Thank you very much.
We are now open to questions from the floor.
Can I ask you, by the way, on that phrase you used,
which is very catchy.
And in these agendas
it’s very important to have a slogan
that captures the public imagination.
But would I be right in saying that that phrase you used,
it doesn’t cost the earth to save the planet,
the phrase cost the earth is a sort of an Anglophone phrase.
It’s used in English speaking countries.
If that was translated straight into German
would it work as cleverly as you have used it here?
I explain this is in Germany in English. So….
No, but is the phrase, it costs the earth,
which is a popular kind of phrase,
meaning it’s very expensive…that’s what it means.
Yes, yes. But we have the same one in Germany.
Es kostet nicht die Welt, den Planeten zu retten.
So almost the same.
OK. So it would translate. OK.
OK. Yes, I call somebody here.
Somebody with the microphone.
Yes. I will come to you in a moment.
Yes. And tell us your name first of all, so we can….
My name is Gerry Coughlan actually.
Congratulations on your presentation.
That is sehr gut.
I just have one question on the…
is there any possibility of getting an international binding agreement
for limiting the disposal space of the atmosphere?
Because the amount of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane,
determines the climate in an irreversible manner at the moment.
The benefits of mitigation actually could well outweigh the costs involved with this.
Do you want to take that?
The last bit I didn’t….
Can you just repeat the very end of the question here…the net question?
The very end of the question,
the benefit of any mitigating could well outweigh the costs involved
in reducing these CO2 emissions.
Yes. As I said,
we haven’t been in a position in the IPCC
to assign monetary values to the climate damages or the avoided climate damages.
In that sense we haven’t been able to carry out the full-fledged cost benefit analysis.
The only thing that I can say is that,
what does it cost to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change significantly?
And so this is something which we showed,
that basically you have to reduce the economic growth rate
or you have to accept a delay in economic growth.
So this is something which we have communicated.
But to say clearly the costs of action
are less than the costs of non-action.
So we felt this kind of information
and this kind of message we cannot convey,
because the social costs of carbon,
and assigning monetary values to the avoided damages is,
given the current knowledge, not possible.
Anybody with the microphone? OK, yes.
My name is Enda Reilly.
I have a question about fossil-carbon as opposed to bio-carbon.
It’s carbon that would be kind of in the atmosphere recycled quicker,
that’s kind of out of the fossil area already.
Is there a way of having a different price
for different types of carbon
to incentivise keeping the fossil carbon in the ground?
Or is that too complicated a thing to do?
Yes. This is a very important question.
You are referring here to the different greenhouse gases,
and also you are referring to what extent the different sectors,
in particular the agriculture sector
should be included in a carbon pricing scheme.
So in my last slide I made …
it’s a kind of an over-simplification to say,
it’s just the pricing, the carbon underground.
This is just one part of the story.
You have to price all the other greenhouse gases.
And you have to impose a tax or a price also on all the sectors.
This is in the end quite difficult to do this.
But the fundamental insight, that you need one carbon price, remains.
Yes. Somebody…I am going to favour people with the microphone…
it will be all the quicker.
So we need the microphone over here as well.
First and then second. OK.
David Timmony from University College Dublin.
I run a Masters degree programme in energy systems engineering
aimed at, trying to educate people in all the complex cross-disciplinary issues
that are at stake here.
And it’s certainly not easy to find solutions.
But my real question is about the use of money as a parameter to determine….
to make decisions about the future.
And it seems to me that
whilst energy cannot be created or destroyed, money can.
In the sense that it can be imagined into existence
through quantitative easing or issuing loans or whatever.
So it has really no longer term stability of meaning.
So why are we using money as opposed to some other
more fundamental scientific parameter that doesn’t vary with time?
I mean you could argue the equivalent of interpreting the metre stick
as having different lengths on different days of the week or different months.
So is there not some other more fundamental parameter
we should look at, rather than money,
to determine the long term future of the planet?
This is a very good question.
One thing I would like to highlight here.
Basically what you are saying is
that if we think about human wellbeing,
it might be inappropriate just to think about
let’s say GDP and consumption.
And I fully agree with that.
However, this is something which I am a little bit sceptical
if we could find a kind of a scientific parameter,
in the sense that you can say, a value theory of energy.
Right. So we have an absolute value.
So I am a little bit reluctant to say this is the appropriate way to do.
But if you think in the following way about the problem.
You have a limited amount of carbon
or you could create the basket with the other greenhouse gases.
But for the sake of simplicity let’s think about …
of a given amount of cumulative carbon.
And then you can ask the question,
so what is the best way how to use this carbon?
And then you could say,
OK, in the end we would like to use the carbon
in order to build up a capital stock,
to transform with that capital this into use in goods and services.
So in that sense I would say
you can use then a monetary value to the tonne of CO2.
You could then argue and say,
but you have to expand your social welfare function,
you have to think much more carefully about human wellbeing.
You have to add additional factors.
For example, like human health or education.
And I would say, yes, you can do this.
But the fundamental principle to assign a monetary value on that remains.
And also use the revenues coming from that
to invest for example in infrastructure,
in education, in public health, all the remains.
So I would say, you raise a very very important question.
But the fundamental principle,
taxing or pricing the cumulative amount of carbon
and using the revenues in sectors
which are under-invested remains a valid point.
However, I would say, you are right.
That just to think in a limited way
about human wellbeing as a function of material consumption
is definitely in the long run not the appropriate way.
Even I would say…even I would say material consumption
remains an important issue, in particular for economies in transition.
And therefore at least the report says,
not for the rest of the next hundred years,
but for the next few decades,
we can reconcile this traditional economic growth
with the reduction of emissions.
So that’s the point.
But nevertheless the open question remains,
to what extent we should expand
our understanding of human wellbeing and social welfare.
And how do you communicate that to the wider public?
I mean there is some …say attitude surveys and opinion poll evidence,
which shows that people would be happy to pay
another small increment, another 1% or 2% in their taxes
if they were confident that the social benefits
would be appropriately spent,
and that they would accrue to the sort of targets,
like on education or on health.
But they lose confidence that it won’t be swallowed up
by the bureaucracy or by the politicians for something else.
So there is a sort of optimistic evidence
sometimes that people are happy to take less money
for more social benefit.
So are you optimistic that we can work in that terrain?
One thing is what I mentioned in my presentation,
in the end it’s the climate policy,
the climate change is not fundamentally a technological problem.
It’s a huge challenge, but it’s not fundamentally a technological problem.
It’s even not a fundamental economic problem.
It’s a problem I would say of political institutions,
and the capability of these institutions for long term commitment.
This is another important aspect you raised.
So you said, is money a long term indicator?
But this very much depends to what extent
political institutions and politicians can commit,
can make long term commitments.
So if you say, this is the amount of carbon
which we want to release into the atmosphere.
This needs a strong long term commitment.
And everybody knows that long term commitment
is one of the weakest points of our democracies.
But then we should think a little bit more
to what extent our current institutional system
is willing and able to make this long term commitment.
And this is not just an issue, not just an issue for climate policy.
This is an issue for pension reform.
This is an issue for public debt.
And here I would argue the current financial crisis in Europe
is fundamentally a problem of long term commitment of the politicians.
I have no easy solution, no quick fix for that.
But this is from my point of view the fundamental challenge here.
And you are by training an economist rather than a scientist. Isn’t that right?
Yes. In the anglosaxon word you have this funny distinction
between scientists and economists.
Coming from a German speaking country economics is a science.
Yes. I appreciate that.
But….but….but I accept this cultural divide.
No, but that’s partly why you finished then with that issue of what do you tax.
What do you tax? Why tax labour?
Why not tax something else?
So that’s the way you are moving. Isn’t that right?
And why then did you put on the new hat?
I understand that you cannot speak for the institution.
But is it because they disagree with you
or because you are on a solo run?
Or because they don’t all agree with you.
First of all there is no agreement in the current report
about why the European emissions trading scheme failed.
So that’s the one thing.
The second thing is that many people believe
that there are other political instruments which are much more effective,
like efficiency standards and so on.
And people feel that there is also law and order an option.
For example, like a coal moratorium and also how to reap the short term co-benefits,
I wouldn’t say there’s a disagreement
but there was fundamentally no scientific literature
which was available to be reviewed and to be evaluated.
And therefore I decided to bring these kind of thoughts to the attention of this audience,
because otherwise my feeling was
I have to conclude in a very pessimistic way.
And today I want to be a little bit more optimistic.
At least to give some kind of direction
where we can at least probably find solutions.
Yes. Somebody here.
Yes. Hello. My name is Howard Donayne.
I run a showcase for environmental films called Eco Film Fest.
You were talking about….thank you very much for a most interesting talk…
but taxing the bad rather than the good so that…
and giving back to complying countries
who follow that policy in terms of funding for their infrastructure
and for job creation or whatever. So that we see the short term gains,
rather than long term gains for posterity, when we are all dead or whatever.
I was wondering, could this be not a level of…
not just giving back to a state…a country,
but giving back maybe…since there’s growing urbanisation
as a trend everywhere, in China as much as here,
giving it back at municipal level.
That a city would benefit, more people coming to live in the cities worldwide,
because that’s where the jobs are and the amenities.
And if it was given back at that level,
a municipal tax and municipal funding,
would that make it easier for it to be adopted in the short term?
For people to see the benefits in their own city,
with rates or whatever. Thank you.
Do you want to comment on that?
First of all, this was one of the major innovations in our report,
that we have an own chapter on human settlement in cities,
and what they can contribute.
This is a very important aspect here.
I am a little bit reluctant I have to say
to rely too much on the local level,
and I would like to explain you why.
Because my feeling is that
if you have not an agreement or at least
nationwide taxes or pricing schemes
you are always at risk that some effort in one place
will be overcompensated by economic growth in the other places.
So this is something which is from my point of view highly problematic.
And in that sense we need an international agreement
because otherwise we are always at risk
that we Europeans save fossil fuels or reduce the fossil fuel consumption,
make fossil fuel consumption at a global level much cheaper,
and create an incentive in other places to use more fossil fuels.
So in that sense we can start with good examples,
but in the end we have to accept
that this has to be upscaled to an international agreement.
Can I just clarify
I don’t mean that we don’t have an agreement at state level
and international level of governments,
but that the payback,
the short term benefits you are talking about
in terms of infrastructure could be done at city level.
So that most people can identify and see the gains in their own city
or their own town, and with the fact that now
apparently over 50% of the world’s population
live in cities and in China they are all moving.
And reducing local air pollution in China is a prime example here.
OK, we have your point. Thanks.
Somebody else. Down at the back there. Yes.
Professor, you made the very clear argument
that climate mitigation can be reconciled
with a level of 2% per annum economic growth.
But would you not accept first that,
that very continued pressure of economic growth,
in terms of trans-boundary resource consumption
and land use change across the world
is itself extremely difficult to reconcile with climate mitigation?
And that also as an economist
it’s necessary not just to look at the boundary
or the constraint of the amount of carbon
we can emit to 2050 or to the end of the century,
but other planetary constraints in terms of land use change,
biodiversity loss, use of fresh water.
And I would highlight the report published last week
by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, its Living Planet report,
which highlighted the continuing increased loss of global biodiversity
and the trans-boundary land use impact of the western lifestyle consumption
across the world in terms of the amount of
land, water and resources a person
with a middle class lifestyle in the developed world
uses across the world,
and if that were to be replicated it would require three planets.
Those are very familiar images.
So could you reconcile that wider planetary concern
with maintaining biodiversity and a stable ecosystem
along with the climate in justifying continued economic growth,
rather than an argument that we must actually reduce…
stabilise first and reduce fundamental resource consumption.
Yes. Thank you very much.
This is a very important question.
And this allows me to come up with a little bit more precise statement.
I fully agree with you that there are more planetary boundaries
than just the carbon budget.
Biodiversity, you mentioned, land use change,
this is something which is quite important.
I would like to propose the following.
I would agree with you that
all these issues have to be taken into account
and we need dedicated and well-tailored
and designed policies to address these issues.
And they are quite complicated.
But if you would argue that we should economic growth
as such I would then disagree with you.
And I would like to explain you why.
First of all, if you would now let’s say decide,
let’s assume for the sake of simplicity we could do this,
that we have an economic growth rate of zero.
So the current level of carbon
which is required by our technologies and lifestyle would not allow,
even with an economic growth rate of zero,
would not allow us to achieve a 2 degree target, right.
So from my point of view the crucial thing is,
we have to find a way…
I apologise for using now an economic term…
to address the social costs of all these boundary conditions,
taking into account all these relevant externalities.
And if our economic system is able
to find innovative ways to overcome these boundary conditions, that’s fine.
Then economic growth is an option
and we can continue with economic growth.
If this is not the case,
so then we have to change
and we have to transform our technological system.
But from my point of view,
what we need in the next few years
is fundamentally technological innovation and technological change.
Because with our current energy supply system
we cannot achieve a 2 degree target…we cannot even achieve a 3 degree target.
With our current land use system
we cannot rescue the biodiversity.
So we will have some problems with food security.
I fully agree with you that climate change is not the only boundary condition.
We have to take into account a much broader sustainability consideration.
We have to design well-tailored policy instruments.
But then let’s see what is the net outcome.
If then we can have economic growth,
despite these boundary conditions,
this is an indication that we have a quite innovative economic system.
And then we can be happy.
If this is not the case,
then we have to live with that.
What I am saying is,
I am absolutely with you if you ask for a much broader understanding
of sustainability which includes more than climate change
and also to design policy instruments.
But I am not in favour to say
we should attack and address economic growth directly.
There is no reason for that.
We have to make sure
that our footprint will be reduced by and large.
And to launch innovations in our system which allow us to do this.
We have a question here from UCC,
from Harold Kingston on biomass.
Do we need to encourage farmers to switch to biomass?
I would say…when we have a reasonable carbon pricing scheme,
then this will create a lot of incentives.
However, and this is very much related to your point,
here we have to find reasonable and smart ways for land use management.
And this is very complicated to embed land use management with CO2 pricing.
And here we have taken only the first steps,
but we have to work harder to bring together
all these issues in a quite coherent policy package.
A question here.
My name is Eduardo.
I would like to know…you said about the ATCs and the carbon price,
because Europe needs to move forward on this challenge.
And I think the price today is like five or six zero.
And I have like two questions.
Alright. The question is, what would be the ideal price in your opinion,
and if you can give a figure for that.
And do you think it’s realistic that next year in Paris
the European Union is going to bring a realistic proposal for the ATCs
and carbon price? Thank you.
Yes. The ideal carbon price - there are many scenarios
which are consistent with a long term goal of Europe
to reduce the emissions by 80% in 2050.
And then as an order of magnitude
we could start with €20 per tonne CO2,
but then the price has to be increased.
So that’s quite important. We need an increasing price.
And we have to stabilise the expectations
for the investors that there is an increasing price.
Another question online.
P.G.A. O’Reilly doesn’t think that the EU can lead climate change,
maybe reluctantly for some we should follow China,
where it sets best practice.
Yes. I am very much in favour to look at China.
It’s really remarkable what’s going on, and I am very curious.
I am following the internal discussions in China
what they will bring on the table in Paris.
But nevertheless I would like to highlight,
China has already started the test phase
for their emissions trading scheme.
And I would say we could help them a little bit to fix the problem
and to show how the problem can be fixed.
So I would be very happy to see this kind of leadership in the EU.
With the microphone, yes.
Yes, thank you. Thomas Ryan from the Irish Farmers Association.
Professor, could I just ask you for two insights?
First of all regarding Europe’s readiness at this point in time for Paris.
And maybe some insights as to Europe’s position and how prepared we are.
And in the context of you speak about the importance of the land use sector,
I understand at European level the discussions are less than advanced.
And are we ready for Paris?
My final point is to do with border carbon adjustment mechanisms
and what role they may or may not play
in terms of looking at less emission efficient food producing nations,
and maybe putting a cost or a value on that
as a means of encouraging more sustainable food production. Thank you.
Very good questions.
First of all what kind of border tax adjustments,
yes, I would say, they can have a role.
And so there are basically two devices.
So if you want to avoid carbon leakage
it’s about border tax adjustment,
and also to enhance the clap of people
who want to implement an emissions trading scheme.
And also to find exceptions for industries which are quite carbon intensive,
and at the same time expose to international competition.
So these are basically the three ways we can find middle ground
to implement a carbon price. This can be addressed.
Is Europe ready?
I would say we are not in a very good position,
because we have not very convincing proposals.
And it’s quite clear what the policy package should include.
First it’s what I told, it’s the minimum price.
One thing is very nice,
that we have now an auctioning scheme in Europe,
and also we have to think very hard
to basically include all the relevant sectors in an emissions trading scheme.
And on both sides…so the progress is very very slow.
Yes, with the microphone, yes.
My name is Tim Gleeson.
I am a former soils researcher, retired.
I would say first, a very enlightening talk.
But my question is to do with how you are accounting for carbon footprints.
You mentioned Asia having increased a lot in the last 40 years,
and China in particular with more coal burning stations.
But a lot of that increase is not for Chinese consumption.
It’s for export to western countries like the United States and Europe.
The United States I am told is about 20 times…
or sorry, 10 times the footprint of China on a per capita basis.
And it would probably be a lot more
if there was proper consumption accounting,
rather than just the use in a country.
So is there any plans to give us more enlightening data
that could be then used for more enlightening economic policies?
Yes. I regret that I deleted this slide.
Because this was another slide which has been deleted by some governments,
which is basically about consumption based and production based accounting.
And what you are saying is absolutely right.
China is now the largest and the biggest
net exporter of capital goods and emissions.
Right. And we are importing goods from China,
and we import at the same time their emissions.
But if you have a consumption based accounting scheme China looks pretty good.
And therefore there is a huge debate in the international negotiations
to use production over consumption based accounting.
This is another way how to think about international responsibility.
But from a purely economic point of view,
if you tax so to say in all countries the sources,
you internalise all the externalities.
So there is no need so to say for a large scale consumption based accounting
if this is done in all the countries in an upstream system.
Right. So in that sense this is not an account argument
against a reasonable upstream carbon taxation scheme.
So these are two different things.
What kind of policy instruments are important?
And what is the accounting scheme?
The accounting scheme shows what happened,
that we have a huge shift in the past,
when you look at the production and the consumption based accounting,
you basically see that consumption based and production based accounting
shows that the international flows of carbon emissions
reflects the international division of labour. Right.
We have net exporters of goods,
and net importers of goods,
and this is….just the carbon flows around the globe
are mirrored by this international division of labour.
But nevertheless this is not a counter argument to impose …
you can impose a carbon tax upstream in all the countries
and you get the same effect.
Yes. A gentleman here.
And then the last two or three questions now. Yes.
Gerry Duggan, Irish Academy of Engineering.
I would like to ask you what you consider the probabilities
of getting the EU to agree to a cap and collar emissions trading scheme
given today’s open letter, full page open letter in the Financial Times,
where the Chief Executives of every steel company in Europe objected to that.
And in the chances of having a universal carbon tax by 2030,
given that countries like India, Indonesia,
and indeed most of the OPEC countries,
spend a very large amount of money on fuel subsidies,
never mind introducing a carbon tax.
So let me explain the last thing.
I am not saying that we will have in 2020 a global carbon tax.
It would be sufficient if different nation states
or national governments have a carbon pricing scheme.
And I would say broad carbon pricing schemes in China are underway.
In India not, but in China they are underway.
And if they implement such a thing
this would be a huge huge breakthrough from my point of view.
And you ask a valid question, we already discussed this.
So what is the likelihood, the probability,
what kind of probability I would like to assign to the carbon price floor in Europe?
I agree with you, the probability is low.
But is the proposal wrong?
I would say the proposal is right,
even if the probability is wrong.
And from my point of view…
if you compare the debate in Europe,
it’s a very strange debate.
So everybody knows that we need a fix of the EUETS.
What are the proposals on the table?
People say, let’s implement this market stability reserve.
What is this market stability reserve?
The market stability reserve is the promise of the EU Commission
to take out of the market a few permits.
And then they do not communicate very clearly
to what extent they take it out forever
or to what extent this will be re-injected.
So this is a kind of a market intervention.
Why not then design a market intervention where we say,
here we have a clear minimum price,
at this price we will intervene and we will intervene at the maximum price.
The probability is low, but I do not see any reason
when an authority like the Commission wants to implement a market stability reserve,
why the price collar cannot be implemented.
So I agree with you, from a descriptive point of view the probability is low.
From a normative point of view I would say I am right.
And the third thing that I would like to say is,
the step from a market stability reserve to a price collar
is not so far as many people believe.
Yes. Final question here, yes.
Jim Woolrich is my name. Thanks,
it was a fascinating overview that you gave there.
We have had climate change with us for about 30 years now.
And quite a few people have come up with quite interesting innovative ideas,
solar radiation management using things like cloud ships for instance,
ideas of weathering olivine rocks to take up CO2,
ideas for regreening savannah lands.
It seems to me that we are not going to get very far
unless we start bringing these new ideas in.
What possibilities do you see in that kind of area?
Do you think these new ideas for climate intervention are worthwhile?
Or do we have to stick with the old,
and really failed policies of the last few decades?
I would say there is a huge distinction.
So here you refer to what some people call geo-engineering.
And there are two classes or two types of geo-engineering.
One is what we call in the IPCC carbon dioxide removal technologies,
which is basically, you could say control to a certain extent the carbon cycle.
And basically what we have discussed so far,
including land use management,
methanisation and all these kind of things,
this is carbon dioxide removal technologies.
And I believe that we have to rely on these technologies
because in the end we need some kind of negative emissions.
But with the solar radiation management,
I am not an expert on this,
but I can report what the IPCC report is saying,
in particular our colleagues from working group 1.
They say you might be able to influence the global mean temperature,
that’s the solar radiation balance of earth.
But nevertheless you change all the precipitation pattern around the globe.
And my feeling is, this is a huge issue, right.
So you might control then the global mean temperature.
But you change these patterns around the globe.
I am not sure if we, which means U.S. or Europe will do this,
that everybody will be happy what we are changing then.
And this is the political dimension.
And in addition to that,
many people feel from working group 1
that we haven’t understood the atmospheric chemistry
sufficiently enough to propose such a thing.
So it’s under discussion, probably you need more research.
I am quite confident that carbon dioxide removal technologies
will gain maturity in the next few decades
if we have a reasonable carbon pricing scheme.
I am quite sceptical about the solar radiation management
given the current state of knowledge.
OK. I must conclude it there.
We have had a number of tweets and emails here.
One says, why ask for twitter questions and then use so few?
Another who is very lucky that I am asking this question,
because he or she hides behind the name ‘thinkorswim’
and I have a very strong old-fashioned bias,
as a broadcaster, which I know this is not a broadcast,
therefore I will break my rule.
But I don’t read aloud people who don’t sign their name.
But ‘thinkorswim’ thinks that your lecture was too bland
and hadn’t a sufficient sense of urgency given the crisis.
You can’t satisfy all of the people all of the time.
OK. So this is something which …
as a co-chair of IPCC you are blamed the whole day.
So in my inbox every day I have people who blame me.
So what I would like to say is the following:
yes, there is a sense of urgency. I agree with that.
But if I would communicate,
now if we will miss the opportunity in Paris
to come up with an agreement,
and then I would say,
then we lost the whole work,
this would be not appropriate.
So what I would like to communicate are two things.
On the one hand, we should not wait to implement something,
but we have sufficient time to build up the required political institutions
which allows us to think carefully through
what kind of policy we should implement.
So my sense of urgency is, when we wait longer
and we will not start social learning experiments,
then in the end we are probably forced to do very very dumb things.
And I would like to do smart things.
And therefore I would like to start now,
but with a sense of experimentation, with a sense of trial and error.
And what I would like to say is,
we have the time for trial and error processes,
because probably as humankind we are not wise and smart enough
to implement a one size fits all device.
OK. And special thanks to those in UCC who joined us.
And I believe there was another group in Maynooth who have also emailed in.
And finally there is somebody in the room who tweeted
saying that they cycled in so they are feeling especially virtuous.
So you can all cycle home now. Thank you very much indeed.
0:00:00 / 0:00:00
Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair, IPCC Working Group III
Mitigation of Climate Change: Q&A