HQ Energy

Summary: This page presents the agenda for the lecture on energy in the enabling analysis of ENST209.

Lecture Notes for ENST209

  1. Introduction: Beyond the Oil Peak, and a History Channel depiction of the consequences of Peak Oil.
  2. Review of Brown Plan B 4.0 on energy and climate, chapters 4 and 5.
  3. Later in the course, we will look at PBS Frontline documentary: Heat

Brown's target for Plan B aims to keep carbon dioxide equivalent levels in the atmosphere to under 400 ppm. This is slightly above 2008 levels of 386 ppm but well above NASA's James Hanson who argues that levels above 350 ppm runs a risk of stimulating tipping points that could lead to runaway climate disruption. Brown's goal of 400 ppm would require that carbon emissions be cut by 80% by 2020. Brown follows the methodology of Princeton University's Pacal and Socolow advising "wedges" that each reduce the amount of carbon loading of the atmosphere but together can make a big difference (81).

Discuss: Is Brown's goal of cutting carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 80% in ten years realistic? If not, how severe might the consequences be? For whom?

Brown organizes his two chapters of energy solutions around two themes:

  1. Energy efficiencies: Chapter 4, the demand side through sectors
  2. Renewable sources of energy: Chapter 5, the supply side of energy production. Brown immediately notes that in the USA, the recent expansion of wind energy exceeds new coal capacity by a factor of six (79).

Tip: If you forgot about the stakes or the orders of magnitude that make this section urgent, return to pages 55 to 59.

Note that Brown opens Part I with a chapter on food, then moves to energy. Some basic points about energy:

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