Energy & Technology

Solving the Climate Equation: Mandatory & Practical Steps for Real Reductions

SOLVING THE CLIMATE EQUATION
Mandatory & Practical Steps for Real Reductions

Remarks By Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Cliamte Change

Alliant Energy Conference
Madison, Wisconsin

April 15, 2003

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here in Madison. And to be here on tax day makes it even more special. I hope I can be as creative in my remarks as many Americans are on their Form 1040.

Considering that it is tax day and coming from Washington, as I do, I thought you would be interested to know that Congress is indeed getting very serious about tax simplification. It’s true. The new tax forms they are discussing would include just three parts.

Part One: How much did you make last year? Part Two: How much do you have left? Part Three: Please send in the amount listed in Part Two.

Seriously, I expect you will all be glad to know that I am not here today to talk about taxes. Rather, what I want to talk about is the very taxing problem of global climate change. Okay, that’s the last time today that I will mention taxes.

I know that this morning’s panels included a session on the science of climate change. So I will skip the part of the speech laying out the evidence of how serious a problem this is. I hope that I don’t need to persuade you of that.

Instead, I would like to talk about where we stand today in our efforts to meet the challenge of climate change – and I may surprise some of you by saying there are actually a lot of good things happening. The momentum is building for practical solutions. People and governments are indeed taking important and worthwhile steps to address this problem, and I want to talk with you a little bit about what they are doing.

At the same time, I also want to talk with you about what must happen next. Because what is happening now is clearly not enough. And the priority looking ahead must be to marry a long-term vision of a climate-friendly future with the short-term strategies that will get us there. We need mandatory goals to ensure the broadest possible participation across all industry sectors in this effort. And we need to give businesses the flexibility to achieve those goals as cost-effectively as possible.

But, before I get into all of that, let me give you some background about the organization I represent. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization. We consider ourselves a center of research, analysis, and collaboration. We are also a center in another sense – a much-needed centrist presence on an issue where the discussion too often devolves into battling extremes.

Our mission is to provide credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. We see ourselves as a force for a pragmatic path forward on this issue. And we fulfill this role by educating the public and key policy makers, and by encouraging the domestic and international community to take practical steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Over the past several years, we have issued 45 reports from top-tier researchers on key climate topics such as economic and environmental impacts, policy solutions, equity issues and more. We have convened conferences and symposia, and we have worked with policy makers and businesses throughout the world as they strive to shape climate solutions.

In the course of our work, as you might expect, we have developed a fairly keen sense of where things stand in the global effort to address the climate problem. This is what I want to share with you today. It is the view from 30,000 feet, and I find it’s an especially useful vantage point for assessing our progress on this issue.

What does this high-level view show us? It shows us that despite everything we see and hear coming out of Washington, despite the fact that U.S. climate policy remains in neutral, from a higher altitude we can see that there is actually a great deal of activity under way. There are actually a lot of people who are already hard at work charting the “Path Forward” on climate change that is advertised as the topic of this conference.

Consider this: Despite the opposition of the Bush administration, the Kyoto Protocol stands on the verge of entering into force sometime this year. The ratification of the treaty by Poland and Canada late in 2002 brought the number of ratifying countries to 100. These countries were responsible for nearly 44 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. Russia’s expected ratification of the treaty later this year should bring that share to 55 percent, which is the level required for Kyoto to become law.

I have no illusions, of course, that Kyoto is the definitive solution to the climate problem – and I strongly believe, as I will say later, that it is time to start thinking beyond Kyoto. But the simple fact that this critical mass of developed nations have agreed to the treaty – and are already hard at work on strategies to meet their Kyoto emission targets – is a development of truly historic proportions.

Equally encouraging – if not equally historic – are the voluntary efforts of many companies throughout the world to address the climate problem in a proactive way. As many of you know, the Pew Center serves as a convenor of leading businesses that are taking practical steps to reduce their contribution to the problem. The 38 members of our Business Environmental Leadership Council represent nearly 2.5 million employees and have combined revenues of $855 billion. They include mostly Fortune 500 firms, and they are deeply committed to climate solutions:

There is DuPont, for example, which made a voluntary pledge to reduce its global emissions of greenhouse gases by 65 percent by the year 2010. And guess what? Late last year, they announced they had achieved this target eight years ahead of schedule.  Also ahead of schedule in meeting its target is BP, which in 2002 announced that it had reduced global greenhouse emissions by 9 million metric tons in just four years. This marked a 10-percent reduction in the company’s emissions – and, like DuPont, BP had originally intended to achieve this goal in 2010.

Other companies have set similar targets and are working hard to meet them. And then there are all the companies that, even if they are not setting targets, are working in other ways to reduce their contribution to the climate problem. Alliant Energy itself – the sponsor of this important gathering – is also the sponsor of an array of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

The company’s innovative Second Nature program, for example, allows residential utility customers in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to buy renewable energy equal to 25 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent of their electric usage. At the end of 2002, Second Nature customers helped generate more than 9.8 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, including wind power from a new wind farm in Minnesota and biomass energy from a methane gas plant at a landfill in Mayville, Wisconsin.

Companies such as Alliant, BP and DuPont are not alone in taking proactive steps to address this problem. Also charting a path forward are individual states throughout the country. The Pew Center’s research shows that a majority of states have programs that, while not necessarily directed at climate change, are achieving real emission reductions.

Texas and 13 other states, for example, now require utilities to generate a specified share of their power from renewable sources. New York State’s new energy plan sets a goal of reducing emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. What’s more, some states are going beyond target-setting and are establishing direct controls on carbon emissions from power plants and – in the case of California – cars and SUVs.

And I would be remiss not to mention what is happening here in Wisconsin, which since 1993 has required any facility that emits more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide to report its emission levels to the Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin was the first state with a mandatory reporting rule; of the other states, only New Jersey has followed Wisconsin’s lead. And now Wisconsin is hard at work on a new registry that will enable firms to report reductions of CO2 or other greenhouse gases. The state is doing this, in part, to make sure that firms acting now will be able to get credit under future emission reduction regimes.

And so the path forward is being mapped out all around us – by entire nations, and by individual companies and states. Even the news from Washington is not all bad. Last year alone, nearly twice as many climate change bills were introduced on Capitol Hill than in the previous four years combined.

Then, early this year, as all of you know, the bipartisan duo of Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman forged a landmark measure that for the first time brings together several features that would be critical to the success of a national climate change strategy. This bill would establish ambitious and binding targets for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Equally important, it would provide companies with the flexibility to reduce emissions as cost-effectively as possible – thanks to the creation of a rigorous nationwide system allowing emissions trading and providing some credit for carbon storage. Last but not least, the bill would recognize those reductions that are being made now by the companies that are taking the lead on this issue and provide additional flexibility for these early actors.

Of course, the McCain-Lieberman measure has no real chance of becoming law any time soon, but it is an encouraging development nonetheless to see our policymakers in Washington finally coming to grips with exactly what it is going to take to yield real progress toward a climate-friendly future. And what it is going to take, as I stated early in my remarks, is a long-term vision of where we need to be, coupled with short-term strategies that will get us there.

At the Pew Center, we call it the 10/50 Solution. The idea is to think ahead to where we need to be 50 years from now if we are going to meet the challenge of climate change, and then to figure out decade by decade how to do it.

Why look 50 years out? Because achieving the necessary reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions will ultimately require innovation on a level never before seen. It will require a massive shift away from fossil fuels to climate-friendly sources of energy. It will require fundamental changes in how we produce things, how we power our homes and buildings, and how we travel to work.

The 10-50 approach doesn’t just look long-term, though. It recognizes that in order to realize that 50-year vision, we have to start right now. A while back, the Pew Center held a workshop with leading scientists, economists and other analysts to discuss the optimal timing of efforts to address climate change. They each came at it from a different perspective, but the overwhelming consensus was that to be most effective, action against climate change has to begin right now. Among the reasons why:

First, current atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are the highest in more than 400,000 years. This is an unprecedented situation in human history, and there is a real potential that the resulting damages will not be incremental or linear, but sudden and potentially catastrophic. Acting now is the only rational choice under these circumstances.

A second reason to act now is that the risk of irreversible environmental impacts far outweighs the lesser risk of unnecessary investment in reducing or mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

Third, it is going to take time to figure out how best to meet this challenge. And we must begin learning by doing now.

Fourth, the longer we wait to act, the more likely it will be that we are imposing unconscionable burdens and impossible tasks on future generations.

Fifth, there is an obvious lagtime between the development of policies and incentives that will spur action and the actions themselves.

And, last but not least, we can get started now with a range of “no regrets” policies that have very low or even no costs to the economy.

We can start with the low-hanging fruit – the countless ways we can reduce greenhouse emissions at little or no cost by simply being more efficient: everything from more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, including hybrids, to energy-efficient appliances and computers, efficiency improvements in industry, and even better management of animal wastes.

In the medium to long term, the challenge is to begin what we have called a second industrial revolution. The Pew Center is just now completing a scenario analysis that identifies several technologies as essential to our ability to create a climate-friendly energy future for the United States. Among them:

  • Number one: natural gas. Substituting natural gas for coal results in approximately half the carbon emissions per unit of energy supplied, but we need policies to encourage the expansion of natural gas supply and infrastructure.
  • Number two: energy efficiency. We have the ability to dramatically improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks right now and in the very near future through a combination of advances in the internal combustion engine or through hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Number three: renewable energy and distributed generation. The potential here is enormous, but policy support will be essential in promoting investment and breaking barriers to market entry for these technologies.
  • Number four: nuclear power. Despite its problems, the fact remains that our carbon emissions would be much higher without nuclear power,
  • Number five: geological sequestration. Sequestration holds the potential of allowing for the continued production of energy from fossil fuels, including coal, even in the event of mandatory limits on carbon emissions.
  • And number six: hydrogen and fuel cells. The President’s recent announcement of a new federal commitment to fuel cell research was a welcome one, but we must have policies that will help pull these vehicles into the market.

Looking down this list, it is hard not to see that most, if not all, of these technologies would be important even in a world where we did not have this pressing obligation to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For energy security and economic growth reasons, and a wide range of environmental reasons as well, these are simply smart things to do. The second industrial revolution is not just about responding to the challenge of climate change; it’s about creating a common-sense energy future.

And how can we make that future happen? Well, for one thing, we need an effective, long-term international agreement – one ensuring that all major emitting countries do their fair share to meet this challenge. The Kyoto Protocol – despite all its flaws, and despite being rejected by President Bush – is a reasonable first step. But even as other countries move ahead to implement it, they need to be looking beyond 2012 when the 1st commitment period ends. Because an agreement that’s going to work – an agreement that can bring in not only the United States, but developing countries as well – will in all likelihood be somewhat different than Kyoto. And it’s going to take some time to get there.

The more immediate challenge, of course, is here at home. That challenge is to get serious about reducing U.S. emissions. And getting serious means recognizing that a national climate strategy that lets emissions continue to grow is really not much of a strategy at all.

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Greenhouse & Statehouse: The Evolving State Government Role in Climate Change

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Greenhouse & Statehouse: The Evolving State Government Role in Climate Change

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
November 2002

By:
Barry G. Rabe, University of Michigan

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Foreword

The current level of state activity surrounding the issue of climate change is striking. Measures that have proven controversial at the federal level, such as renewable portfolio standards and mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, have been implemented at the state level, often with little dissent.

In this report, author Barry Rabe of the University of Michigan describes a diverse array of state initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Based on case studies of nine states - Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin - the report identifies the strengths as well as the limitations of these state-level initiatives, some of which could serve as prototypes for federal programs.

A number of themes emerged from the case studies. Foremost among these is that there are multiple drivers that influence states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and states derive multiple benefits from doing so. New Jersey, for example, views climate change explicitly and comprehensively, and has integrated all sectors of the economy into programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, Texas passed an ambitious renewable portfolio standard primarily out of a desire to ensure long-term energy security for its residents, to secure its position as an "energy state," and to take advantage of increasing opportunities in renewable energy.

Indeed, state climate change efforts illustrate that climate change can be a bipartisan issue, an economic development opportunity, and an opportunity for policy entrepreneurship. But state action is not a substitute for a comprehensive national or international approach. A number of factors limit the ability of states to address climate change, including the reluctance of some states to deal with the issue, constitutional limits to their engagement in international relations, limited funding, and potential inefficiencies if states address climate change in different, incompatible ways. Rather, state leadership is getting the United States started down the path of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing learning opportunities for policy-makers. We would do well to be mindful of their successes as we work toward federal and international programs, and actively involve states in their design and implementation.

The Center and the author wish to thank Tom Arrandale, Bill Becker of STAPPA-ALAPCO, John Dernbach of Widener Law School, David Terry of NASEO, Michael Winka, Athena Sarafides, Philip Mundo, Caroline Garber, Eric Mosher, Joanne Morin, Dana Runestad, Alex Belinky, Matthew Weinbaum, and John Shea for their comments on a previous draft of this report.

Executive Summary

Most analysis of policy options to address global climate change has focused on national and international levels of governance. Even within the United States, most scholars and journalists have concentrated on federal government capacity to engage in international negotiations and formulate nation-wide policies. This emphasis has tended to overshadow a remarkably - and increasingly - active process of policy formulation evident in the American states. This report is intended to provide an overview of this aspect of American climate change policy, considering recent trends and highlighting a range of case studies that cut across traditional policy sectors.

States have been formulating climate change policy for more than a decade, although their efforts have expanded and intensified in the past several years. In some cases, states have considered climate change mitigation explicitly while in others it has been an incidental benefit. Reflective of the vast scope of activity that generates greenhouse gases, state policies have been enacted that reduce these emissions in such areas as promotion of renewable energy, air pollution control, agriculture and forestry, waste management, transportation, and energy development, among others. In almost all cases, there have been multiple drivers behind and multiple benefits from these state policies. In Texas, for example, the desire for energy independence, economic development, and air pollution control drove the state to promote renewable energy. Not all states have demonstrated interest in these initiatives and some legislatures have taken steps to prevent state agencies from pursuing any efforts that are designed to reduce greenhouse gases. Nonetheless, there has been a remarkable increase and diversification of state policies since the late 1990s, reflected in their current operation in every region of the country. Collectively, they constitute a diverse set of policy innovations rich with lessons for the next generation of American climate change policy.

Much of this report is devoted to an examination of leading examples of innovation in various sectors, from renewable energy efforts in Texas to a cross-cutting approach in New Jersey. Nine case studies are presented in particular depth, followed by supplemental cases where appropriate. These cases tend to vary markedly from one another in detail and yet are linked by common design characteristics. First, they tend to have been supported through broad, bipartisan coalitions that received significant support from diverse stakeholders. State climate change policies have been signed into law by Governors who are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Second, they regularly have viewed climate change mitigation as an economic development opportunity. State policies have been crafted to foster long-term economic well-being, which has contributed to their broad base of support. Third, they reflect abundant state-level opportunities for innovation and policy entrepreneurship, often involving state officials who build coalitions around a particular idea for new policy. Many of the most effective entrepreneurs are not particularly well known outside their respective states but have helped redefine climate change policy with their efforts.

When viewed as a collection of efforts, these initiatives outline possible elements of a long-term climate change strategy for the United States. Diffusion of innovation from one state to others is already occurring and clusters of contiguous states are beginning to consider cooperative efforts. Some of these policies may also serve as models that warrant emulation by the federal government in developing a more comprehensive strategy for the nation. This is entirely consistent with the long-standing tradition in American governance whereby states serve as laboratories for subsequent federal policy. In turn, the vigorous and creative nature of state innovation in this area suggests that any future federal policy initiatives on global climate change consider carefully the significant roles that state governments may be able to play in achieving long-term reduction of greenhouse gases.

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Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Chile

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Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Chile

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
August 2002

By:
Raúl O’Ryan, Universidad De Chile
Daniel Sperling, Mark Delucchi, and Tom Turrentine, University of California, Davis

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Foreword

Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Worldwide, transportation sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the fastest growing and most difficult to control. In Chile, where the transportation sector is growing even faster than the rest of the economy and accounts for one-third of the nation's energy use, per capita GHG emissions are relatively high and car and truck ownership rates continue to increase.

Until recently, the environmental consequences of Chile's rapid development received little scrutiny. GHG emission levels continue to be a low priority for policymakers, but severe air pollution and traffic congestion are raising awareness of the need to address transportation-related environmental problems. As one of the world's most sophisticated countries at transferring transportation infrastructure and services provision to the private sector - most are now owned or managed by private companies, and market principles are being widely used in providing traditional public services - Chile could pioneer market-based approaches to transportation and environmental challenges.

This report creates two scenarios of GHG emissions from Chile's transportation sector in 2020. It finds:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions increase 117 percent in the high, "business-as-usual" scenario but only 42 percent in the low scenario.
  • Urban transportation strategies driven by concerns over air quality, traffic congestion, and the high cost of road infrastructure investments would also have climate change benefits. Examples of these strategies are:
  • Introducing new and enhanced technology, such as converting urban buses from diesel to hydrogen fuel cell and using natural gas and small battery-powered electric cars.
  • Improving public transportation, such as integrating bus routing and fare structures, establishing exclusive bus lanes and rights-of-way, offering more comfortable buses, and significantly expanding Metro and suburban rail services.
  • Encouraging smaller cars and alternatives to car use, e.g., by implementing parking restrictions, charges, and road fees, and eliminating tax incentives for larger and inefficient cars and light trucks.
  • For interurban transportation, the main problem is inadequate road, rail, port, and airport infrastructure. Supporting rail infrastructure will restrain GHG emissions.

Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Chile is part of a five-report series on transportation sector GHG emissions in developing countries. The report's findings are based on a Lifecycle Energy Use and Emissions Model (LEM) developed by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis. It estimates CO2-equivalent GHG emissions from the transportation sector. The Pew Center gratefully acknowledges Ralph Gakenheimer and Chris Zegras of MIT, Eduardo Sanhueza of Climate Change and Development (a Chilean consulting firm), and Michael Walsh, an independent transportation consultant, for their review of early drafts. The authors also express their gratitude to Barbara Cifuentes of the Universidad de Chile.

Executive Summary

Chile is a lightly populated country of 15 million that has undergone major economic transformations. Over the past 25 years, the economy has evolved from a slow-growing, state-directed one into a fast-growing, market-oriented one. Chile's South American neighbors imitated this transformation during the nineties. In the transportation sector, as in other areas of the economy, the private sector took over many traditionally state-managed activities. Chile has undertaken more structural changes in this sector in the past two decades than perhaps any other developing country.

This report addresses changes in transportation, energy use, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts resulting from economic growth and transportation choices. It includes interurban transportation and the urban system in the capital city, Santiago. Chile is an especially interesting case study because of its enthusiastic embrace of market competition in all aspects of transportation. In particular, it has developed a franchising system by which the private sector has been encouraged to finance infrastructure development. However, during this period of economic transformation and growth, Chile has not addressed many environmental problems, including GHG emissions. The expected increase in emissions in the next twenty years is significant, and any reductions would result from indirect efforts intended to address other urban, environmental, and congestion problems.

Chile's transportation sector is growing even faster than the rest of the economy, especially in Santiago. Between 1985 and 1998, the Chilean economy increased by 2.5 times (7.4 percent per year on average) and the transportation sector by about 3.5 times (over 10 percent per year on average). Between 1977 and 1991, cars increased their share of passenger travel by more than 60 percent, while the bus share fell by 27 percent. These shifts are motivated by the strong urbanization process, with over 85 percent of the population now living in cities, and strong growth in car ownership, with one in ten persons now owning a car. Cars now account for 26 percent of travel within cities (measured as passenger-kilometers) and 41 percent between cities. Public transportation has been losing market share for decades.

The transportation sector is responsible for about 28 percent of GHG emissions in Chile. Of the total GHG emissions from transportation, 45 percent are from cars and taxis, 22 percent from trucks, 13 percent from ships, 9 percent from airplanes, 10 percent from buses, and less than 1 percent from trains. Passenger transportation accounts for about two-thirds of transportation sector GHG emissions, while about one-third is from freight. Interurban transportation accounts for over half of total emissions. Chile's policymakers at the national, sectoral, and local levels have largely ignored the environmental consequences of rapid development. A policy of "grow first, clean up later" was pursued until 1990, after which a few local environmental concerns did reach the policy agenda. Lack of interest in GHG emission reductions continues, stemming from growth-oriented thinking as well as the general understanding that Chile's impact on the global climate is small compared to major industrial nations. With only 15 million people, each using on average less than one-sixth as much energy as each U.S. resident, and with large carbon dioxide (CO2) sinks due to natural regeneration in abandoned lands and forest plantations, Chile's relative net contribution to global climate change is small. Concern for global climate change is not likely to motivate domestic policy action.

But other concerns, especially acute air pollution and worsening traffic congestion, are already motivating actions that will have a side effect of reducing growth in GHG emissions. Intensifying policy debates over motor vehicles will play a central role in determining Chile's impact on climate change. Prospective international incentives, for example from the sale of emission credits under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), would serve to support such domestic initiatives, with potentially large climate change benefits.

This report develops high ("business-as-usual") and low emission scenarios for GHGs for the next two decades. The scenarios are based upon interviews with experts and policymakers, and extensive analysis of transportation and energy data gathered from a wide range of Chilean sources. Both scenarios are premised on strong continued economic growth (5.8 percent annual GDP growth). Under the business-as-usual scenario, it is assumed that no strong actions are taken to curb GHG emissions or restrain motorization. The result, over the next twenty years, is a doubling of energy consumption and GHG emissions by the transportation sector.

In an alternative low emission scenario, changes include policies to improve public transportation and introduce cleaner and more efficient vehicles. The net effect is a 42 percent increase in GHG emissions, significantly less than in the high scenario.

It is clear, given Chile's strong economic growth, that overall national GHG emissions will increase. It is also clear that the potential exists to substantially restrain the growth in transportation emissions. This study illustrates the opportunities and benefits of laying a foundation now for a more fundamental strategy shift toward the low GHG emissions scenario. The national experience using market-based approaches to finance transportation sector infrastructure development could prove to be a useful model for implementing additional market-based initiatives that reduce GHG emissions, including international mechanisms. Indeed, policymakers and private sector partners in Chile may have the capacity to develop cost-sharing projects in which domestic goals - e.g., better transportation and local air quality - and international GHG goals can be attained.

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Designing a Climate-Friendly Energy Policy: Options for the Near Term

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Designing a Climate-Friendly Energy Policy: Options for the Near Term

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
July 2002

By:
Douglas W. Smith, Robert R. Nordhaus, Thomas C. Roberts, Shelley Fidler
Janet Anderson, Kyle Danish, Richard
Agnew, of Van Ness Feldman, P.C.

Marc Chupkam The Brattle Group

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Foreword

Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Energy use and climate change are inextricably linked. In the current national energy policy debate, choices made today will directly impact U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions far into the future. In addition, near-term energy policy decisions will affect the costs of implementing any future climate policy. Decision- makers face the challenge of crafting policies that allow the United States to meet its energy needs while acting responsibly to reduce GHG emissions. This report contributes to the debate by examining a number of "climate-friendly" energy policy options for the near term-that is, policies that would advance U.S. energy policy goals during the next few decades while at the same time contributing to efforts to curb global warming.

For this most recent report in the Pew Center's policy series, a diverse team of authors from Van Ness Feldman, P.C. and The Brattle Group has identified key elements of a climate-friendly energy policy. The authors describe important U.S. energy policy objectives, including: (1) a secure, plentiful, and diverse primary energy supply, (2) a robust, reliable infrastructure for energy conversion and delivery, (3) affordable and stable energy prices, and (4) environmentally sustainable energy production and use.

Often, these objectives are thought of as competing goals - that energy policy and security issues are in conflict with environmental objectives and vice versa. In reality, our authors find a substantial convergence between the goals of energy policy and climate policy, and that many feasible and beneficial policies from supply and security perspectives can also reduce future U.S. GHG emissions. Some key elements of a climate-friendly energy policy identified here include: increasing natural gas production and expanding natural gas transportation infrastructure; developing and deploying renewable energy technologies and efficient electricity production technologies; enhancing efficiency of automobiles and light trucks, industry, and buildings; and research and development on non-fossil fuels and carbon sequestration.

The authors caution, however, that a climate-friendly energy policy is not a substitute for climate policy. More significant GHG emissions reductions would be necessary in order to address climate change than can be justified solely on the basis of traditional energy policy objectives. The policy options outlined in this report represent sensible and important first steps in the United States' efforts to reduce GHG emissions.

In other reports and workshops, the Pew Center is evaluating options to produce more dramatic changes to the U.S. energy system, which could eventually lead us to an economy based on energy sources other than the carbon-based fossil fuels that are the primary contributors to global warming. Indeed, in the long run, we can only curb climate change by weaning ourselves of our reliance on fossil fuels.

The Pew Center and the authors wish to thank Ralph Cavanagh, David Greene, Tom Runge, Thomas Casten, and Ev Ehrlich for their comments on previous drafts of this report.

Executive Summary

Energy policy and climate policy are closely linked because the majority of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels. Energy policies can reduce CO2 emissions by, for example, increasing energy efficiency, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and shifting from high-carbon to lower-carbon fuels. Conversely, energy policies that miss opportunities to make such changes will leave unchecked the trend of increasing CO2 emissions. Consequently, energy policy decisions made today can help reduce GHG emissions in the near term and can significantly affect how costly it would be to implement any future climate policy.

The federal government is in the throes of one of its periodic comprehensive reviews of U.S. energy policy. It is likely that significant federal energy policy questions will be addressed in the near term, before the development of any climate change regulatory program. Yet, there is also the distinct possibility that the United States will eventually adopt a mandatory GHG reduction program. This report considers energy policies that can be adopted in the context of the energy policy debate, short of adopting a GHG program now, to best position the nation to reduce GHG emissions and to implement future climate change policies. These are the options that make up a "climate-friendly energy policy."

In reviewing policy options, we have identified four key objectives that drive energy policy:

(1) Secure, plentiful and diverse primary energy supply,

(2) Robust, reliable infrastructure for energy conversion and delivery,

(3) Affordable and stable energy prices, and

(4) Environmentally sustainable energy production and use.

In developing a template for a climate-friendly energy policy, we have limited ourselves to a review of energy policy options, i.e., policies that serve one or more of these objectives. We have not considered climate policies that lack a direct energy policy nexus. We have also limited ourselves to relatively near-term energy policy initiatives, i.e., initiatives that could begin to produce energy policy benefits over the next decade or two.

Climate-friendly energy policies fall into one of three general categories-policies that:

(1) Reduce GHG emissions now,

(2) Promote technology advancement or infrastructure development that will reduce the costs of achieving GHG emissions reductions in the future, and

(3) Minimize the amount of new capital investment in assets that would be substantially devalued (or "stranded") if a GHG program were implemented.

Using these guidelines, the following are highlighted as key elements of a climate-friendly energy policy:

Fossil Fuels
Increased natural gas production and expanded natural gas transportation infrastructure will lower the price and increase the availability of natural gas and, in turn, support the continued use of gas in lieu of coal in new power plants.

Electricity
Deployment of efficient electricity production technologies, including combined heat and power, fuel cells, and highly efficient power plant technologies, can significantly increase the amount of useful energy gleaned from fuels, and thus reduce both energy costs and GHG emissions.

Maintaining a role for nuclear and hydroelectric power can enhance diversity of energy supply. It also will reduce growth in fossil fuel consumption for electricity generation and may reduce energy prices.

Deployment of renewable energy technologies can help diversify the nation's energy portfolio. These technologies are environmentally beneficial-most produce little or no GHG emissions.

Building and Industrial Efficiency
Enhancing end-use efficiency in buildings and industry can reduce overall consumer costs in many cases, can reduce the need for new electric power plants, and can reduce GHG emissions related to energy use.

Transportation
Enhancing efficiency of automobiles and light trucks reduces oil consumption, and thereby mitigates reliance on oil imports and reduces GHG emissions.

Research and Development
Research and development on efficient technologies in all sectors can provide options to reduce future energy costs to consumers and future energy consumption, with corresponding GHG benefits.

Research and development on non-fossil fuels and carbon sequestration can provide future alternatives to reliance on oil and could enable continued use of coal consistent with a GHG emissions limitation.

In many areas, there is a substantial convergence between energy policy objectives and climate policy objectives. In particular, climate-friendly energy policies aim to: (1) increase the efficiency of energy use; (2) increase the use of renewable (including biofuels) and other non-emitting technologies; (3) promote the use of natural gas instead of coal or oil; and (4) encourage research and development on new energy technology.

This set of climate-friendly energy policies advances energy policy objectives. Taken together, these measures would build on the policies implemented to date to: enhance energy security by reducing growth in demand for oil, increase the diversity of the country's energy mix, strengthen the energy delivery infrastructure, and contribute to improvements in air quality without significantly increasing consumer energy costs. In addition to the policies listed above, there are other energy policy options that have no significant climate change impacts but may address central energy policy concerns and, thus, should be considered for inclusion in any comprehensive energy policy. These could include policies to increase domestic production of oil, to expand electricity transmission infrastructure, and to promote competitive electricity markets.

The set of climate-friendly energy policies discussed in this report advances climate objectives, but it does not constitute a fully elaborated climate policy. It does not produce the magnitude of reductions needed, for instance, to meet the non-binding goal set forth for the United States in the 1992 Rio Framework Convention on Climate Change, i.e., to return U.S. GHG emissions to 1990 levels. Based on the U.S. Department of Energy's analysis1 of a similar set of policy elements, it appears that this package could significantly slow the projected growth of GHG emissions, but is not sufficient to reduce energy-related GHG emissions from current levels, much less return them to 1990 levels. Moreover, trying to achieve climate goals indirectly through energy policy tools will necessarily be more expensive than achieving the same climate goals through an effectively designed, market-based GHG regulatory program covering all sectors of the economy. Instead, this is a collection of near-term energy policies that stand on their own as energy policies and would help better position the U.S. economy for possible future GHG emissions limitations.

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Press Release: New Report Identifies Climate-Friendly Energy Policy Options

For Immediate Release:  
July 24, 2002

Contact: Katie Mandes
703-516-4146

CLIMATE AND ENERGY POLICY: New Report Identifies Climate-Friendly Energy Policy Options

Washington, DC - As the national debates on energy and climate policies continue, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change today released a new report identifying a range of feasible near-term "climate-friendly" energy policy options that can satisfy traditional U.S. energy policy objectives while reducing future U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Designing a Climate-Friendly Energy Policy: Options for the Near Term examines a number of energy policy options that would advance U.S. energy policy goals during the upcoming decades while at the same time contributing to efforts to curb global warming. The report was written by Douglas W. Smith, Robert R. Nordhaus, Thomas C. Roberts, Shelley Fidler, Janet Anderson, Kyle Danish, and Richard Agnew of Van Ness Feldman, P.C., with Marc Chupka of the Brattle Group.

"As the findings in this report indicate, the notion that energy policy and climate policy objectives are necessarily at odds is simply a myth," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center. "Energy use and climate change are inextricably linked, so it makes sense for policy-makers to consider options that simultaneously advance the goals of energy policy and climate policy. Choices made in the current energy policy debate will directly impact U.S. greenhouse gas emissions far into the future. In addition, near-term energy policy decisions will affect the costs of implementing any future climate policy."

The report identifies chief U.S. energy policy objectives, including: (1) a secure, plentiful, diverse primary energy supply, (2) a robust, reliable infrastructure for energy conversion and delivery, (3) affordable and stable energy prices, and (4) environmentally sustainable energy production and use. Key elements of a climate-friendly energy policy include:

  • Increasing natural gas production and expanding natural gas transportation infrastructure;
  • Developing and deploying renewable energy technologies and efficient electricity production technologies, without weakening Clean Air Act protections;
  • Enhancing efficiency of automobiles and light trucks, industry, and buildings; and
  • Research and development on non-fossil fuels and carbon sequestration.



Part of "Policy" Series

Designing a Climate-Friendly Energy Policy: Options for the Near Term is the latest report in the Pew Center's Policy series, which focuses on effective and equitable policy alternatives both in the United States and abroad. Other Pew Center reports focus on climate change solutions, environmental impacts, and the economics of climate change.

A complete copy of this report -- and previous Pew Center reports -- is available on the Pew Center's web site, www.c2es.org.

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The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Press Release: Two New Pew Center Reports Focus on Transportation-Sector Solutions

Press Release
For Immediate Release:
May 14, 2002
 

Contact: Katie Mandes
             (703) 516-4146     

THE ROAD TO REDUCED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES:

Two New Pew Center Reports Focus on Transportation-Sector Solutions

Washington, DC - With transportation-related emissions of carbon dioxide growing at a rapid pace around the globe, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change today released two reports identifying policies and strategies that could help slow the growth of emissions in developing countries.

"If current motorization patterns prevail, there will be another 700 million vehicles globally over the next two to three decades. Establishing policies and infrastructure now to accommodate this tremendous growth is imperative, said the Pew Center's Eileen Claussen. "In the developing world, climate change is not a priority and economic and social development drive the decision making of transportation policy-makers. The key is to identify strategies that address high priority local issues while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Claussen said.

According to one of the Pew Center reports released today, Transportation in Developing Countries: An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies, transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions grew at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the developing countries of Asia between 1980 and 1998; the rate of growth for all developing countries was 4 percent. If current trends continue, the report projects that the number of motor vehicles in use around the world will double in the next 20 to 30 years, with much of the increase occurring in developing nations. Despite the projections, however, the report identifies many inexpensive and attractive options to keep emissions growth to a minimum-from improved motor vehicle technologies to the promotion of "car sharing" and other strategies.

The other report, Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for South Africa, builds on previously released Pew Center studies focusing on Shanghai, China, and Delhi, India. While projecting significant increases in transportation-related emissions of carbon dioxide in South Africa in the coming years, the report identifies public and private sector initiatives that could reduce emissions growth while easing traffic congestion and cutting air pollution.

"Our objective is not to prevent developing countries from growing or from enjoying the convenience of personal transportation," said Claussen. "Rather, the goal must be to make sure that South Africa and other countries develop transportation systems that are climate-friendly at the same time that they meet the needs of the people who use them."

Part of "Solutions" Series
Transportation in Developing Countries: An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies was authored by Daniel Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. The lead author of Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for South Africa Jolanda Prozzi specializes in transportation economics and policy analysis at the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas, Austin.

The two reports released today are the latest in the Pew Center's Solutions series, which is aimed at providing individuals and organizations with tools to evaluate and reduce their contributions to climate change. Other Pew Center series focus on domestic and international policy issues, environmental impacts and the economics of climate change.

A complete copy of this report -- and previous Pew Center reports -- is available on the Pew Center's web site, www.c2es.org/projects.

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The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is conducting studies, launching public education efforts and working with businesses to develop market-oriented solutions to reduce greenhouse gases. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of 36 major, largely Fortune 500 corporations all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center - it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.

Transportation in Developing Countries: An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies

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Transportation in Developing Countries: An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
May 2002

By:
Daniel Sperling and Deborah Salon,
University of California, Davis

Press Release

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Foreword

Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

This report focuses on transportation in developing countries, where economic and social development not climate change mitigation are the top priorities. Yet decisions on infrastructure, vehicle and fuel technologies, and transportation mode mix are being made now that will significantly affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for decades. The key is to identify strategies that address high-priority local issues while also reducing GHGs. There are many such options but no one-size-fits-all approach. Thus building the capacity of local institutions is especially critical.

Vehicle ownership rates in developing nations are low compared to wealthy ones, but lead to far worse traffic congestion and air pollution. Motorization is skyrocketing and populations increasing, stretching limited infrastructure and institutional capacity. Despite these challenges, there are many opportunities for improvement. Some have worked in the past; others could leapfrog over some of the costly and environmentally damaging paths taken by developed countries.

This overview is part of a five-report series on transportation in developing countries and draws on the four other reports on specific cities and countries. The case studies were researched and co-authored with experts from Chile, China, India, and South Africa, and estimated high and low projections of transportation emissions in 2020 compared to 2000. The case studies key findings include:

  • Rapid growth in transportation GHG emissions is unavoidable in most developing countries. The 2020 low emission scenarios in the four case studies showed only one decrease 12 percent in South Africa and up to a quadrupling in Shanghai, China. The high scenarios ranged from an 82 percent increase in South Africa to a sevenfold increase in Shanghai.
     
  • Delhi, India. Delhi demonstrates that personal mobility can be achieved at relatively low incomes but at a high economic, environmental, and social cost. With an average income of $800 per capita, Delhi has 200 motor vehicles (mostly motorbikes) per thousand people while Chile has an average income of $5,000 and only 100 motor vehicles per thousand (mostly cars). Delhis promotion of more efficient vehicle engines will go a long way in restraining emissions.
     
  • Shanghai, China. After years of deferred investment, Shanghai invested billions in its transportation infrastructure in the 1990s, balancing investments in roads and transit, integrating transportation and land use planning, and restraining vehicle ownership. But rapid economic growth, planned decentralization of this very dense city, and auto industry promotion will accelerate increases in motorization, energy use, and GHGs. Intelligent transportation systems and leapfrog technologies such as roads built for minicars are among Shanghai's options to restrain its emissions.
     
  • Chile. Chile is one of the world's most sophisticated at transferring transportation infrastructure and services provision to the private sector and could pioneer market-based approaches to transportation and environmental challenges. Examples include the sale of operating concessions, implementing vehicle fees during rush hour travel, and adjusting parking fees according to trip purpose and length of stay.
     
  • South Africa. South Africa has very high per capita vehicle ownership and GHG emissions for its income due to reliance on carbon-intensive synthetic fuels, protected vehicle manufacturing, subsidies for company cars, and land use patterns that are a legacy of the country's past apartheid policies.
     

The Clean Development Mechanism could be used to finance climate-friendly improvements such as switching to less carbon-intensive feedstock in synthetic fuel production. The Pew Center gratefully acknowledges Ralph Gakenheimer of MIT and Michael Walsh, an independent transportation expert, for their reviews of earlier drafts.

Executive Summary

Worldwide, greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster in transportation than in any other sector. Rapid motorization - more cars and trucks - is the principal cause. This report focuses on the challenges faced by developing countries in accommodating and managing motorization and the demand for improved transportation.

Enhanced mobility has many positive effects on economic development and social welfare, including more efficient movement of goods and improved access to jobs, health services, and education. However, if enhanced mobility is achieved primarily through increased reliance on conventional private cars, it can mean diverting substantial financial resources to roads and suffering worse air pollution and traffic congestion. The benefits are enormous, but the costs can also be substantial. These positives and negatives are accentuated in the developing nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Most are experiencing rapid population growth and urbanization, and many have fast-growing economies. The number of private vehicles is increasing in almost all developing countries.

The challenges posed by motorization are unprecedented for these countries. When the more developed countries were building their transportation infrastructure, their populations were small compared to those in much of today's developing world, and the cost of motorized vehicles was relatively high. Today's megacities of the developing world are already huge and still expanding. There is little time or money to build public transportation systems or to expand roads to handle the new traffic. They are already experiencing serious congestion, economic and environmental damage, and major safety problems. Yet the problems are not uniform; each city and country faces different circumstances.

This report provides a broad characterization of transportation in developing countries, identifying common challenges and opportunities for policymakers, and suggesting policy options that aim to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The most important observations of this report are the following:

  • Rapid motorization - and rapid growth in transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions - are unavoidable in most developing nations. Most developing countries today have low per capita transportation emissions, largely because few people have access to personal transportation. Rapid motorization is transforming transportation and accelerating increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
     
  • The relationship between car ownership and income is not fixed. While it is true that income is the primary force of motorization - explaining perhaps half the growth in vehicle ownership - there is much variation in vehicle ownership among cities and countries at similar income levels.
     
  • Once people have personal vehicles, they use them even if alternative transportation modes are available. This is because the variable cost of operating a vehicle is relatively low compared to the fixed cost of purchasing one.
     
  • There are many sensible policies and strategies that would slow the growth of transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. Key strategies include increasing the relative cost of using conventional private cars and enhancing the quality and choices of alternative transportation modes.
     
  • Many of the strategies for slowing and eventually reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation have local as well as global benefits. Local benefits include reduced air pollution, less traffic congestion, and lower expenditures for road infrastructure.
     

This report explores strategic paths and alternative futures that could break the link between economic and greenhouse gas emission growth in developing countries. Successful efforts underway in some developing countries - examples of which are highlighted in some of the case study reports that contributed to this overview - demonstrate that developing countries can forge a more sustainable transportation future. Is there a single city that can be looked to as a model for others? This report suggests that the answer is no. There are cities and countries that have embraced innovative and effective strategies, but none represents a universally applicable model or pathway.

Energy use and carbon emissions around the globe are increasing faster in transportation than in any other sector, and transportation emissions are increasing fastest of all in developing countries. This report does not suggest that developing nations should adopt entirely different transportation systems than currently operate in more developed countries. There is no perfect solution or leapfrog technology at hand. The reality is that most transportation modes and technologies are already being used internationally. The fundamental desire for personal transportation, and for greater mobility at lower cost, is universal. It is neither realistic nor fair to ask those in the developing world to deprive themselves of the things they need and want, from meeting their basic transportation needs to having access to cars.

Instead, this report suggests that developing countries can choose a more sustainable growth path. They can learn from the experiences of industrialized countries in crafting integrated land use and transportation plans, encouraging more efficient forms of vehicle ownership and use, and accelerating the introduction of environmentally sensible vehicle technologies and fuels. Indeed, as a 1996 U.S. National Academy of Sciences report concluded, greater reliance on nonpolluting modes of transportation in developing-country cities, coupled with the strong integration of residential and economic activities, suggests those cities may be in a position to avoid some of the most costly mistakes of transportation investment in the industrialized countries.1

However, the economies and populations of many of these cities are growing at unprecedented rates and personal vehicles are often available to people with very low incomes. Policy and investment decisions with far-reaching implications must be made quickly, or the consequences could be catastrophic economically, environmentally, and socially. But even with the greatest sophistication and best managers, the choices are not obvious. Simply replicating the choices of other cities in most cases would be ineffective. The elements of a successful transportation strategy are likely to vary greatly depending on local circumstances and institutional strengths and weaknesses.

Without new measures, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the developing world will exceed those in the industrialized world sometime after 2010. While the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions may not be a driving force for developing countries in the foreseeable future, many of the strategies that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions would also address the more immediate problems of local air pollution, access to basic transportation, and infrastructure financing pressures. This report focuses on strategies and policies that not only slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but also help achieve local priorities.  

About the Author

Dr. Daniel Sperling

Daniel Sperling is Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy, founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) at the University of California, Davis, and co-director of UC Davis's Fuel Cell Vehicle Center and New Mobility Center.

Dr. Sperling is Associate Editor of Transportation Research D (Environment), founding chair of the Alternative Transportation Fuels Committee (1989-96) of the U.S. Transportation Research Board, a recent member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences committees on Personal Transport in China (2000-02), and serves on other advisory committees and Boards of Directors for similar organizations. Recognized as a leading international expert on transportation technology assessment, energy and environmental aspects of transportation, and transportation policy, he consults for international automotive and energy companies, major environmental groups, and several national governments. He has testified numerous times to the U.S. Congress and various government agencies.

Dr. Sperling earned his Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley (with minors in Economics and Energy Resources). During 1999-2000, he was a visiting scholar at the OECD (European Conference of Ministers of Transport). He has won numerous awards, and worked as an urban planner in the Peace Corps in Honduras.

 

Daniel Sperling
Deborah Salon
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The Timing Of Climate Change Policy

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Introduction

Over the past several decades, the scientific community has arrived at a consensus that the earth’s climate is being changed by human influences, most importantly the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The most recent estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that, under a “business as usual” scenario, the average global temperature will rise 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century.1" This is a significant change: the high end of this range is equal to the change in the average global temperature associated with the end of the planet’s last ice age, 10,000 years ago. But, during that ice age, it took thousands of years to reach this level of warming — not just one century.

The virtual certainty that human influences are causing these significant changes in our climate naturally leads to the questions of what actions to take and when to take them. A previous Pew Center domestic policy brief, entitled The U.S. Domestic Response to Climate Change: Key Elements of a Prospective Program, evaluates possible policy approaches.

This “In Brief” addresses the timing of action to reduce GHG emissions. In October 2001, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change held a workshop inviting leading scientists, economists, and other analysts to discuss this question.2 The Workshop on the Timing of Climate Change Policies revealed a consensus that action to address global climate change must begin now if it is to be effective. An immediate signal that initiates action is required in order to provide a smooth and cost-effective transition to a stable concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere — a challenge that will take decades, if not generations, to meet. Workshop participants identified many compelling reasons to begin taking action now, including:

  • The reality that current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have not been exceeded during the past 420,000 years (the period for which ice core data are available) and will soon exceed a doubling of pre-industrial levels resulting in a situation unprecedented in human history with unknown consequences;
  • The potential for catastrophes that defy the assumption that damages resulting from climate change will be incremental, smooth, and linear;
  • The risk of irreversible environmental impacts (as compared to the lesser risk of unnecessary investment in GHG reduction or mitigation);
  • The need to learn about the pace at which society can begin a transition to a climate-stable economy;
  • The likelihood of imposing unconscionable burdens and impossible tasks on future generations;
  • The need to create incentives to accelerate technological development that will allow us to address the climate change problem; and
  • The ready availability of “no regrets” policies that have very low or even no costs to the economy.

This In Brief explores the points outlined above.

 

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The Emerging International Greenhouse Gas Market

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The Emerging International Greenhouse Gas Market

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
March 2002

By:
Richard Rosenzweig, Matthew Varilek, Ben Feldman, and Radha Kuppalli of Natsource, LLC

Josef Janssen, University of St. Gallen

Press Release

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Foreword

Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

As businesses, policy-makers, and other stakeholders around the world have become familiar with greenhouse gas emissions trading, it has emerged as the policy of choice to address climate change. Now—with the recent agreements in Bonn and Marrakech, with new carbon trading systems in Europe, and with private sector interest and activity across many economic sectors both here and abroad—we are beginning to see the outlines of a genuine greenhouse gas market.

In this Pew Center report, authors Richard Rosenzweig, Matthew Varilek, Josef Janssen et al. describe the various public and private programs under which many early trades have occurred, the characteristics of the emerging market including the key features of early transactions, and the potential evolution of the market given the concurrent development of domestic and international climate change policy. Case studies of actual trades between four power companies—TransAlta and HEW, and PG&E and Ontario Power Generation—help illustrate leading companies’ motivations for engaging in trading, as well as the challenges they have faced in the absence of clear guidelines in the nascent market.

Despite the impressive interest in greenhouse gas trading, the market that has developed thus far remains fragmented. For example, as originally proposed, the trading regimes put forth by the United Kingdom and the European Union differ in important respects: the former is voluntary and the latter is not; the former covers the full basket of six greenhouse gases while the latter is restricted to carbon dioxide. This results in higher transaction costs just as the market is getting off the ground. The challenge ahead, for business, policy-makers, and others, is to work together to help forge linkages between the emerging regimes, and ultimately to achieve convergence.

I am optimistic that we can meet this challenge. We are beginning to see the first glimmers of interest in the U.S. Congress, although the debate is expected to be long and difficult. Perhaps more encouraging are private sector efforts to build a greenhouse gas trading system, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange. Also, many companies have set up their own internal trading systems to “learn by doing,” and have been eager to participate in early trades. The need for certainty, for consistency, and for a level playing field all will work to encourage a merging of regimes. Policy-makers must do their best to ensure that all systems are compatible.

The authors and the Pew Center would like to thank the companies featured in this report for sharing their experiences and perspectives, and acknowledge the members of the Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council, as well as Aldyen Donnelly of GEMCo; Erik Haites of Margaree Consultants; Richard Sandor of Environmental Financial Products, L.L.C.; and Tom Wilson of EPRI for their review and advice on a previous draft of this report. 

Executive Summary

A market for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has begun to emerge over the past five years. This market is driven in large part by ongoing negotiations of an international global climate change treaty, which will likely impose limitations on GHG emissions. The market has been shaped by successful emissions trading programs established over the past decade, such as the sulfur dioxide (SO2) trading program incorporated in the U.S. Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) of 1990.

This paper describes: (1) programs and initiatives that have provided a framework for early trades and policy development; (2) characteristics of the emerging GHG market and key features of early transactions; (3) potential evolution of the market due to ongoing concurrent domestic and international climate change policy development; and (4) potential scenarios regarding the U.S. response to climate change.

Origins

Greenhouse gas trading has its origins in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Adopted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, the UNFCCC established the goal for industrialized countries to return to their 1990 GHG emissions levels by the year 2000 and a long-term objective of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” In 1995, the Parties reviewed their progress and concluded that the non-binding goal would not lead to the achievement of the Convention’s objective of atmospheric stabilization. In response, Parties agreed to pursue a complementary agreement that would establish quantified emissions limitations and reduction obligations for developed countries. This culminated in the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol in December of 1997.

The process to develop rules, mechanisms, and institutions necessary to bring the Protocol into force is ongoing, including the seventh Conference of Parties (COP-7), held in Marrakech, Morocco, during November of 2001. Though significant progress was achieved there and in previous negotiations, the Protocol has not yet entered into force, and few national governments have imposed limitations on domestic GHG emissions or established trading rules. Thus, the GHG market is evolving under a loosely constructed, ad hoc framework. To date, it has evolved from a variety of mostly project-based emissions trading programs, which have been voluntary in nature and which collectively serve as precursors to formal GHG regulation. More recently, the United Kingdom and Denmark have developed national regulatory programs.

Project-Based Programs

The UNFCCC allows industrialized countries to meet their emissions reduction commitments “jointly with other Parties” through a form of project-based emissions trading. This program became known as Joint Implementation (JI). Subsequent programs have provided practical experience with key aspects of project-based emissions trading. These programs and initiatives include the U.S. government’s Initiative on Joint Implementation (USIJI); the pilot phase of international project-based emissions trading known as Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ); Ontario, Canada’s multi-stakeholder Pilot Emissions Reduction Trading program (PERT); Oregon’s Climate Trust; the Dutch government’s Emission Reduction Unit Procurement Tender (ERUPT); and the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF), among others.

Each of these programs is governed by a unique set of rules. However, they exhibit some common elements that constitute a de facto (though non-binding) set of minimum quality criteria that govern the creation of credible emissions reductions. These common elements include: (1) establishment of a credible counterfactual emissions baseline; (2) proof of environmental additionality; (3) evidence that the reductions are surplus to existing regulatory requirements; (4) proof of permanence or durability of the reductions; (5) demonstration that the emissions-reducing project will not cause emissions to increase beyond the project’s boundaries (referred to as “leakage”); (6) establishment of credible monitoring and verification procedures; and (7) proof of ownership of the reductions.

Market Characteristics

Even though few sources of GHG emissions presently confront binding emissions limitations, a growing number of companies and governments have begun to purchase reductions generated in most part by the programs described above. Few trades of GHG emissions to date have involved an exchange of emissions permits such as “allowances” or “credits,” since these terms refer to government-issued commodities that only exist within the context of formal trading systems. Most GHG trades have taken place under a voluntary ad hoc framework involving a commodity defined by the trade’s participants and known commonly as verified emissions reductions (VERs). These carry only the possibility, but not a guarantee, that governments will allow them to be applied against future emissions reduction requirements.

The authors estimate that approximately 65 GHG trades for quantities above 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)1 have occurred worldwide since 1996. This figure includes trades of reductions as well as financial derivatives based on reductions. However, the figure probably understates actual market activity because not all trades are made public, and internal corporate trades and small trades are excluded. It is important to note also that this figure refers to purchases of emissions-related commodities and excludes countless investments in projects that either purposely or incidentally reduce GHG emissions. Prices for VERs have ranged between $.60 and $3.50 per metric ton of CO2e. Some of the price differentials between trades can be explained by differences in the features of the reductions such as their type and vintage, geographical location, and the rigor of the monitoring and verification procedures. Other factors that affect reductions’ commercial value include contractual liability provisions, seller creditworthiness, and demonstration of host country approval of the emissions-reducing project.

Two case studies provide a detailed look at actual GHG trades in this market, illustrating some of the challenges and benefits of early GHG trading as described by market participants. The first case study reviews a purchase of VERs by TransAlta, a Canadian electric utility, from HEW, a German utility. HEW generated reductions by displacing some of its fossil fuel-based generation with electricity generated by wind. The second case study examines a purchase of VERs by Ontario Power Generation, a Canadian utility, from US Gen, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based PG&E National Energy Group. US Gen created reductions by capturing and destroying methane produced at a landfill. Both case studies demonstrate that while participants benefited from these early GHG trades, the lack of clear trading rules has increased transaction costs and been a significant impediment to the development of a more robust GHG market.

National Trading Programs

Several governments have moved forward in designing domestic trading systems while international trading rules remain under development. At the national level, the United Kingdom and Denmark have each established domestic emissions trading programs. Some trading in these programs has already begun. The European Union (EU) and other countries are in various stages of domestic policy development. At the sub-national level, the state of Massachusetts, for example, will require reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and will allow sources to use trading as a means of compliance.

The development of these and other trading programs demonstrates that emissions trading has gained acceptance as a preferred policy instrument in the world’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions. These programs will boost GHG trading activity and motivate more rapid emissions abatement than if governments had waited for the international community to conclude negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol. Already, the initiation of these programs is producing a shift in the commodity that market participants prefer to trade. Some buyers’ interest is starting to shift away from VERs, whose eligibility for use as a hedge against binding emissions limitations is uncertain. Interest is beginning to shift towards government-issued permits created by the programs, which are by definition eligible for use against an emissions limitation in their jurisdiction of origin. Permits also stand a superior chance of being transferable into foreign jurisdictions for purposes of compliance.

Significant benefits have and will result from the current development of domestic trading systems. However, some adverse impacts have also resulted from the concurrent development of international and domestic climate change policy. Emissions trading systems currently in operation or under development exhibit unique features that may render them incompatible with each other. For example, the Danish and United Kingdom (UK) systems allow for trading of different gases, cover different economic sectors, and utilize different mixes of allowance and credit-based trading. To date, they have not developed rules governing interchange and mutual recognition of their tradable units with each other, which could impede or preclude beneficial cross-border transactions. There are also significant differences between each of these systems and the one being developed in the European Union. Already, the European Commission has warned that the differences in the UK and the EU systems “could create market distortions in the future.”2 Had the treaty been concluded more rapidly, the international framework would have made it easier for Parties to conform their systems leading to increased trading. Several private-sector and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) also have developed initiatives to help build the market and to create and take advantage of trading opportunities. They include the Partnership for Climate Action (PCA), the Emissions Market Development Group (EMDG), and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).

Future Outlook

Recent international agreements negotiated at Bonn and Marrakech resolve many details concerning implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, providing greater clarity to Parties developing domestic trading programs. These agreements will increase the likelihood that future domestic climate change policy measures will be consistent with the rules of the Protocol. However, several issues still must be resolved, and, although likely, the treaty’s entry into force is not yet assured. Thus, in the near future, international and domestic GHG policy will continue to develop concurrently, with the risk that incompatibilities between regional, national, and sub-national climate change policies will lead to market fragmentation and sub-optimal economic and environmental outcomes. Such fragmentation does not mean that market participants will not trade across systems. Indeed, market participants will likely devise methods of trading across jurisdictions. However, devising such structures and mechanisms will increase costs.

Prospects for a well-functioning international GHG market have greatly improved as a result of the agreements reached in international climate change negotiations during 2001. However, significant barriers remain, including the unwillingness of the United States, the world’s largest emitter, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. A qualitative analysis of several scenarios related to the United States’ future climate policy response reveals that, while in the near term the lack of an emissions constraint may provide an advantage to U.S. firms against foreign competitors confronting such constraints, continued policy uncertainty may be detrimental in the longer term.

In order for the market to achieve its intended environmental and economic results, much work remains to be done. The international community must make an ultimate decision on the legal nature of Parties’ compliance obligations with the Kyoto Protocol’s provisions and must resolve several other key issues. Institutions governing the treaty’s mechanisms must move forward expeditiously to implement the details of the Protocol. Such action will provide Parties with clear policy guidance allowing them to conform their domestic programs to international rules and to enjoy the full economic and environmental benefits of GHG emissions trading.  

About the Authors

Richard Rosenzweig
Natsource, LLC

Richard Rosenzweig provides consulting services to private firms, governments, international financial institutions, and associations on all aspects of the climate change issue, including risk management, market entry strategies, international climate change negotiations, and domestic policy development. He joined Natsource from the Washington law firm of Van Ness Feldman, where he was Principal. Mr. Rosenzweig counseled clients on Clean Air Act matters and provided strategic government affairs counsel on global climate change and energy matters. Mr. Rosenzweig has extensive experience in all aspects of emissions trading and risk management. He represented several companies in the design of the U.S. Acid Rain Program and the Nox SIP Call. Mr. Rosenzweig was involved in the first transactions of UK and Danish greenhouse gas allowances. He also assists companies to determine their risk to the climate issue and develop appropriate risk management strategies. Mr. Rosenzweig served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Energy from 1993-96. His national policy responsibilities included key roles in the development of the first U.S. Climate Change Action Plan. He also helped to negotiate voluntary agreements between the Department of Energy and more than 600 electric utilities in the "Climate Challenge" program.

Matthew Varilek
Natsource, LLC

Matthew Varilek is an emissions markets analyst in Natsource's Strategic Services unit. Since joining Natsource in 1999, he has led projects for clients including the World Bank, the European Commission, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Government of Uganda, and several multinational companies. Previously, Mr. Varilek lectured for Columbia University on international environmental agreements as an environmental policy teaching assistant at Biosphere 2 Center in southern Arizona. Mr. Varilek has a Masters degree with distinction in Economic Development from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and a B.A. with distinction in Philosophy and Environmental Policy from Carleton College, Minnesota.

Dr Josef Janssen
University of St. Gallen

Josef Janssen is an expert in financial and economic aspects of greenhouse gas emissions trading and the Kyoto Mechanisms. He is head of Emissions Trading and Climate Policy at the Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWOe) at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland (www.iwoe.unisg.ch/kyoto). He is also scientific coordinator of the European R&D project entitled "Implementing the Kyoto Mechanisms - Contributions by Financial Institutions." In early 2001, he completed his PhD in economics at the University of St. Gallen. In his PhD thesis (Risk Management of Investments in Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism Projects) he focuses on carbon portfolio risk diversification and insurance.

Dr. Janssen has advised several firms and organizations on the Kyoto Mechanisms, including UBS, Swiss Re, Sanpaolo IMI, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, and the World Bank. In 1998 he was a member of the Italian delegation to the international climate policy negotiations at the EU and UN level. Dr. Janssen frequently speaks on greenhouse gas emissions trading at international commercial and academic conferences, and has published a number of articles on this subject.  

Ben Feldman
Josef Janssen
Matthew Varilek
Radha Kuppalli
Richard Rosenzweig
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Technology and Climate Change: Sparking a New Industrial Revolution

Technology and Climate Change: Sparking a New Industrial Revolution

Remarks by Eileen Claussen, President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

American Institute of Chemical Engineers
New Orleans, Louisiana

March 10, 2002

Thank you very much. I want to thank the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for inviting me here today and for pulling together a very impressive roster of speakers. You are to be commended for taking on such a critical topic, and for having the good sense to do it at such a critical moment, as both the United States and the global community struggle to come to grips with the challenge of global climate change.

It's especially fitting, I think, that we are gathered for this meeting in New Orleans, which of all the major cities in America, is perhaps the one most vulnerable to the effects of global warming. As I am sure all of you are aware, scientists project that climate change could raise sea levels by as much as three feet by the end of this century. And since much of this city already sits well below sea level, this is no idle concern to the good people of New Orleans.

Nor is it a joking matter. But let's imagine for a moment what the future may hold for New Orleans if global warming continues unabated: Imagine, for example, all of the watering holes along Bourbon Street filled up with, you guessed it, water. Imagine the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest over-water bridge in the world, becoming, yes, the longest underwater bridge in the world. Imagine the city identified for generations as The Big Easy becoming The Big Sloppy. You like gumbo? Well, stick around long enough and you'll be up to your ankles in crawfish.

In all seriousness, global climate change is a profound challenge. Indeed, I believe it is one of the most profound challenges of our time. Meeting it will not be easy. In fact, I'd like to suggest to you today that meeting the challenge of global climate change will require nothing short of a new industrial revolution. But unlike past industrial revolutions, we can't afford to wait for this one to happen all on its own. We must make it happen. We must look to governments to help launch this revolution. We must look to the marketplace to mobilize the resources needed to carry out this revolution. And we must look to the creative minds of people like yourselves for the expertise and ingenuity needed to make this revolution a success. Because in the final analysis, our success will rest on our ability to devise new, cleaner, more efficient technologies - new technologies that can power our global economy without endangering our global environment.

Climate Change: Where We Stand Today

A little later, I'll have more to say about the kinds of technologies we will need and the kinds of policies that can help bring them about. But first let me spend a few minutes looking at where we stand today in our efforts to address climate change, both here in the United States and abroad.

The best place to start, I think, is with the science. And here, I believe, the consensus that has emerged is quite clear. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the report prepared last year by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences are agreed on three main points: 1) the earth is warming; 2) human activity is largely to blame; and 3) the warming trend is likely to accelerate in the years ahead. And the implications for the United States alone are profound, affecting everything from farming and tourism to the reliability of the water supply and the livability of our coasts.

Of course, there are uncertainties, and there always will be. But these uncertainties cut both ways. Certainly it is possible that the effects of climate change could be less than we currently project. But it is just as likely that the effects will be greater. And so I believe that uncertainty is a reason for action, rather than a reason for inaction.

How are governments responding? Let's look first at the international picture. Over the last year, we saw both the greatest success and the greatest setback since the international effort to address climate change was launched a decade ago. The success was that after years of wrangling, nations finally agreed on a set of rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, which sets the first binding international limits on greenhouse gas emissions. European nations are well on track to ratifying the Protocol. Vigorous debates are underway in Japan, Canada and other industrialized countries that face some serious challenges in meeting their targets, but the prognosis is for the treaty to enter into force either this year or next.

The setback, of course, was President Bush's outright rejection of Kyoto. I do not intend to spend any time here debating the merits of the Protocol. It's true, Kyoto is at best a modest first step on a long journey. But from my perspective, the basic architecture of the treaty is sound. In fact, it is an architecture largely designed in the United States. It uses emissions trading, a concept born and bred here in America, to ensure that emissions are cut as cost-effectively as possible. I happen to believe that the emissions target for the U.S. negotiated by the previous Administration was unrealistic. It couldn't be met. But there were ways to deal with this problem short of a unilateral withdrawal.

And what has President Bush offered as his alternative? The President has offered a promise - a promise that the United States will do really no better than it's doing right now. When you do the math, the President's goal of an 18-percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity by 2012 amounts to a 12-percent increase in actual emissions. It essentially continues the same trends we've seen over the last two decades. In other words, the target is nothing more than business as usual. On the positive side, the President has said that companies reducing their emissions should not be penalized in the event that there is a future regulatory regime requiring reductions. A first step, perhaps, but a very modest one.

Fortunately, that's not the end of the story. There are people in Washington who think climate change is a serious issue that warrants serious action. It may come as a surprise to you, but despite the Administration's lackluster efforts - or, perhaps more correctly, inspired by the Administration's lackluster efforts - there is growing bipartisan interest in Congress in doing something about climate change. Nearly twice as many climate change bills were introduced in the past year as in the previous four years combined.

These bills cover everything from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants to raising fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, boosting research and development on alternative fuels, and encouraging farmers to adopt practices that suck carbon out of the atmosphere. Several bills would establish a national system for tracking and reporting greenhouse gas emissions - an important first step. And, of course, Senators Lieberman and McCain plan to introduce legislation later this year to establish a comprehensive nationwide emissions trading system. That's a bold idea - one that frankly I can't see being enacted for some time, probably years. Still, for the first time, serious debate about how the United States should meet its responsibilities on climate change is now underway.

But what we really need, of course, is action, not debate. And I'm pleased to be able to tell you that real action is indeed taking place. To find it, though, you have to look beyond the Beltway--first, to the boardrooms and factories of major corporations that are taking it upon themselves to tackle their greenhouse gas emissions; and second, you have to look to the states and local communities that, instead of waiting for leadership from Washington, are taking up this challenge on their own.

On the corporate front, let me talk very briefly about some of the activities that are being undertaken by the membership of the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council. This is a group that now includes 37 major companies that accept the need for action on this issue and that are taking concrete steps to protect the climate. These are primarily Fortune 500 firms such as Weyerhaeuser, Intel, Boeing, Dupont, Shell and Alcoa. Together they employ more than 2 million people and generate annual revenues of nearly $900 billion.

What are these companies doing? Many are adopting voluntary targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Consider Dupont, which is working to reduce its emissions by a stunning 65 percent below 1990 levels before 2010. Alcoa's target, to cite another example, is a 25-percent reduction over the same period. Some companies are looking beyond their industrial processes. They're setting targets for reducing emissions from their products as well. Major automakers, for example, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their European fleets by 25 percent by 2005; and IBM is working to make sure that 90 to 100 percent of its computers are Energy Star-compliant. Still other companies are setting targets for their purchases of clean energy. Dupont anticipates getting 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010; and Interface is aiming for 10 percent by 2005.

We recently completed a report taking a close look at six companies - why they've taken on targets, and what their experiences have been. The companies cited several motivations: They believe that the science of climate change is compelling, and that over the long term, their climate-friendly investments will pay off. They also believe that by taking the initiative, they can help the government create climate change policies that work well for business. But each of the companies cited one other important motivation for taking on a target - to improve their competitive position in the marketplace. And that, in fact, has been the result. Each is on track to meeting or exceeding its greenhouse gas goal. Together, they've delivered reductions equal to the annual emissions of 3 million cars. And all of the companies are finding that their efforts are helping to reduce production costs and enhance product sales today.

Equally impressive efforts are taking shape at the state level as well. Over the past year, the Pew Center has worked with the National Association of State Energy Officials to gather information on state programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this month, we officially unveiled the results: a searchable database on our website describing 21 state programs that have delivered real emissions reductions. Here are just a few examples: Oregon requires that all new power plants limit or offset their carbon dioxide emissions, making it the first state in the nation to enact mandatory carbon controls. Texas requires that all its electricity providers generate about 3 percent of their power using renewable sources. New Hampshire is cutting emissions and saving $4 million a year through energy-saving retrofits on state-owned buildings. The state of Washington is battling emissions and traffic congestion by giving commuters alternatives to the single-occupancy auto. And finally, one of my favorite examples: High school students in Pattonville, Missouri, teamed up with state officials to fuel their school's boilers with methane captured from a neighboring landfill.

So what do all these examples from companies and from the states show us? First, that despite the lack of leadership in Washington, there are significant efforts underway across America to address climate change, and the momentum is growing. These efforts are delivering real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions-and, better yet, they are doing it cost-effectively. A second important lesson is that these efforts pay multiple dividends. In the case of the companies, they deliver operational efficiencies, reduced energy costs, and increased market share - all things that contribute to a healthier bottom line. In the case of the states, they deliver cleaner air, smarter growth, new energy sources, and real savings for taxpayers. A third important lesson is the sheer diversity of approaches being taken. Climate change is an enormous challenge. It has to be tackled on many fronts. If ever there were an issue that defied one-size-fits-all solutions, this is it.

New Technologies Needed

So, yes, these efforts represent a good start. But let's step back and ask ourselves, What is really needed if we are going to effectively address climate change? In the long run, I believe, the answer is clear: The only solution to climate change is a fundamental transformation in the way we power our global economy.

To keep our planet from overheating, we must dramatically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The primary source of these gases is the combustion of fossil fuels. So our goal over time must be to steadily reduce our reliance on coal and oil and to develop new sources of energy that, as I said earlier, can power our economy without endangering our climate. Yes, it is a tall order. It implies technological and economic transformation on an unprecedented scale. As I said at the outset, it demands nothing short of a new industrial revolution.

Because there are so many sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and because energy is what powers our entire global economy, there is no silver bullet technology that will solve this problem alone. The ultimate success of a climate change strategy-whether at the national or international level-will hinge on the development and deployment over time of a vast array of technologies that dramatically reduce the carbon intensity of the overall economy. That includes changes in how we produce electricity, how we get from one place to another, how we farm and manage our forests, how we manufacture products, and even how we build and manage our buildings.

Granted, none of these changes will happen overnight. Some of the necessary technologies will take years or even decades to develop and to deploy on a sufficient scale to make a difference. By the same token, however, some technologies are already showing they can make a difference and contribute to climate solutions.

What sorts of technologies am I speaking of? I think the best way to look at them is sector by sector. And, as I prepared my remarks, I tried to come up with catchy phrases to describe the fundamental challenges we face in each of the four critical sectors - electricity, transportation, buildings, and industry.

In the electricity sector, for example, I'd boil it down this way: "Here's the Fix: A Better Mix." As all of you know, we now have a moderately diversified fuel mix. I say moderately because coal still supplies 55 percent of U.S. electricity. That said, we do have a significant and growing amount of power supplied by natural gas, a significant and stable amount of nuclear energy, some hydroelectric power, a small but growing share of wind power, and a very small share of renewables. And so the challenge over time is fairly obvious: we need to shift the supply mix--not necessarily to wean ourselves entirely from fossil fuels (at least not in the near future) but to place ever-increasing emphasis on the lowest carbon fossil fuel (natural gas) while increasing our reliance on renewables.

Next up is transportation, and here my catchphrase would be: "And to Oil a Goodnight." Initially, of course, we must focus on using oil more efficiently. As the National Academy of Sciences has made clear, there are huge cost-effective efficiency gains that could be made in the near term. Ultimately, however, we face a far more fundamental challenge. We must make the transition to entirely new fuel sources, and we must build the infrastructure needed to produce and deliver them. We'll have to think big - the new hydrogen fuel cell initiative launched by the Bush Administration is a step in the right direction. But we must be careful not to pick winners too early in the race. We must explore every viable option.

In the building sector, where we use one-third of our energy, the name of the game is efficiency. And my slogan? "Smart is beautiful." Efficiency doesn't mean we all sit in the dark wearing wool cardigans. Smart technology and smart building design can deliver enormous energy savings without sacrificing comfort or quality of life. In the near term, there is much we can do to save energy - things as simple as replacing conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescents, or shutting off computers when we go home at night. Over the longer term, new designs, new materials, new equipment, and new information technologies promise remarkable gains. In design, for example, we can take much better advantage of natural shading and sunlight to enhance heating, cooling and lighting. And, in the information technology area, new sensors that monitor the use of equipment and lighting will allow us to overcome ordinary humans' failure to "just shut it off."

Finally, there is industry, which accounts for about a third of our energy consumption. And here my slogan, with apologies to Descartes, is "I rethink therefore I am." Rethinking in this case means looking at the entire life cycle of products. It means doing four things: changing inputs, redesigning production processes, reworking the product mix, and, wherever possible, reusing and recycling products so they don't have to be produced again.

Consider the life cycle of one product, aluminum, as a case in point. Alcoa has reduced the electricity required to produce a ton of aluminum by 20 percent over the past 20 years-that's from redesigning production. The company also sponsors life cycle analysis on a number of products including automotive components, beverage cans, and more, to determine how product designs and the product mix can be improved. Andit encourages recycling by supporting research alloy separation and purchasing large amounts of scrap. As for changing inputs, let's stick with aluminum but look at another industry: automobile manufacturing. A recent study showed that every ton of aluminum substituted for steel in automobile construction reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20 tons over the life of the vehicle. For automakers-and, indeed, for all of society-that should be an important incentive to rethink what goes into our cars.

Getting to Tomorrow

So there you have a sampling of some of the technologies that can help us meet the challenge of global climate change. The question is: How do we get them? What must we do now to ensure that the right technologies are in place in the years ahead?

As I said earlier, we must look to the marketplace to be the primary engine driving technology development. First, most of the changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - whether they be new products, new processes, or new sources of energy - must come from the private sector. Second, only the marketplace can redirect resources and mobilize investment on the scale needed to create a climate-friendly future. What's more, only the magic of the marketplace can ensure that the necessary goods are delivered at the least possible cost. So we must count principally on the private sector to generate, and to deliver, the broad array of technologies that will make possible this new industrial revolution.

But the market will only deliver if it perceives a demand. And for that, I am convinced, we must look to government. We must look to government, first, to set the goal - to send a clear signal to the marketplace that this is the direction we must go. We must look to government, second, to prime the pump - to provide strategic assistance that will help spawn new technologies and then move them from the laboratory to the marketplace. And we must look to government, third, to keep us all on track - to make sure we not only keep our eye on the goal, but meet it, or face clear consequences.

Let me be clear: I am not advocating a draconian command-and-control system that says do it, and do it this way, or else. We've had enough experience with such approaches to know they won't work here. Rather, I am suggesting a comprehensive but careful mix of measures that provides the private sector with the necessary incentives - and the necessary flexibility - to ensure that we get to where we need to go, and that we do it cost-effectively.

Let me be a little more specific. On the incentive side, there are a host of policy tools available: targeted tax credits or low-interest loans to encourage the development and use of energy-efficient technologies and alternative fuels; government investment in basic research and public-private partnerships that can lead to breakthrough technologies; incentives to builders and landlords to encourage the use of energy-saving materials, appliances and building methods; and incentives to farmers and other landowners to adopt innovative methods to capture carbon in soils and forests.

But incentives alone will not be enough, just as voluntary efforts will not be enough. We must also establish clear, enforceable expectations. At some point, we must resolve as a society that the risks posed by climate change are too great, and that government must mandate action to avert them. This could take the form of emissions targets or efficiency standards. In either case, we should use market-based strategies to reward those who exceed the norm - for instance, by awarding tradeable credits to those who exceed their targets or standards. But government's expectations - society's expectations - must be clear and they must be binding.

This, I would suggest, is how you launch a revolution. I won't tell you the revolution is just around the corner. But I believe in time it will come. And I believe there will be enormous opportunity for those who help lead the way. Over the past century, the chemical engineering field has made tremendous contributions to the protection of our environment. Catalytic converters, smokestack scrubbers, reformulated gasoline, and new recycling technologies are just a few of the environmental advances that owe their existence in one way or another to you and your peers. Time and again, this distinguished profession has answered the call to make the world a better place.

And today, I ask you to do so once again. As individuals who apply scientific and technical knowledge to solve problems, you have the power and the ability to help the world respond to one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. You also have the knowledge and the understanding to inform the development of forward-looking climate policies for the United States-the types of policies that will make the second industrial revolution real.

In closing, let me say once again that climate change is a problem that calls for new thinking and new approaches. And, as we gather here in a city that could be profoundly affected by this problem in the coming years, I hope we will vow together to solve it so we can leave behind a safer, more prosperous world for generations yet to come.

Thank you very much. 

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