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Global Change Research II: Some Keys to the Climate/Energy Crisis

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Global Change, Energy Issues and Regulation Policies

Part of the book series: Integrated Science & Technology Program ((ISTP,volume 2))

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Abstract

This introductory chapter analyzes the deep interaction between the environmental crisis (climate change, urbanization/land use, exhaustion of resources, and degradation of ecosystems), energy production, conversion and use, and global regulation policies. It first recalls the main conclusions of the June 2010 Global Change Research II, Porquerolles Conference (environmental degradation related to energy production, links between energy and human needs, energy and environment, interface among technologies, science, and society). It explains the architecture of the book, which fairly faithfully follows the conference plan, including new contributions that were not presented at the conference. It brings some particular comments about climate change and exhaustion of resources, the relationship between basic science and the development of sustainable energy technologies, between global and local environmental policies: technologies, economy, law. The conclusions emphasize five technological keys (and their main issues) to the solution of the energy/environmental crisis: improvement of energy efficiency and savings, green electricity production (if new storage technologies are available), nuclear energy (if its sustainability is increased), carbon management, energy vector use optimization (biofuels if the planet alimentation is not threatened, emergence of the hydrogen society, smartgrids). Finally, last but not least, a sixth key is to be found in the domain of humanities and social sciences, law, politics (negotiations at international level, financial rules, etc.). It also emphasizes the need for basic science research for providing breakthroughs in the field of energy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This GCR II 2010 Conference was organized by the ESF (European Science Foundation), the FMSH (Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’homme, Paris), the FMSH “Entre-Sciences Program,” the UPCAM (University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, now Aix-Marseille Université), and supported by ESF, FMSH, UPCAM, ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), EDF (Electricité de France), and CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research).

  2. 2.

    Energy-related CO2 (29 Gt) emissions represent, in 2009, 67 % of all GHG (43 Gteq CO2, including N2O, CH4, F-gases (with Fluor) and land use, land use change, and forestry, LULUCF) and contribute to 365 ppm for a total of 430 ppm equivalent CO2 (all GHG being converted into equivalent CO2).

  3. 3.

    Key points of the Stern Report: All countries will be affected by climate change, but the poorest countries will suffer earliest and most. Warming of 2 °C could leave 15–40 % species facing extinction. Warming of 3 or 4 °C will result in many millions more people being flooded. By the middle of the century 200 million may be permanently displaced due to rising sea levels, heavier floods, and drought. Warming of 4 °C or more is likely to seriously affect global food production. Average temperatures could rise by 5 °C from preindustrial levels if climate change goes unchecked. Before the industrial revolution the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm) CO2 equivalent; the current level is 430 ppm equivalent CO2. The level should be limited to 450–550 ppm equivalent CO2.

  4. 4.

    Energy-related CO2.

  5. 5.

    All GHG gases are concerned and the effects of non-CO2 ones are converted in equivalent quantities of CO2.

  6. 6.

    ITER is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering project currently building the world’s largest and most advanced experimental tokamak (a device using a magnetic field to confine a plasma in the shape of a torus) nuclear fusion reactor at Cadarache in the south of France. The ITER project aims to make the long-awaited transition from experimental studies of plasma physics to full-scale electricity-producing fusion power plants.

  7. 7.

    Nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) refers to a set of policies and actions that countries undertake as part of a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (see Chap. 13). The term recognizes that different countries may take different nationally appropriate actions on the basis of equity and in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It also emphasizes financial assistance from developed countries to developing countries to reduce emissions.

    Project-based carbon finance. This is the “conventional” carbon finance window, where the facility will target LDC project opportunities. These projects are taken through the CDM/JI mechanisms and will have a particular focus on programmatic approaches.

    Sectoral crediting and trading mechanisms. This is an “emerging” carbon finance modality, in which financing can be applied across an entire industrial sector (e.g., steel, or cement production, or aviation).The aim of sustainable development policies and measures (SD-PAMs) is to encourage the development of policies that contribute to developing countries’ economic and social objectives, with the possibility of lowering GHG emissions at the same time. As indicated in the name Non Lose in SD-PAM, no penalties are incurred in case of failing to meet a target, but emissions reductions achieved beyond the target level earn emissions reduction credit.

Abbreviations

ADEME:

Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (France), French Environment and Energy Management Agency

ALPF:

Australia Low Pollution Future

AR4:

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007)

BAU:

Business As Usual

BES:

Basic Energy Sciences

BESAC:

Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (US DOE)

CC:

Climate Change

CCR:

Carbon (CO2) Capture and Recycling

CCS:

Carbon (or CO2) Capture and Storage

CDM:

Clean Development Mechanism

CM/JI:

CDM Joint Implementation

CNG:

Compressed Natural Gas

CNRS:

French National Center for Scientific Research

CSP:

Concentrated Solar Power

DAFC:

Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells

DC:

Developing Countries

EC:

Emerging Countries

EDF:

Electricité de France

EERA:

European Energy Research Alliance

EPO:

European Patent Office

ESF:

European Science Fundation

FMSH:

Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (House of the Sciences of Man Foundation)

GCR:

Global Change Research

GDP:

Gross Domestic Product

GdR:

Group of Research (CNRS tool for creating a consortium of laboratories)

GHG:

Greenhouse Gases

Gt:

Gigaton (= 1 million ton)

GT3A:

Groupe de Travail sur les 3A (CNRS), CNRS Working Group on 3A (Agriculture – Alimentation needs – Agrofuels)

GteqC:

Gigaton of Carbon Equivalent

Gteq CO2 :

Gigaton of CO2 Equivalent

HEQ:

High Environmental Quality

IC:

Industrialised Countries

IEA:

International Energy Agency

IPCC:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

LDC:

Least Developed Countries

ITER:

International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor

LED:

Light Emitting Diodes

LULUCF:

Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry

Mtoe:

Megaton of Oil Equivalent

NAMA:

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action

NSSSEF:

New Science for a Secure and Sustainable Energy Future

OECD:

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

OFCE:

Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques—The French Economic Observatory

PACTE:

CNRS GdR Piles à Combustible Tout Electrolyte (All Electrolyte Fuel Cell) http://www.gdr-pacte.cnrs.fr/

PATSTAT:

EPO/OECD World Patent Statistical Database

ppm:

Part per Million

PCFC:

Proton Ceramic Fuel Cells

PEMFC:

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

PV:

Photovoltaics

RFC:

Reasons For Concern

SAMFC:

Solid Alkaline Membrane Fuel Cells

SD-PAM:

Sustainable Development—Policies And Measures

SOFC:

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

TAR:

IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001)

Three-ME:

Multisector Macroeconomic Model for the Evaluation of Environmental and Energy policy

UNFCCC:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

UPCAM:

University Paul Cézanne Aix Marseille III

WHO:

World Health Organization

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Saulnier, J.B., Varella, M.D. (2013). Global Change Research II: Some Keys to the Climate/Energy Crisis. In: Saulnier, J., Varella, M. (eds) Global Change, Energy Issues and Regulation Policies. Integrated Science & Technology Program, vol 2. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6661-7_1

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