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Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Presents Interim Report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Posted on 11 July 2014 by John Hartz

This article is a reprint of a press release posted by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network on July 8, 2014.


First Global Cooperative Effort Aims to Support UN Climate Talks

A report for the United Nations released today shows how the major emitting countries can cut their carbon emissions by mid-century in order to prevent dangerous climate change. The report, produced cooperatively by leading research institutes in 15 countries, is the first global cooperative program to identify practical pathways to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) interim report will be presented in a briefing today to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and tomorrow/the day after to the French government, as host of the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate conference.  The interim report supports the UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.  The full DDPP report will be presented in the spring of 2015.

“The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project report is an effort to demonstrate how countries can contribute to achieving the globally agreed target of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees,” said Secretary-General Ban. “Ambitious national action is critical to averting dangerous climate change.  This report shows what is possible.”

The report aims to help countries to set bold targets as they go into next year’s climate negotiations.  It is issued midway in the project in order to support the deliberations at the UN Climate Summit on Sept. 23. The report is a joint project of independent research teams in 15 countries, with around 30 participating scientific institutions.  The countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) also brought their expertise to the project. These institutions convened under the auspices of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an initiative of Columbia University’s Earth Institute for the UN, and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, a nonprofit policy research institute based in Paris.

“The world has committed to limit warming to below 2 degrees C, but it has not committed to the practical ways to achieve that goal,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the SDSN and of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  “This report is all about the practicalities.  Success will be tough – the needed transformation is enormous – but is feasible, and is needed to keep the world safe for us and for future generations.  One key message is to invest in developing the low-carbon technologies that can make a difference.”

Despite the global pledge to keep warming below 2 degrees, the world is currently on a trajectory to an increase of 4 degrees or more.  According to the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), such a rise would pose dangers that might exceed the ability of societies to adapt, including crop failures, drastic sea-level rise, migration of diseases, and extinctions of ecosystems. Some leading climate scientists, including the longtime NASA chief climate scientist and now Columbia University professor James Hansen, stress that even a 2-degree rise would pose great dangers, and that we should aim for less. But staying within the 2-degree limit is essential to maintain climate change within the boundaries of manageable risks.

The International Energy Agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, said: “The issue is to convince the world that the future is as important as the present.  Paris 2015 may well be our last hope.”

The 15 national pathways all demonstrate the importance of three pillars for the deep decarbonization of energy systems: (i) greatly increased energy efficiency and energy conservation in all energy end-use sectors (including buildings, transport and industry); (ii) the decarbonization of electricity, achieved by harnessing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, as well as nuclear power, and/or the capture and sequestration of carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning; and (iii) replacing the fossil fuels that drive transport, heating and industrial processes with a mix low-carbon electricity, sustainable biofuels and hydrogen. Countries have several options to achieve deep decarbonization, based on differences in the resource base and public preferences.  Yet the three pillars are the common platform for building the deep decarbonization of energy systems in every country.

Perhaps most importantly, the interim results demonstrate the critical importance of preparing national DDPs to 2050. “These pathways, and the discussion over their results and assumptions, are an essential tool for learning and problem solving,” said Emmanuel Guerin, associate director of the SDSN and senior project manager of the DDPP. “They are crucial to outline the long-term visions of deep decarbonization and shape the expectations of countries, businesses and investors about future socio-economic development opportunities.”

Laurence Tubiana, the founder of IDDRI and the special representative of the French government for the 2015 climate conference, said it is her “hope that this interim report, and the full report to be published next spring, will make a useful contribution to the structure and content of the debate by spurring the design and international comparison of national DDPs and by promoting the needed global cooperation to achieve them.”

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 73:

  1. Well, at least they admit that many consider two degrees to be too high. But then they go ahead and set that as the guardrail--go figure. At one point in the main article, they give the following equation:

    CO2 emissions = Population x (GDP/Pop.) x (Energy/GDP) x (CO2/Energy)

    Unfortunately, they only concentration on the last two, assuming the first must go up by about 2 billion before starting to decline by around 2050. And of course, since the whole thing is lead by an economist, they see an net increase (presumably for eternity) in the second as not only necessary but highly desirable, their central goal, in fact. But percapita GDP has not been shown to be a good indicator of human happiness beyond a certain minimal point. Why should this be left off the table of things we have to decrease dramatically and quickly? And this is the only element that can be reduced very quickly. And quickly versus slowly, in this case, makes all the difference, well, in the world.

    Continued rise in CO2 emissions spell global ecocide. Why should the best and fastest way to avert it be taken off the table just because of the blind and misguided ideology of a few economist.

    (Note Herman Daly's definition of economics: "An ideology parading as a discipline.")

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  2. Another action the global coimmunity must take is the evaluation of all known fossil fuel resources and agree which ones must be left in the ground unburned. The rational approach would be to use the ones that will produce the least amount of unacceptable consequences per unit of useable enegry obtained.

    The current approach is bound to fail. It is based on expecting self-serving national leadership to willfully stop promoting the maximum benefit they can get away with from unacceptable economic activity that they see as benefiting their national interests.

    It is clear that such self-serving nations are the reason we face the bigger challenge today. What needs to be accomplished would have been far easier to accomplish starting 20 years ago.

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  3. The report does not give any consideration to long-distance travel, and without limitations on that we cannot succeed — even with the inadequate 2oC guardrail that the study relied on.

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  4. @Larry E 3.

    It's seems that they have chosen a global approach. It has some limitiations but the one that you mention I dont see as being absolute.

    If very cheap power were available then the route from sea water for jet fuel costs 90 cents USD on land and 1.20 USD on the ocean capital costs) according to the US navy. They have very cheap power on their nuclear powered ships.

    We could have that on land during storms with losts of wind power when power costs go negative or with advanced nuclear. The ARC nuclear battery technology puts fuel at a fixed price for 15 to 20 years.

    That means that we could keep on with air travel growth and not blow out CO2 emmisions. We just need non fossil jet fuel.

    Could we get the anti nukes to relent? I'm more skeptical about that issue.

    Could we get onging support for wind with out attacks from fossil fuel intersets under cutting their supports?

    I see those as more difficult than non fossil fueled air travel.

    Progesss forwards is a lot easier technically than getting the extrems in politics to agree and work together. I think that is the rate limiting step to limiting global temperature.

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  5. @Paul W

    New nuclear power is generally very expensive. The new reactor being built in England is priced to generate electricty at around 17c/kWh. The reactor is only being built through a  very large government subsidy. New wind power costs less than half that amount and new utility scale PV can be much cheaper than the price of nuclear, depending on the proposed site. (Proposals for new PV farms in Texas and California are pricing generation at around 6-7 c/kWh.)

    As for air travel, it isn't necessary to completely stop the burning of fossil fuels to stabilise the climate. It is only necessary to substantially reduce it (maybe by 80-90%). So it is possible that the  highest priority uses of fossil fuels could continue. For this reason, the aim of the decarbonising studies tends to focus on reducing CO2 sources from the easiest targets first - switching electricity generation to renewables, and then switching land transport to electrical vehicles, trains, cars and, eventually, trucks.

    The real challenge of reducing fossil fuel use is to make it happen quickly. The faster the reductions occur from sources like electricity generation, the more time people will have to work on the hard targets like airline travel.

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  6. @WRyan 5.

    A study that includes all the hiden costs tells a different story.

    There is a very big difference between cost of production and the delivered costs. The referenced study showed nuclear as lower at delivered costs in an Australian context.

    I did discuss nuclear batteries which is a small scale low cost nuclear technology that runs for 15 tp 20 years between refueling un attended.

    It is designed to replace the coal burning part of a coal power station while leaving the rest of the station. It's to fast track shut down of coal to use existing infrastructure.

    It can also be mass produced which is quite unlike the large one off nukes you refer to.

    All large power generation uses government subsidies.

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  7. @Paul W

    The BREE modelling you quoted is for hypothetical nuclear power in Australia. I find it difficult to believe that the construction and operating costs of a nuclear reactor in Australia is half of that of a real reactor in the UK, which is what that model implies.

    The OECD modelling that article quoted is based on there being close to zero storage. This scenario is based on basically maintaing an entire separate electricity generating system to replace power lost if close to all renewable systems in a network closed down because of lack of sunlight, wind, etc at the same time and for an extended period (days). I question how realistic this view is. Storage technologies are likely to became considerably cheaper as a market is established and the technlogies go into mass production. As they become cheaper, they will greatly reduce the costs of renewables stated in your linked articles.

    The nuclear batteries you quoted are currently extremely expensive (and of course impossible to obtain outside of strictly regulated government environments.) This may change in the future, but then again it might not.

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  8. On the aviation issue...  The nice thing about this one is, the aviation industry doesn't deny the problem. They are embracing the problem and are working on solutions. They know fuel prices are going up and the major cost driver is fuel costs. The industry has every incentive to work really hard to try to use fuel as efficiently as possible. And already, for long distance travel, aviation has a low carbon footprint compared to other forms of suface transportation. (You have to remember, there is no surface infrastructure required; e.g. roads, rail lines, etc.)

    Aviation moves very slowly but their engineers do freakishly amazing stuff. There's some wild stuff on the drawing boards right now that look to address fuel source issues, like superconducting ducted fan designs. It's just not stuff that's going to flying by 2050. 

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  9. "And already, for long distance travel, aviation has a low carbon footprint compared to other forms of suface transportation. (You have to remember, there is no surface infrastructure required; e.g. roads, rail lines, etc.)"

    But Rob, how many of those trips just wouldn't have been taken if there was not a fast, cheap way to do it. We have to make flying, driving and most other forms of carbon-based travel _less_ convenient, so people think twice about doing them and think instead of alternatives...skipe for meetings, local bike tours for tourism...

    Relatively few long distance trips, flying or otherwise, are absolutely essential. We're talking about an existential threat here, people. Shouldn't all non-essential use of CO2 producint activities be getting very close scrutiny and huge doses of skepticism, rather than rationalizing a way of continuing such mostly frivolous activity?

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  10. wili...  I think a price on carbon would go a long way toward bringing long distance travel down quite a lot by raising the cost. But I would have to suggest that we're not quite to the point where we need to declare a moratorium on long distance travel. We need to rapidly decarbonize but it's going to require a vibrant economy to accomplish this.

    This might be a lousy metaphor but think of it like a blood transfusion. The worst way to accomplish this task would be to suck all the blood out of the patient before replacing it with new blood. We need to replace the old blood with the new blood, but the only way to do that without killing the patient is to do it carefully and methodically. 

    We're going to continue to burn fossil fuels for a while. There's no way around that. We need to dig in and first make changes that have the biggest effect for the least amount of money, like efficiency. Then, surface transportation change over is going to take 20-30 years. Aviation is a tough nut to crack and is likely to take closer to 50-80 years to really get carbon-free. But in the meantime aviation is likely to continue to make significant improvements in carbon intensity along the way.

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  11. In the piece under discussion the phrase "dangerous climate change" is used  But what is it that is dangerous about climate change?  Rising sea levels?  The prospect of that doesn't seem to stop people building in areas that may be flooded.  Drought?  Floods?  Both are attributed to climate change.  Hurricanrs?  The incidence, given the better reporting, is now lower than for several years.  Malaria?  That seems to have  been debunked. What is it exactly that constitutes the "dangerous" adjective?  

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  12. Rob, thanks for your thoughtful response. I have to agree with you that it was a 'lousy metaphor'--specifically because, unlike blood, most airtravel is not absolutely vital to global economic functioning. If you want to preserve some air travel, how about things like medical emergencies and fire fighting. These seem more like the kind of vital functions we may want to allow to happen.

    I also agree that a price on carbon is needed and would go some way in the right direction. But, as with everything else it seems, there are two damning problems: 1) We are politically light years away from instituting any such tax; 2) Such a tax alone is now far short of what is needed.

    We now know that every day, CO2 (and other GHG) emissions are the equivalent of nearly half a million Hiroshima atom bomb blasts of energy exploding into the climate system. If you someone was building actual bombs and you knew they were planning to drop them on you, would you merely discourage them by moderately incrteasing the tax on fissionable materials?

    Direct resrictions, bans and rationing are now imperatively needed. There really is no 'carbon budget'; we busted that budget long ago.

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  13. Ashton, please see here for a quick overview of climate impacts. See the IPCC WG2 for more detail. Rising sea level (your counter argument that people are doing irrational things is ... well odd), threatening the heavily populated delta areas with flooding and salt invasion; and disruptions to hydrological cycle are the main issues (eg see here). "Dangerous" doesnt necessarily mean dangerous to you personally. Hopefully you are not comfortable with the idea that some people might enjoy the benefits of fossil fuels while other people pay the price.

    If you want to discuss the idea that climate change is not dangerous, please do so the appropriate thread (as pointed to above). Discussion here would be off-topic and thus in violation of the comments policy.

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  14. Ashton, sorry if this offends you, but the answer to your question is a couple clicks away--you can easily access the study and find answers, such as on page 2:

    "food production, human health and productivity, and safety from extreme storms and other climate disruptions. Rising sea levels would overtake many of the world’s largest urban agglomerations and low-lying countries, such as Bangladesh and small island states. Many threatened regions in today’s poor world, particularly the tropics, drylands, forests, and alpine regions, may become uninhabitable, leading to mass migration
    and suffering"

    Were you just too lazy to do this simple ten-second search? Or are you actually not interested in an answer?

    Hurricanes may not become more frequent, since high level wind sheer that can interupte hurricane formation is also increasing (ain't climate complex? Who'd a thunk it??), but those that do form can be very big monster, fueled by hotter oceans, much more humid air, and higher sea levels. They are also more likely to come at times and places where we don't expect them (cf. Arthur and Sandy), steared by an ever more eratic jet stream. I haven't seen the recent study on Malaria you seem to reference without citing, but diseases like West Nile and others are certainly spreading far beyond their expected areas, and more will follow.

    A few hundred words later, on the next page, we find:

    "Not only could a increase in temperatures by 2°C bring untold suffering in many parts of the world from severe climate disruptions such as heat waves, droughts, floods, and intense tropical cyclones, but a rise in temperature of 2°C or more threatens many positive feedback loops that could push the global climate system into runaway and irreversible disruptions"

    And of course if we blow way past 2 degrees C, we get into conditions where humans just won't be able to survive the heat & humidity (so called wet bulb temperature). Does that sound dangerous to you?

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  15. Oh, and from page viii of the executive summary:

    "The IPCC AR5 Working Group 3 (WG3) calculates that in the absence of additional commitments to reduce GHG emissions, the world is on a trajectory to an increase in global mean temperature of 3.7°C to 4.8°C compared to pre-industrial levels. When accounting for full climate uncertainty, this range extends from 2.5°C to 7.8°C by the end of the century."

    That highest level would certainly put large parts of the many of the most populated areas of the world into unsurvivable 'wet bulb temperatures.'

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  16. wili...

    First off, you've completely misinterpreted my metaphor. I wasn't suggesting air travel is the life blood of our economy. But, unfortunately at this point, fossil fuels very much are. 

    I would suggest that much (not all) of the air travel that happens today is very much essential. For instance, a good friend of mine is a lead partner in an architechure firm that does major projects all over the world. He has to fly around the world on a monthly basis. I'm sorry, but it would be utterly impossible for him to do these projects via Skype. I have a number of other friends who are product designers and they frequently have to fly to Asia to work through new products with factories. That just can't be done via Skype. 

    Trust me, all these folks are using telepresense on an almost constant basis, but there are just things that cannot get done without being there to work on a face-to-face basis.

    There's going to be a transition off of fossil fuels. It's abolutely necessary. It's imperative. We need a price on carbon. We need a strong focus on efficiency. We need to keep investing in new technologies. A carbon tax will help to drive these forward faster. Luckily the aviation industry is actively working on solutions very much because the long term health of their industry requires big solutions from them.

    "Direct resrictions, bans and rationing are now imperatively needed."

    We're going to have to disagree on that point. These are the sort of actions that would actually make the situation worse. No one who is seriously looking at this issue is suggesting we do anything like this.

    There are a lot positive things happening right now. I found it incredibly encouraging to recently hear Elon Musk saying that he believes solar will be a plurality of the energy mix in the next, I think he said, 20 years. That's major. And there's a ton of venture capital money out there right now looking for climate change solutions.

    My sense is, when we really start bending the curve on carbon emissions, it's all going to start moving much faster than most people think. The last thing you want to do is pull the rug out from under the people who are creating solutions.

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  17. Hi Rob, thanks again for your thoughtful comments. I was thinking about the basis of my disagreement with you (and many others, of course), and I think it boils down to this.

    Modern industrial culture is in the process of ending most complex life on earth. You seem to think that this is some minor, incidental, minor flaw in an otherwise just fine system, needing some tweeking around the edges to fine tune the otherwise well running machine.

    I happen to think the problem goes a bit deeper.For example, there will be advantages and disadvantages for your friends' firms to have a less global reach. But you portray it as an absolute and vital necessity to continue this part of global (or even broadly regional) business, vital enough to risk the future habitability of the planet for. I don't.

    We are likely to be mostly talking past each other when we speak of specific desirable actions since our basic perceptions of the situation are so fundamentally different. But please do correct me if I have mischaracterized your position.

    Best, wili

    PS. "No one who is seriously looking at this issue is suggesting we do anything like this." Perhaps no one that you take seriously. Probably very few economists are thinking this way. That doesn't mean they are right. Climate scientists are saying that we have to stop emitting anymore carbon essentially ten years ago. That's who I'm listening to.

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  18. Wili...  Hm, "...ending most complex life on earth." I'm not sure I would be able to find any research that supports that position. I wouldn't disagree that we are in the process of dramatically impacting natural systems which we rely on to support the human population levels we've seen over the past century. But, really, life on earth is highly resilient. Eventually, given a few million years, the planet would be perfectly happy without homosapien sapien running around mucking things up.

    My own concerns are much more immediate. On a business-as-usual path things are likely to be very very bad. Bad as in, WW2 would seem like a leisurely stroll in the park, bad. We need to address worsening the crisis that we leave for the next generation or two.

    All those friend whom I mention, they all want to do the right thing. These are all people who understand the climate change problem and want to do whatever they can. In fact, many are actively doing things about climate change. But, they have mortgages and kids and they have to get their respective jobs done each week in order to keep paying their mortgages and supporting those kids. No one can change careers mid-stride and expect to make ends meet if there's a moratorium on some critical aspect of their work. These are just the fundamental constraints involved in solving the problem. 

    All I'm trying to portray here is the fact that we have to take a step-by-step approach to getting this job done. We clearly have to get to zero emissions by 2050. We don't have to get to zero emissions by 2018. We have to bend the curve of emissions. Zero carbon emissions tomorrow or next year or even in 10 years is impossible. Working to bend the curve today and next year... that is something that actually can be accomplished.

    Banning "non-essential" avaition in the near term just isn't going to happen (and who would even determine what is essential or not?). Nor does this even need to happen. There are far easier problems to solve this decade. The tougher nuts are better left for later.

    "Climate scientists are saying that we have to stop emitting anymore carbon essentially ten years ago. That's who I'm listening to."

    Yes, it would have been far better if we'd gotten a quicker start on this problem. But I'm listening to climate scientists too. I don't hear anyone saying we need to shut everything down and start over. I hear scientists, though frustrated with the FF industry efforts to scuttle every good effort, saying that this is not game over yet. 

    We have an enormous task before us. Lots of good people are working hard to rise to that challenge. All I'm saying is, let's let them do their work.

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  19. Rob, thanks again for thoughtful comments. I would think that broadly applied moratoriums on certain activities would not leave some companies at a competitive disadvantage vis a vis other countries.

    Again, our ideas of realities are clearly different. You put forward mortgage payments as if that is some kind of solid reality that must be addressed. You may recall that not so long ago the government threw hundreds of billions of dollars at banks whose essentially criminal activities had destabilized the entire banking system. The gov could just as easily have forgiven all mortgage debts to the same companies, or made this a condition of the grant. Money is just information that can be changed massively at any moment. The ice caps, on the other hand, can not be so easily manipulated--once they're gone, we can't maneuver 0s and 1's on a computer to get them back.

    "we need to shut everything down and start over"
     I did not say that, and I would encourage you not to put words in my mouth, though perhaps for you fundamentally altering much of business as usual is 'shutting everything down,' perhaps.

    As for scientists', consider this quote from Gavin Schmidt, newly appointed director of NASA's Goddard Center: "f you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none. " The previous director, Jim Hansen, has said similar things. And then there's Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Center:

    This paper and others point out that, even if we stop all further CO2 emissions today, atmospheric levels would stay at current levels or go higher due to feedbacks already in place (see especially the first graph under figure 3)...

    You may like to tell yourself conforting stories about how there is still time for incrimental change. But they are just stories.

    Let me end by reaffirming our point of agreement. A higher price on carbon is necessary. It is just clear to me that it is also no where near sufficient at this point. 

    This is already too long, but perhaps you hadn't noticed that we are in the midst of the sixth great Mass Extinction event. It was already well underway before the effects of GW really started showing themselves. So we are adding a Mass Extinction on top of a Mass Extinction, probably leading to the greatest extinction event since the beginning of complex life. The Great Dying, the previous largest one, saw some 95% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species go extinct. We are likely to surpass this, particularly with BAU. Elizabeth Kolbert has a recent book on this, and the great biologist E.O. Wilson and many others have written and spoken about it frequently. Most people, though, aren't listening.

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  20. The last word of the first paragraph should be 'companies' not 'countries.'

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  21. Wili...  We are certainly not in disagreement on the realities of AGW. We share the exact same concerns. I agree that we are in the process of creating a mass extinction event. I agree with Schmidt and Hansen that we "should not" be putting any more CO2 into the atmosphere. 

    The challenge is how to get there. And, the additional challenge is, how to get there in a way that minimizes human suffering and preserves natural systems. This is where I think we disagree.

    I believe it is extremely important to move forward, not backward. Pricing carbon is moving forward because it will spur innovation. It will help to alter consumer behavior toward carbon-free solutions. Creating limitations on travel is moving backward. It acts to restrict people's capacity to do the things they need to do in order to create solutions. It's a command and control system, and that brings up additional challenges in terms of how the limitations get applied. How do you decide what is acceptable travel and what is not? And more importantly, who makes those decisions and how? That's command and control. That's what militaries do well. 

    I believe the path to achieving the goals that we both agree on is with a well regulated market system. That's what carbon pricing is. That's what the EPA is. I would note that Dr. Hansen has long stumped for a revenue neutral carbon tax. Tax and dividend. 

    Everything I'm reading these days is saying the goal is to get to zero emissions by 2050 in order to have a chance to avoid crossing the 2C threshold. That's an extremely agressive goal and has huge challenges. The most important element on achieving these goals lay in just bending the curve on the emissions path. There's a ton of low hanging fruit to get that going. Efficiency is the cheapest, easiest way to do that. Getting carbon priced ASAP is also extremely important but has political obstacles. Investment in new clean technologies are aggressively under way. Investing in expansion of wind and solar are also happening. 

    You have to remember, BAU is the worst case scenario. That's what happens if we can't manage to do anything to solve the problem. There clearly are people listening to that message. There clearly are a lot of people out there who are working on solutions. I think you're going to be surprized at the innovations that start coming to market over the coming decades. Even in aviation.

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  22. The army has landed and is storming the cities. You are still calling for negotiations with the enemy, something that may have seemed reasonable a bit earlier, but is now essentially irrelevant to the current situation.

    Kevin Anderson calls for 10% cuts per year every year starting right now (even this is to have a chance to stay within 2 degrees C, which he admits is far too high). Hansen has similar numbers. If you think we can get there through innovation and conservation, well, I'd like to see your numbers. He certainly doesn't, and I'd say he knows a bit more about it than either of us.

    I'll be busy the rest of the day, and perhaps longer, so might not be able to get back to your posts soon. It's been informative chatting with you, though. Thanks.--Wili

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  23. wili... Reading through some of the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) materials, I'm just not seeing anything that suggests what you're saying. The most agressive RCP scenario states,

    RCP2.6 assumes 'aggressive' mitigation strategies that cause global greenhouse gas emissions to start decreasing after about a decade and to reach near zero levels around 60 years from now. This scenario is unlikely to exceed a 2°C increase in global mean temperature since pre-industrial times.

    [My emphasis]

    And if you look at the charts for RCP2.6, even aggressive mitigation still includes putting as much carbon into the atmosphere as we've burned so far since the industrial revolution (see page 15 here). 

    I don't see this agreeing with your position that we need, "...10% cuts per year every year starting right now (even this is to have a chance to stay within 2 degrees C, which he admits is far too high)."

    Think about it... 10% cuts per year, every year, starting now means zero carbon emissions by 2024. That's a completely irrational scenario. It's a non-starter.

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  24. Rob.

    10% cuts per year, every year, starting now means zero carbon emissions by 2024. - you may want to reconsider that statement.

    I have to agree with wili on many of his points. With regards to air travel, wili suggested that non essential travel be subject to 'very close scrutiny and huge doses of skepticism' - he never mentioned a specific moratorium. 

    Personally, I have made the decision to stop flying. Doing so makes a massive impact on my carbon footprint. Per capita. I am making a change that has a positive effect.

    This was not easy. I loved air travel - so much so that many years ago, I spent an inordinate amout of money on a transatlantic concorde journey. I felt the monetary sacrifice was worth it.

    Thanks to my 'no fly' decision, I will never again have the chance to embrace my siblings or ailing parents. Many years ago, I made the choice to emigrate to a land on the other side of the planet - I had always assumed I would be able to 'pop back home' to see them whenever I felt like it. In the light of my concerns about climate change, I now consider that this attitude is a flawed one. I now rely on Facetime or Skype for communicaton. I have no intention of forcing such a decision on anyone else but I also have no qualms about telling people of my choice and offering advice and opinions on their personal travel choices. This is my version of wili's 'scrutiny and skepticism'. As you can imagine, this does not go down well with many people. Fortunately, I have broad shoulders and a thick hide.

    I don't feel that my choice has forced me into a 'hair shirt' existance. As pompous as it may sound, it is a minor sacrifice I am making for the sake of future generations. I believe I will need to make many more such sacrifices.  Without such sacrifices are we not on a BAU track? Or do you see technology as our saviour?



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  25. "your position that we need, "...10% cuts per year...' "

    That is Kevin Anderson's position. Hansen has similar figures. If you don't know that the IPCC documents are extremely watered down, political documents, there's not much use in further discussion. Your mathematical illiteracy also suggests that useful discussion has come to an end here.

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  26. 10% cuts per year, every year, starting now means zero carbon emissions by 2024. - you may want to reconsider that statement. 

    Yup. Brain fart on that one.

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  27. But... I would still hold that it's the wrong way to get to the goal of zero emissions.

    If you say to industry that they are only allowed to emit 90% of the carbon emissions they put out last year, that's a non-starter. The only way to achieve that is to cut every aspect of modern society by 10%. It means your starting year involves a massive economic contraction because the only way to achieve that is through less economic activity. A 10% contraction in one year would mean that nearly all investment monies would dry up. And then you'd be asking the same thing the following year. And the next.

    This is a recipe for major economic stagnation and potential worldwide economic collapse. That means there is no capital to invest in the solutions that can solve the problem. There is no capital to invest in wind farms or solar panels. No new electric vehicles. No new grid technologies. Everything hits the wall. End of game.

    Both the DDPP interim report and the AR5 RCP scenarios are saying we take the opposite approach. Bend the curve. Do what's actually achievable today, tomorrow and next year, and move the ball forward aggressively. 

    I would suggest the DDPP/IPCC approach has a far greater chance at success. 

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  28. foolonthehill...

    Without such sacrifices are we not on a BAU track? Or do you see technology as our saviour?

    You know, it's interesting to me. This is sort of like discussing sea level rise on the other side of the debate. These are non-linear situations. Just as you can't look at annual sea level rise today to determine how much SLR we will see in 2100, you also can't look at BAU emissions scenarios and say that where we're going to be in 2100. All factors are not going to stay the same over time regardless of a personal sacrifice. 

    I do not see technology as the savior. Technology is going to, and in fact already is, playing an important role in solving the problem. But again, efficiency is the lowest hanging fruit and can have the largest impact. Properly pricing carbon into the market holds a hugely important role in solving the problem, since that is going to spur both technological development and make efficiency more cost effective.

    I do think there is going to have to be an overall contraction of the aviation industry but I believe that will come from from carbon pricing having an increasing impact on fares. Believe me, if fares go up 30% less people are going to fly. But I think that is the correct way to approach the problem over any form of restrictions. Why? Because restrictions merely reduce activity without any additional benefit. Carbon pricing means that those who do choose to fly are actually paying into the system. Instead of a vicious cycle ending in collapse, with carbon pricing we create a virtuous cycle where problems can be solved.

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  29. I'm with Rob on this. Constriction on supplyside is too blunt an instrument. Rather like reducing oil production. You get a massive price spike because demand remains high. The poor miss out. Carbon pricing schemes by comparison are fiscally neutral, allow for targeting and distributes money from high FF users to low FF users. You want to kill FF from the demand side, not supply side.

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  30. Exactly. And it really takes far less than people might think to have a significant impact. 

    One small example is, just this past year a law passed in the SF Bay Area for a 10 cent surcharge on paper and plastic shopping bags. Almost overnight everyone, and I mean everyone, starting bringing their own bags when they went shopping.

    I think carbon pricing is going to be similar. Once it's in place, the overall effect is going to be significant even at a low cost per ton.

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  31. WRyan: "reduc[e] CO2 from the easiest targets first ... The real challenge is to make it happen quickly"

    An easy target (functionally ) is reducing and then pinching off air travel (and freight) except for what is truly essential in the societal sense. Humanity did without air travel for centuries until quite recently; we can do so again. The only thing that makes it difficult is that the affluent people of the world feel entitled to do as much of it as they wish, and these people strongly influence 1st-world governments. However, because nearly all air travel is non-essential, if people can't accept substantial sacrifice here, I think there is no hope for containing climate change below a catastrophic level.

    Where to start? Terminate frequent flyer programs (FFPs), because inducements to this kind of travel (whether in terms of "free" trips or elite perks) encourage this source of climate damage. Further, a spin-off is that accumulation of "kilometer" or "miles" encourages additional use of airline credit cards in order to accumulate more. But this amplified credit card use raises merchant's prices for everyone's essentials, including cash customers who are often poor. (A 2.5% CC fee is, say for a business with a 10% profit margin, a 25% hit on the bottom line of the sale that must be covered somehow. A problem when such sales are commonplace.)

    Honeycutt: "They are embracing the problem and are working on solutions." But the IATA's goals are "aspirational," and the scope for efficiency improves is actually quite small. Most gains are one-time ones, yet growth in average distance traveled and number of trips are increasing consistently at an unsustainable rate. Airliners today are negligibly more efficient that piston-powered ones of the late 1950s. The good-sounding comparisons are against the fuel-hog jets of that era.

    Honeycutt: "The industry has every incentive to work really hard to try to use fuel as efficiently as possible." Yes, but scope for improvement is limited, and the higher incentive is for steadily increasing passenger volume and distance traveled. New planes designed for, say, 1940s-era cruising speeds could help somewhat; however, the business model (affordable fares) depends on maximized seat-miles per plane per day, meaning high speeds to amortize the plane's high capital cost and crew cost.

    Honeycutt: "... for long distance travel, aviation has a low carbon footprint compared to other forms of suface transportation ..." But it is "long distance" and ease (effort and especially time) in traveling long distances by plane that is the biggest part of the problem. Longer and more frequent trips become more and more commonplace. Most long distance travel would not happen with out planes.

    Honeycutt: "... a good friend of mine is a lead partner in an architechure firm that does major projects all over the world. He has to fly around the world on a monthly basis. I'm sorry, but it would be utterly impossible for him to do these projects via Skype. I have a number of other friends who are product designers and they frequently have to fly to Asia to work through new products with factories." Seems to me all the rest of us are subsidizing (via climate impacts, with tangible harms as well as with real present or future economic costs) your friends' poorly advised business models or careers. Globalization is a big part of the climate problem, and both aviation and shipping emissions are at the heart of that. Please ask your friends to convert rapidly to a domestic business model. After all, you said they "all want to do the right thing." You added later, "But, they have mortgages and kids and they have to get their respective jobs done each week in order to keep paying their mortgages and supporting those kids." Supposed barriers such as this, population-wide, are what keep us on the BAU track. For your friends who feel trapped, the need for a smaller house and more frugal lifestyle, is indicated.

    Honeycutt: "We don't have to get to zero emissions by 2018." We will wish we had. That isn't possible now (waited to long), but we have to decide that the party is over and it's time to hit the brakes hard. Aviation is a great place to start.

    Honeycutt: "There's a ton of low hanging fruit to get that going. Efficiency is the cheapest ..." We need all the low-hanging fruit we can get. Aviation is among the lowest, and no investment of resources (materials) is needed to accomplish it. It is simple reduction, with immediate benefit.

    Honeycutt: "... a 10 cent surcharge on paper and plastic shopping bags. Almost overnight everyone, and I mean everyone, starting bringing their own bags."

    A nice touch, but involving a minor lifestyle change. Air travel is much different, and getting a truly effective carbon tax on it will be quite difficult (e.g. the EU ETS saga). "No non-essential air travel" needs to be one of the options on the table, so that there is a full playing field before the public for discussion.

    Foolonthehill: "(personal no-fly decision) it is a minor sacrifice I am making for the sake of future generations. I believe I will need to make many more such sacrifices." Wise words!

    Further thoughts: (In a future comment; apology for the length.)

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  32. Whilst I have said I agree with wili on many of his points, I am not wholeheartedly behind him. I certainly feel that his last comment doesnt enhance either his position or the conversation. Civility costs nothing.

    Rob - I was more intrigued with your stance on the aviation issue. Your initial post seemed to intimate that the aviation industry was not a concern in the bigger picture. You praised the improvements in fuel efficiency.  I would be keen to know if these improvements have led to a lower overall output of greenhouse gasses into the environment? That would be the result you are hoping for no doubt. 

    From my observations these efficiency improvements are based on stabilising the bottom line in an industry facing fuel price increases. There appears to me to have been a substantial increase in air travel in recent years with the developing nations rapidly adopting our first world tourism fetish. Can we afford to keep on in the same fashion? Or should we be discouraging this growth through all means possible? (note I said discourage - not restrict). I agree with you that carbon pricing will be the major tool in this endeavour. We really need to stop the current practice of hopping on a plane at the merest whim. A cultural change is essential. 

    From a New Zealand perspective we have a national carrier that is investing in the latest fuel efficient aircraft. They, along with our government, are encouraging large increases in long haul traveller numbers from Asia in particular. Great for our economy and GDP figures. But will our shiny new 787-9's reduce the amount of CO2 at the end of the day?

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  33. Larry E

    "For your friends who feel trapped, the need for a smaller house and more frugal lifestyle, is indicated." - even wiser words!

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  34. foolonthehill...  My original post was suggesting that aviation is a harder nut to crack and that there are other issues to address like surface transportation, buildings and efficiency that offer much bigger emissions reductions for far less money. I'm not saying that aviation emissions shouldn't be addressed; it's a very important issue to address. But the question is how to address it in the most effective and timely manner and how we address it in ways that fit into the larger goals of getting to zero emissions in a time frame that keeps us below 2C.

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  35. Is the economy more important than the planet?

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  36. Larry E...

    "...yet growth in average distance traveled and number of trips are increasing consistently at an unsustainable rate. Airliners today are negligibly more efficient that piston-powered ones of the late 1950s."

    Yes, your first statement is correct but I think that addressing the demand side through carbon pricing would change that trend.

    Your second statement is incorrect. When early jet engines were introduced in the 1950's then were less fuel efficient that prop engines of the time, and those prop engines were not so efficient either. But modern high bypass torbo fan jets are more efficient. And the carbon emissions for long distance travel are actually lower per passenger mile than other forms of transportation.

    "Yes, but scope for improvement is limited..."

    The scope for improvement is limited in the nearer decades. Again, avaition is a big nut to crack. As I linked in one of my first comments, there are ideas like super cooled ducted fan systems that have the potential to be carbon free. As well, there is a lot of work being done in non-food crop biofuels. 

    "For your friends who feel trapped, the need for a smaller house and more frugal lifestyle, is indicated."

    Really? And so, you think my architect friend who is developing carbon neutral high rise buildings around the world should stop doing his work? 

    "Aviation is a great place to start."

    I'm sorry but I'm just going to have to disagree here. When surface transportation accounts for 40% of emissions and when buildings also account for almost 40% of emissions... why would you want to "start" with the industry that generates 6% of emissions? It's a serious question. I don't understand this thinking.

    "A nice touch, but involving a minor lifestyle change."

    My point being that small incentives can go a long way. Don't use a sledge hammer when a smaller tool can get the job done.

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  37. Rob

    'And so, you think my architect friend who is developing carbon neutral high rise buildings around the world should stop doing his work?' 

    Is your friend the only person capable of doing this work? Can he not relay the relevant information to a local architect? 

    (I dont think i'll get into the 'carbon neutral' aspects...)

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  38. If he is the best person for the job, should he not be doing that work?

    No, actually, I don't think you can just relay the work to a local architect since that's already an inherent part of the process. 

    And what I'm talking about relative to carbon neutral buildings is, they build high rises that, with a certain level of mixed use, can generate as much energy as they consume. 

    Again, the solution to the problem is pricing carbon. Creating additional restrictions does not address the fundamental problem.

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  39. Wili...  "Is the economy more important than the planet?"

    What is important is solving the global warming problem. We're going to need a working economy to do that. It's not an either/or choice. We need both. 

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  40. Rob, I agree that aviation is a hard nut to crack, but it is essential that we do crack it. It is the only major economic sector that is not reducing its emissions, while the other sectors are. Accordingly, under current trends by 2050 tourism could account for 40% of global GHG emissions, and as an indicator aviation presently accounts for 75% of tourism emissions. (See refs A & B below). For the World Cup, aviation GHG emissions amounted to 98% of the total. Refs A through C concern travel habits and impact, particularly on climate. Ref D contains Ref C and other info pertinent to the discussion in this comment thread.

    Ref E is a thorough study of airliner efficiency and emissions over the decades, and the prospects for further improvement.

    @wili referenced a statement by climate scientist Kevin Anderson that an annual reduction of 10% in emissions from all uses of energy is needed, and discussion by others followed. The explanation behind Anderson's conclusion is quite simple and compelling. See Ref F below (video of his 2011 presentation at UK DFID), in which he also answers the question of why his analysis is different than those by others. Here is a summary of that:

    1. EMISSIONS GROWTH RATES ARE NOT LOW-BALLED. Virtually all other climate pathway studies assume a 1-2% per year emissions growth rate to the emissions peak, but the actual rate has been 3-5% per year.

    2. REALISTIC EMISSIONS PEAKING DATES ARE USED. Virtually all other analyses use an emissions peak between 2010 and 2016. The Stern report was 2015; the UK Committee on Climate Change's work is based on 2016; the recent ADAM report for the EU had 2015. Wherever you look, people are assuming very low growth rates to a very early peaking date. "And you can look around you. You can see the emissions that are occurring globally. And you can think, 'Is any of that in any way, shape or form a good illustration of the real world in which we live?' And if not, then you might start to think, 'Why is this analysis different?' Even the UK's Committee on Climate Change, which is doing much more than many countries around the world, embedded a 2017 peaking date for China and India in its report. But no one's ever talked to the Chinese or the Indians about that."

    3. SO, THE PROBLEM IS AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE WORSE THAN RECOGNIZED, AND TECH ALONE CAN'T FIX IT. Supply technologies cannot be put in place fast enough to bring you off the peak quick enough. "That's not to say better supply technology is not important - in fact, it's a prerequisite to getting to a low carbon future. But, it will not do it in and of itself. You have to have radical reductions beforehand, and technology cannot deliver those, particularly the supply technologies. Perhaps the demand side can do that and certainly behavioral can move you much faster, but you simply cannot put the big supply technologies in place fast enough in the wealthier parts of the world."

    4. SOCOLOW'S WEDGES "ARE THE WRONG WAY AROUND." Socolow "has us starting with small reductions from the pointy ends of the wedges and progressing to larger reductions at the big end. That might have worked if we had started earlier, but because we are so late in addressing climate change we need to get the big reductions almost immediately," and we $can back off decades later to a tapered finish. (See: Socolow et al. 2006).

    Reference G is a link to the conference "Radical Emissions Reduction," held in December at the Royal Society, London. From the webpage a program and a book of the abstracts (101 pp.) can be downloaded.


    A. Cohen S., Higham J., Peeters P., Gossling S. (2014). Why tourism mobility behaviours must change. Ch. 1 in: Understanding and Governing Sustainable Tourism Mobility: Psychological and Behavioural Approaches.

    B. Cohen S., James E., Higham J., Gossling S., Peeters P. (2014). Understanding and Governing Sustainable Tourism Mobility: Psychological and Behavioural Approaches. Routeledge, NYC. ISBN: 978-0-415-83937-2.

    C. Gössling S.; Upham, P. (eds) (2009). Hypermobile travellers. Ch. 6 in: Climate Change and Aviation: Issues, Challenges and Solutions.

    D. Gössling S., Upham P. (2009). Climate change and aviation: Issues, challenges and solutions.

    E. Peeters et al. (2005). Fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft: An overview of historical and future trends. (Netherlands National Aerospace Lab).

    F. Anderson K. (2011). Climate Change: Going beyond dangerous — Brutal numbers, tenuous hope, or cognitive dissonance? Video of presentation at UK DFID.

    G. The Radical Emissions Reduction Conference, Dec. 10-11, 2013. Venue: Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London.

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  41. Rob said "If he is the best person for the job, should he not be doing that work?"  Maybe it falls under the category of essential travel, which both wili and I left room for. However, you did say earlier that he (or she) was doing it to pay the mortgage and raise the kids. I hope he is training local architects so he can travel less. Where is he located and what countries does he have projects in?

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  42. Rob

    'Again, the solution to the problem is pricing carbon.' No argument from me there buddy.

    'If he is the best person for the job, should he not be doing that work?' That is a decision he must make. I would hope that he does so in full recognition of his contribution to climate change. Not taking the job may result in a worse result for the environment - he would be the best judge of that. I just hope that his loan repayments and the company profits don't unbalance his decision process. Less painful decisions are often the simplest to make.

    I am intrigued by the carbon neutrality of many buildings touted by developers. The prospect of greenwashing always seems close at hand. From my limited knowledge, the embedded carbon seems to be conveniently overlooked (such as your friends travel emissions).

    Auckland has numerous buildings that have sprung up recently which quote fantastic efficiencies in their operations. They invariably have replaced similar sized buildings that have stood for many years and that would have continued to do so. Their replacement is justified on the basis that they 'don't function to todays corporate requirements' or 'the floor plate didn't allow sufficient flow' or other seemingly specious factors.


    The main reason for replacement seems to be that the newer buildings can command a higher rental for the developer. Is that the best we can hope for in the future?

    Gotta love the occupants of this 'green' building - 

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  43. This 2006 article in The Economist (Aircraft emissions - The sky's the limit) may be dated in some respects; however, its observations on how comparisons of emissions from air travel and other travel modes are worth consideration.

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  44. California just put restrictions on water use for the first time.

    Humans can't survive more than about three days without water, yet we are willing in these circumstances to outright restrict its use.

    Humans lived for almost all of their time on earth with essentially no use of fossil fuels, so it is obviously not as vital to human survival in the same way that water is.

    So why can't we directly restrict the use of these substances, substances that are in the process of destroying the systems that support complex life on earth, including human life.

    This is an existential issue.

    As Churchill put it: "The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

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  45. foolonthehill... That's funny that you pulled up the Pearl River Tower, because I'm pretty sure my friend worked on that building since I'm pretty sure he was at Skidmore back in 2006.

    If you do a full lifecycle assessment on buildings like these, over the 100+ year useful life of the building, by far the largest amount of energy is consumed (and CO2 produced) is by the electrical and heat/cooling systems. The energy from construction and travel related to the development of the project is a very tiny fraction of the total life cycle emissions.

    I don't think there's any greenwashing going on here because those developers have a huge incentive to make these buildings as green as possible. It saves them tremendous amounts of money.

    I think it really does often make sense to replace some older, less efficient buildings. The amount of energy they consume can be very high, and they'll continue to consume that level of energy until they're replaced. So, you're getting a lot of bang for the buck. You're stopping that energy consuption from the old building and replacing it with a building that is far more efficient.

    I was just discussing this issue with my friend over the 4th of July weekend, and I literally asked him point blank, "So, can you guys really get these buildings so they generate as much energy as they use?" He said, "It's challenging, but if we have enough mixed use, then yes." 

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  46. The primary function of the global industrial economy is to rip the guts, bones, blood and skin out of the earth and turn them into toxins. If that is a system that someone thinks is benign and worth preserving...well, what more can one say?

    By the way, congratulations everyone--we had the top-commented-on post for this week! And furthermore we have been honored with the observation that we have "deep and abiding perspectives about what should be done in order to prevent dangerous climate change"!! (Note to editors: There should be a period after that wonderfully descriptive phrase...perhaps it was lost in the exitement of the moment? '-))

    I'll also note that I do, on occasion, become a bit...grumpy, at least, contemplating the total destruction of the living systems of the planet and the wholy inadequate responses to it that we seem to be even capable of conceiving.

    Don't you?

    If not, perhaps there is something seriously wrong with you??

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  47. wili...  There are a few facts of reality that we have to face in order to solve the problem. First, it's just a fact that we need our global economy. Without it we can't feed the 7 billion people on this planet. If we collapse the economy we would quickly devolve into mass starvation, even in the most prosperous nations. Personally, I think that is something that needs to be avoided.

    Second is, if we continue to emit CO2 on a BAU path, we will also create an unimaginable and unmanageable crisis involving the starvation of billions.

    It seems to me, the point solving the problem is to minimize human suffering as much as possible. Minimizing human suffering also involves the protection of the natural systems that support life on this planet. (If we don't care about human suffering, then just let nature take it's course. She will rid the planet of our species and clean things up in a matter of a miniscule million years or two. That's the George Carlin solution.)

    I'm not an economist, but when I read Kevin Anderson my sense is what he's suggesting is a recipe for economic collapse that would make matters worse. (And perhaps I don't fully grasp the intricacies of his arguments yet.) I think what the IPCC and the DDPP are proposing is a much more sensible, whole-systems approach approach to solving the problem.

    I would suggest that it's a mistake to assume that something is seriously wrong with anyone who doesn't exactly agree to your perceptions of the challenge. We all want to solve the problem here and these are the best kinds of discussions to have. I wish there were more discussions in the public about how we solve the problem over whether there's a problem.

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  48. We can have a robust modern industrial global capitalist constantly-growing economy, or we can have a viable earth. Not both. I choose a viable earth, but I guess that's just me.

    We can have a somewhat managed collapse now(or rapid contraction...whatever you want to call it) that spreads some of the pain and lessens the worst suffering, or we can have a total uncontrolled collapse later that wipes out nearly everyone and takes most of the earth with it. There are really no alternatives I can see at this point. More and more people are coming to that conclusion.

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  49. wili...  I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree here. I don't believe the choices are that stark. We clearly cannot do what we've done over the past century, but we can, I believe, transition our systems to carbon-free energy in a way that manages to get us past peak population.

    After that, it's projected that human population would contract, thus the "constantly growing" aspect of the problem would also subside.

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  50. Rob 

    'I don't think there's any greenwashing going on here because those developers have a huge incentive to make these buildings as green as possible. It saves them tremendous amounts of money.'

    I'm not convinced about this. Most large building are not occupied by the developer - they are leased to corporates. It is the corporate that makes the saving in running costs. The developer gets increased rental income from a 'desirable building'. 

    I am not professionaly qualified to commment on the lifecycle assessment of these buildings. My sister is an architect and also thinks that the numbers add up. She has never shown me what I would consider truly independent research (ie not supplied by architects or construction companies) so I still struggle with this topic.

    The life cycle over '100+ years' is also a little bugbear with me. Any fast moving economy in Asia will tell a different story as to the life of modern buildings. I doubt that many buildings will be around for this length of time. There is a mindset of 'new is better' that is quite challenging to someone with an Old World mentality like myself. The skyline of Tokyo is constantly being altered. Even in the US the 'tallest building in the world' was demolished after only 60 years to be replaced by something that the market felt was more appropriate...

    Discussions such as this are always enlightening. The solutions to our problems with climate change will be many and varied. The main thing is to get people engaged in them. 

    In NZ (and I assume in many western countries), topics of conversation amongst the middle class melieu I encounter, rarely venture into solutions to problems that are facing us. I could get a considered opinion on the market value of any property in the area and a rental appraisal for it. I could obtain a rundown of the menu at the latest 'foodie' haunt (I prefer 'foodist'). I can be regaled by the performance figures for the vehicles that sit outside.

    This is what we really need to change. I believe that the battles over climate change denial are ending. The discussion will soon move to solutions. Every decision in our life should now factor in our carbon footprint. It doesnt have to dominate us. We can live with it. We can make informed decisions. I think it can free us rather than enslave us.


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