Bingaman, Waxman back report that pushes renewables for emissions reduction

As Congress puts major emphasis on hearings and legislation relating to climate change the question of how best to approach emissions reductions still remains. During today's E&ETV Event Coverage, The American Solar Energy Society releases its new report, "Tackling Climate Change in the U.S." The report outlines specifically how the United States can achieve a 60-80 percent reduction of emissions through the use of renewable technologies. House Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), NASA scientist James Hansen, Sierra Club director Carl Pope, and others give their support to ASES's report, hoping it will serve as a guideline for legislation.


Brad Collins: Well, this speaker is the National Conference Chairman for the National Solar Energy Conference last year and the principal author of this report, Dr. Chuck Kutscher.

Dr. Chuck Kutscher: Thanks very much Brad. Good morning everyone, and thanks for coming here. You know, it seems like you can't pick up a newspaper or a magazine today without seeing more alarming news about global warming. Global warming isn't just something that's going to have been. It's something that already is happening. While it's too late to prevent all environmental damage, it's not too late to avoid the worst consequences if we begin to act now. The question is what exactly can we do about it? We know that carbon dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of global warming and that we need to drastically reduce those emissions. Of the technologies that can accomplish this energy efficiency and renewable energy are the most benign and sustainable. They can also be implemented the fastest. But can they do the job? To answer that question, about a year and a half ago the American Solar Energy Society recruited a team of volunteer energy experts. We didn't give them any targets to aim for; we merely asked them to estimate how much their technologies could reduce carbon emissions by the year 2030 if they were deployed as part of a highly aggressive national effort to combat global warming. The experts produced a series of nine papers. Three of them examined the potential carbon emission reductions from energy efficiency, opportunities in buildings, transportation and industry. The other six covered renewable energy technologies; biofuels, in the form of cellulosic ethanol, to replace gasoline and electric power production from wind, concentrating solar power, roof mounted photovoltaics, biomass and geothermal. The 200 page report being released today, "Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.," is the culmination of this effort. The results show that we have a variety of promising means available to battle global warming. They indicate that energy efficiency measures can prevent our carbon emissions from growing over the next 23 years, even as our economy grows. The six renewable technologies have the potential to make the kind of deep cuts needed in our carbon emissions. Of the total carbon reductions possible 57 percent are due to energy efficiency and 43 percent are from renewable energy technologies. Because it is currently the least expensive carbon free option wind is the largest renewable contributor, supplying a little over one-third of the renewable energy by 2030. The rest of the renewable energy reductions are spread about evenly among the other technologies. Taken together these studies show that efficiency and renewables can provide most, if not all, of the carbon reduction scientists say will be needed. Now, these folks assume that ongoing R&D will continue to reduce costs and that relatively modest policy measures will also continue, helping to make renewables cost competitive with other carbon reduction options. The report shows not only how much each technology can provide, but also where it can provide it. U.S. maps show where the resources are as well as expected deployment locations. The report also gives cost ranges for each technology. In his film, "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore states that when it comes to the issue of global warming many people jump from denial right to despair. We hope this work will convince policymakers that although global warming is a challenging problem we needn't despair. The United States is blessed with an abundance of world-class, renewable energy resources distributed throughout our country. When these are harnessed, along with energy efficiency opportunities, we have the capability to tackle the global warming challenge head on. All we need is a national commitment to do it and the courage to act now. Thank you.

Brad Collins: Thank you Chuck. Our next speaker is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and a champion of the renewable portfolio standards, and an author of bills to address climate change, Senator Jeff Bingaman from New Mexico. Sen. Jeff Bingaman: Well I'm very glad to be here with my colleagues to join in this release of this report. And I congratulate the authors of the report for all of their good work on the issue. I think the political ground has clearly shifted on this issue. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that urgent action is needed. And the report that's being released today gives us a blueprint for how to proceed, particularly in the area of renewables and energy efficiency. We on the Senate side are looking to develop legislation to promote efficiency and to promote greater use of renewables. At the same time we're looking to see if we can get in place a proposal to do a cap and trade system, a limit on greenhouse gas emissions, and a mechanism for trading permits to emit and to bring down emissions very substantially in coming years. I think that's the responsible course to follow. We have a lot of good suggestions as to precisely how that would be structured, how aggressive our goals can be and still be realistic. I do believe there's a real prospect of us passing legislation to accomplish these things in this 110th Congress, and that's very much what we're trying to do. So I'm very glad to be here. I think this report will contribute very substantially to the debate that's going on here, and hopefully to action by the Congress and action by the administration as well. Thank you very much.

Brad Collins: Thank you Senator Bingaman. The next speaker is a partner in the release of this reporter, executive director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope.

Carl Pope: Thank you very much. We're very excited to be here this morning with the American Solar Energy Society. We have embraced this report as our roadmap for our policy advocacy. Implementing the opportunities which this report outlines will be the Sierra Club's single largest mission for the next decade. And I want to underscore the fact that one of the reactions it's very easy to have when you read a report like this is it's too good to be true. If all these things were possible, why aren't they already being done? And the unfortunate answer to that question is they are not being done because we have massive examples of policy failure and market failure in our energy sector. To pick a couple of examples, for most of 2006 it was illegal to build a new wind farm in the United States. The Bush administration and the congressional leadership, which the voters rejected last November, had actually imposed a moratorium on permitting new wind farms, and that moratorium was lifted only when the Sierra Club took the administration to court. In a great many cities in the southern part of the United States, where black roofs are simply unintended solar collectors in the summer, which must be compensated for with huge air conditioning loads and bills, it is actually not permitted to install easily available and affordable reflective roofs. It's against the building code. In a great many states you do not have the capacity to tap into economically viable wind and solar opportunities because of the way in which the grid is being regulated. So whenever you see an opportunity like this, which is not being implemented, you are likely to find behind it the hand of a poorly designed government policy. Another example at the national level, the federal government has designed a national housing finance system in which those who build buildings have no incentive to install efficient refrigerators, air conditioning and windows because they are not going to pay for the electrical bills and the utility bills, which the owners and the after powers will have to carry for the life of the building. So, we have a whole series of massive failures on the part of our energy sector. The final, and probably the largest single example, America's automobiles, trucks and sport utility vehicles are, in most cases, built with outmoded technology or on outdated assembly lines and consume far, far more gasoline to get their passenger to work than they need to. And we will be aggressively identifying these opportunities to use government policy to either fix policy failures or correct market failures. This is not a report which will be sitting on a shelf. This is a report which will be being presented to city councils, planning commissions, mayors, state legislatures, governors, members of the United States Congress and, eventually, the White House. Thank you.

Brad Collins: Thank you, last but not least is the author of many pieces of strong energy legislation and longtime supporter of climate mitigation actions, House member Chris Shays from Connecticut.

Rep. Chris Shays: It's a real pleasure for me and a deep satisfaction to be in the government forum committee with the chairman of this committee, Henry Waxman, who has fought this battle for many years. And I like thinking that a committee that I'm part of will be helping to lead the charge. And also, Senator Bingaman, to get a senator to come all the way from the Senate side to the House side is a deep honor. Thank you. It says how important he thinks it is. And what's very pleasing to me is he's in a position to do something about it. Any of us who have children know what our children think about what their parents are doing and their parent's generation. And they're not pleased. I was in Selma, in Montgomery, two years ago with John Lewis and I saw, Weiss, George Weiss at the door preventing an African-American child to enter in. And I thought what a crazy thing. How outrageous. What is that generation thinking? And then David McCullough, I was saying this to him, he said, well, don't be so arrogant, because future generations are going to look at our generation and they're going to say the same thing, how outrageous. What were they thinking? How could they have done this? And it will be what we have done to the environment. And for me to think that not only are we beginning to get out of the door, but that there is hope besides despair. And that hope is significant. And I am eager to be a part of this process. Energy efficiency, renewable energy are really no-brainers, and, frankly, both parties should embrace it. It's economic. And, frankly, if you happen to be religious or if you happen to think like the Indians used to think, they would name a beautiful lake the Smile of the Great Spirit. Native Americans understood the preciousness of their environment and helpfully religious folks as well understand it as well. It's God's gift to us and it's our gift to future generations to get out of the door and to deal with this issue.

Brad Collins: We'd be happy to take questions now for the next half an hour or so. Please.

[Question from audience.]

Unidentified speaker: It would certainly help a lot, I mean it seems like we need to reach a situation in society where the value of carbon is commensurate with the damage caused by global warming. But let me say this, there was, in this particular report, the studies assumes through the different technologies different types of incentives. For example, in the concentrating solar power there is a 30% investment tax credit, for wind there was a continuation of the production tax credit. So most of what's in the report is a continuation of existing policy measures. There was the assumption of a $35 per ton CO2 equivalent value in getting what turned out to be 80,000 megawatts of concentrating solar power. So that particular one did cite some value on carbon, where the others did not necessarily acquire that.

Brad Collins: Yes.

[Question from audience.]

Dr. James Hansen: I think it's important to set very clear goals of emission reductions, not only the amount, but the timeframe. And then putting a cap on carbon emissions is essential to add to what this report recommends. This report recommends that we use existing technologies for efficiency and for alternative resources. But I think that even to make this work, and to look for other technologies that we can bring about because of the pressure of a cap and trade system, the whole thing works much, much better. So if there's a question specifically, I don't see it as in lieu of, although we can accomplish a lot without the cap and trade. But I think the cap and trade makes sure that we stay on the path.

Rep. Henry Waxman: Could I comment on that also? This is, of course, my opinion, my scientific opinion. But there's enough carbon dioxide in the easily available oil and gas to take us to about the 450 part per million limit that I think is necessary to avoid creating a different planet. And in practical matter of fact, or what no one likes to say this politically, but unless we put a price on carbon emissions I don't see how we can avoid them continuing to emit carbon from other sources. I mean people are already starting to go to the Rocky Mountains and try to cook from the tar shale there, to cook oil out of that, which you can do, but that's an indication of just how addicted we are to oil. But we're going to need to put a price on carbon emissions commensurate with the damage that they will cause to climate. And that's going to need to be a gradually increasing price and it will drive the innovation that will make all of these renewables and energy efficiencies really come into play at the level that they need to in order to limit ultimate carbon dioxide.

[Question from audience.]

Sen. Jeff Bingaman: Yes, she was saying what's going to happen with regard to actual legislation on some of these issues of efficiency and renewable energy? I think, on the Senate side, I can't speak for the House, on the Senate side we are working on a bipartisan basis in the Energy Committee to develop legislation that will try to simulate more activity with regard to efficiency, more activity with regard to use of renewables. We're also working in the Finance Committee to take the existing tax credits, the production tax credit that was referred to for wind and solar and other renewables and other tax credits and incentives, extend those. We've set as a goal of trying to extend those for a ten year period so that there's not a threat of those expiring. And we're also looking at what additional tax incentives we might be able to add to that before the Congress is over.

Rep. Henry Waxman: For the House I strongly advocate my own legislation, which we'll be reintroducing, the Safe Climate Act. It had more cosponsors than any other global warming bill on this side of the capital. And that legislation does internalize the cost of carbon by setting clear goals of the amount of reductions that we must achieve and the dates by which we must achieve them. In doing that it would set in place the cap on carbon emissions, which will mean that the cost of reducing the carbon emissions will be a cost of doing business and, therefore, incentivizing technologies and strategies to limit that cost. I think that Dr. Hansen was right, that we need to put a price on carbon in order to continue driving forward the clear incentives to reduce the emissions. In the House we'll be looking at legislation in the Energy and Commerce Committee and several other committees that have some tangential jurisdiction as well. But the Energy and Commerce Committee is going to be the main place where the legislation will occur. Our committee government oversight will hold hearings. There's going to be a select committee and they will be holding hearings and developing the constituency to support this legislation. But it's in our Energy and Commerce Committee where the tough job of drafting legislation will take place. And I'm encouraged, having gone through the experience of the Clean Air law fights in the 80s, that we can reach a consensus in that committee as we did then. Although I talked to Chairman Dingell about it and he's mentioned often it took us a decade to draft the Clean Air law. I told him we don't have a decade to draft the anti-climate change/global warming legislation. And he's reminded me he doesn't think we all have a decade to work on this anyway. So we have, I think for reasons which are many, why we ought to concentrate on getting something through this Congress.

Brad Collins: Just one comment before me move on, especially to the media, this report is available as a free searchable PDF. If you'll just please use this web address. Anybody in the public who would like to have a copy of it, they can download it from our web site. Next question please.

[Question from audience.]

Sen. Jeff Bingaman: Well, my own view is that nuclear power is going to be part of our energy mix or it is today, it's going to remain that. It accounts for about 20 percent of electricity we produce today. And we put many provisions in the 2005 energy bill to try to encourage additional nuclear power production in this country. The Energy Information Administration did an analysis of a draft proposal that I've developed, that Senator Specter and I recently circulated in the Senate, for a cap and trade system. And their conclusion was that the biggest single result of imposing a cap and trade system and putting a price on carbon, such as has been suggested and endorsed by the authors of this report, the single biggest effect would be a dramatic increase in nuclear power use in the country. Obviously there would also be a dramatic increase in use of other alternative ways to produce energy. The nuclear power, I think, is almost certain to be emphasized to a greater extent if a cap and trade system is put in place. Sen. Henry Waxman: If we put limits on carbon emissions this report indicates that we can go a long way to achieving those reductions by the time frames that are most frequently discussed, through energy efficiency and alternative fuels. That will be less pressure for nuclear power, although nuclear power is already part of the mix, but the problems with nuclear power is that for nuclear power to be successful requires subsidization by the government through legislation that we already have in place. And, therefore, may be more costly than the technologies that we will likely see for use of other alternatives to reduce the carbon emissions and still provide the power that we need in this country, by also limiting our dependence on fossil fuels.

Unidentified speaker: I would like to agree with everything that Henry has said, but only share with you one of the things that I wrestle with, and that is in the end the issue of global warming is so significant that will just the environmental community dictate what happens? Or will, in order to do all of the things we want to do, will energy efficiency and renewable energy have to find compromises that involve people, drawing them in so they support what we want? And that's, I think, the difficult part of determining, ultimately, what will happen. But if people think compromise is a bad thing, as some may, we wouldn't have the Constitution of the United States without significant compromise. So I'm just saying that there will have to be some negotiations in this process to do what we ultimately need to do.

Carl Pope: Of course, nuclear power is part of our present mix, and in most states there are no substantial legal barriers if somebody wanted to license and construct and then put a power plant with their own money. But for the last 30 years nobody has wanted to do that. The reality is that with present technology, without massive government subsidies, nuclear power does not appear to the competitive with efficiency or wind. I don't know what research will yield, further research, which we do not oppose, may yield a nuclear power plant that is both safe and competitive in price terms. And then nuclear power might be part of the solution. I think what this report reveals however is faced that even if nuclear power never becomes competitive, and it isn't today, we can still solve our global warming problem. And that means we should not be artificially forcing nuclear power into the market mix as some of the current proposals would do. We say let's let this research proceed. Let's see what it turns up. And then let's see whether or not in a marketplace which does place an appropriate penalty on the emitting of carbon, whether in fact nuclear power can compete with efficiency, with wind or solar. We think it's unlikely that it will, but that's something for the future to reveal.

[Question from audience.]

Carl Pope: No, we oppose the provisions that would artificially force nuclear power into the mix. We do oppose those provisions, yes.

[Question from audience.]

The question why was does this report cover integrated gasification combined cycle coal with carbon capture and storage? This report doesn't. This report strictly looked at what we can do with efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Now other carbon free options are IGCC with carbon capture and storage and nuclear. And, ultimately, all these things will have to compete in the marketplace. But certainly we think, looking at the cost of the renewables and energy efficiency options in this report, we think they're highly competitive with the other carbon free options. When you look at the cost of coal, once you gasify it and once you store it, geologically sequester it, when you look at the cost of a new nuclear power plant we think renewables and efficiency would be very cost competitive with those technologies. But global warming is such a big challenge certainly we need to look at every option. The other thing I want to point out about renewables is these renewable technologies, a lot of them need R&D to continue to reduce costs and that's factored into this report. Many are ready to be deployed today. There's a new 64 megawatt concentrating solar power plant being installed in Nevada. Wind, just last year, passed the 10,000 megawatt mark in the US. And climate change is such a big problem; we can't afford to wait to address it anymore. We need to start getting carbon free technologies out there now. And when we look at how long it would take to license a new nuclear plant, how long it will take to resolve issues associated with carbon sequestration and geological reservoirs, those are going to take some time. So our point is there are technologies that are ready now. They can make a big difference today, and with further R&D can, we think, handle most, if not all, of the needed emissions reductions in the future.

Carl Pope: Let me also point out one of the very dangerous things, which is happening in the public policy conversation, is that coal plants which are referred to as capture ready are being sold as clean coal. What is being talked about, for the most part, the new plants that are being proposed, and they're in the licensing pipeline, are not coal plants with carbon capture. Some of them are just old-fashioned pulverized coal. A few of them are gasified, but they don't have capture at both ends of the thing. They don't have, in some cases, appropriate geological reservoirs onsite for the storage of the CO2. So what is actually being talked about is not actually IGCC plants with carbon sequestration. That's something very different, just as what is being talked about and what is in the nuclear licensing pipeline are not advanced and intrinsically safe reactors, but plain old-fashioned nuclear reactors of the kind that have given us so many problems. So there is a very big difference between what might be scientifically possible, and we're in favor of doing the science, and what is being talked about deploying right now. And what this report suggests is the carbon free options which are ready to deploy today are renewables and efficiency.

[Question from audience.]

OK, I'll answer that question. First of all, understand this report is just for the United States. At this point we're not controlling what China and India do. So, yes, there is a goal of getting somewhere between 450 and 500 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere. Now where we need to be in there is subject to debate. It depends, for example, how successful we are reducing other greenhouse gas emissions like methane. But that's sort of the general target for the planet's atmosphere. All we're talking about is what we can do in the US, and what we did was we looked at what renewables could achieve and it turned, well, that number is by the year 2030 and that's the year we focused on. And if you look at average numbers, understand what I mean by average numbers. When you produce carbon free energy, if you're displacing electricity you have to ask yourself am I displacing electricity from a coal plant or am I displacing electricity from a combined cycle natural gas plant? The amount of carbon we save will be a function of that. But let me just say the midrange of what we think are reasonable carbon displacement values in converting electricity to carbon displacement. Those numbers would add up to about 1.2 billion tons of carbon displaced annually by the year 2030. Now, that would put us in the range to reduce carbon emissions in the US below today's values, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent by mid-century. And that's the range most scientists feel we need to be in. So that's consistent, you know, again, with what's projected for the US, but ultimately it depends on what happens in the rest of the world. We feel that if we start getting serious about displacing carbon in this country then we can show some real leadership with the rest of the world and hopefully the developing nations will follow suit.

[Question from audience.]

Well, there are cost ranges given for each technology and they vary. If you look at the energy efficiency technologies, for example, if you look at energy efficiency as it relates to electricity, those costs of saved energy are like between zero and five cents a kilowatt hour, so some of those are very, very low in cost. When you look at photovoltaics right now it's much, much higher than that. It's somewhere probably between 25 and 30 cents. So if you look at what was assumed by the different authors in this report and you understand that this is a series of different studies. That, for example, in the photovoltaics, you see deployment occurring more between 2020 and 2030 because we anticipate continued price reductions. We've had good price reductions of PV. They need to continue to go down. So PV tends to deploy closer to 2030. Wind, on the other hand, when you look at its deployment, it comes in very early because it's already on the order of about four cents a kilowatt hour. So the costs of these technologies vary. And there are assumptions in there that continued R&D will continue to make the kinds of cost reductions that we've seen. And then as far as the total cost of doing this, this report didn't get into trying to add it all up and come up with some total cost. But one thing you should understand is if you, for example, read the Stern review that came out recently, when you look at the cost of addressing global warming first you have to compare the cost of doing it with renewables versus the cost of doing it with nuclear or IGCC with carbon capture and storage. But then all of those need to be compared to the cost of not doing anything. If we continue business as usual there is a strong environmental cost to not doing it. And the Stern report I think makes a good case that the cost of addressing global warming are less than the costs of not addressing it.

Brad Collins: In back please.

[Question from audience.]

Well, I think the climate on this issue is changing, the political climate is changing very, very rapidly and is now changing more ...

Brad Collins: Could you repeat the question please?

Audience member: Two questions for you, what do I think are the prospects for legislation that's being discussed in the Congress to put a mandatory cap on global warming emissions? And second was what I thought the President should do. I think the political climate on this issue is changing very, very dramatically. There was a bill, for example, introduced in the Texas Legislature last week which would ban the construction of new polarized coal-fired power plants in the state of Texas. The principal sponsor was a Republican state senator from Waco, Texas. When people in Waco, Texas don't want new carbon emitting facilities things are changing very fast. I do not know whether this Congress will be able to pass a tough global warming cap because even if there was a majority in both the House and Senate to do so, which I think there probably is, it would take 61 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster. And I don't know if there's 61 votes in the Senate, but there are more votes every month than were a month ago. So I don't know whether we're going to get there. As for what the President should say, frankly, I think he needs to go into rehab for our oil addiction. He says we're addicted to it and then he says, well, sometime, we'll kick the habit sometime, 30 or 40 years from now. That's being in denial. So I think the President needs to address the reality that as this report shows, in fact, it is not economically infeasible to kick our addiction to carbon dioxide. It is, in fact, quite affordable. It doesn't require major new technological breakthroughs, although they will help. What it requires is for us to get rid of government policies which make the energy sector inefficient, backward and not innovative, and put in place government policies which will encourage innovation. And to replace an attitude in which the United States lags behind the rest of the world, and to replace it with an attitude that America is going to lead the rest of the world. This is all about leadership and innovation. It's not about whether we can afford it. We can.

Brad Collins: Yes, please, the third row.

[Question from audience.]

Brad Collins: Could you repeat that question about IPCC?

[Question from audience.]

Dr. James Hansen: Well, I think that it's not appropriate to discuss the report before it comes out, but there are aspects of that which I think I can comment on. I'm particularly concerned about the sea level rise aspect of that report because it, again, the final wording is not yet there. But the fact is that information has become clear over the last several years that makes those scientists who know something about the ice sheets really concerned about the long-term stability of Western Arctica and Greenland. If you look at the history of the Earth, any time that it has been as warm as it is projected to be, and now the projections have become much more reliable because we have what's happening in the real world in the last 30 years and the temperature is rising rapidly. But, if we continue on that path, we're going to be in a situation by the end of the century of two to three degrees Celsius warming. Last time the planet was that want warm sea level was 25 meters higher. The issue is how long does it take ice sheets to respond? And the more information that we get, looking at actual field data on the ice sheets and looking, again, at Paleoclimate data for how fast ice sheets changed in the past, it makes the people who are looking at that very worried. I think that if we go down the business as usual path with this two to three degrees warming that we will get sea level measured in meters this century. That's something that you don't see and yet scientists are saying that. But there's this phenomenon which I call scientific reticence. It's a natural aspect of science where you are skeptical about things; you must question things until you're really confident. But in this case, we don't have time for a long period of reticence. And we point out, there's going to be an article that comes out, I think the release date is today for the article that will come out in Science, of which I'm a co-author, in which we point out that the last already sea level, if you just look at how rapidly sea level is going up right now, it's going up twice as fast as IPCC and a governmental panel on climate change predicted in the last report. And that rate is changing. There's actually been acceleration over the last 15 years. So I think it's the main thing that we really need to be concerned about, and it's the principal reason that I think we better keep global warming, additional global warming, less than one degree Celsius because more than that, I think would guarantee that those ice sheets are going to disintegrate. And I think we will see a lot of the disintegration, even on decadal timescales. But this is going to be an issue that you're going to hear a lot more about I think.

Unidentified speaker: I just wanted to add one thing to what Dr. Hansen said. We made a conscious decision to use this photo on the cover of our report. This is a melt water stream on the Greenland ice sheet and I think it's a very dramatic illustration of how dynamic a process it is to have an ice sheet melt. And what made us think of this photo was the fact that Dr. Hansen used this photo in an article. And I think it really depicts the urgency of this problem. I think you have another photo.

Brad Collins: Final question.

[Question from audience.]

Dr. James Hansen: I think you're right. I think that, well, I think that the successive IPCC reports are useful in showing how we've now confirmed that the world really is getting warmer. And we've confirmed that humans are primarily the reason for that and these are good things to confirm. Unfortunately, in the case of the question of ice sheet stability, we don't have time to have multiple iterations of this over periods of seven and fourteen years because if we're going to keep global warming, additional global warming, less than one degree Celsius, if we're going to keep the climate within the range that has existed in the last million years that means we got to aim for something like the 450 parts per million, maybe it's 475 if we reduce methane. But since we've already gone from 280 to 380, and it's big going up two parts per million per year, we've got to, we can't go another 10 years on that path with the two percent per year growth rates. Then the annual increase would be more than two parts per million per year. And we would be in a situation where it's impractical, if not impossible, to stay within this range of the climate of the last million years. So I think it's a really urgent issue and I think the ice sheet stability is the thing that drives that urgency. The other things are not quite so sharp in terms of nailing you to a near term limit.

Brad Collins: I'd like to thank our presenters this morning, our host, Mr. Waxman, Dr. Hansen, Dr. Kutscher, Carl Pope, Congressman Shays and Senator Bingaman for coming today. If you'd like to speak individually with presenters who are still here I invite you to do that. Thank you very much for your attention this morning.

[End of Audio]

Latest Selected Headlines

More headlines&nbspMore headlines

More headlines&nbspMore headlines

More headlines&nbspMore headlines

More headlines&nbspMore headlines

Latest E&ETV Videos