You’ve heard that scientists have a pretty strong consensus on the science of climate change. But did you know that social scientists have a pretty strong consensus on what to do about it? This week, we offer simple solutions to humanity’s most overwhelming problem.

Guests (in order): Gary Clarke (UBC), Gary Pickering (Brock), Catherine Potvin (McGill), Julie Van de Valk (UBCC350), Mark Jacobson (Stanford), Chris Bataille (Navius Research and SFU), Kathryn Harrison (UBC).


What's happening to Western Canada's Glaciers?

Gary Clarke used twenty-first-century climate scenarios from an ensemble of global climate models, finding that by 2100, the volume of glacier ice in western Canada will shrink by 70 ± 10% relative to 2005.

Clarke, Garry K. C. et al. “Projected Deglaciation of Western Canada in the Twenty-First Century.” Nature Geoscience

How can the world get off fossil fuels by 2050?

Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Jacobson’s 2-part article in Energy Policy charts a technological and economic plan for switching all the world’s power generation to renewable energy, including: wind, wave, geothermal, hydroelectricity, and tidal. Based on cost and availability of existing technologies, they argue in favour of 40% wind, 40% solar, and 10% everything else–but no nuclear or carbon capture. By 2030, these technologies could cover all new power demand. By 2050, they could account for 100% of power demand. This is the first part of their study.

The second part looks at economic feasibility, and it finds that existing technologies are already competitive with traditional fossil fuels, and getting more competitive.

Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Z. Jacobson (Energy Policy)

Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Z. Jacobson (Energy Policy)

However, there will be some up-front infrastructure and development cost. Jacobson projects that cost to be around 100 trillion dollars. However, Jacobson says the world already spends 6-7 trillion each year on fossil fuel investment. With feed-in tariffs and carbon pricing, Jacobson says we could shift that investment to renewables.

This work has sparked an initiative called The Solutions Projectwhich has over 3-million supporters.

Jacobson, Mark Z., and Mark A. Delucchi. “Providing All Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part I: Technologies, Energy Resources, Quantities and Areas of Infrastructure, and Materials.” Energy Policy 39.3 (2011): 1154–1169.
Delucchi, Mark A., and Mark Z. Jacobson. “Providing All Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part II: Reliability, System and Transmission Costs, and Policies.” Energy Policy 39.3 (2011): 1170–1190.

How can Canada?
The Pathways to Deep Decarbonization and Acting on Climate Change both recommend: putting a price on carbon; decarbonizing Canada’s electricity generation (i.e. using solar, wind, and hydro); and encouraging energy efficiency in buildings and vehicles. Read a more detailed breakdown of the recommendations here.



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