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Paris and the RENEWABLES point of no return

Category: PARIS COP21

 

Paris and the RENEWABLES point of no return

 

- Zero Emission Profit-strategy for the climate change summit in Paris -

 

25 years of climate change negotiations have not really given any results, even though international pressure for a climate change treaty has never been stronger. Climate change is at work –heat waves, flash floods, inundations – regardless of which, we continue to push 40 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, every year (1).

 

Carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere stays there for centuries to come, heating up our planet. Even if we stopped producing carbon as of today, such a zero emission scenario would still see temperatures rising for decades (2).

 

In order to get on the 2-degrees Celsius track in Paris, carbon emissions have to be reduced by 80% by mid-Century. Even in this scenario, temperatures will continue to rise for decades, would eventually reach 2 degrees and then slowly return to today´s 2015 levels in 500 years again. A track with an impact of 500 years! (2)

 

Beyond 2 degrees the thousands of scientists at the world`s climate counsel (IPCC) anticipate uncontrollable climate triggering points with devastating environmental conditions (4) – the heat-age.

 

If an agreement cannot be reached in Paris, and concepts are available (3), we will in absolute numbers have produced so much more carbon in the next 2 decades, that traps heat in the atmosphere for Centuries, with no chance of getting back on a 2 degrees track for Centuries to come (2) – climate change at a point of no return.

 

It is Paris – or heat-age.

 

Despite this atmospheric carbon-burden for Centuriesa climate change treaty does not seem to be likely in Paris. Why not?

 

The crucial point for decades now is the allocation of costs, who pays for carbon reduction measures? There are 2 opposing proposals for carbon allowances (carbon certificates), status quo for each country or equal allowances per capita? The costs allocation problem has prevented a climate treaty again and again. Why should Paris be any different?

 

Is there at least a silver lining on the horizont for Paris? There could be. Something else did change over the past 25 years. Let`s look at Germany where chancellor Merkel is pushing the Energiewende, switching towards 80% renewable energies by 2050. Wind farms are producing zero emission power almost everywhere, on windy coastlines as well as and mostly at the inner Countryside.

 

How does it work? Well, 25 years ago a windmill was annually producing enough energy to power 5 farms, and today, modern windmills produce the same amount of energy in one day: Innovation with factor 365!

 

Windparks in Germany are today producing cheaper power than new conventional energies, for 4-6 cents over a 30 year lifespan and marginal costs close to zero. And take a look at the world wind map below, almost every country in the world has better wind resources than Germany`s Interior with windspeeds of only 6 meters per second (yellow areas). This is especially true for the US, Canada, China, India, Australia and Europe.

 

 

 

 The World Wind map: Almost all countries in the world have a better wind resource

than non-coastal Germany (green), especially the US, Canada, China, India, Australia and Europe (5).

 

Let`s have a look at solar energy. A neighbor of ours just installed 4kW solar panels on his roof in rainy Germany with 6,000 Euros investment, 25% offset by auto consumption and a feed-in tariff of 10 cents for the remainder. The panels produce revenues of 600 Euros a year, which is 10 years of payback time (6). And afterwards, he is producing solar power for marginal costs close to zero.

 

Now, we looked at Madrid, twice as much sun, again 25% auto consumption, and for fun we assumed the average whole sales market price, a good 5 cents for the rest. The result was astonishing, a payback time of 10 years (6), same as in Germany.

 

Importantly, solar energy makes economic sense in Spain now, without any subsidies! However, for it to happen, the Spanish government should reactivate its feed-in tariff system at only 5 cents whole sales market prices, otherwise no one will finance it, and, therefore could eventually unleash 500,000 solar jobs.

 

And let`s stay in the south, Italy, Greece and Turkey?

 

And around the Mediterranean, Marocco, Algeria, Tunesia?

 

And across the Atlantic, Southern Canada, the USA, Mexico?

 

And around the Pacific, Japan, Southkorea, China, India, Australia?

 

 

Take a look at the world solar map below, 95% of the world`s population gets the same sun Madrid has or more. And most of them more. And as mentioned, it works at whole sales prices with no subsidies, and after amortization, solar panels have marginal costs close to zero: „Let the sun shine in!“

 

 

 

 

 

The world solar irradiation map: 95% of the world population gets as much sun as Madrid in Spain (arrow, green color), often more (7).

This is especially true for large parts of the US, Europe, China, India, Australia – the main carbon pollutors.

 

In summary, for 95% of the world, solar energy today is more economic than conventional energies.

 

This is more than a silver lining at the horizont: Renewable energies have made it! They are more cost efficient than any new conventional power plant today (8). This is especially true, if the annual subsidies for fossil energies –according to the IMF an incredible $ 5 trillion or 6% of the world`s GDP (9) were to be cut and extinguished. Developing conventional energy structures has become expensive. Economically, it makes much more sense today to invest into decentral and distributed renewable energy systems – especially wind and solar energy- with marginal costs close to zero.

 The consequences of renewable energies being the economic most choice now is indeed dramatic: This is a change in paradigms for the world economies! Chancellor Merkel in Germany knows what she is doing. Everybody that knows its numbers does Energiewende now, goes for renewables now. All others will pay a higher price if they are not switching. And to illustrate this point further: Politicians that do not recognize this phantastic, vast potential for solar energy today, may eventually risk a poker game at the next polls: does the voter know what he or she is missing out on? This is the key message for the climate change summit in Paris: We are not talking about costs to fight climate change anymore, forget about costs, it is all about PROFITS now! Zero emission PROFITS – made by renewables!

A renewables point of no return.

 

Dr. Ingo Stuckmann, Zero Emission-Think Tank

 article on zero emission profits: let`s face it, www.zepface.it

 

References

 

 (1) 40 billion tons of carbon emissions p.a. and climate change:
Book: Zero Emission People – carbon-free living / chapter 2 / Dr. Ingo Stuckmann,

www.ZeroEmissionCalculator.com/de/zep-shop
http://folk.uio.no/roberan/learnmore/more_GCP2014_figures.shtml
http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/14/presentation.htm

(2) Zero Emission Scenario: Temperatures on earth will still rise for decades.
MR Allen et al. Nature 458, 1163-1166 (2009)
Climate change and Paris? / Zero Emission-Think Tank / article on www.zepface.it http://www.zepface.it/index.php?option=com_djcatalog2&view=item&id=54:worum-geht-es-in-paris&cid=0:all&Itemid=489#.Vc2RybkVhLM
Zero Emission People und der Atem des Kolumbus, Artikel auf www.zepface.it
http://www.zepface.it/index.php?option=com_djcatalog2&view=item&id=39:kolumbus&cid=0:all&Itemid=489#.Vc2PobkVhLM


(3) Concepts for a climate change treaty:
Zero Emission Plan for Paris – how to get on the 2 degrees track / Dr. Ingo Stuckmann, Zero Emission-Think Tank / article on www.zepface.it
http://www.zepface.it/index.php?option=com_djcatalog2&view=item&id=56:zero-emission-plan-for-paris&cid=0:all&Itemid=489#.Vc2RA7kVhLM

(4) 2 degrees benchmark and beyond „devastating environmental conditions“:
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf
http://wiki.bildungsserver.de/klimawandel/index.php/2-Grad-Ziel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoiding_dangerous_climate_change
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/15/business/an-environmentalist-call-to-look-past-sustainable-development.html?_r=0

(5) World Wind Map: http://www.vaisala.com/en/energy/support/Resources/Pages/Free-Wind-And-Solar-Resource-Maps.aspx

(6) Economics of solar energy in Germany and Spain:
Let the sun shine in – Spain and 500.000 new Jobs / Maria Collado et al. / article on www.zepface.it
http://www.zepface.it/index.php?option=com_djcatalog2&view=item&id=47:solar-spain&cid=0:all&Itemid=489#.Vc2cs5UVhLM

(7) World Solar Map: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnenenergie

(8) Renewables are more cost competitive than new conventional power plants:
https://www.wind-energie.de/sites/default/files/download/publication/was-strom-wirklich-kostet/20120911_bwe_greenpeace_studie_stromkosten_final.pdf

(9) Global energy subsidies fuel climate change, says IMF study
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7c6512a6-fd27-11e4-b072-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3i12rS6ku

 

 

 

 

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