3 Keeping climate change within sustainable limits: where to draw the line? What is covered in this chapter? What does the Climate Convention say about it? What risks and whose risks? Should science give us the answer? What are the implications of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere? 3 51 51 51 52 52 55 viii Contents How can drastic emissions reductions be realized? Better to adapt to climate change than to avoid it? What are the costs? Risk management Political judgement: the EU’s 2 degree target Cost-benefit comparison So what do we know now? 58 65 68 74 74 75 76 4 Development first What is covered in this chapter? Development and climate change What does climate change mean for development? Making development more sustainable Mainstreaming climate change in development policies Changing development paths is not so simple How to make it happen? The key points from this chapter 78 78 78 80 83 84 97 100 103 5 Energy Supply What is covered in this chapter? Energy and development Where is energy used? Greenhouse gas emissions The electricity sector and the emissions reduction challenge Emission reduction options in the electricity sector Power plant efficiency and fuel switching Nuclear power Hydropower Wind Bioenergy Geothermal energy Solar Ocean energy CO2 capture and storage and hydrogen Comparing CO2 emissions Comparing costs So how can climate policy transform the electricity supply system? What policy intervention is needed? So what does this mean? 105 105 105 111 114 115 115 116 118 121 123 126 130 131 135 136 141 142 144 146 149 6 Transportation What is covered in this chapter? Need for transportation Development and climate implications 151 151 151 153 ix Contents How can transport emissions be reduced? Reducing demand Shifting transport modes Freight transport and modal shift More efficient fuel use Change the fuel So what can be achieved in terms of reduction of energy use and CO2 emissions? How do we get it done? 156 156 158 163 164 167 175 176 7 Buildings What is covered in this chapter? Developments in the buildings sector How can we reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions? Reduce energy needs Use energy more efficiently Change the energy source Change behaviour How does this all fit together? How to realize this large potential? The building sector challenge 181 181 181 185 186 188 195 199 201 201 207 8 Industry and waste management What is covered in this chapter? Trends in industrial production Trends in waste management Greenhouse gas emissions Opportunities to reduce emissions Iron and steel Cement Chemicals and petroleum refining Other industries Generic reduction options Management of post consumer waste Overall reduction potential How to make it happen? Future challenges 209 209 209 211 212 213 214 217 218 220 222 223 224 226 233 9 Land use, agriculture, and forestry What is covered in this chapter? Land use trends Land use and greenhouse gas emissions How can emission be reduced and carbon reservoirs increased? 235 235 235 237 241 x Contents How much can agriculture and forestry contribute to controlling climate change? What can bioenergy contribute? What policies are available? Interaction with adaptation and sustainable development So what does this mean for the role of agriculture and forestry? 244 250 252 258 259 10 How does it fit together? What is covered in this chapter? Adding up the sector reduction potentials How does this compare with global top-down studies? How far do we get with these reduction potentials? Do we need to look at geo-engineering options as well? How is the overall mitigation picture for individual countries? A closer look at the cost of mitigation actions What about the costs for the economy as a whole? Investments How big are the co-benefits? Technology transfer Technology development The relation between mitigation and adaptation 261 261 261 265 266 268 270 272 273 275 277 279 284 284 11 Policies and measures What is covered in this chapter? Realizing mitigation potential requires government policies Types of policy instruments Regulations Taxes and levies Tradable permits Voluntary agreements Subsidies and other financial incentives Research and development Information instruments Voluntary actions Non-climate policies What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various policy instruments? What are the lessons from practical experience? National policy packages Implementation and enforcement 287 287 287 288 289 292 293 296 298 299 299 303 304 International climate change agreements What is covered in this chapter? Why are international agreements needed? 318 318 318 12 304 305 311 316 xi Contents The Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol: lessons learned Climate Change Convention Kyoto Protocol Are countries meeting their emission reduction obligations? Clean Development Mechanism Institutional infrastructure New agreements beyond 2012 Contours of a Copenhagen Protocol Index The colour plates will be found between pages 208 and 209. 319 319 322 326 328 332 334 347 351 Preface This book is written to help people make sense of the discussion on climate change. In particular on the question of whether we can solve this problem. It is now generally accepted that our climate has changed and that it will further change due to our fossil fuel based economy, our transformation of the planet’s surface, and the increasing number of people and their increasing wealth. But the confusion about the solutions is increasing. Some people believe the only way is to change our way of life drastically. Give up our cars, give up our central heating, no more air travel. ‘Back to the middle ages’ so to speak. Some people believe that technology will give us abundant CO2 free energy at low cost in the near future. Others think nuclear power is the only solution, because renewable energy and energy efficiency will never reduce CO2 emissions strongly enough. For almost every possible solution to keep climate change under control there are problems to overcome. Biofuels can threaten food production and precious nature. Preserving forests may compete with land needed for food production. Wind turbines spoil the landscape. Nuclear reactors produce radioactive waste and increase the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons. Capturing and storing CO2 from coal fired power plants would make continued coal use compatible with stringent climate policy, but that would imply continuation of coal mining with its accidents and its air pollution. Energy efficient lamps seduce people to light up the garden. In a fuel efficient car you can drive further on the same amount of gasoline. If your refrigerator is energy efficient you can buy a bigger one. Furthermore, there are stories that these low carbon solutions will cost us a fortune and ruin our economy, that it will take a long time before they are commercially available and that for every reduction in CO2 emissions that people in developed countries make there will be a much bigger increase in India and China. Many people have no clear picture of what it takes to solve the problem and even if it is possible to do so. It is time to look at the facts. For that very reason this book leans heavily on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations (IPCC). The IPCC was established in 1988 to assess and summarize our knowledge on climate change, its impacts, and ways to avoid it. Since then it has produced four big comprehensive reports and a number of smaller, more focused ones. It does its work by bringing together the best scientists, engineers, and economists of the world to critically look at all available publications. The reports of these authors are reviewed by hundreds of independent experts from around the world. At the end of the process the summary for policy makers is approved by the member governments of the IPCC by unanimity. The findings are formulated in a factual manner. No recommendations are given. The implications of certain policy decisions are outlined, but choices are always left to decision makers. xiv Preface ‘Policy relevant, but not policy prescriptive’ is the IPCC mantra. IPCC reports constitute therefore an authoritative and balanced picture of our knowledge. Having been the co-chairman of the IPCC Working Group on Mitigation during the preparation of the Third (in 2001) and Fourth (in 2007) Assessment Report, I have seen the comprehensiveness, thoroughness and objectivity of the IPCC materials. I have therefore referred to IPCC findings extensively throughout this book. Where relevant new information was available that was not covered by the IPCC assessments, I used that. The book is my personal interpretation of the scientific facts and in no way constitutes or could be seen as being an IPCC product. In using the IPCC findings I relied on the painstaking work of the hundreds of authors that put the IPCC reports together. My task was to use their material and to tell the story of controlling climate change in a simple way. This means however that relevant details and considerations, carefully crafted statements about the uncertainty of IPCC findings, and precise references to the original literature sources are not found in this book. What I did was to point to specific sections of IPCC reports and other publications for further reading. The book starts with a summary of our understanding of the climate system, the changes that are occurring, the prospects of further climate change, and the impact that will have on human and natural systems. It shows the huge risks of our current behaviour for the planet. It provides in a nutshell the rationale for the rest of the book that is devoted to the question of how to control climate change and limit it to manageable proportions. In chapter 2 I discuss the emissions of greenhouse gases, the main culprit of the manmade climate change we are facing. Chapter 3 looks at the question how much climate change the earth can handle and where we draw the line in terms of the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This chapter also shows the implications of keeping climate change under control: the need to drastically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, already in the short term. Before going into the major economic sectors and how they each can contribute to controlling climate change, Chapter 4 puts the problem firmly in a development context. It argues that climate change is in fact a development problem and that development in a more sustainable way also has to provide the solution. Chapters 5 to 9 then discuss specific contributions of energy supply, transportation, residential and commercial buildings, industry and waste management, and agriculture and forestry to the problem and to the solutions. Opportunities for emission reduction, the timeframe in which they are available, and the costs of achieving those reductions are discussed. Chapter 10 then puts all the bits together to present an overall economy-wide picture of strategies to keep climate change under control. It also deals with some of the cross cutting issues that are not covered by the sector based chapters. Finally, Chapters 11 and 12 address the critical question of how the opportunities to control climate change can be turned into reality, and it is made clear it will not happen automatically. Strong policy incentives are needed. Governments have a critical role to play domestically as well as internationally. The role of international agreements and the process of achieving them are therefore discussed extensively. The book is written on the basis of the professional expertise that I gained in my capacity as IPCC Mitigation Working Group co-chair, my work for the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and before that as climate change negotiator for the xv Preface government of the Netherlands. But my motivation goes beyond the wish to share this experience. What our current knowledge tells us is that we can control climate change. We cannot completely avoid further change and further negative impacts, but we can avoid the most serious impacts of climate change, so that things remain manageable. I would like people to understand that and to see that this is possible only if strong and decisive action is taken now. What has driven me is the strong wish to leave a liveable planet to future generations. Being blessed with having two daughters and six grandchildren, they are the personification of this liveable future. My grandchildren will likely experience the climate of the 2080s and 2090s. They will personally face the turmoil in the world when climate change gets out of control. I want to make my small contribution to save them and their generation from that. I could not have written this book without the painstaking work of hundreds of IPCC authors who put such excellent reference material together. Nor would it have been possible without the strong support of the management and my colleagues at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency where I worked for the last 10 years and where I was given the time to produce this book. I also thank the staff of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, where I was able to make a good start with this book and of the European Climate Foundation for facilitating the competition. And last but not least I would like to thank my long-time friend and companion Mieke Woerdeman for her never-ending support and understanding while putting this book together. 1 Climate change and its impacts: a short summary What is covered in this chapter? The climate has changed. Human beings are responsible. And the climate will change further as energy use, agriculture, deforestation, and industrial production continue to increase. In the course of this century it could get up to 6 oC warmer, with more heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms. As a result a wide range of impacts can be expected. Food production and water availability will diminish. Nature will suffer, with a large percentage of species threatened with extinction. New health problems will arise. Coastal areas and river deltas will face more floods. The overall effect of this will be devastating for poor countries, undermining their efforts to eradicate poverty. But even rich countries will see the costs of these impacts rise to signi...
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