2011-11-11 11:25:15The IEA World Energy Outlook 2011
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188

Here's my take.

The IEA kindly gave me permission to use up to five diagrams provided I attributed them (which is why I've added some text on each one).

Comments, please.

2011-11-11 12:39:13comments
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.101.55

Good job Andy.  A few comments:

Couple typos in the 450 scenario section: "For example, the 450 Scenario envisages developed-country carbon taxes in the range 420-45 per tonne in 202"

I made a few formatting and other minor edits.  The postscript is interesting, but not an ending with a big impact.  I'd suggest just making that a regular section (eliminate the 'postscript'), and then finish with a strong conclusion, perhaps using our IEA vs. IPCC emissions graphic:

IEA vs. IPCC CO2

And maybe show graphically where we're headed in the business-as-usual (A2) and more proactive (B1) scenarios:

AR4 A2 and B1

2011-11-11 14:23:46
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188

Thanks for the comments, Dana. I have fixed the typos and rearranged the ending. I always seem to end my first drafts with a whimper.

I'd love to compare these scenarios with the IPCC scenarios but I'm hesitant.

For one thing, they go out to 2035 only and I don't want to extrapolate them. Especially when it comes to temperatures.

It would take some effort to graph up the IPCC scenarios and the IEA scenarios and I'd be worried that I'd screwed something up, picking the wrong numbers, comparing apples and oranges.

I'm not sure it would add to the take away point.

2011-11-11 18:49:03
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.199.23

Typo under figure 1 - "pplying carbon taxes" = applying.

Looks good (not that I know much about this topic).

2011-11-13 06:58:24
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188

Thanks, Rob. Fixed.

Actually, I'm looking for feedback from people who don't know much about the topic because that's who I'm writing for.

2011-11-13 07:25:05
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.108.146

Perhaps explain what the so-called "Golden Age of gas" really means. That's fracking, right? What's so golden about poisoning the water table?

2011-11-13 09:18:20
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188

Yeah, that's the IEA's own pretty dumb title. I note that in the text they abbreviate the "Golden Age of Gas Scenario" as "GAS" rather than the more correct "GAGS". Snigger.

I'll add something to my text, noting environmental concerns about fracking and that the Gold may be a little tarnished. But I don't really want to sidetrack this article into discussions on the merits or otherwise of fracking (or nuclear or Peak Oil or CCS). The main and important point the IEA report makes is that we need to take action on emissions very quickly.

2011-11-13 09:20:44
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.108.146

Yeah, it's always a fine line to tread between addressing an issue that will likely pop up in comments, and not getting side-tracked. I reckon a short sentence would suffice. 

2011-11-13 09:31:04Suggested revision
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

The second sentence of the first paragraph now reads:

"The study incorporates the most recent data on global energy trends and policies, and investigates the economic and environmental consequences of three scenarios up to 2035."

Change to:

"The study incorporates the most recent data on global energy trends and policies, and forecasts the economic and environmental consequences of three policy scenarios over the next 23 years to 2035."

2011-11-15 04:29:55Need to get this article posted pronto
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

The IEA report is getting a lot of traction in the business media throughout the world. For example click here to access an AFP article, "World has five years to avoid severe warming" posted on Pakistan's Business Recorder.

Let's post Andy's article ASAP!

2011-11-15 05:33:00
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

It's on the schedule for tomorrow.  Andy and I are also working on a follow-up post.

2011-11-15 09:02:10
rustneversleeps
George Morrison
george.morrison2@sympatico...
198.96.178.33

I have to go check my notes from past years, but it seems to me that the IEA WEO's for the last few years that discuss a "450 Scenario" are completely delusional about what it will take.

For instance, look at Figures 2 and 3 in Andy's post. Under the 450 scenario, global carbon emissions fall from ~ 31 GtC in 2010 to ~ 22 GtC in 2035. A decline of about 30% in 25 years. Or, about 1.4% reduction per year.

But even back-of-envelope calculations show that this has essentially no hope of holding us below 450ppm. Right now we are rising at about 2ppm CO2/yr. So a 70% reduction to 1.4 ppm/yr would mean about an average of 1.7ppm/yr over the period. Or an extra 42ppm. So call us at ~ 432ppm in 2035, assuming no nasty carbon cycle suprises.

So, there you are in 2035 with a remaining budget of about 18 ppm in the atmosphere. Forever. And still emitting at about 70% of 2010 levels, and adding about 1.4 ppm/year.

Does anyone here think that there is a plausible post-2035 emissions pathway given that scenario that can stay below 450ppm?

Here! Let's play!

During the next 20 years, we really get serious and drop emissions steadily to zero! That means we will average about 0.7ppm additions over the period, or 14ppm total. Phew! Just made it! 'Course, we had to abruptly step-up our emission reduction rate in 2035 from about 1.4% per annum to closer to 20% per annum and keep it up for 20 years, even after we've exhausted the long-hanging fruit, but hey! Don't be such a spoil sport!

It's just more collective denial. Someone here recently posted an updated presentation by Kevin Anderson. I encourage people to check out iTunes for his 4 degrees conference presentation at Oxford 2 years ago. We have to get on this stuff way, way earlier, way, way faster to have any hope at 450ppm or 2C. The IEA should be called on this. Far from being a "scary" suggestion that "we only have 5 years left", it's just more feel-good nonsense that pushes the day of reckoning out another few decades...  

2011-11-15 09:28:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

rust - Andy and I are working on a follow-up post to this one.  I actually get 437 ppm CO2 by 2035 in the IEA 450 ppm scenario.  So thereafter we only have 13 ppm to work with...

My comment to Andy was that the IEA is very optimistic to think we can accomplish that.  They allow for ~1.2 trillion tons of CO2 emissions by 2050 whereas the Australian Climate Commission only budgeted 1 trillion tons by 2050 to prevent 450 ppm or 2°C warming.

Being realistic, I don't see us making these targets.  I think we're almost sure to surpass 450 ppm, and it's really going to become an issue of minimizing the margin by which we surpass it.  It's not like if we hit 451 ppm the planet is going to spontaneously combust - these aren't hard and fast targets.  But of course there's also the fact that many like Hansen think even 450 is way too high.

Anyway, we'll discuss this stuff in the follow-up post.

2011-11-15 13:54:03
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188
Rust, I agree that there's no plausible pathway to 450. Indeed my personal view is that there's almost no chance of making the base case, my "to summarize" comment in the early section on the scenarios is still a little snarky even after I toned it down after my first draft. My guess is that the IEA doesn't even consider the 450 scenario to be realistic, involving as it does substantial deployment of CCS and some growth in nuclear. I actually think that this case is pure advocacy. My goal here was to liberate some graphs from the report and describe the argument and underline the main message: get a f$&@ing move on, all you time-servers and chin-strokers who are going to Durban. There's a lot to criticize the IEA for but I think we should count our lucky stars that we've got an international organization of energy economists who are prepared to stick their necks out and advocate quite strongly for immediate action on climate change.