tidbits #33

In the news / New articles / Conferences and seminars / Open positions

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In the news:

  • Good news on Hinkley Point C: EDF seems to be unsure about this investment and hopefully makes room now for the cheaper renewables and thus a better deal for the UK population. But the question is what this implies for the deals with the Chinese? If EDF really pulls out, and it looks likely, then will the Chinese take over HPC? Most likely not as HPC is too expensive even for them. And if they won’t, what will happen to the other two nuclear power plants that the Chinese were promised by the current UK government that they could build in the UK and that seemed to be tight to the HPC deal?
  • A recent study published by the European Commission once more confirms that the risk of failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is significant in the case of bioenergy; more HERE. Thus, significant amounts of bioenergy seem more and more unlikely to be one of the solutions in our policy mix to address climate change in the future.
  • The current pledged INDCs are only expected to limit climate change by 2.7-3°C by 2100. The good and bad surprises of the INDCs are summarized on EurActiv.com here: . So the question remains how countries want to organize themselves to limit emissions to achieve the 2°C target. Obviously, this is likely to require a similar framework of negotiation as the past COPs. Will it work this time round and why should it?
  • We know that around 1/3 of food is wasted worldwide. France tries to regulate supermarkets so that they don’t waste so much food. Good start, let’s see how and whether other countries catch up.

New articles:

  • Emissions reduction: Scrutinize CO2 removal methods, Phil Williamson, Nature, Issue 7589: The author argues that global warming targets such as below 2°C require Carbon Capture and Storage techniques. But we still know very little about this. The author suggests that

    “The most environmentally benign option for large-scale CO2 removal may be direct air capture (DAC)… The technical feasibility, costs and potential environmental impacts of this approach — which could involve setting up plants in remote places such as Antarctica — have yet to be investigated.”

    In fact, in a piece for Project Syndicate in 2013, I looked at the possibility for direct air capture. At that time I noted – and I doubt this has substantially changed – that

    “But the technology remains too expensive to implement on a large scale. While limited “point-source” CCS, which targets CO2 emissions from major industrial sources like power plants, is a more economical option than ambient-carbon capture, it would be inadequate to eliminate climate uncertainty even in the most optimistic scenarios.”

  • Comparing Emissions Mitigation Efforts across Countries, new working paper by William Pizer, Joseph Aldy, and Keigo Akimoto

    “We propose a framework for comparing mitigation effort, drawing from a set of principles for designing and implementing informative metrics. We present a template for organizing metrics on mitigation effort, for both ex ante and ex post review of effort. We also provide preliminary assessments of effort along emissions, price, and cost metrics for post-2020 climate policy contributions by China, the European Union, and the United States. We close with a discussion of the role of academics and civil society in promoting transparency and facilitating the evaluation and comparison of effort.”

Conferences and seminars:

Open positions:

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