CDMC Seminars - 2008

December 12, 2008
Patrick Atkins
CEO, Atkins 360; and Adjunct Professor, EPP, Carnegie Mellon University

"Greenhouse Gas Management in the Aluminum Industry: Opportunities and Limitations"

December 2, 2008
Klaus Keller
Associate Professor, Penn State University

"Abrupt Climate Change: Would We See It Coming Early Enough?"
Model simulations as well as the geological record suggest that the Earth System can change abruptly and with little warning time between different basins of attraction in response to small and smooth forcing. One example of such a climate threshold response is a potential collapse of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the MOC sensitivity to anthropogenic forcing is deeply uncertain.

Here we analyze two main questions: (i) Would the currently implemented MOC observation system deliver an actionable early warning sign of MOC changes before the system has been committed to a threshold response? (ii) How could the MOC observation system be improved to deliver earlier and more precise warning signals?

We analyze model simulations of future MOC responses to show that a continuation of the currently implemented MOC observation system may well fail in the task of early MOC change detection, let alone in the task of skillful prediction of an MOC threshold response before the forcing threshold has been crossed. This is because the currently implemented ocean observation system observes too infrequently and the observation errors are too large for this task. More frequent observations, increased observation precision, and additional tracer observations (e.g., concentrations of dissolved oxygen or chlorofluorocarbons) would likely result in earlier detection and more skillful predictions, but would require considerable investments to improve the current climate observation systems.

We shown that the economic value of information associated with a confident and early prediction of an MOC threshold response could exceed the costs of typically implemented ocean observation systems by orders of magnitude. One open challenge is to identify a feasible observation system that would enable such a confident and early MOC prediction across the range of possible MOC responses.

November 14, 2008
Greg Leamon
Project Leader for Greenhouse Gas Advice, Australian federal government agency Geoscience Australia

"Overview of Australia's Offshore Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation"

October 29, 2008
Jette Kraus
PhD Candidate, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

"CO2 Emission Reductions from Passenger Cars in Germany – A Bayesian Network Approach"

October 3, 2008
Shailesh J. Mehta
Professor, School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

"Developing Climate Policy – Experiences from India"
Anand Patwardhan, EPP Alumnus, Carnegie Mellon University

September 26, 2008
Trevor Houser
Director, Energy & Climate Practice, Rhodium Group

"Leveling the Carbon Playing Field: Addressing Climate Change in a Global Economy"
Momentum towards federal climate policy is building in the US and the international community has kicked off a new round of climate talks. In both crafting national legislation and negotiating national targets, policymakers are grappling with how to address the role of international trade and investment in either advancing of impeding progress towards addressing climate change. Washington and Brussels are concerned that aggressive action to reduce emissions, in the absence of similar steps by China and India, will put industry in the developed world at a competitive disadvantage and undermine the effectiveness of policy as that industry migrates abroad. Beijing and Delhi argue that much of their emissions already come from exports to the West, for which the US and Europe should shoulder the burden. Trevor Houser will address how globalization is shaping the carbon footprint of major emitting countries, how it impacts both national climate policy and international climate negations and what it means for the global trading system in the years ahead.

May 15, 2008
Josh Stolaroff
AAAS Fellow, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, US Environmental Protection Agency

"A Systems View of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Role of Prevention-oriented Mitigation Options"
In the last five years, several potential technologies for ambient carbon capture have been identified, including several new chemical pathways for sorbant regeneration and electrochemical methods of sorbant regeneration. Preliminary estimates place the long-run cost of carbon capture below 150 $/ton-CO2 for several methods.

At the same time, new applications of air capture have been identified, such as production of synthetic liquid fuels. Implications for the climate policy debate continue to be circleussed with several new arguments in play.

This seminar will summarize the main points made and lessons learned at the Second Air Capture Working Group Meeting held last week.

May 8, 2008
Ananth Chikkatur
Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"Towards Sustainable Coal Power in India"
As one of world’s fastest growing economies, India’s appetite for energy has been steadily increasing. At the same time, India faces several different energy challenges. This talk will focus on the role of coal in meeting India’s current and future energy needs, particularly in power generation.

India stands poised on the edge of significant growth in coal power, and it is critical now to assess how increasing coal use fits into the larger sustainability aspirations of the country. While global circleussions on coal and sustainability are primarily focused on cleaner coal technologies and greenhouse gas mitigation, coal use in India is embedded within a more complex environment. The talk will highlight the various challenges and constraints in the Indian coal power sector and the role of advanced technologies in meeting the key challenges. Finally, policy options for transitioning the Indian coal-power sector onto a cleaner and more sustainable path will be circleussed.

April 28, 2008
Tseming Yang
Professor, Vermont Law School and Sun Yat-Sen University

"Environmental Law in China"
With additional presentations by Jingjing Liu, Mark Qiu, and Danni Liang

Professor Yang will provide a background overview of China's Climate Change Programme and environmental regulatory system; Jingjng Liu will circleuss dispute resolution in China and environmental mediation; Professor Liang will explain environmental issues raised by expropriation and arbitration provisions in China's Bilateral Investment Treaties; and Mark Qiu will examine the recent reorganization of China's central government structure

March 19, 2008
Elmar Kriegler
Visiting Researcher, EPP: CDMC, Carnegie Mellon University; and Post-Doctoral Researcher, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

"The Role of Carbon Dioxide Capture from Ambient Air for Achieving Ambitious Climate Protection Targets"
CO2 capture from ambient air acts directly on the atmospheric CO2 concentration, and thus provides increased leverage to control the carbon cycle. We ask the question whether and to what extent CO2 air capture would be utilized for achieving ambitious temperature and concentration targets in an interactive climate-economy system, if it becomes available in addition to conventional mitigation options: increasing energy efficiency, substitution of fossil fuels, and carbon capturing and storage at point sources. The analysis is conducted with the coupled climate-economy-energy model MIND1.2 that allows the calculation of cost-effective mitigation policies under climate constraints. The model was upgraded with a stylized CO2 air capture module based on the work of Josh Stolaroff and David Keith (J. K. Stolaroff, Capturing CO2 from ambient air: A feasibility assessment, PhD thesis, Carnegie Mellon University). The upgraded model is used to explore the cost-effective use of CO2 air capture vs. conventional mitigation options for various climate sensitivities and socio-economic parameters.

February 5, 2008
Ines Lima Azevedo
PhD Candidate, EPP:CDMC, Carnegie Mellon University

"Realistic Regional Energy Efficiency and Conservation Supply Curves for the US Residential Sector: First Steps"
Global climate change is becoming an increasingly important problem and an enormous amount of effort has been devoted to understanding potential mitigation policies. In addition to climate change, concerns of affordability, security and reliability of energy supply provide grounds for directing attention towards energy efficiency and conservation. Although energy efficiency and conservation strategies are now beginning to be included in the portfolios of carbon mitigation strategies, there is still large uncertainty concerning the magnitude of the impact that conservation could achieve and the associated cost of implementation of such strategies. This work provides a first attempt to model energy efficiency potential savings and respective costs for the US residential sector, up to 2030, at the Census Division level. The model has several particular features: (i) it accounts for different agents' perspectives on the cost of efficiency; (ii) it is built in a modular form, to facilitate its posterior implementation in Analytica® and the subsequent addition of new data; (iii) it provides a user interface to allow a change in the main parameters of the model. The model is at an early stage of development. Over time as better data become available and the model is refined, it should be possible to improve the results.

January 24, 2008
Kurt Waltzer
CCS Coordinator – Coal Transition Project, Clean Air Task Force

"Developing CSS from the Ground Up"
As the first large scale commercial IGCC to receive regulatory approval for rate recovery, Duke Energy’s proposed 630 MW IGCC and partial-capture CCS project at Edwardsport provides an interesting ground-up opportunity to consider issues relating to the siting, development, and operation of a CCS project. This briefing will focus on several of those issues, including rate recovery approval for carbon capture, development of regulations for storage, development of liability mechanisms, and pipeline development. In addition, it will provide Clean Air Task Force’s perspective on the strategic importance of projects such as the proposed Edwardport IGCC facility, and explain CATF’s decision to intervene in the rate case and support this advanced coal technology facility.

January 11, 2008
Felix Dayo
Managing Director/CEO, Triple 'E' Systems Associates Ltd., Lagos, Nigeria

"CDM Opportunities in Sub-Saharan African Countries: A World Bank follow-up to the Nairobi Framework"


Climate Decision Making Center 2009