Technologies that are discussed controversially today may be needed to keep the future risks and costs of climate change in check.
Combining the production of energy from fossil fuels and biomass with capturing and storing the CO2 they emit (CCS) can be key to achieving current climate policy objectives such as limiting the rise of the global mean temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.
This is shown by the most comprehensive study to date on technology strategies to combat climate change, published in a special issue of the journal Climatic Change. It is based on the analysis of 18 computer models by an international team of scientists under the roof of the Stanford Energy Modelling Forum (EMF 27).
“Versatile technologies seem to be most important to keep costs in check,“ says lead author Elmar Kriegler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Both bioenergy and CCS can help reduce emissions from non-electric energy use that would be hard to decarbonize otherwise. Examples are the burning of coke in blast furnaces in the steel industry which can be equipped with CCS, and the combustion of petrol for transport which can be replaced by biofuels.
“If combined, energy from biomass and CCS can even result in withdrawing CO2 from the atmosphere and hence compensate remaining emissions across sectors and over time, because grasses and trees absorb CO2 before they are used to produce energy,” explains Kriegler.
In contrast, the availability of individual low carbon technologies in the electricity sector was shown to be less important. This is due to the fact that the electricity sector has a number of mitigation options, like nuclear, solar, and wind power, but also gas and coal power with CCS. So the lack of one of them can more easily be compensated by the others.
**Bioenergy and CCS are important to keep costs in check, but also have risks**
Many simulations in the study could not at all achieve emissions reductions in line with the 2 degrees target without the use of bioenergy combined with CCS. Among those that could, mitigation costs on average more than doubled in scenarios without CCS. “Concerns regarding bioenergy and CCS are highly relevant, but given the potential importance of these technologies, it becomes clear that their opportunities and risks urgently need to be investigated in greater detail,” Kriegler concludes.
Energy from biomass indeed risks competing with food production for land, and sequestering CO2 from power plants underground on an industrial scale is a yet unproven method.
**The technology strategies exist – but depend on climate policy**
A robust feature of the transformation that was identified in the study is an accelerated electrification of energy used by consumers, for instance by increasing the number of electric cars or of electric blast furnaces in the steel industry. Moreover, increasing energy efficiency has proven to be an important strategy to support climate policy, cutting mitigation costs in half. However, energy efficiency improvements alone, without strong policies to decarbonize energy production, would be insufficient to reach the 2 degrees target.
"Our study shows that there are technology strategies that can enable us to reach ambitious climate policy targets with some degree of confidence," says John Weyant, head of the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum. "But these strategies will only be possible if effective climate policies are implemented very very soon."
Article: Kriegler, E., Weyant, J.P., Blanford, G.J., Krey, V., Clarke, L., Edmonds, J., Fawcett, A., Luderer, G., Riahi, K., Richels, R., Rose, S.K., Tavoni, M., van Vuuren, D.P. (2014): The role of technology for achieving climate policy objectives: overview of the EMF 27 study on global technology and climate policy strategies. Climatic Change 123(3-4) [DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0953-7]
For further information please contact:
PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-013-0953-7 - Weblink to the Article
Jonas Viering | PIK Potsdam
The causes of soil consumption
14.06.2016 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
Fishing prohibitions produce more sharks along with problems for fishing communities
09.06.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Since the completion of the human genome an important goal has been to elucidate the function of the now known proteins: a new molecular method enables the investigation of the function for thousands of proteins in parallel. Applying this new method, an international team of researchers with leading participation of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to identify hundreds of previously unknown interactions among proteins.
The human genome and those of most common crops have been decoded for many years. Soon it will be possible to sequence your personal genome for less than 1000...
3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines...
R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.
In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...
High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!
In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...
Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."
Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...
30.06.2016 | Event News
28.06.2016 | Event News
09.06.2016 | Event News
30.06.2016 | Health and Medicine
30.06.2016 | Life Sciences
30.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy