IGSD

Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Academic Publications

LBNL: Benefits of Leapfrogging to Superefficiency and Low Global Warming Potential Refrigerants in Room Air Conditioning

Academic Publications

LBNL: Benefits of Leapfrogging to Superefficiency and Low Global Warming Potential Refrigerants in Room Air Conditioning

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Nihar Shah, Max Wei, Virginie Letschert, & Amol Phadke – 2015

Summary
This paper provides an estimate of the magnitude of such GHG and peak electric load savings potential, for room air conditioning, if the refrigerant transition and energy efficiency improvement policies are implemented either separately or in parallel. We find that implementing HFC refrigerant transition and energy efficiency improvement policies in parallel for room air conditioning, roughly doubles the benefit of either policy implemented separately. While there is some uncertainty associated with emissions and growth projections, moving to efficient room air conditioning (~30% more efficient than current technology) in parallel with lowGWP refrigerants in room air conditioning could avoid upto ~25 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2030, ~33 billion in 2040, and ~40 billion in 2050, i.e. cumulative savings upto 98 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2050. Therefore, superefficient room ACs using low-GWP refrigerants merit serious consideration to maximize peak load reduction and GHG savings.

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Introduction to the special issue on ozone layer protection and climate change: the extraordinary experience of building the Montreal Protocol, lessons learned, and hopes for future climate change efforts

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Penelope Canan, Stephen O. Andersen, Nancy Reichman, & Brian Gareau – 2015

Summary
This special issue on Ozone Layer Protection and Climate Change reflects the leadership of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) in drawing interdisciplinary attention to important environmental issues. The authors are scientists, diplomats, regulatory authorities, environmental activists, and scholars who are intimately involved in actions that protect the stratospheric ozone layer and climate. This issue provides new information and insightful analytic summaries of critical issues in the protection of the atmospheric environment and is also an urgent appeal to professors and students to place atmospheric protection prominently in thinking, research, teaching, and professional activities related to “sustainable development.” The authors describe and document the bold steps taken by individual and institutional leaders involved in the Montreal Protocol to thwart catastrophic ozone layer destruction, which incidentally, albeit on a sound scientific basis, addressed climate change. Because of strong leadership, effective networking, and concepts such the “precautionary principle” and “start and strengthen,” the Montreal Protocol is considered to be the most successful global environmental treaty. For example, thanks to innovative approaches adopted by both industry and government, the Montreal Protocol has already replaced about 85 % of ozone-depleting greenhouse gases with low global warming potential alternatives and increased product energy efficiency. But hardwork is needed to overcome the important challenges that remain, such as the phasedown of the 15 % of alternatives that are high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons. Scientists, government officials, scholars, and business people must push for higher standards to achieve the combined goals of reducing both ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases.

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The importance of phasing down hydrofluorocarbons and other short-lived climate pollutants

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Durwood Zaelke & Nathan Borgford-Parnell – 2015

Summary
While negotiations continue for a United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) by December 2015 to take effect in 2020, a parallel effort to achieve fast climate mitigation is needed under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) to slow current impacts and reduce risks of passing tipping points that trigger self-amplifying feedback mechanisms that accelerate warming. Fast reductions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including black carbon (BC), methane (CH4), tropospheric ozone (TO3), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), can cut the rate of climate change in half by mid-century and by two thirds in the Arctic. The Montreal Protocol can be used to quickly phase down production and consumption of high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs, which can avoid 0.1 °C of warming by 2050, and 0.5 °C by 2100, while catalyzing improvements in appliance energy efficiency, which will provide further climate change mitigation by reducing energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, particularly in fast-growing economies like India and China. The simultaneous global deployment of existing technologies can reduce emissions of BC, CH4, and TO3 by enough to avoid an additional 0.5 °C of warming by 2050, while providing immediate benefits for human health, agriculture, and sustainable development. Fast action to reduce the four SLCPs will reduce the risk of setting off irreversible feedback mechanisms and provide urgent optimism and momentum for a successful UN climate treaty in 2015.

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Lessons from the stratospheric ozone layer protection for climate

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Stephen O. Andersen – 2015

Summary
Ozone protection was the result of professional confidence and sacrifice; brilliant interdisciplinary science and the good fortune of an ozone hole with no explanation other than manufactured fluorocarbons; and industry and government leadership inspired by the realization that life on earth was in jeopardy. In response to the 1974 warning by Dr. Mario Molina and Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were destroying the stratospheric ozone layer, almost 100 ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) have been phased out under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). This paper describes how the United Nations, national governments, citizens, and companies came together pragmatically for the public good. It describes seminal events where individuals and organizational leaders set the stage, came to agreement, and implemented the technology that protects stratospheric ozone and climate. These individuals, who became “Ozone Champions,” often acted alone and with great courage when they were sideways and crossways to the organizations where they were employed. This paper also describes how practical lessons from the successful Montreal Protocol can guide our global society and how stakeholders can positively influence each other to achieve comprehensive atmospheric protection—including halting climate change. The final section considers how the approaches of the Montreal Protocol can dismiss skepticism and embrace technical optimism in implementing cleaner coal and carbon sequestration, even as society aggressively pursues low-carbon renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a transition to sustainable lifestyles.

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Chatham House: A Global Response to HFCs through Fair and Effective Ozone and Climate Policies

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Stephen O. Andersen, Duncan Brack, & Joanna Depledge – 2014

Summary

This paper, which draws on the discussions at a workshop held at Chatham House in April 2014, outlines the main issues around the question of how best to craft a fair and effective global response to the growth in HFC use. A number of key issues are central to the debate: the principle of equity between developed and developing countries; the availability of alternatives to HFCs; the need for financial support for developing countries; the legal relationship between the climate and ozone regimes; and, underlying all these, the need for political will to resolve these challenges.

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Stratospheric ozone, global warming, and the principle of unintended consequences

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Stephen O. Andersena, Marcel L. Halberstadt, & Nathan Borgford-Parnell – 2013

Summary
Stratospheric ozone, global warming, and the principle of unintended consequences—An ongoing science and policy success story.

Strengthening Ambition for Climate Mitigation: The Role of the Montreal Protocol in Reducing Short-lived Climate Pollutants

RECIEL

D. Zaelke, S. Andersen, & N. Borgford- Parnell – 2012

Summary
The level of ambition of the public and policy makers to protect the climate is currently far too low to slow the accelerating pace of climate impacts. Ambition can be strengthened using strategies that disaggregate the overall climate problem into manageable pieces, borrow existing laws and institutions to take fast action following a ‘start and strengthen’ approach. This is illustrated by the strategy to phase down the production and consumption of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol. Such an approach could cut the rate of global warming in half for the next several decades, and even more in the Arctic and other climate vulnerable regions. This can provide fast success and build the sense of urgent optimism needed to raise ambition to do more to address carbon dioxide emissions – the single largest contributor to climate change.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Reducing abrupt climate chante risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions

PNAS TippingDynamicsonEarth

Mario Molina, Durwood Zaelke, K. Madhava Sarma, Stephen O. Andersen, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, & Donald Kaniaru – 2009

Summary
Current emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) have already committed the planet to an increase in average surface temperature by the end of the century that may be above the critical threshold for tipping elements of the climate system into abrupt change with potentially irreversible and unmanage- able consequences. This would mean that the climate system is close to entering if not already within the zone of ‘‘dangerous anthropogenic interference’’ (DAI). Scientific and policy literature refers to the need for ‘‘early,’’ ‘‘urgent,’’ ‘‘rapid,’’ and ‘‘fast-action’’ mitigation to help avoid DAI and abrupt climate changes. We define ‘‘fast-action’’ to include regulatory measures that can begin within 2–3 years, be substantially implemented in 5–10 years, and produce a climate response within decades. We discuss strategies for short-lived non-CO2 GHGs and particles, where existing agree- ments can be used to accomplish mitigation objectives. Policy makers can amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with high global warming potential. Other fast-action strategies can reduce emissions of black carbon particles and precursor gases that lead to ozone formation in the lower atmosphere, and increase biosequestration, including through biochar. These and other fast- action strategies may reduce the risk of abrupt climate change in the next few decades by complementing cuts in CO2 emissions.

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics: The role of HFCs in mitigating 21st century climate change

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Y. Xu, D. Zaelke, G. J. M. Velders, & V. Ramanathan – 2013

Summary
There is growing international interest in mitigating climate change during the early part of this century by reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), in addition to reducing emissions of CO2. The SLCPs include methane (CH4), black carbon aerosols (BC), tropospheric ozone (O3) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Recent studies have estimated that by mitigating emissions of CH4, BC, and O using available technologies, about 0.5 to 0.6◦C warming can be avoided by mid-21st century. Here we show that avoiding production and use of high-GWP (global warming potential) HFCs by using technologically feasible low-GWP substitutes to meet the increasing global demand can avoid as much as another 0.5◦C warming by the end of the century. This combined mitigation of SLCPs would cut the cumulative warming since 2005 by 50% at 2050 and by 60% at 2100 from the CO2-only mitigation scenarios, significantly reducing the rate of warming and lowering the probability of exceeding the 2◦C warming threshold during this century.

Pontifical Academy of Sciences: A comprehensive approach for reducing anthropogenic climate impacts including risk of abrupt climate changes

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Mario Molina & Durwood Zaelke – 2013

Summary
Annual greenhouse gases emissions in 2010 were at their highest recorded level in spite of a global recession. The risk is growing that the climate system could pass tipping points that lead to abrupt and irreversible impacts on a continental scale, perhaps within decades. Successfully addressing climate change requires fast and aggressive action to reduce CO2 emissions, which are responsible for up to 55% of radiative forcing since 1750. It also requires fast and aggressive action to reduce emissions of the pollutants causing the other 45% of warming – the non-CO2 climate forcers, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone. Along with reducing CO2, reducing emissions of these non- CO2 climate forcers, which in most cases can be done using existing technologies and existing laws and institutions, can cut the rate of global warming in half for several decades and by two-thirds in the Arctic in the next 30 years. In addition, given the profoundly persistent nature of CO2, it is necessary to explore and implement “carbon-negative” strategies to drawdown existing CO2 on a timescale of decades rather than millennia, and ultimately produce a net drawdown of CO2 when sinks exceed sources.

Science: Preserving Montreal Protocol Climate Benefits by Limiting HFCs

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Guus J. M. Velders, A. R. Ravishankara, Melanie K. Miller, Mario J. Molina, Joseph Alcamo, John S. Daniel, David W. Fahey, Stephen A. Montzka, & Stefan Reimann – 2012

Summary
With no impending global controls on HFCs, the Montreal Protocol offers a near-term path to preserve its climate benefits.

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