Showing posts with label 2020. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2020. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2014

Climate Plan

This image sums up the lines of action, to be implemented in parallel and as soon as possible, and targets of the Climate Plan, in order to avoid climate catastrophe.

The Climate Plan and its various parts have been discussed in many post at Arctic-news blog over the years.

Now is the time to support the Climate Plan and to make sure that it will be considered at many forums, such as the Climate Summit, to be held September 23, 2014, at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, and preparations for the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.

Please show your support by sharing this text and the image widely!

Emission cuts

In nations with both federal and state governments such as the U.S., the President (or Head of State or Cabinet, basically where executive powers are held) can direct:
  • federal departments and agencies to reduce their emissions for each type of pollutant annually by a set percentage, say, CO2 and CH4 by 10%, and HFCs, N2O and soot by higher percentages.
  • the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make states each achieve those same reductions. 
  • Target: 80% cut everywhere for each type of pollutant
    by 2020 (to be managed locally provided targets are met)
  • the EPA to monitor progress by states and to step in with more effective action in case a state looks set to miss one or more targets.
    (More effective action in such a case would be to impose (federal) fees on applicable polluting products sold in the respective state, with revenues used for federal benefits. Such federal benefits could include building interstate High-Speed Rail tracks, adaptation and conservation measures, management of national parks, R&D into batteries, ways to vegetate deserts and other land use measurements, all at the discretion of the EPA. Fees can be roughly calculated as the average of fees that other states impose in successful efforts to meet their targets.)
Similar policies could be adopted elsewhere in the world, and each nation could similarly delegate responsibilities to states, provinces and further down to local communities.

Carbon dioxide removal and storage
Target: restore atmosphere and ocean to long term average
by 2100 (with each nation's annual contributions to reflect
its past emissions)

Energy feebates can best clean up energy, while other feebates (such as pictured in the above diagram) can best raise revenue for carbon dioxide removal. Energy feebates can phase themselves out, completing the necessary shift to clean energy within a decade. Carbon dioxide removal will need to continue for much longer, so funding will need to be raised from other sources, such as sales of livestock products, nitrogen fertilizers and Portland cement.

A range of methods to remove carbon dioxide would be eligible for funding under such feebates. To be eligible for rebates, methods merely need to be safe and remove carbon dioxide.

There are methods to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and/or from the oceans. Rebates favor methods that also have commercial viability. In case of enhanced weathering, this will favor production of building materials, road pavement, etc. Such methods could include water desalination and pumping of water into deserts, in efforts to achieve more vegetation growth. Selling a forest where once was a desert could similarly attract rebates.

Some methods will be immediately viable, such as afforestation and biochar. It may take some time for methods such as enhanced weathering to become economically viable, but when they do, they can take over where afforestation has exhausted its potential to get carbon dioxide back to 280ppm.

Additionally, conservation and land use measures could help increase carbon storage in ecosystems.

Solar radiation management

Target: prevent Arctic Ocean from warming by more
than 1°C above long term average (U.N. supervised)
Apart from action to move to a more sustainable economy, additional lines of action are necessary to reduce the danger of runaway global warming.

Extra fees on international commercial aviation could provide funding for ways to avoid that the temperature of the atmosphere or the oceans will rise by more than 1°C above long term average.

Due to their potential impact across borders, these additional lines of action will need ongoing research, international agreement and cooperation.

Land, clouds, wind, water, snow and ice management

Target: increase Arctic snow and ice cover (U.N.
supervised) and restore it to its long term average 
Apart from action to move to a more sustainable economy, additional lines of action are necessary to reduce the danger of runaway global warming.

Extra fees on international commercial aviation could also provide funding for ways to cool the Arctic and restore the snow and ice cover to its long term average extent.

As said, due to their potential impact across borders, these additional lines of action will need ongoing research, international agreement and cooperation.

Methane management and further action

Target: relocate vulnerable Arctic clathrates (U.N. supervised)
and restore mean atmospheric CH4 level to long term average
by 2100 (with each nation's annual contributions to reflect its
past emissions.
Further action is needed to avoid that huge quantities of methane will abruptly erupt from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

Vulnerable hydrates should be considered to be relocated under U.N. supervision.

Besides this, local action can be taken to reduce methane levels in the atmosphere with each nation's annual contributions to reflect its past emissions.

Adaptation, conservation and land use measures could further improve the situation.

The comprehensive and effective action of the Climate Plan will reduce the threat of runaway warming, and this will have obvious benefits for the environment and for species threatened with extiction.

Besides this, this will also save people money, will improve people's health and safety, will increase security of food and fresh water supply, will make energy supply and the electric grid more efficient, safe, robust and reliable, will reduce perceived needs for military forces to police fuel supply lines globally, and will create numerous local job and investment opportunities.

Please support, follow and discuss the Climate Plan at and at

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Obama's Power Plant Rules: Too Little, Too Late, Too Ineffective

On June 2, 2014, the Obama administration through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that states must lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted for each unit (MWh) of electricity they produce.

1. Too Little

Under the EPA rules, the nationwide goal is to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30% from 2005 levels. This will also reduce other pollutants.
Sam Carana: The goal should be an 80% cut in emissions. Reductions should not be averaged out over different types of emissions, but instead the 80% reduction target should apply to each type of emission, i.e. 80% cuts in CO2 and 80% cuts in CH4 and 80% cuts in black carbon, etc.
2. Too late

Under the EPA rules, states must meet interim targets during the 2020s, but they can delay making emission cuts provided they will on average comply with targets by 2030. Moreover, the EPA suggests that they can from then on maintain that level subsequently.
Sam Carana: For over six years, I have been calling for an 80% cut in emissions by 2020. When people now ask if I still believe such reductions are feasible given the lack of action over the years, I respond that, precisely because so little has been achieved over the years, it now is even more imperative to set a target of 80% emissions cuts by 2020. If we start cutting 13.4% off this year's emissions, and keep cutting emissions by the same amount each subsequent year, we'll be under 20% (i.e. at 19.6%) by 2020. 
3. Too ineffective

Under the EPA rules, states could comply by either reducing CO2 emissions from their power plants or buying credits or offsets from elsewehere, e.g. through cap-and-trade programs. States can choose to use existing multi-state programs or create new ones.
Sam Carana: The goal should be a genuine 80% cut in emissions in each and every state. It is good to delegate decisions to states regarding what works best locally to achieve such reductions. However, schemes such as cap-and-trade, carbon credits and offsetting keep local polluters dirty by allowing them to claim credit for progress made elsewhere. A state buying credits from beyond its borders does not genuinely reduce its own emissions, making it even harder for it to reach its next targets (which should be even tighter), while also making it harder for targets to be reached elsewhere.  
The bigger such schemes grow, the more they become fraught with difficulties, twisted with irregularities and riddled with political chicanery, making them prone to fraud and bribery, often beyond the administrative scope and legal reach of local regulators. 
Such schemes are inherently counter-productive in that they seek to create ever more demand for polluting activities; they will continue doing dirty business until the last possible 'credit' has been sold, burning the last bit of fossil fuel from irrealistic carbon budgets that are fabricated inside the dark politics of compromise, campaign-funding and complacency. 
Such schemes are designed to profit from keeping the dirtiest power plants going and prolonging their lifetime beyond any reasonable purpose, in efforts to perpetuate the scheme itself and extract further money that, instead of being used to benefit the cleaner solutions, is then often used to finance further pollution elsewhere and spread the reach of such schemes. Such dreadful conduct is typically hidden away in a web of deceit custom-made to avoid the scrutiny of public accountibility.
And what if states fail to reach targets? The EPA suggestion to use such schemes effectively delays much local action, while encouraging states to negotiate with each other. This opens up the prospect of states blaming each other and taking legal action rather than genuine action. If the trappings of such schemes make states fail to reach targets, penalties could be imposed, but that still does not guarantee that targets will be reached; furthermore, given the complexities of such schemes, policing them poses additional burdens on administrators, police, courts and lawyers. Huge amounts of money and time have already been spent on court cases to postpone action, rather than on building genuine solutions.  
The best way to cater for non-compliance is to prepare federally-administered fees, to be levied on sales of polluting products, and with the revenues used to fund federal projects that do reduce emissions. As said, it's good for the EPA to encourage states to each work out how best to reduce their respective emissions, provided that each state does indeed reach set targets. Where a state fails to take the necessary action, the EPA should resume control and call for federal fees to be imposed in the respective state. 
The Clean Air Act calls for the 'best system of emissions reduction' to reduce emissions from power plants. The best system is one that levies fees on pollution and then uses the revenues to fund rebates on the cleaner products sold locally.  
Such combinations of fees and rebates (feebates) are the most effective way to make our economy sustainable, as part of the comprehensive action that is needed to avoid climate catastrophe. For more details on comprehensive and effective action, see the ClimatePlan blog


- Methane Man

- Climate Plan