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Stevens Point, DC, United States

Lee C.,Ashima Research | Lawson W.G.,Point Carbon | Richardson M.I.,Ashima Research | Anderson J.L.,IMaGE | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets | Year: 2011

We describe a global atmospheric data assimilation scheme that has been adapted for use with a Martian General Circulation Model (GCM), with the ultimate goal of creating globally and temporally interpolated "reanalysis" data sets from planetary atmospheric observations. The system uses the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) software to apply an Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) to the MarsWRF GCM. Specific application to Mars also required the development of a radiance forward model for near-nadir Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) observations. Preliminary results from an assimilation of 40 sols of TES radiance data, taken around Ls = 150 (August 1999, Mars Year 24), are provided. 1.3 million TES observations are ingested and used to improve the state prediction by the GCM, with bias and error reductions obtained throughout the state vector. Results from the assimilation suggest steepening of the latitudinal and vertical thermal gradients with concurrent strengthening of the mid-latitude zonal jets, and a slower recession of the southern polar ice edge than predicted by the unaided GCM. Limitations of the prescribed dust model are highlighted by the presence of an atmospheric radiance bias. Preliminary results suggest the prescribed dust vertical profile might not be suitable for all seasons, in accordance with more recent observations of the vertical distribution of dust by the Mars Climate Sounder. The tools developed using this DA system are available at http://www.marsclimatecenter.com. A tutorial and example TES radiance assimilation are also provided. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union. Source

Sjolie H.K.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Tromborg E.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Solberg B.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Bolkesjo T.F.,Point Carbon
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2010

In many European countries, the use of policy measures to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy consumption, including heating, is high on the political agenda. Also, increasing the absolute consumption of bioenergy seems to partly be an objective in itself. But neither the costs of replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy in heating, nor the effects on the GHG emission account are clear. This study analyses first the avoided GHG emissions from substituting one energy unit of fossil fuel with forest based bioenergy (wood fuel) in several heating technologies. Secondly, the effects on bioenergy production of two policy measures in Norway - higher tax on domestic heating oil and paraffin and investment grants to district heating installations based on wood fuels - are investigated. Thereafter, the results are combined to display how the emissions from heating are affected. Finally, the achievements are compared to the costs. The analysis is done by using a partial, spatial equilibrium model of the Norwegian forest sector, wood fuels included. Based on model runs we conclude that a tax of 60 €/CO2eq on competing fossil fuels could increase the bioenergy use in district heating installations with almost 4000 GWh/year. The same amount of bioenergy could be used in pellet stoves and central heating systems, but a higher tax is then necessary. 50% investment grant to district heating installations may also have a large effect on the bioenergy use, but the effect of the subsidies decreases rapidly if applied together with a tax. Around 70% of the emissions from heating in Norway may potentially be avoided, but such achievements depend on very high taxes on fossil fuels. Both taxes and subsidies may greatly influence the energy market, but should be used with caution in order to obtain the preferred goals. Few similar studies are carried out in this field, and the results might be of interest for the bioenergy industry and the energy policy authorities. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Von Der Fehr N.-H.M.,University of Oslo | Hansen P.V.,Point Carbon
Energy Journal | Year: 2010

We analyze retailer and household behavior on the Norwegian electricity market, based on detailed information on prices and other market characteristics. We find that there exists a competitive market segment where a number of retailers compete fiercely for customers, with small margins on all products. However, we also find indications of monopolistic behavior, whereby retailers exploit the passivity of some of their customers. We discuss potential explanations for these results. Copyright © 2010 by the IAEE. Source

News Article | October 19, 2015
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/environment.xml

First world countries are reportedly falling short on efforts expected of them to combat climate change. The U.S. and several other rich countries are not contributing as much as they should, according to a new study made by several concerned organizations including the International Trade Union Confederation, Christian Aid, Oxfam and WWF International. Researchers found that these countries' pledges to curb carbon emissions are not enough to prevent rise in global temperatures that causes eleveated sea levels, unpredictable weather and intense heat. "The ambition of all major developed countries falls well short of their fair shares," researchers wrote in their study. These findings are timely with talks being held this month among more than 150 nations on exchanging plans to combat global warming and climate change. The sessions' results will help prepare a deal for the Paris summit in December to control climate change beyond 2020. Many of these nations have already submitted plans to fight climate change, but there is no agreed way to measure each country's level of ambition or whether they were contributing what could be called a fair share. If the measures of a country's history of using fossil fuels and their capacity to adjust fossil fuel use are to be considered, however, then reporters point out that the United States, several European countries and Japan are underperforming by 5 to 10 percent. China on the other hand, is performing beyond expectations. Admirable effort, analysts said, but unfortunately not enough. "The overall ambition of the developed countries is still not sufficient," said Niklas Hoehne, founding partner of the New Climate Institute. Last year UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that developed countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1990 should reduce their carbon footprints by at least half come 2030 compared to global emissions of 2010. The rate that global emission is cut in each country is a benchmark for emerging economies in terms of how they should implement their own carbon emission cutting strategies, especially among countries like India and South Africa which are yet to set their own goals. The U.S. and other developed nations have pledged to cut global emission rate equal to 9 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2030, though the US said their cuts will run only up to 2025. Frank Melum from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, said many of the rich countries' pledges could be positively received by reviews from the upcoming summit. He added that the rich countries' targets could be achieved successfully because these targets are made attainable by existing policies and regulations such as power plant restrictions as well as acces and promotion of renewable energy sources.

News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

Steam rises at sunset from the cooling towers of the Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power station at Nogent-Sur-Seine, France, November 13, 2015. Yet, 10 years after the EU launched the world's biggest carbon trading scheme, the effectiveness of the concept is in question and climate activists are disenchanted or hostile. While there is still support for national or regional markets, not least in China, which plans to launch the world's biggest scheme in 2017, any hopes of creating a global carbon market at next week's U.N. climate conference in Paris look wildly optimistic. Major corporations, in particular, back the concept because its costs are more predictable than those of prospective future regulations. In June, a group of European energy companies led by Royal Dutch Shell wrote to the United Nations to call for a global carbon price that would "discourage high carbon options and reduce uncertainty". U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres told them to do more and to spell out price levels, something they have yet to do. Climate activists say the corporations' enthusiasm can be explained as a desire to dodge more aggressive measures, such as targets for renewable energy. "The call for a carbon price is a shield with which to defend themselves from calls for faster change," says Tom Burke, chairman of the environmental campaign group E3G. Even with the jury out, nearly half of the more than 170 national pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions include some form of carbon pricing to meet their targets, officials say. They range from the top emitter, China, to the tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati, imperilled by rising sea levels. The best test case, for now, is the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, which raised 8.9 billion euros ($9.4 billion) in the three years to June 2015, according to European Commission figures. Jos Delbeke, director general of the Commission's climate action department and one of the chief architects of the ETS, says it has shown, crucially, that reducing carbon emissions is compatible with economic growth. He says the EU's gross domestic product has risen 46 percent since 1990, while greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 23 percent, and that the ETS is still central to EU efforts to tackle climate change. The scheme sets a cap on how much big emitters, chiefly power plants and factories, can pollute. Mostly they have to buy the emissions credits at auction. Those who emit less than their cap can sell the surplus credits to companies that exceed their limits, which are progressively reduced over time. So far, from the more than 11,000 industrial and energy plants covered by the EU ETS, emissions have fallen by almost 15 percent since 2008, Thomson Reuters Point Carbon figures show. But critics say it is unclear how much of this was a direct result of the ETS, as opposed to Europe's economic slowdown. They also say the revenues generated have merely boosted general government coffers rather than being spent on the environment, let alone on the poorer countries that pollute least but are set to suffer most from climate change. "The carbon market promised the world lots of things it has failed to deliver. The ETS is riddled with loopholes and in thrall to vested interest," said Tim Gore, Oxfam's international policy adviser on climate change. Most critically, the activists say the polluters have been given an easy ride. Point Carbon figures show that industry, which lobbied hard for help in dealing with extra energy costs, was given free carbon permits with a tradable value of 77 billion euros in the years to 2014. Alongside this, the market price of EU ETS permits, and therefore the cost of pollution, has at times fallen to near zero as economic recession and miscalculations led to a surplus of credits. The allocation system has now been reformed, but the total of free permits is still expected to hit 325 billion euros by 2030. At the same time, in the absence of a global carbon pricing system, industry continues to complain that the cost of permits is driving it to leave Europe for cheaper regulatory environments. ETS prices have risen back to 8.5 euros per tonne of CO2 produced, but are still far below peaks of above 30 euros, and too low to encourage investment in lower-carbon fuel. EU regulators are working on further reforms. There is a similar story of flawed execution behind another trading scheme, the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism. This was supposed to allow Western industries and governments to contribute to green projects in developing countries too small to support their own domestic or regional trading schemes, "offsetting" rather than cutting their own emissions. The United Nations says the scheme has provided more than $315 billion for environmental projects. However, the value of these certificates also fell from a high of more than 23 euros per tonne of CO2 avoided to near zero in 2014 as the scheme's credibility was called into doubt and the value of the EU's permits crashed. Environment campaigners say the funds were concentrated in a handful of industrial gas projects rather than filtering down to the poorest nations, known as the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), who found the scheme hard to access. "By the time the LDCs were ready to take advantage ... the prices had collapsed," Giza Gaspar Martins, Angola’s climate negotiator for the U.N. talks, told Reuters. U.N. carbon credit prices still languish around 0.60 euros a tonne, but Martins still backs the scheme in the hope that rich nations can push up prices to a level where they can provide significant funds to help the poorest nations adapt to climate change. As for a true global carbon market - a draft of the agreement to be finalised in Paris, intended as the first ever pact to unite rich and developing nations against climate change, contains only a small, oblique reference to "internationally transferred mitigation outcomes".

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