Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technological options are critical for economic viability of 2°C climate target

15.03.2010
Tapping renewable energy sources, capturing and storing of industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and improving energy efficiency are pivotal for holding the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius.

In a special issue of "The Energy Journal", a team of researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and four other European institutions reports that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases can be stabilized at correspondingly low levels at moderate costs. However, costs, as well as the dependency on specific technologies, increase with the chances to achieve the 2°C target.

"We have started from the assumption of a 'first-best' world where current and newly developed technologies are fully available," says Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at PIK. "However, we have also investigated a 'second-best' world where some of the technologies are not available or have a limited potential," adds the lead author of the article 'The Economics of Low Stabilization: Model Comparison of Mitigation Strategies and Costs'. The scientists found that the costs of mitigation are substantially higher or that ambitious climate targets are actually unattainable in the second-best world.

As part of the EU-funded project "Adaptation and mitigation strategies: supporting European climate policy" (ADAM) the researchers have explored the technological options for reaching three different stabilization levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. These correspond to carbon dioxide concentrations of 550, 450, and 400 parts per million (ppm) with a 15, 50, and 75 percent chance, respectively, to achieve the 2°C target. The scientists used five state-of-the-art energy-environment-economy models to illustrate the technological and economic scenarios and systematically compared the results.

"The models provide a number of technology pathways that have a high likelihood of achieving the 2°C target," says Brigitte Knopf, the scientific coordinator of the ADAM model comparison. All models achieved the low stabilization at 400 ppm at moderate costs. Expressed as aggregated gross domestic product losses until 2100, the global mitigation costs are reported to be below 2.5 percent. But this requires a portfolio of technologies, the researchers found. "There is no silver bullet to tackle climate change, but, interestingly, the models agree on the ranking of importance of energy technologies," says Knopf.

Without either carbon capture and storage (CCS) or the expansion of renewable energy beyond business-as-usual, stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gases becomes significantly more expensive. Ambitious climate mitigation targets might not be achieved at all. In one model, the extensive use of biomass for heat and power production was another essential option for the feasibility of the low stabilization level. In two other models, costs doubled with a limitation of biomass use to a sustainable potential.

In contrast, the effect of nuclear energy as a mitigation option is limited as refraining from the expansion of nuclear energy is possible at almost no additional costs. Furthermore, the models show that even a global phase out of nuclear energy is possible at slightly increased mitigation costs.

"It is clear that a model analysis alone cannot address the full range of economic, political and risk management issues raised by the use of some of the technologies," says Knopf. The feasibility and potential risks of CCS, for example, are largely unknown today and also to what extent the extensive use of biomass would compete with food production and nature conservation. But the study does indicate clearly that the development of a portfolio of technologies is crucial in order to keep mitigation costs low, paving the way for a global climate agreement.

Article: Ottmar Edenhofer, Brigitte Knopf, Terry Barker, Lavinia Baumstark, Elie Bellevrat, Bertrand Château, Patrick Criqui, Morna Isaac, Alban Kitous, Socrates Kypreos, Marian Leimbach, Kai Lessmann, Bertrand Magné, Serban Scrieciu, Hal Turton, Detlef P. van Vuuren (2009) The Economics of Low Stabilization: Model Comparison of Mitigation Strategies and Costs. The Energy Journal, Volume 31, Special Issue, http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/journal.aspx

Further reading:
Project homepage at PIK:
http://www.pik-potsdam.de/project-adam
International project homepage
http://www.adamproject.eu/
For further information or interviews, please contact the PIK press office:
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
E-mail: press@pik-potsdam.de

Patrick Eickemeier | idw
Further information:
http://www.pik-potsdam.de
http://www.pik-potsdam.de/project-adam

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems
23.01.2018 | University of Exeter

nachricht How climate change weakens coral 'immune systems'
23.01.2018 | Ohio State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>