Every EU country has to publish a Climate Action Plan by the end of 2019
This blog is an addition, and improvement on the Dutch version. And its universal, any country can adopt this climate action plan.
This plan delivers:
– more real CO2 reduction by the biggest CO2 emitters
– allows citizens benefits from the energy transition, to speed up the process
– in a way that most citizens would see as a Just Transition
The vision of this Climate Action Plan is: Unite Behind The Science
The plan is simple, it could be a template for every country, because it follows the conclusions of peer reviewed science, published in IPCC reports, like SR15. These conclusions are valid for any country or politician.
IPCC SR15 conclusions in short:
– Yes, it is possible to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.
– But, worldwide CCS is required, because widespread use of fossil fuels will not be stopped with the transition speed required. So, all large CO2 emitters have to apply CCS, mandatory, or find a lower cost process, with less CO2 emission.
As a result, the use of fossil fuel will be more expensive, and renewable energy will be a more cost effective choice more and more.
In conclusion, mandatory CCS is a cost effective climate policy. Wide spread use will spark innovation, and lower the cost of CO2 reduction, while renewable energy is made even more attractive, than fossil energy.
Mandatory CCS is part of a just transition, because polluters have to pay for their own measures, and compete for lowest cost. Citizens do not pay subsidies for businesses, that reduce their CO2 emission. But they do pay for the price increase. Competition and free choice by consumers allows the market to work for both.
The second path of this climate action plan, is seducing families to generate their own renewable power
Families and SME who own a piece of a wind or solar farm, generate their own power
Wind and solar farms work automatically
And the grid is a public road for power
So those who generate their own power, can use it at home
This is possible because renewable power is generated automatically, once wind turbines and solar farms are build.
Climate action plan for governments : grant every family netmetering for renewable power
Netmetering means that a power user can buy a right sized lot of a wind farm,
and use the power at home.
While the actual difference between generated and used power, is balanced on the grid automatically. This type of simplicity for consumers make it attractive to be part of the energy transition
A renewable surplus on the grid, will force fossil generators to reduce their power.
They save on fuel,
And when the owner of the renewable generation has a shortage, the fossil generators will generate more, to balance power demand with generation, as they always do.
So, in conclusion, the renewable power reduces the need for fossil fuel, but the fuel is also used as storage of power.
Power users that generate their own power, in a shared wind farm, pay the lowest power price, the cost price. Today, most consumers buy commercial power, with a margin. But, because wind and solar farms work automatically, there is no risk, so no commercial margin required.
Regulations every country should should setup in their climate action plan
- Mandatory CCS for all large CO2 emitters
- A supply chain CO2 tax
- Preference of renewable power on the grid.
- Netmetering for renewable power users and generators, prosumers as well as SME, anywhere on the (local) grid
- Families should get the right to be the first to buy a family sized lot of a wind or solar farm, or even the plan
- Given the required transition speed, a family sized lot of a wind farm, must be made to an attractive mass consumer product
- prosumers, families, should be rewarded for their contribution to grid flexibility
Reward consumers for their contribution to grid flexibility
Grids carry power to users. Most comes from central power plants, so grids are setup from these central points. But more and more power is generated locally, with many wind and solar farms, an with rooftop solar panels. These local power sources, may overload local parts of the grid. That is why, the use of grids has to be coordinated. Users and all power sources have to be able to respond to peaks in generation and demand.
When a town has more solar panels, that the grid can carry at noon, either the solar inverters have to turn down their output, or a local power user has to switch on something, to consume the excess power. EG a bunch of EV chargers, waiting to be triggered, to start charging. This response of power local power users or generators, is called “flexibility”.
Those who allow their power devices to be partly operated remotely by the grid operator, should earn a benefit for the flexibility they deliver.
EG a group of EV users got 250 EUR per year, to have the charging of their EV partly timed by a grid operator, even their availability gets rewarded.
Climate action should be a profitable business too, especially for fossil companies
Climate activists often denounce fossil energy companies, because they create so much CO2 pollution. And they are right. But is it is wrong to do do so.
Fossil energy companies make large profits, because we, the world, use so much fossil energy.
Real climate action is install policies, to force the fossil companies to use their profits for real climate action, such as mandatory CCS, al long as they process and sell energy based on fossil fuel.
Its up to us, citizens, to explain to politicians to create the regulations, for this change in economies.
Oil refineries can do what is profitable for them, but they have to capture all CO2 the produce. And do something to prevent the CO2 to enter the biosphere. More global warming has to be prevented.
Natural gas should not be used in businesses for their processes, because of the CO2 emission. One of the ways to prevent that is to produce hydrogen for the fossil fuel, and capture the resulting CO2. Then permanently store the CO2 somewhere in a safe place. EG an empty natural gas well. This process is also known as CCS, Carbon Capture and Sequestration.
Mandatory CCS is the fastest CO2 reduction
So business that need that energy, switch from natural gas, to climate neutral produced hydrogen.
All these additional steps to do thins in a climate neutral way, cost money, and make products and services more expensive. The past 30 year have proven, this required climate action does not happen by itself.
Therefore, mandatory CCS, is a required policy, politicians have to decide, when they really want to keep global warming below 1,5 or 2 degrees.
Businesses still have a choice to change their products and processes, but without the CO2 emission. And unavoidable extra cost will make their products more expensive.
So alternatives will become more attractive, and fossil fuel will not be used more that really necessary.
As a result, the climate activists get they way, and fossil fuels will be used less and less.
But when they are used, it will be climate neutral, and that is the most urgent matter, to stay below 1,5 degrees global warming.
Bring prosperity to marginal agricultural areas
The plan, upto this point, is only about stopping todays CO2 emission. At the same time, we, the world have to work on removing the excess CO2, that was emitted in the past 200 years.
The slower the existing CO2 emission is stopped, the more CO2 we have to remove from the air around us. This can be done anywhere in the world.
A simple way to remove CO2 from the air is agriculture, plants that grow, capture CO2 from the air and store it, both in the part above the surface and in the soil.
But in itself, ecology is climate neutral. Plants capture CO2, and release it when they decay.
So, a forest has to be harvested, and burned in a coal power plant, and the resulting CO2 captured and stored permanently. This is known as BECCS, Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration.
The opportunity in Northern Africa, produce fresh water from the Mediterranean and renewable energy
The problem is that most of the earth surface is already used for some purpose.
But fighting climate change is an opportunity to bring prosperity to areas with marginal agriculture.
An example is Northern Africa, a dry and desert like area, with almost no agriculture.
But this can change.
Northern Africa has water in the Mediterranean Sea, and renewable energy, to produce fresh water from that salt water.
So the plan is that Europe will finance new fresh water plants in Northern Africa, for the people there, and when they have enough, for new agriculture there too.
This new agriculture means new jobs, eg for climate refugees.
Jobs are paid for by the new biomass, that is sold to coal power plants in Europe that in turn apply CCS when the burn the biomass. So Europe will pay Northern Africa to capture CO2, when they buy the biomass. And Europe will store the CO2 permanently with CCS.
Alternatives for burning biomass, that are required choices too
This graph from IPCC report SR15 shows valid choices to remove CO2 from the air.
On the horizontal axis the potential amount of CO2 per year in Gton.
What mix would you choose, when a total of 10 Gton CO2 reduction is required, to stay below 1,5 degrees global warming?
At the vertical axis, todays estimate how expensive a technology is.
The cheapest choice is planting new forests, afforestation
AND applying CCS in new coal power plants, the Dutch know, because they built 3 new coal power plants that were designed to do this.
Unfortunately, the Dutch government has shelved the technology, but smarter governments can get it. My advise for the Dutch is to export CCS and start in countries that depend on coal, such as Poland. But applying CCS on older coal power plants may be more expensive.
Land use to capture CO2 from the air
The next cost level in CO2 removal, is different ways to do agriculture and land use, where more of the plants remain in the soil. A simple way for the Netherlands is converting their peat meadow areas to bogland, where mosses grow and deposit under water, and slowly grow the area upwards. Because old mosses, stay below the water surface, they do not rot away, and keep the captured CO2.
By the way, most of the west part of the Netherlands is peat land. Amsterdam houses were heated with peat, until that source was depleted. The they switched to coal
BECCS is required too
Again, look at the graph above, we need a mix of 10 Gt CO2 removal per year.
Growing forests is the cheapest way to do this.
But when we do nothing else in these forests they may slow down accumulating CO2, because trees tend to fall down, when they get old. And dead trees, become CO2 again.
So, we better harvest the wood, and burn that in coal plants with CCS, in stead of coal.
Of course, we have to keep forests grow. In Northern Africa too.
Enhanced weathering is a very interesting way to capture and store CO2 from the air
There are volcanic minerals, like Olivine, that convert CO2 to a substance by itself. But this process is very slow. In Iceland they press CO2 in deep fractured wells of granite. They expect that the CO2 will react with the granite chemically. this fixes the CO2 permanently.
An other way is to mill Olivine to a sand. distribute the Olivine sand in wet area’s like beaches and coastal seas, like the Waddenzee in the Netherlands. There, the Olivine grains react with CO2, to a new substance. This process needs 10 tot 30 years.
This is called “enhanced” weathering because the waves on the beach and animals in the mud, “process” the Olivine grains, and remove the outer part of the grains that contains the fixed CO2 substance. So the Olivine is exposed again. If this is not happening, the CO2 fixation process slows down.