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Walter Orr Roberts Memorial Public Lecture: How Society Can Meet the Paris Agreement

Date: 
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Authored by: 

A new energy system is emerging. The Paris Agreement has sent a signal around the world: climate change is a serious issue that governments are determined to address. By 2070 there is the potential for a very different energy system to emerge. The Sky Scenario, developed by Shell, outlines what they believe to be a technologically, industrially, and economically possible route forward, consistent with limiting the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C from pre-industrial levels. It reveals the potential for an energy system to emerge that brings modern energy to all in the world, without delivering a climate legacy that society cannot readily adapt to. But while encouraging news, success towards the Paris Agreement aim is not guaranteed. The Sky Scenario relies on a complex combination of mutually reinforcing actions by society, markets and governments. It recognises that the necessary changes will unfold at different paces in different places, and must ultimately transform all sectors of economic activity. The changes are economy-wide, sector-specific, and amount to re-wiring the global economy in just 50 years.

Chapters (found at the lower-right corner of the video):
1. Beginning (00:19)
2. Early 20th century perspective (01:33)
3. 1912 newspaper article about coal combustion and climate change, 1896 Arrhenius' paper on doubling CO2 and global temperature increase (02:09)
4. Visualizing a metric ton of carbon dioxide, visualizing a daily amount (107 million tons per day) of emissions (03:50)
5. Mauna Loa CO2 record since 1958, now over 410 ppm with an increasing rate of rise (04:50)
6. Resulting rising surface temperature trend since 1950 of about 0.2°C per decade (05:31)
7. Image of 5 minutes of global coal production as represented in equivalent freight train cars (07:00)
8. Figure of global energy system in 2020 as 80% fossil fuels (07:30)
9. False starts such as the electric car in the early 20th century (09:30)
10. Paris Agreement of 2015 and its goals, 25 years in the making, sea level rise with 1.5°C vs 2.0°C goal (10:40)
11. Figure of negative emissions needed to meet Paris Agreement in second half of century (12:48)
12. National Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the Paris Agreement and improvement process every 5 years (14:39)
13. Attributes of existing energy system, persistence of coal, stalled technologies, demand growth (16:24)
14. Scenarios as a tool to explore possible futures (not a forecast) (19:52)
15. The Sky Scenario within a family of scenarios, concept of mechanisms to share common interest (e.g. the UN at grand scale or AGCI at smaller scale), nation state inconsistencies (21:03)
16. 5-year increments of review for NDCs (23:20)
17. Six components of Sky Scenario (carbon pricing, energy efficiency, electrification, new energy deployment, carbon capture/storage, and ending deforestation) all with new societal engagement (26:27)
18. Carbon pricing in Sky, $65/ton CO2 by 2030 (27:08)
19. Energy efficiency, doubling sequence needed (28:01)
20. Electrification, e.g. electric cars (29:51)
21. New energy systems (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, etc.), peaking of fossil fuels but persistent uses, emerging role of hydrogen/fuel cells/aviation (32:42)
22. Carbon capture and storage (CCS), Bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) (38:03)
23. Figure of Sky in 2020 (41:17)
24. Figure of Sky in 2050 (42:50)
25. Figure of Sky in 2070 with no net emissions to atmosphere (44:05)
26. Figure of Sky in 2100 with negative emissions (draw-down from the atmosphere) (44:43)
27. End of deforestation (45:16)
28. Decline in non-CO2 greenhouse gases, e.g. nitrous oxide, methane, non-fossil CO2, etc. (45:50)
29. Plugging Sky assumptions into a climate model with results below 2°C by 2100 and results for less aggressive scenarios, role for massive reforestation to achieve 1.5°C (46:55)
30. Summary of present system today compared to the Sky Scenario (50:00)
31. How to download the report on the Sky Scenario: www.shell.com/skyscenario (51:50)
32. End (52:27)