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Published on January 8th, 2013 | by pressroom

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Major Cuts to Surging CO2 Emissions Are Needed Now & Not Down the Road


Transforming energy sources is critical, say UC Irvine, other researchers

Halting climate change will require “a fundamental and disruptive overhaul of the global energy system” to eradicate harmful carbon dioxide emissions, not just stabilize them, according to new findings by UC Irvine and other scientists.

In a Jan. 9 paper in Environmental Research Letters, UC Irvine Earth system scientist Steve Davis and others take a fresh look at the popular “wedge” approach to tackling climate change outlined in a 2004 study by Princeton scientists Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow. They had argued that the rise of dangerous CO2 could be stopped – using existing technologies – by dividing the task into seven huge but manageable “slices.”

Davis and his co-authors conclude that while the approach has great merit, it’s not working, and it’s not enough.

“We have enormous respect for that earlier work,” he said. “But almost a decade after ‘wedges’ made a solution to climate change seem doable, we now know that holding emissions steady, difficult as it would be, is literally a half-measure – and one that we have yet to take. Our emissions are not being held constant or even slowing; they’re growing faster than ever.”

The 2004 plan involved such tactics as doubling the number of nuclear reactors worldwide and increasing automotive fuel efficiency from an average of 30 mpg to 60 mpg. Each “wedge,” if accomplished, would after 50 years avoid 1 billion tons of carbon per year – and seven wedges combined, Pacala and Socolow estimated, would prevent the worst effects of climate change.

However, Davis and fellow authors of the new paper calculated that as many as 31 wedges could be required to stabilize Earth’s climate at safe CO2 levels and that sharp reductions in total emissions would have to begin much sooner than half a century from now.

“We need new ways to generate the vast quantities of power that we now use worldwide,” he said. “Current technologies and systems cannot provide this much carbon-free power quickly enough or affordably enough. We urgently need policies and programs that support the research, development, demonstration and commercialization of new energy.”

Source: AAAS EurekAlert 




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  • Daniel Ferra

    The Feed in Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in Renewable Energy, the California FiT allows eligible customers generators to enter into 10- 15- 20- year contracts with their utility company to sell the electricity produced by renewable energy, and guarantees that anyone who generates electricity from R E source, whether homeowner, small business, or large utility, is able to sell that electricity. It is mandated by the State to produce 33% R E by 2020.
    All major energy sources in America are subsidized, and have been for a long time, to automatically remove subsidies for Solar or Wind at this time is not benefiting us or our planet, with the worlds carbon levels at 390-410 parts per million and rising, globally emitting over 32 Gigatons of CO2 each year, causing Global Warming and life changing pollution, Renewable Energy will address these issues and start us on the road back to 350 parts per million of carbon, Thank You Bill McKibben.
    We are buying and selling clean air, all inhaling life sustaining pollution free air.
    Accurate and honest accounting will have to be fought for, Solar does not get a fair shake on our current utility protocols because rules evolved for centralized large scale plants.
    Allowing homeowners to oversize their Solar systems, is a true capitalistic tool, that will give us the potential to challenge the utility monopolies, democratize energy generation and transform millions of homes and small business into energy generators, during Sandy, Solar homes where not utilized to their full potential, because there was no disconnect and or transfer switch, to turn off incoming grid and start in home Solar power. how comforting it would be, to have mandatory transfer switches on all residential and small business renewable energy installations.
    We don’t even take into account the tremendous health cost to us and our planet, when we burn oil, coal, and natural gas, which would make them more expensive than Solar or Wind. We need a National Feed in Tariff, for Solar and Wind, with laws that level the playing field, this petition starts with homeowners in California. Japan, Germany, and our state of Hawaii, will pay residents between 21- 54 cents per kilowatt hour, here in California they will pay us 5 cents per kilowatt hour, and they wont let us oversize our Solar systems, want to change our Feed in Tariff? Campaign to allow Californian residents to sell electricity obtained by renewable energy for a fair pro-business market price. Will you read, sign, and share this petition?
    http://signon.org/sign/let-california-home-owners

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