It seems like things are going well here in Paris and COP21, today the French host delivered to the country delegations a new draft text which have removed 2 out of 3 of the brackets for alternative formulations. It was delivered at 15:00 CET and the countries have 4 hours to review before the negotiations proceed. The document is here.
Did you read my other blogs from Paris?
- Day 1: What’s up in Paris?
- Day 2: North Sea – Airbnb for CO2
- Day 4: American Graffitti and Chemical engineers
Loss and damage is a large issue, the decarbonisation target and alternative targets, our own Climate and environment minister, Tine Sundtoft, is having a hard time getting countries to agree on the long term visions. Like carbon neutral by 2050 or specific cuts being mentioned. Everybody praises the French process leadership and their intent to get an accord.
Big Nordic event here today: We are proud to be part of that effort through the Top Level Research Initiative and NORDICCS. The stage was filled with Nordic ministers of energy, climate and environment (yes- they can be combined) explaining the Nordic success in having low emissions from electricity production.
A happy divorce
It was kicked off by Fatih Birol from the International Energy Agency (IEA) which promoted a happy divorce between gross domestic product (GDP) and greenhouse gases. Few divorces are happy but it all comes down to the reference frame.
(…) promoted a happy divorce between gross domestic product (GDP) and greenhouse gases
It’s like Einstein realizing that even time is relative in his famous thought experiment involving a man at a train platform with a train entering the platform close to the speed of sound with a woman (for gender balance) looking out of the window (or rather through at that speed). Two lightenings occur at the same time to the left and the right of the man. They are happening at the same time for him, whereas for the woman travelling furiously fast in the train they occur with a time difference, thus it all comes down to the reference frame. I am sure that for the environment this will be a happy divorce.
The technology track for the agreement (to be) was also subject to a session in the EU pavilion. Apparently this is today governed by an expert group of some 20 people that give advice on how to make technology and knowledge transfer.
Heleen de Conink from Radboud University gave a good overview of the possibilities and the need to include the technology track in the agreement. It’s all down to the financing mechanisms, a contentious issue in the negotiations.
Which leads me to a CICERO event on climate financing, how can we increase that? Today there is some 500 bn$ on a global scale. About the same as fossil fuel subsidies. We have systems in the world today where the subsidies for fossil fuels are around 100$/ton CO2, actually incentivising higher emissions. It completely dwarfs the carbon quota price of 10$/ton that we have in Europe, how can we close the gap of 110 $/ton?
IEA states it very clearly, we need to stop this subsidy system, they can predominantely be found in low income countries or countries with petroleum production. I asked Fatih if there were some concerns about fossil fuel subsidies in the Nordic Countries and he was very polite in his answer pointing to that there are no subsidies for the consumption of fossil fuels in the Nordic region.
Windmills, polar bears and ad hock statements take space and place in the halls housing the event. On another note; Everybody states different numbers for the photovoltaics (PV) cost revolution, 50% last 5 yrs, 90% last 10 years and 99% the last 30 years. They may all be correct- the fact is that this development is amazing, Terje Osmundsen of Scatec Solar presented his experiences of bid costs for solar power in Africa, dropping 70% over 5 yrs, these are the kind of learning curves we need to pursue in the technology tracks.
(…) costs for solar power in Africa, dropping 70% over 5 yrs, these are the kind of learning curves we need to pursue in the technology tracks
Today I was approached by a former Executive of Airbus wanting to pursue his autonomous energy storage system employing battery, electrolyzer and and hydrogen – fuel cells. Refreshing to discuss and see real offerings, as with the Honda hydrogen solution. Basically using the car as a mobile fuel container and generator for your house. We need to roll out those filling stations fast, especially for countries having poor quality electricity and high emission production systems.
But these are people that have never ever been in the lab and has no feeling of the hardware and what it takes
COP21: We can deliver
Lot of discussions on how the negotions will fare, I am a bit concerned though being an engineer. It would seem that most issues can be formulated and made theroretical, discretizised. This includes technology as well of course, making nice projections for learning rates, the relative importance, substitution, resources etc. But these are people that have never ever been in the lab and has no feeling of the hardware and what it takes. All this beautiful new technologies need to be developed by us, and we know technology can deliver given the right resources.
There are 40 000 people around here, what could be achieved if they were all dedicated to the hardware and software solutions we need? A daunting thought. So what’s up next? For me it is convening a session on CCS in the EU Pavillion on Thursday morning as EERA CCS co-ordinator. Hope to see many people there also from the biomass constituency which has it’s own session just before this.