Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recommendations to deal with global warming

Action plan with 10 recommendations on dealing with global warming, as first published in 2007, complemented by a further 4 more recent recommendations.

1. Energy feebates

Impose fees on fossil fuel, on polluting power plants and on engines to fund local programs to electrify transport and to supply electricity in clean and safe ways, in particular by facilities that produce wind, solar, hydro-electric, geothermal, tidal and wave power. Link fees to rebates, through feebates tailored to fit local circumstances and to encourage electricified transport powered by renewables (see image below).

2. End perverse energy subsidies

End support for fossil fuel. There still are too many perverse subsidies for fossil fuel.

3. Global commitment

Agree on and support a new International Treaty, such as a strengthened Copenhagen Accord or a renewed Kyoto Protocol. Each nation should commit to reduce its emissions by, say, 10% annually. Nations should each be able to decide for themselves how to do this, provided they each meet their targets independently and genuinely (i.e. without buying or fabricating offsets or credits domestically or abroad). Border adjustments can help ensure that commitments are indeed met. As further discussed below, nations will also need to bring the atmosphere and oceans back to their pre-industrial state, and geo-engineering methods will need to be included, in a responsible way, as an indispensable part of such a comprehensive climate action plan.

4. Lifestyle change

Support lifestyles that are more environmentally-friendly. Encourage use of the Internet as an alternative to travel and commuting. Encourage homeschooling and working from home. Deregulate taxi services.

5. Standards

Impose standards and industry-specific regulations to ban products that cause large amounts of emissions, where good alternatives are readily available. An example of this would be incandescent light bulbs and gases used for cleaning and for refrigeration and air conditioning. Many nations have meanwhile set a date for a national ban and do actively promote a global ban. Another example would be gases used for cleaning and for refrigeration and air conditioning. Standards could be complemented by feebates, e.g. fees on sales of air conditioners that need HCFC-22, as well as on sales of HCFC-22 itself, while using revenues to fund rebates on the cleaner alternatives.

6. Support solutions

Support clean and safe energy. Apart from financial support, there must also be more active support in regulations and government policy to develop new facilities. Don't pick winners, but encourage competition and diversity among suppliers of such energy. Encourage interconnection and overlap of electricity grids, so that households can choose which grid to sell electricity to, if they generate a surplus in their backyard. Where needed, stop protecting intellectual property and use eminent domain provisions and fast-tracking legislation to speed up development of infrastructure.

7. Urban planning

Plan and develop new green communities, such as communities without roads (i.e. with footpaths and bikepaths instead of roads). Plan houses close together, around a local center of shops and restaurants. Redesign existing cities so that people have to travel less. Impose fees on combustion ovens and use the revenues to support energy saving programs, such as distribution of solar cookers (see image below), solar LED lights, more efficient appliances, buildings, etc.

8. Further feebates: Biochar and olivine

Support biochar and olivine. Impose fees on the sale of Portland cement, livestock products and nitrogen fertilizers and use the revenues to support biochar. Pyrolysis should be the preferred way to handle surplus biomass (see image below).

9. Government should lead

Make government take the lead in reducing emissions. Ask for ideas. Have more staff work from home. Look at ways to offer services over the phone, over the Net, etc.

10. Disclosure

Disclosure. Make that government departments and large companies publicly disclose their emissions of greenhouse gases. Make products display on their packaging the amounts of greenhouse gases needed to produce it.

The above ten recommendations have remained much the same since first posted back in April 2007, in Ten recommendations to deal with global warming. However, too little has happened since, reason for the need to add another four recommendations:

11. Adaptation

Prepare for the impact of climate change. Preserve species that are under threat from climate change. Protect and support areas such as rain forests. Assist with adaptation.

12. Carbon dioxide removal

As discussed under 8., various methods to remove carbon dioxide should be jointly applied to restore oceans and the atmosphere to their pre-industrial state, such as through biochar burial and olivine weathering. Furthermore, methods of carbon capture from ambient air should be supported. Fees could be imposed on aviation, while the revenues could be used to support carbon air capture, which could in turn produce synthetic fuel for use in aviation, thus kick-starting carbon air capture technology.

13. Further geo-engineering

Study, consider and responsibly deploy further geo-engineering methods to increase solar reflection and to deal with methane, in order to reduce the risk of runaway global warming, and use techniques such as algae bags to reduce acidification of oceans and pollution in general, in addition to above carbon dioxide removal methods.

14. Afforestation

Deploy plans for afforestation. Plan for desalination to irrigate and vegetate deserts and other areas with little vegetation.