Dr. Holdren comments at MIT Energy Conference - 4/13/09

by Ginosar  

My brief free-style selective notes of Dr. Holdren presentation from the Web video of the MIT Energy conference  4/13/09, (All dimensions are metric)

Present, Congressman Ed Markey, Chair of House select Comm. On  Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Dr. Holdren comments:

All negative impacts of GW are rising at or above the rates predicted by IPCC

Tipping points could occur rather sooner than later

Increase rise in desertification, more intense fires and timber loss

Increase ocean temperature

Business as usual: 2degrees C rise by 2050 and 3 C degrees by 2100

Arctic ice disappears faster than expected.

One to 2 meter rise in sea level in a century

Permafrost degradation increasing

More acidification of the oceans

GHG 515 ppm by 2065


We have three avenues:

1. Mitigation, reduce GHG,

2. Adaptation

3. Suffering, when the two above fail


There is no possible way that we can mitigate GW. We have to adapt, GW is here, now.

Adaptation becomes more difficult and costly with time

If we stabilize GHG at 500 ppm there is a 50% chance that we may stay below 3 degrees rise, and unlikely to avoid unknown critical events

At 450 ppm, we have a 50% chance of staying below 2 C degrees. A much more prudent approach but not guaranteed.

We need for US and other industrial countries to level off GHG by 2015 and reduce to 80% BELOW 2000 levels by 2050

To be below 450 ppm CO2 equivalent the world need to reduce its release by some 7 to 9 billion tonnes below current levels. It is a reduction of 20-25 % of current emission level.

Examples how to reduce one billion tonnes:

1.   Two Billion cars fleet at 60 mpg

2.  CCS on 800 One GW size coal power plants

3.  700 new wind farms with one million, 1 MW wind machines each

4.  2000  one MW photovoltaic stations

5.  Deforestation cut by one half

If By 2030 we will be still in business as usual mode, all the more economical approaches to reduce GHG will be gone.

First - Improve efficiency- the fruits on the ground, After that cost rise. All other avenues are more costly to do.

1. First remove barriers to conservation

2. Incentives to overcome resistance

Cap & Trade

3. Supporting R&D by $150 billions over 10 years for energy and environment


Q & A of Dr. Holdren:

Congressman Markey Q to Holdren:

We should do it similar to President Kennedy and The Moon mission.

Holdren Answer:

In 1961 I was a freshmen at MIT and remember the period.

This is a more difficult effort, more than Apollo, more than Manhattan project. More complex and vast technology.


From 1970 to 2005 we cut our energy use per GDP by half

Must have CCS - many think it is sure to work - we must have low leak rate and capacity for immense amount of CO2.

We need cheaper PV cells, cheap as paint.

Nuclear energy should be used.

Fusion is always 40 years away.



No feedback yet

Form is loading...