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Vattenfall: Curbing Climate Change Would Cost 0.6% of Global GDP

19 January 2007

Vf1
Vattenfall has published its map on an interactive website. Click to enlarge.

A new study released by European energy company Vattenfall concludes that curbing climate change through a sustainable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is technically and financially feasible if existing technical solutions are applied consistently—and globally.

Vattenfall’s Global Climate Impact Abatement Map shows that the cost of stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases at 450 ppm by 2030 in an attempt to limit global average temperature increase to 2° C is equivalent to approximately 0.6% of the total gross world product—on condition that all the identified potential is exploited.

The study maps total global reduction potential, analyzed by six major commercial sectors—power, transport, industry, forestry, buildings, and agriculture—and by six major world regions—Europe OECD, North America, China, other industrial countries, transition economies, and the rest of the world.

Vf2
Transport sector. Click to enlarge.

Vattenfall concluded that the transport sector, which under the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario would contribute 8.8 Gt (15%) of CO2e of the global 58.2 Gt in 2030, could reduce its emissions by 2.8 Gt. That would represent a 32% reduction in emissions compared to BAU. Transportation would then be responsible for 19.5% of the reduced 31.5 Gt of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to Vattenfall. (Chart at right.)

Vattenfall presented its Global Climate Impact Abatement Map at a conference in Berlin on Thursday.

What we are presenting in Berlin here today is an outline of a first global map for measures to curb the climate change. Now we must jointly embark on a voyage of discovery on which we gather new knowledge and new information that we can use to further refine this map. Already today, however, we can see that the active protection of the climate is not a utopia – it is possible with the technology we now have at our disposal, and this technology can also be improved. We must immediately set up a global policy framework to enable us to exploit the potential described here. One absolutely vital precondition is that we put a binding global price on the emission of greenhouse gases.

—Lars G Josefsson, President and CEO

The empirical data gathered also shows that there are considerable hidden possibilities in the industrialized countries, and particularly in the energy-efficiency field, to protect the climate at a negative cost—that is, by applying measures that finance themselves in that they reduce energy costs.

On a global scale, around 7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be saved annually, which corresponds to about seven times the total annual emissions in Germany. Vattenfall estimates that the average cost of avoiding emissions would be €15 per ton CO2 equivalent.

The data also reveals that the potential for protecting the climate is relatively evenly distributed between the investigated sectors and geographical regions. Up to 45% of the potential was found in the industrial and energy sectors, while the developing and threshold countries (excluding China) account for more than 40% of the climate-protection potential.

According to the survey, about 40% of the measures in the industrialized countries can finance themselves.

Last week, a delegation of business leaders including Josefsson and Fulvio Conti, the CEO of Enel, another European power company, presented the global 3C (Combating Climate Change) initiative to President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.

Josefsson suggested the outline for the 3C initiative during the 14th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York in May 2006. More than 15 companies worldwide have endorsed this initiative, demanding an integration of climate issues into the world of markets and trade: ABB; Alstom; Bayer; Deutsche Post World Net; Duke Energy; Endesa; Enel; EnBW; E.ON; Eskom; General Electric; Norske Skog; NRG Energy; PG&E Corporation; Siemens; Suez; Wallenius Lines; Vattenfall.

Resources:

  • Vattenfall climate abatement website

  • 3C—Combat Climate Change website

January 19, 2007 in Climate Change | Permalink | Comments (44) | TrackBack (0)

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The Vattenfall website link provides a nice macro.

Came across an interesting WSJ story: HIgh Prices Prod Developed World to Curb Oil Use. Apparently the US and Europe used 0.6% less oil last year.

Too bad gas prices are back down below $2.00 a gallon.

It is encouraging to see a major electricity generating company not only admit that global warming is real but also invest in a plan to mitigate it. It's also slick and clever brand marketing.

Vattenfall's total production capacity is around 173 tWh, of which approx. 1/3 is nuclear, 1/3 lignite and 1/6 hard coal. The rest is hydro, a little bit of natural gas and a sliver of renewables.

The present (uneasy) political consensus in Germany, the company's biggest market, is that all of the country's nuclear power plants will be shut down by 2020. Given that Russia is in a position to more-or-less dictate gas prices (as it has done in Ukraine and Belarus), this squarely puts the onus on domestic lignite with carbon sequestration, plus renewables and conservation. This translates to major capital investments in Germany's electricity generating sector in the next decade, since getting planning permissions for anything substantial takes about that long.

In addition, the EU commission is currently for a liberalization of the energy markets by forcing vertically integrated national giants like Vattenfall, E.on, RWE, EDF etc. to either sell their distribution grids or to at least operate them at arm's length. There are also calls for high-capacity interconnects between the networks and for equal transport prices over the distribution infrastructure for all producers. This would make relatively small heat-and-power co-generation plants fired with waste biomass much more competitive. Note that waste heat can be used for refrigeration using e.g. absorption chillers or Vuilleumier machines.

At present, natural gas and electricity prices in Germany are among the continent's highest and its energy giants among the most profitable companies. Naturally, the industry and the national politicians it is close to would rather like to maintain the status quo and use EU money to subsidize the required investments in clean generating capacity. Expect a tug-of-war with the commission and market-oriented member states like the UK over the next few years.

_One valid aspect of a strategy for energy consumption reduction is to hammer what the productivity and efficiency gains will mean for businesses, into company leadership and investors. Decreased costs, increased gross revenue to costs ratio, often results in higher profit margins, and if properly exploited, a competitive edge. This is the carrot part of the scheme.
_Another is increasing the cost of energy, via taxes and fees (some refundable through efficiency/R&D investment rebates). This forces companies to spend on (and create/develop/expand/reinvigorate) technology (sectors), and new/other ways of carrying out processes/activities. This is the stick part of the program.
_Some of this is already in force, and the effects are being felt. In Europe, where gas and diesel taxes amount to over half of total cost per unit, abounds with efficient clean diesels. Solar credits are available throughout the industrial world. However, if we mean to change the way we collect, and use energy, efforts must be redoubled, and then some.

Ya and in other news a herd of flmaing hippos flew out of rosan bars ass singing klingon opera.... news at 11.

All these sories sighthing low low cost of climate change prevention are bunk and everyone on the planet knows it. Shut up and admit the damn trueth these out and out lies only hurt the damn cause.

Global warming will cost a bloody gurtune in the end and it will lose one hell of alot of people thier jobs temp and perm in many cases. Ot will royaly fubar one hell of alot of things and yes to be blunt far from every contry CAN do it.

Face the damn music folks global waqrming is one big hairy ass and its time to pucker up and kiss mother nature!..

Yes a major social sea change is necessary.
The price of waiting or fretting about the %GDP necessary,
will have to be paid to insure there is a GDP in the 22nd century. Certainly typing/spelling instruction for wintermane might be less expensive and almost as futile.

Vattenfall owns an experimental clean coal plant near Berlin housed in a space age looking building. They seem to have decided in advance that it is the prototype for many such plants. The trouble is that is hasn't yet produced much clean energy as far as I'm aware; the chickens have been counted before they are hatched.

Somebody is kidding somebody; either themselves or the public or both.

The solution is as easy as streamlining nuclear licensing and banning future coal electricity generation.

Dezakin -

politically, that option is DOA in Germany and several other European nations at this time. It would be foolish to dismiss nuclear a priori given the perceived risks and/or sequestration costs of increased coal utilization. However, it would also be foolish to ignore the very real problems and risks inherent in nuclear power.

Bear in mind that Europeans had Chernobyl on their doorstep. Livestock died of radiation poisoning as far away as the UK. Cancer rates in an area the size of France are well above normal. In the Pripyat area, the mutatagenic potential of radioactive pollution is evident in the strange morphology of the local vegitation.

Of course it is true that Western European nuclear power plants have long included more passive safety features than their counterparts in Eastern Europe. They have also been operated with a far more stringent culture of safety first. Nevertheless, it would be politically difficult/impossible at this point to extend operating permits for legacy reactors in Western Europe but to deny that right to the new EU members in the East. Yet there is only so much you can do to reduce the inherent risks of these rickety Soviet-era contraptions.

Btw, afaik no-one has ever performed the orderly decommissioning of a large legacy nuclear power plant. The plan appears to be to bury the most radioactive bits under a large mound of earth and hope for the best for a few centuries.

"However, it would also be foolish to ignore the very real problems and risks inherent in nuclear power."

Whenever I hear a statement like this its invariably from someone who doesnt understand nuclear power... here it comes...

"Bear in mind that Europeans had Chernobyl on their doorstep. Livestock died of radiation poisoning as far away as the UK. Cancer rates in an area the size of France are well above normal. In the Pripyat area, the mutatagenic potential of radioactive pollution is evident in the strange morphology of the local vegitation."

Bullshit on all counts. Chernobyl is directly responsible for some 100 deaths from acute radation poisoning, mostly plant workers, and some thousand thyroid cancers due to iodine deficiencies in the region.

"Btw, afaik no-one has ever performed the orderly decommissioning of a large legacy nuclear power plant. The plan appears to be to bury the most radioactive bits under a large mound of earth and hope for the best for a few centuries."

Its been done several times, and the waste is stored in concrete casks on site. You only have to worry about the next fifty to a hundred years, after that revisit the issue again. This planning for the centuries nonsense has got to stop.

Rafael Seidl,
In Europe, correct. In the US, it is a bit different. Near where the creator of "The Simpson's" (Matt Groening) grew up, the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant is nearing the completion of the decommissioning process. Begun in 1993, it is on track to finish the process by the end of 2008. The main working radioactive components (reactor, steam generator, pipes, etc.) have been removed. Some demo work for aboveground structures remain. Spent fuel casks are still stored onsite, awaiting final shipment to Yucca Mountain, if not other repositories.

"Nevertheless, it would be politically difficult/impossible at this point to extend operating permits for legacy reactors in Western Europe but to deny that right to the new EU members in the East. Yet there is only so much you can do to reduce the inherent risks of these rickety Soviet-era contraptions."

Is Eastern Europe really going to say to Western Europe that "you can't continue to operate your reactors which have containment vessels unless we can continue to operate ours without such containment?" Can't the EU say " these are the safety standards for ALL European reactors? No country should be admitted to the EU without an accepted plan to decommission unsafe reactors.

Still, I agree with your political analysis. The Germans won't accept new nukes, even if it means becoming more dependent on the Russians for gas plus burning more coal. It's bad for the environment, but that's politics.

Lets face it. As French are saying about their nuclear power generation (80% nuclear 20% hydro): “We have no oil, we have no coal, we have no gas – we have no choice”. Hydro power in Europe is mostly tapped. Wind and solar could contribute only small portion. Biofuels on the required mass scale will consume more energy to grow and collect then they will produce. Conservation is approaching its limits. Reliance on Russian NG is troublesome, and it is finite resource – and in near future. The only real choice is Big Coal (sorry, sequestration won’t work) with full size pollution (dust, heavy metals, SO3, NOx) for countries which have coal, or Big Nuclear for all. France is already nuclear, Belgium, Finland, Baltic countries, and recently GB are moving in this direction. Only some countries having ample hydro resources, like Norway, Austria, or Switzerland could afford high per cent of hydro power in the mix.

There is interesting article on new developments in nuclear reactors design:

http://www.uic.com.au/nip16.htm

This reminds me of weapon program cost estimates - they
always assume the best. I also notice that the costs are not in actual monetary amounts, but expressed as a percentage of gross product. Since when does anyone talk in terms of gross product? A company can have a very large gross product, and no profits, or even a loss, and therefore unable to spend anything on anything. I think we all know why they used gross product figures, which are basically meaningless. How about mentioning gross income,
since that's the only money that actually could be spent on things other than Social Security, welfare, etc. ?

Dezakin -

as Allen points out:

"Spent fuel casks are still stored onsite, awaiting final shipment to Yucca Mountain, if not other repositories."

This is precisely my point. It has proven *politically* very difficult to get anyone to accept highly radioactive nuclear waste for long term storage, be it spent fuel rods or the decommissioned components. And until and unless that logjam is broken, there is in effect no operational solution for the waste.

The next best option, as you point out, is to keep storing it on site long after the reactor has ceased to operate. You mention a period of 50 to 100 years before it is "safe" to handle, I suggested a few centuries. Again, the issue is one of political will. What makes you think future generations will be jumping for joy about the privilege of cleaning up our toxic garbage? Wouldn't it human nature for them to let sleeping dogs lie for as long as possible?

It's one thing to have to deal with a problem that was produced at a time when the consequences of industrial activity were still rather poorly understood, e.g. pesticide use, acid rain, global warming. It is quite another to callously kick the ball forward knowing full well just how huge the problem is, just because we're point blank not prepared to reduce our demand for energy through conservation and efficiency.

The funny thing is chernoble was a godsend for whildlife...
\\ Nuke power is one of the fre things where whats bad for us is good for nature. And the fact so many supposedly earth first people are so against nuke power shows how selfish and self centered and shallow they realy are.

Rafael-

I don't think it's callousness to "kick the ball forward" as you put it for the storage of nuclear waste. I agree with your previous posts about the need to increase fuel taxes in the US to encourage conservation. That's politically difficult, but maybe over time we can get it done. Other measures can also increase awareness and conservation efforts. It's a battle for hearts and minds.

But conservation and wind+solar can't be the only solutions. Such a policy would cause too radical a shock to the economy. Unemployed people don't generally care much about environmental causes. Things could get a lot worse.

And the fact remains that our current policy is to build coal-fired power plants, and the only alternative for the next 20 years is nuclear. It's callous to continue that policy.

Wintermane -

a) pretty please use a spell checker. It's ok to make a typo or spelling mistake once in a while, but your posts are really getting quite hard to decipher, especially for those of us for whom English is a foreign language anyhow.

b) your assertion that Chernobyl was a godsend for wildlife is controversial, to say the least. Sure, human activity around the area has dropped sharply. However, the mutation rate of the local flora and fauna has also increased sharply. That hardly constitutes conservation.

c) I don't think it is polite to call any poster who dares to disagree with you on any given topic "selfish and self centered and shallow".

JamesEE -

just because I - like many other people - have serious reservations about nuclear power does not mean I am blind to the reality that coal also has serious problems and that conservation alone will probably not be enough.

However, I would like to see a lot more effort going into every technologically and economically viable alternative to nuclear power before we should seriously consider extending the lifespan of legacy reactors, let alone build any new ones.

This does not have to mean a shock to the economy. It does mean reordering macroeconomic and geostrategic priorities. For example, spending well over $300 billion on Iraq in just 4 years has not killed off the US economy. If those kinds of sums were instead spent on energy conservation measures, chances are the next generation would not need to worry about the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf, nor about the terrorist threat that is fueled by the West's hunger for oil.

Vecause I have cateracts sights like this with white backgrounds result in alot of typoes as I have a devil of a timeboth typing and reading what I just typed. With luck ill g4et y eyeballs slived and biced and vacumed clean sometime this year.

As for chernobyl I have read studies on the animals there and so far they are doing very well indeed.

It was a human disaster not a natural one.

With nuke plants we can chose to put ourselves at far greater risk then nature. A risk that is far less then coal or oil or gr biofuels are to nature. Are we cowards? Yes we are.

Raphael:

You should take a closer look at the huge mess building up in Alberta (to procure oil for USA) from tar sands activities. An area the size of Florida is being turned into eternal gooey tar & chemical ponds. Between that (oil from tar sands + ICE vehicles) and nuclear + PHEVs & EVs, I wonder which is the worst for all of us.

Rafael,

I think we agree more than we disagree. I also want to see more conservation, higher taxes on motor fuel, less dependence on Mid-Eastern oil, more biofuel, less clearing of rainforests, more use of solar thermal for water heating, etc. For GCC readers that's all pretty much a given. And my son is a US Marine, so for totally non-economic reasons I'd also like to avoid wars over oil.

I'm an optimist. I really believe the electrification of the automobile (both BEV's and PHEV's) is going to be a very big trend for the next 20 years -- a truly revolutionary one. The last piece of the puzzle is the battery, and finally it seems to be nearly ready. This will create a huge new demand for electricity, which should first be provided by using off-peak power. But at some point we'll need new generating capacity. Some see nuclear as the least risky, others see clean coal, and others want to stick to alternatives like wind and solar. It's a matter of where you perceive the greatest risk.

Personnally I'd like to see as much wind as possible, with nuclear providing the stabilizing base load and even replacing as much coal as possible. Coal is sequestered carbon, and I'd like to see it stay that way.

Rafael:

I am not a big fan of nuclear power either, I just do not see other way around for baseload power generation – for many countries.

BTW, problem of radioactive waste is vastly overblown. US for strange reasons stopped re-processing of spent fuel, but almost all other countries do it. Spent fuel looses its radioactivity quite fast – 10 times in first day, 100 times over the first year, and in 500 years its radioactivity is less then of initial uranium fuel. Reprocessing returns generated plutonium back to be burnt in reactor, and vastly diminish volume of remained radioactive materials. Actually, remained waste could be mixed with inert matrix and burned almost entirely in currently developed nuclear reactors. And any way, amount of waste is relatively small and could be buried quite safely and permanently for quite reasonable cost. Actually, it is routinely done by France, Japan, S.Korea, Taiwan, etc.

P.S. Burial of nuclear waste in Yucca mountain was approved by US congress, disapproved by Nevada, then congress overruled Nevada decision, but Clinton vetoed this overruling. It was approved another time and signed by Bush, and now it is in the US Supreme Court. It is anticipated then Supreme Court will approve it and at about 2010 Yucca mountain depository will be functional.

Decommisioning of obsolete reactors is not a big problem. Several sites in the US have been done. Not many large sites have been done because very few large reactors have been shut down.

TMI-2, for example, is the site of a major core meltdown and is a shutdown reactor. It has been defueled but decommisioning is delayed because it shares equipment with TMI-1 which is still in service.

Except for the used fuel, the parts of an obsolete reactor have only induced radioactivity. Induced radioactivity at a sufficient level is quite dangerous but it is shortlived. Burial with an assurance of being sealed for 200 years is adequate protection.

Used fuel can be thought of as having 4 parts:

1-Structural parts such as tubing and grids. This will have induced radiation and will be pretty hot but decay fairly quickly.

2-Fission fragments. This will be intensely radioactive, primarily with beta/gamma. This is the major source of emissions of used fuel. If separated from the rest of the fuel, it must be protected for an extended period, perhaps 500 years.

3-Original fuel which did not burn. Only about 3 or 4% of the fuel in a reactor gets burned. This fuel now is primarily U-238, with a little U-235. It is radioactive, primarily with alpha/gamma radiation. It is no more radioactive than it was before it was put into the reactor, in fact less because it is lower in U-235. This stuff is relatively harmless if it in a sealed container. If it is opened, you don't want to eat it because of heavy metal poisoning or breathe the dust. Breathing the dust exposes the lungs to alpha radiation. In large concentrations, if it is not packaged, it will emit Radon which is a radioactive gas. Packaged, this stuff can be handled by hand. This stuff will remain radioactive at a very low level until Hell freezes over.

4-Transuranics. Uranium-238 can absorb neutrons in the reactor and become Plutonium. Most of the created Plutonium is burned in the reactor but some will absorb more neutrons and become yet other elements heavier than Uranium. If the fuel has spent, as is typical, 2 to 3 years in the reactor, the Plutonium is worthless for making a nuclear weapon (too much Pu-240). The transuranics make up maybe 2% by weight of used fuel. This stuff has some pretty serious emissions, alpha, beta and neutrons, some with pretty hard gammas. It is also long lived. This is the real trouble maker for long term waste storage. Several proposals in the Generation IV program are addressed at burning transuranics. It makes a powerful reactor fuel but is much more difficult to deal with than ordinary enriched Uuranium. Burning it would, of course, require reprocessing beforehand.

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