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McKinsey Talks Energy and Climate at MIT

by gmoke Tue Dec 6th, 2016 at 10:49:57 PM EST

On November 21, 2016 Scott Nyquist of McKinsey & Company (http://www.mckinsey.com) spoke to the public at MIT's Sloan School (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeTLrGhwLlrx3wx3eTYcnTX6pIS6iziw4RTLiYNL9uP0dWmVQ/viewform ?c=0&w=1).

Over the next 20 years, there are projections for 80% more demand on resources as a result of growing populations and growing economic production.  However, higher energy intensity, efficiency, and slower GDP growth leads McKinsey and Company to consider a less than base case view.

McKinsey sees 74% of our energy still coming from fossil fuels by 2050, with an energy related CO2 peak by 2035, and a similar peak in transportation by 2025.  COP 21, the Paris Agreement, has businesses going ahead and beyond waiting for negotiation, regulations and governments.  Nyquist pointed us toward not only the Energy Transitions Commission (http://www.energy-transitions.org), 28 leaders from business who recognize that COP21 is not enough and are setting zero carbon as a planning goal but also the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (http://www.oilandgasclimateinitiative.com), 10 companies with 20% of global oil and gas production, which has pledged $1 billion for low carbon technology.


The top 4 emitters, US, China, India, the EU, are planning 4 - 2.5% improvements per year in energy productivity now and that will continue.  China is forecast to exceed the EU, US, India combined in zero carbon energy growth over the next 20 years.  They will have a large nuclear component to their energy mix. Even the Saudis are diversifying from oil.

Autonomous and sharing vehicle systems may reduce transportation emissions dramatically by 2030.  Private cars are going away, says the Senior Partner in the Houston Office of McKinsey and Company and leader in both McKinsey's Energy Practice and the McKinsey Sustainability and Resource Productivity Network.

Solar electricity, photovoltaics, are expected to be competitive in most USA states by 2025. A third of the USA now finds solar electricity competitive with other energy sources, including, in some areas, natural gas, even without subsidies.  Solar is beyond the tipping point today, even with the election of Donald J Trump.  Utility clients are optimistic about the possibilities of storage and micro-grids but still waiting for the technology.  Nyquist did not directly address demand side management or advanced energy efficiency.

According to his conversations, fossil fuel companies understand that the carbon budget is 900 Gt of emissions to keep within the 2ºC increase in global temperature rise while fuel reserves are already 3-5 times that amount.  Scott Nyquist called out  the oil and gas industry and the Republican Party for their conduct on climate change.  The topic of stranded assets was not addressed in this talk.

Nyquist spoke almost exclusively of emissions without really exploring sinks.  All the carbon capture methods he mentioned,  briefly, were industrial.  He concentrated on sources of greenhouse gases rather than sinks, flows much, much more than stocks.  Geoengineering did not come up nor did the idea of geotherapy, amplifying existing natural carbon sinks by ecological design.

At the very beginning of his talk, Scott Nyquist said that there is geological evidence of sea level risings as much as one foot per decade.  That is the context in which McKinsey and Company are thinking about energy and climate change.

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More zero carbon futures?
. yes 100%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 1
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What does that tell you?

74% (not 75%) of our energy from fossil fuels in 2050 still? Boston will be partially (or regularly) under water in 2050.

Waiting for further technological development is simply bullshit. And there is no problem with the cost of renewables, there is a serious political problem of allocating the actual costs of conventional fuels we already have researched to death...

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 7th, 2016 at 10:14:49 PM EST
My impression was that Scott Nyquist very well understands the severity of climate change and the acceleration of renewables.  I was pleasantly surprised at how far he was going AWAY from fossil fuels in his talk.

Of course, McKinsey and Company is in the consulting business and will take just about anybody's money so their devotion to climate progress is somewhat, ahem, equivocal.

As for Boston, GE is building its new headquarters in an area that they know will be flooded regularly within a decade or so.  They seem to have designed it so that the lower floors will accommodate storm surge and flooding.  The city itself is  very serious about preparing for climate change at the same time they are welcoming billions of dollars in shoreline development.  Money talks and drowns out (I see what I did there) all other voices.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Dec 7th, 2016 at 11:43:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the point still holds that 74% total energy comes from fossils & conventional sources in 3 friction decades is absurd, should civilization with to survive...


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 10th, 2016 at 10:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My feeling is that he was putting out business as usual projections and then stepping back or beyond them to give us an idea of what he thought was actually possible, although my impression is that his idea of what is possible is limited by his business experience.

I suspect that he'd agree with you that 74% from fossil fuels by 2050 is not realistic for human survival.  Personally, I have my doubts that what you and he call civilization actually exists, but that's a whole nother story.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Sun Dec 11th, 2016 at 08:28:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we'll be lucky to hold it down to 74%.  First, China has been making big promises on environmental degradation for over three decades and has only made things worse; economic "growth," however bogus, will trump everything else there until it's too late.  Second, speaking of Trump, we've opened the floodgates here.  I'll set aside any rant on the anti-civil rights cretin who is about to become Attorney General and focus on the fact that the next EPA chief is a climate change denier and that Trump wants to make an Exxon exec Secretary of State (Even if that doesn't happen, the multibillion dollar Exxon oil deal with Russia the Obama administration has been blocking will.).  Der Drumpfenfuehrer is coming, and Hell's coming with him.  Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows couldn't have set up a better mechanism for bringing down this civilization.
by rifek on Wed Dec 14th, 2016 at 05:40:48 PM EST
China will have its carbon trading system in place in 2017 after 7 pilot projects since 2013.  They are using it both for environmental and economic reasons, leveraging inefficient plants into closure even without a market based economy.  Or at least that's the expectation according to the people I've heard who are studying it.

China has also, reportedly, been pretty good with their tree planting program to counteract soil erosion over the last few decades so their record isn't totally crap.

48 smaller nations pledged to go renewable by 2050 at Marrakech and that may drive others along that road whatever the USA does.  Costa Rica plans to be carbon neutral by 2022.

The Trump administration does look like part of a global carbon coup to monetize all the fossil fuels possible and leave no stranded assets for when climate change becomes totally undeniable even to the deniers.  But given what's happening right now in the Arctic, that may be a lot sooner than the politicians think.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Dec 14th, 2016 at 08:31:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for China, I'll believe something meaningful will happen when it happens.  As for denial, half this country believes the Theory of Evolution is a Commie plot.  Never underestimate the power of American denial.
by rifek on Thu Dec 15th, 2016 at 08:04:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About "American denial" my attorney advises me that I should refuse to answer that question as it may tend to incriminate me.

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Thu Dec 15th, 2016 at 11:07:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump taps former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head Energy Department he once vowed to abolish
President-elect Donald Trump picked Rick Perry to head the Energy Department on Wednesday, seeking to put the former Texas governor in control of an agency whose name he forgot during a presidential debate even as he vowed to abolish it.

Is it only liberals or sane people in general that Donald is trying hard to stupefy beyond imagination?

by das monde on Thu Dec 15th, 2016 at 03:01:35 AM EST
Hey, they're both TV reality stars, "The Apprentice" and "Dancing with the Stars."  See, it's simple.

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Thu Dec 15th, 2016 at 11:08:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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