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```					Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem
for the Next 50 Years with Current Technology

Robert Socolow
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ, USA
socolow@princeton.edu

In-Session Workshop on Mitigation
SBSTA 21
December 9, 2004
Buenos Aires

This talk is based on a paper of the same title, by Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow,
published in the August 13, 2004, issue of Science, 305 (5686), pp. 968-972,
and its Supporting Online Material.
Billion of Tons of
Past Emissions
Carbon Emitted per
Year
14

Historical
7             emissions

1.9 
0
1954                     2004       2054   2104
The Stabilization Triangle
Billion of Tons of
Carbon Emitted per
Year
14

Stabilization
Triangle             Interim Goal
Historical
7             emissions
Flat path
O

1.9 
0
1954                    2004                       2054                  2104
Targets
Billion of Tons of
Carbon Emitted per
Year
14                                                                Easier CO2
target
~850 ppm

Stabilization
Triangle
Historical
7             emissions
Flat path
O

1.9 
0
1954                    2004                          2054                  2104
The Interim Goal and the
Stabilization Triangle
The Interim Goal: The Same Emissions
in 2054 as Today

The interim goal is on the path to stabilization below doubling
(450-550 ppm).

2054 emissions are projected to be twice those of today, if
carbon emissions are ignored.
The Interim Goal is Within Reach

Reasons for optimism:

•The world today has a terribly inefficient energy system.

•Carbon emissions have zero economic cost.

•Most physical plant has a lifetime of less than 50 years.
Wedges
Billion of Tons of
Carbon Emitted per
Year
14
14 GtC/y

Seven “wedges”

Historical
7             emissions
Flat path
O      7 GtC/y

1.9 
0
1954                    2004                2054                    2104
What is a “Wedge”?
A “wedge” is an activity reducing the rate of carbon build-up in
the atmosphere that grows in 50 years from zero to 1.0 Gt(C)/yr.

1 GtC/yr
Total = 25 Gigatons carbon

50 years
Fill the Stabilization Triangle with Seven Wedges
Renewable Electricity
and Fuels

CO2 Capture
and Storage                                           Energy Efficiency &
14 GtC/y   Conservation

Stabilization
Forests & Soils             Triangle                  Fuel Switch
7 GtC/y
2004                2054

Nuclear Fission
deployed somewhere at commercial scale.

• PORTFOLIO: No single wedge technology can
do the whole job, or even half the job.

• CHOICE: Not every wedge technology is needed.
Efficiency and Conservation
transport       buildings

industry                                                 power
Effort needed by 2054 for 1 wedge:
2 billion cars at 60 mpg instead of 30 mpg.

lifestyle
Wind Electricity

Effort needed by 2054
for 1 wedge:
Two million 1 MW windmills.
Today: 40,000 (2%)

Prototype of 80 m tall Nordex 2,5 MW wind turbine located in Grevenbroich, Germany
(Danish Wind Industry Association)
Power with Carbon Capture and Storage

Effort needed by
2054 for 1 wedge:

Carbon capture and
storage at 800 GW coal
power plants.

Graphics courtesy of DOE Office of Fossil Energy
Carbon Storage

Effort needed by 2054 for 1 wedge:
3500 Sleipners
A flow of CO2 into the Earth equal to the
flow of oil out of the Earth today

Start now to gain experience with
the permitting of storage sites.

Graphic courtesy of Statoil ASA
Biofuels

Effort needed by
2054 for 1 wedge:
Two billion 60 mpg cars
running on biofuels
250 million hectares of
high-yield crops (one
sixth of world cropland).

Usina Santa Elisa mill in Sertaozinho, Brazil
(http://www.nrel.gov/data/pix/searchpix.cgi?getrec=5691971&display_type=verbose&search_reverse=1_
Natural Stocks
Forests                                             Soils

Effort needed by 2054 for 1 wedge:             Effort needed by 2054 for 1 wedge:
Conservation tillage on all cropland..
Eliminate tropical deforestation
and
Rehabilitate 400 million hectares (Mha)
temperate or 300 Mha tropical forest

Photo: SUNY Stonybrook                    Photo: Brazil: Planting with a jab planter. FAO
Other Wedges
ELECTRICITY
• Natural gas for coal
• Nuclear power
• Power from photovoltaics (PV)

FUELS
• Synthetic fuel from coal, natural gas, and biofuels, with carbon
capture and storage
• Hydrogen from coal and natural gas, with carbon capture and
storage
• Hydrogen from nuclear energy
• Hydrogen from wind or PV

METHANE MANAGEMENT
• landfill gas, cattle, rice, natural gas
Consensus Building at COP-10

1. The best wedges for one country may not be the best for another.
2. It is too soon to pick “winners.”
3. The environmental and social costs of scale-up need attention.
4. Subsidy of early stages is often desirable.
5. At later stages, markets help to choose the best wedges.

Can a consensus in favor of early action be built on
stabilization wedges?

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