Fear and Hope: Climate Change and Policy Solutions
Few people appreciate just how badly our society will suffer under likely climate change. We are on the verge of unleashing runaway changes, wherein nature's forces accelerate the impacts of humanity's emissions, and we get cascading, unstoppable change. This is important to understand, for we will leave an earth a far diminished place, with many parts unrecognizable. Avoiding such a fate is possible, but only with rapid, serious actions. Presenting climate dangers at length, and without an antidote, just leaves depression in the wake. An emerging story is positive: There are new technologies growing at an astounding pace that can reverse CO2 emissions trends. Recent developments in Germany, Denmark, and China and several US states show the potential. This story begins darkly, but transitions to a discovery of solutions that can help build a much more useful conversation on climate change.
Fear and Hope: Climate Change and Policy Solutions
THE ASPEN INSTITUTE
ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL 2013
FEAR AND HOPE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLICY SOLUTIONS
Monday, July 1, 2013
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
National Correspondent for The Atlantic.
CEO of Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC
Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at
The Paulson Institute.
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FEAR AND HOPE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLICY SOLUTIONS
MR. FALLOWS: Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Paepcke. Please have a seat. We have a really interesting hour's worth of discussion ahead.
My name is James Fallows; I'm a writer for The Atlantic. I'm here briefly to introduce our guest, Hal Harvey, who has been one of the leading serial entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of energy and climate for several decades. His current firm is Energy Innovation. Before that he was the founder and director of ClimateWorks and the Energy Foundation. He is well-connected in China, in the United States. And the innovative ideas on what to do about the climate problems we're all familiar with are what he is going to discuss.
The title of our discussion today is Climate Change -- Fear and Hope: Climate Change and Policy Shift. Hal Harvey is going to give us an introduction, a narrative slideshow for a few minutes. When that's over he and I will have a discussion and then I will open the floor to questions from you.
So please join me now in welcoming Hal Harvey.
MR. HARVEY: Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Jim. It's great to be here. Little bit of an echo, so I can hear myself speak.
MR. HARVEY: This is entitled Fear and Hope. And like marines in boot camp, I intend to destroy you and then bring you back, newly made.
So there is a lot of fear in climate change, and I'm going to talk about three aspects of it that are not commonly understood. The first has to do with weather. We think of climate change as increasing the global average temperate of two degrees C, that doesn't sound like much, and that's because it's not much. But that's not what matters, what matters is extreme. So I'm going to show you something interesting about that. Then I want to talk about how natural systems react to the man-made perturbations that we are causing. Then a little insight into carbon math, which is truly frightening. And then after that I'm going to talk about some spectacular advances in technology that can bring this home in a reasonable fashion.
I'm an engineer by training. And so I have to start with a normal distribution curve. Everybody has seen a lot of these. This one happens to be a representation of July temperatures across the United States, so now, more or less. And because it's a normal distribution -- normal distribution, you get about a third of your summers are cooler than average, a third are average, and a third are hotter than average. Note down here in the extremes there is very little stuff going on. And the extremes are what you care about. The extreme is the 100-year flood, it's the Dust Bowl drought. It's what's happened to Australia recently.
So this is from NASA. Watch what's happening in the real world, if it goes. So you can see the actual temperatures very much fit this model for years. And then look what happens starting around the late '70s and the early '80s. We move the average over just a little bit. Here is where we are today. You can see we used to have one-third cooler-than-average summers, we're now down to one-twelfth, 1 out of 12 summers is cooler than average. One out of six is average. Four out of six are hotter than average. And one out of 12 are extreme, never been seen before.
Yesterday in Death Valley it was 129 degrees, you probably saw; Phoenix, 120; Las Vegas, 117. Those are extreme temperatures.
Let me give you some more examples. We had the biggest drought last year since the Dust Bowl. This is in Illinois, it was worse in Texas, it's worse today in New Mexico. Another kind of extreme is an extreme flood, an extreme weather event. Again, 65 out of 75 of Thailand's counties were under water. Bangladesh has had more than half the country under water. Australia recently had flooding the size of France, another kind of extreme.
Heat; in Australia they burned a million acres earlier this year through fires. The extremes become the norm. This is what's happening to our weather systems. We have to get used it in a way. Australia had a day when the average temperature across the entire continent was 106 degrees. And in the hottest place it was 122. That's not bearable.
People remember Super Storm Sandy, a 1000-kilometer-wide storm, caused $65 billion worth of damage. So this is what's happening to weather systems. It's not the average that we care about, it's the extremes. And you may have noticed that even =as we were creating a lot of hot extremes, we were eliminating cold extremes. Cold extremes have an important ecological purpose. And around here they kill pine beetles. When you quit killing pine beetles, pine beetles prosper, and you kill pine trees. And there are now millions of acres of dead pine trees around here. So if you want to know what's happening with climate change, go outside. So that's the first bad news, it's the extremes become the norm. If you're interested in this, we have a short paper called The Extremes Become the Norm on our website, you can dig into it.
Let me turn now to the next really scary thing. When human beings unleash changes, geophysical changes in the atmosphere, nature follows with its own medicine. And it's sometimes more extreme than that which we ourselves do.
This is the Arctic, these are real images. The sunshine bounces off the snow. So you get a lot of sunshine coming in, hitting that ice and bouncing off. But look what happens to the snow or the ice, I should say, over time. It disappears. And when the sun hits the dark ocean, it doesn't bounce anymore. It absorbs. So we started this by melting the ice, and nature is accelerating it. It's a runaway cycle. There are several of these in nature.
This is the one that's the scariest to me. There are millions of square kilometers of frozen tundra across the north of Russia, Canada, and Alaska. And embedded in that is frozen CO2 and massive amounts of frozen methane. Methane is an incredibly powerful greenhouse gas, 25 times as powerful per kilogram is CO2. If you melt the tundra, you release the methane. And there is no earthly way for us to stop that.
Now, are we melting the tundra, we're starting to. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. It was 90 degrees in Alaska earlier this month. So the extremes become the norm. And systems go into runaway.
Here are some other runaways. The warmer the air, the more its water vapor capacity, that makes clouds. Clouds are like blankets to the earth, they accelerate the warming. So each of these things causes more of the same.
One on the other side of it, we've had an incredible escape valve. Almost half of all the carbon dioxide that humanity has released so far has been absorbed by the ocean, but when you warm the ocean its ability to absorb carbon dioxide decreases, so our safety valve is shutting off even as our emissions are accelerating. Okay, everybody feeling depressed? I got one more.
MR. HARVEY: People have always talked about a threshold we should not exceed of 450 parts per million concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We're at 400 today by the way. We just passed that threshold about three weeks ago. I'm going to argue that actually higher numbers though they would seem instinctively to be easier to attain are harder to attain. So we better stop now. And I'm going to show you why. This is simple math, but not widely dealt with.
What we do as society by driving cars, by building buildings, by flying around in jet planes is we emit carbon. And this is business-as-usual carbon emissions. Today we are around here 50 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year. And that's where we're headed.
When you emit carbon into the atmosphere it stays up there for a very long time, up to a thousand years or more. And so if your emissions keep going up, your concentrations keep going up. Let me say again, this is what we do, this is what's done to us, this is -- the insulation blanket we're putting over the earth is getting thicker and thicker.
So let's say we get smart, we get clever, we get aggressive, we develop some real power and we reverse that trend and we start pushing carbon dioxide down from its peak to close to zero over about a 50-year period. And I'm going to argue that's entirely possible. Look what happens to concentrations, they stay level.
It's like putting money in a bank. You quit putting money in the bank, the money that you have in there doesn't disappear it stays there, right? So if we go to zero carbon emissions we stay at 450 PPM.
Look what happens if you wait a little while? Let's say, we wait another 25 years and then we go to zero, that puts us in the 650 world here.
But look, here is the really interesting thing, and this is why I say the 650 world, besides being much worse from a chronological perspective is actually harder. The economic change that we have to encounter is the difference between 60 billion tons of emissions a year and roughly zero. If we wait, it's a 100 billion tons down to zero. The longer you wait, the harder it is to achieve any stable number even a totally dangerous ridiculously bad stable number. In other words, if we wait I predict we go into absolute runaway unrecoverable mode, into a time we've never seen before.
By the way, today at 400 PPM hasn’t been seen in 3 million years since long before humanity. Last time it was 400 PPM in the world it was 75 -- the oceans were 75 feet higher. So this is real. Okay, that's carbon math.
What I want to turn now to is from fear to hope. That looks a lot better.
MR. HARVEY: But there is an intermission, which is called natural gas. Is natural gas good or bad? Both. It all depends.
If you look at one thing, natural gas looks pretty good. If you displace coal with natural gas then you're going to emit half as much CO2 at the power plant. But if you look at the full cycle of natural gas you've got a few other problems. This is what I started with. This is the amount of CO2 from coal, and that's from natural gas. It would be a good substitution if you want to save the climate.
But if you have very small methane leaks, remember methane is an incredibly powerful greenhouse gas, then some of that benefit goes away. If you have large methane leaks, gas is far worse than coal. So a reasonable question is how much methane is leaking. And the answer is, no one knows. We don't keep track. And we've seen studies that have this high number and we've seen them that have this low number. So we need to find this out.
Let me say one other thing about clean natural gas. This is what it looks like when you're getting it out. It might be clean in your stove, it's not as clean in Pinedale, Wyoming, which is where this is. It's an incredibly land-intensive source. So I would say natural gas can be a useful bridge if it's managed very well. It can be an extension of a very bad addiction if it's managed badly.
All right. Now let's go to the real hope, here. I saw a headline in the newspaper a couple of days ago that said, "Nevada rejects coal, turns to renewable energy." In the last month the Nevada Legislature outlawed coal, shutdown -- is planning to shutdown their biggest coal plants and they promoted renewable energy significantly. There are now 30 states in the United States that have requirements that the utilities deliver a certain fraction of their energy from renewable energy sources.
The first one what was in Iowa, the second one was signed by Governor George W. Bush in Texas. These things have been an incredible success, and they are just starting to show off. The Texas one has been expanded twice. They've built these unbelievable windmills here, each of these sweep an area of 30,000 square feet, much bigger than a football field. These things are enormous. Other states have done this. California has already signed contracts to provide a third of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. So you can begin to see the glimmer of hope in here. If California, pretty big economy, can go to a third, has already signed all the contracts, it's not so bad.
Other countries are ahead of us. Denmark recently had a day when it was 100 percent renewable energy, Holy Grail time, right? Their average is 41 percent. Denmark is not a big country, but that's pretty interesting. And one of the things they've learned is how to manage the variability of renewable energy sources. So it's happening. When you build markets like this, when you stick with it year after year, you get this spectacular phenomenon. And this is the other reason for hope. If you drive prices down you get dramatic increases in installations.
Solar energy prices have dropped 80 percent in the last four years, fathom that. We are passing the Holy Grail with this. Wind has dropped by close to a third. And the consequence of this is installations are skyrocketing. There are now several U.S. states that get more than 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. There are provinces in China that do this. And look at what's happening, look at what could happen in the United States.
This is our current electricity mix in the United States. It's dominated by nuclear, coal, and natural gas. And down at the bottom is biomass, geothermal, hydro, and wind. Solar is too small to even show up because it's just getting going.
There was a study done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an amazing place, in coordination with MIT. This is just over the hill near Boulder. And they said, "Could you get to 80 percent renewables in the U.S. by 2050?" Eighty percent renewables by 2050. They developed a model which is an hour-by-hour simulation of the entire U.S. electricity system from here to 2050, and they added renewable energy bit by bit, and they found the following, that you can get there and additional cost is relatively small. There is a lot of interesting lessons in this, it's a big story, and we can go into those more in conversation. But the bottom line is you can do it.
And if you don't believe it, you should go to Europe, where they did a very similar study, sponsored incidentally by 12 of the largest utilities in Germany and the European Climate Foundation. And they said, we can go from this relatively low numbers -- the date is not on here maybe they're show up in a minute, to much higher numbers. And today, in 2012, Germany is a quarter renewable energy. Germany is a real country, they have a real economy, they're getting a quarter of their energy from renewables, up from about 6 percent in a decade. So if they can go that far in a decade -- and by the way they're totally on track to hit these targets. It's not easy, it's not simple, but it's clearly possible.
So I'm going to close with three slides. How do you win? You have to do three things. First, you have to manage fossil fuels. There are far more carbon in the earth ready to be liberated into our atmosphere than we can possibly tolerate, many, many times as much carbon underground than the atmosphere can handle. And so if you do not put a lid on it, you lose, we lose very badly. So you have to face our coal. Coal is, I used to say it's perfect carbon sequestration, it's already in the ground, for god's sake leave it there.
MR. HARVEY: Natural gas, you have to get it right, you have to stop methane leaks, you shouldn’t destroy everything. And there is a few other things like water quality you want to pay attention to. This by the way is the Roan Plateau, a formerly very beautiful part of Colorado.
The second thing you have to do is get very serious about energy efficiency. In every sector of the U.S. economy you can cut energy use by a third to 70 percent. It's cheap, the payback is incredibly fast. Any of you saw the Nest presentation the other day? This amazing little thermostats, 15 percent, 20 percent just by changing your thermostat, same with your lighting.
And finally, we're going to have to have some very serious conversations with the electric utilities and emphatically with the public utilities commissions that set the terms under which they operate so they divest from coal, they invest in renewable energy and let them make money doing it. If the rules for the public utilities commissions are set right, this transition is a breeze, and if they're not, it's an awful struggle.
So let me conclude with one thought. And then Jim can come up and deliver intelligence.
MR. HARVEY: And the thought is simply this, if you look around the people next to you here at the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival and the people you encounter over the next few days, you will find an incredibly sophisticated, capable, networked, and influential group of people. These are the people who set the ideas that drive the country. Everyone in this place serves on boards of directors of nonprofits, runs corporations, has senior government positions, works with the media, and so I'm calling on you to make this agenda real.
If we do not turn this around in the next decade or so, it's inescapably bad. We've been given a gift of technology where we can turn it around. And the difference is very specifically in the policies enacted that govern our energy delivery systems. We need to get those policies right. It's not that complicated. It's emphatically an idea whose time has come.
So I'm going to put this all on you to help me, help us all get this done. Thank you.
MR. FALLOWS: -- now wired and you are not, so I can -- I just sort of monopolized the -- I can hold the stage. Actually you may be plugged in. So, thank you, this was a fascinating and compelling presentation.
I want to sort of go through various implications for people like those in this room who have thought about these issues for long time. First, I have to ask you if this were a political talk show, if were in D.C., there would have to be some allusion to the debate, the debate over climate change, the debate over global warming, the debate over mankind's role in it. What is the state of the world? Outside the United States is there an idea of the debate or not? How should Americans think about the fact that we always talk about this as a debate?
MR. HARVEY: Since you use the word "debate" let me refer back to a line from the president's speech last week.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: When he said the -- we don't have time for a debate of the Flat Earth Society. And he is emphatically right.
This is simple math. You put carbon in the atmosphere, it's an insulation blanket. We can calculate how much carbon we're putting in, we can watch the temperature change. It's not complicated. So it's not a debate anywhere in the world except where it's been manufactured by people whose interests will be threatened.
MR. FALLOWS: So to say something about the president's speech.
MR. FALLOWS: I think there is a very -- to me there is an important point of context about the president's speech. In the beginning of his second term, when he knows the clock is running, he is never going to run for re-election again, there have been three areas where he has -- where he's laid down a marker, one was of course on gun policy. And we know despite the moving presentation by Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords that without the Congress there is almost nothing he can do about that. The second was declaring very significantly the war on terror had to come to an end. And there are things he can do about that, but he is in the middle of these two wars. And the third was announcing more clearly we had before that climate change was an issue and they are challenged and more challenged. How important did you think his speech and the ramification thereof are?
MR. HARVEY: I think the president did an amazing job. There are two reasons why I say that. The first is substantive. He scoured the laws, understand what the executive can do without going back to Congress. And the most important things in that, in fact he is obligated by law to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants. They're a pollutant under the terms of the Clean Air Act; he has no alternative but to do it. So he is getting it done.
And today the EPA handed over to the Office of Management and Budget, the proposed regulations for controlling CO2 emissions from the power plants. That's a really big deal. And there are some other really big deals in there as well. But the other one is the whole question of moral leadership. He raised this to a moral issue. He didn't do the pragmatic thing of, well, we can have a few more green jobs. He said this is a challenge for our generation. And it emphatically is a challenge for our generation.
So I think with this moment he changed the conversation. And I think the debates of the Flat Earth Society are going to be increasingly ridiculed, and it becomes a question of how rather than weather.
MR. FALLOWS: And if you take as a premise, I will assert as a premise that within the next couple of years he has no chance of getting actual legislation through the Congress to address these issues, is the realm of executive authority significant that it's within the president's control.
MR. HARVEY: There is quite a bit that can be done. Remember that Obama also caused to double the fuel efficiency of the automobile fleet in America. That was a very big deal.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: What he is doing with coal plants is a big deal, and his work with HFC is in coordination with China. These have zeroes behind them, a lot of zeroes. That's -- they did not sum up to a National Energy Policy. And part of the problem is we don't set Energy Policy in Washington. There is nobody in Washington D.C. whose job it is to write energy policy for this country. We've never had a national energy policy. It's done state by state very significantly, which is why the public utilities commissions are so important.
But I think your bigger question is what about Congress? I think it makes sense to put a bill before Congress, a very simple, very clean bill and let them fight and see what happens, because you got to sometimes have the battle, you can't tippy-toe around it forever.
MR. FALLOWS: Yes. You got to have the battle. We know how that will turn out in the next two years and we'll see in the longer term. Let me ask you a meta question, I imagine on the mind of most people in this room. The presentation, title of your presentation is Fear and Hope. I thought the fear part was much more compelling and immediate than the hope part. You are talking about these global processes that are accelerating at breakneck pace and that if we have it, if we are able to do a number of these incremental changes we have a chance of arresting them. It doesn't seem that hopeful.
MR. HARVEY: Well, I would -- I'm more hopeful than I was two years ago. And there are two reasons for this. Technology can move very quickly into the marketplace. There are some technologies that move slowly, like, a coal plant lasts 60 years or longer. It lasts as long as you want. So you have to consciously shut those down. But there are others that just are whip fast, you know, solar energy, the small modular technologies don't have the constraints of the big lumbering giants.
And on the demand side too, it's a technology revolution. These LED bulbs use one-tenth energy of a standard light bulb. They're almost free, right? I mean, it's an amazing bargain. So technology saturation is unbelievably rapid when it gets going in certain realms. And I see those growth numbers. We're seeing double-digit growth numbers across every one of these technologies.
The other is I give a number of talks at universities around the world. And they are ready to go. The students, the younger people, they're moving into this profession, they want to make a difference with this, they're not going to stand still. And we've already seen in the last election how important it is for that next demographic to take charge.
MR. FALLOWS: Right. And we were talking earlier about the difference in attitude among some college audiences and some more mature audiences about their perspective on whether there is hope here. And I asked you about the analogy to attitudes on same-sex marriage where you knew the turnover was inevitable and rapid because generation -- age group by age group the opinion change, so it's starkly. How about the opinions on climate change? Does that also have a generational correlation?
MR. HARVEY: It certainly has a generational correlation because a lot of these technologies are new. It's also because in people's hearts they understand it's such a big deal.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: I just want to say one more thing about how fast things can turn over. When we had World War II it was a defining moment for this country and we had to mobilize amazingly. And we turned Detroit away from manufacturing cars into manufacturing war trucks and tanks, more or less overnight. So if you have some willpower, if you have some political will you can get some things done.
MR. FALLOWS: Right, U.S. went from making a couple of hundred airplanes a year to a 100,000 airplanes a year within three years, but that of course is the idea. The United States can do anything when its attention is drawn, so the question is what will get its attention. One of the question on the speed of transition, there is -- when the Chinese boom in solar power is discussed in D.C. or in industrial circles, it's often with condemnation for their destroying the price, for dumping things onto the market. Should that be viewed instead as a positive thing to have driven down the price so rapidly?
MR. HARVEY: Brilliant, yeah. I mean, Hank Paulson said two days ago, "We're attacking the Chinese for selling us cheap solar panels and we're trying to double our coal exports to them?"
MR. HARVEY: I mean, what -- it's crazy, right? No, look, a lot of solar companies went bankrupt. Why did they go bankrupt? Because their competitors beat the tar out of them. That's a good news story.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah. So if you -- as you mentioned earlier, the members of this audience are influential in their personal spheres and they have lots of influential networks of people in their communities, their businesses, their universities, and all the rest. What's the triage list of the things you would like people here to support? You have the three priorities of fossil fuels and energy efficiency and the renewables. In practical terms, if somebody goes back to Palo Alto or goes back to Atlanta, what message should these people be taking?
MR. HARVEY: Well, the first and most important venue right now is a fairly obscure one but therefore especially susceptible to this kind of intervention. And that's -- I mentioned before the public utilities commissions. We spend globally about $5 trillion a year on energy. That money exists, that cash flow exists. The rules as to whether that money lands on green choices or brown choices are set significantly by public utilities commissions. Sixty percent of the carbon in America goes through pipes and wires that are regulated.
So tell your governor who appoints these commissioners, and tell the commissioners themselves you're ready for a change, make it known. They get precious little input. They notice when they get it.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah. And what are the main forces on the other side? Is it mainly fossil fuel companies? What do you view as the correlation of forces that you are trying to move?
MR. HARVEY: There really are two types of forces, one are people who actually make a lot of money by hydrocarbons that they have bought, that are embedded in the ground and for which they exact -- profit when they release into the atmosphere. And they will defend those assets to the nth degree. Now, mind you, if you live next to me and I decided I didn't want to put in a new septic system, I wouldn’t be allowed to just dump all my sewage on your land. That's what they're doing, right? So it's an artificial asset, it's an artificial set of anticipated profits, but they fight hard to defend it.
The other one is a more tricky one, which is -- again I'm going back to the utility system because that's where most of this change has to happen, incumbent utilities are not the most dynamic actors in our technological society, right? They're kind of sleepy, they're run by civil engineers, I know, I am one.
MR. FALLOWS: And they're risk averse for good reasons.
MR. HARVEY: Right, right. They have time constants are in decades and they have never been subject to competition in a meaningful way, most of them haven’t.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: And so it's institutional inertia rather than malevolence.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah, so I'm hopping around among a number of topics just to get them out of the table before we turn to the audience.
Again, if you had a hope -- fear and hope balance in which I'm asserting the fear, looked more fearsome but will hope the hope kicks in, how should we think simultaneously about adaptation and mitigation efforts that some of that, that carbon is going to be in there forever as far as we're all concerned. Things are going to get warmer. Even if every part of your --
MR. HARVEY: Right.
MR. FALLOWS: -- program is adopted. What else should we be thinking of and in what framework?
MR. HARVEY: Your know, maybe the best thing that could happen in America is for every state to be required to do a serious study of the cost of adaptation with a meter sea level rise, which we're going to see this century I predict and with the extreme events. There are going to be so many zeroes on that thing. They might look to avoid it.
So I'm definitely in the ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure camp, and I would put the vast majority of the money on avoiding the trouble rather than trying to -- I mean, you can't really moat Florida, I don't know if you would want to.
MR. FALLOWS: How many Floridians are here?
MR. FALLOWS: There is only a few --
MR. HARVEY: Yeah.
MR. FALLOWS: -- but there are enough that we won't make --
MR. HARVEY: But you're walking ankle deep in water in Miami in 2100 right now the way things are going, so.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah. And when it comes to -- how do you feel about the whole geoengineering, is that a fantasy or is that something that needs to be part of the arsenal of consideration?
MR. HARVEY: It's a highly dangerous fantasy. When we try to mess with big nonlinear, unstable geophysical systems that we don't understand we're much more likely to do harm than good. I'll just give you one example. You can dump sulfur particles in the atmosphere and make the sky white instead of blue, not what I want. And it would bounce off sunshine. White bounces off better than dark. However, you're still accumulating carbon emissions and the ocean is still absorbing carbon emissions, so the ocean becomes increasingly acidic. So you still kill all the marine life even though you didn't warm up quite as much.
And then you -- let's say you do this for a couple of decades and then somebody forgets to maintain the machine or there is a war, civil disturbance, and you turnoff that sulfur. You have to keep that thing going forever otherwise you shock the system, and then things really will go kablooey.
So I think -- I mean, the only kind of geoengineering I like is planting trees. I think that's a pretty good idea. Painting roofs white. There is a few things that make sense. But they tend to be at the community scale rather than the geo scale.
MR. FALLOWS: May I ask you about one other thing, of how we should fit it into our minds, which is coal. There is a -- when I was living in China recently I was hearing, talking to a lot of your counterparts there who were saying that even though they are going full speed ahead on every other kind of energy they still are burning more and more coal and so is India going to do and so is Iran going to do and all the rest. How should -- is it a fantasy to think that we can limit the amount of coal, should we concentrate on carbon sequestration or other efforts to dampen down the harmful effect of coal?
MR. HARVEY: So Jim, you've spent more time in China than me. And you know these issues incredibly well. So I'm going to ask you to answer your own question.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: I will put in a note, but --
MR. FALLOWS: You can steer me towards the correct answer.
MR. HARVEY: Yeah, you're right. China is not going to let the lights go out. And China has a lot of coal. And so China is going to burn a lot of coal.
The rich industrialized nations, several of them, the U.K., Northern Europe, United States are turning away from coal at actually a pretty rapid pace, and it's going to keep going. It will go up and down. It's gone up for a couple years in Germany, but it's going down. Same in the U.S.
So we're going to prove that you can run a modern industrial society without coal. The Chinese adoption patterns, they can press decades into months. They will follow. They're already building much better coal plants than any that exist in America. A third of the plants they've built have been used to shutdown the dirtiest old plants, that's pretty good. And they're talking openly about peak coal. So my question is when does it happen and how fast is the curve.
MR. FALLOWS: And so I have -- I hesitate to give any opinions at all in your presence, but my impression in China is they just are going to keep burning more coal for a while, it will eventually peak. And the valuable thing that the U.S. can do is with the close partnerships that you and many other people have forged between international and Chinese scientists, turning Chinese power plants into the world's laboratory to try to do this in as clean a fashion as possible. So god speed for what you and many others have been doing there.
One other question, skipping around, would you give us -- when you're talking about natural gas you had a sort of apart from that Ms. Lincoln type of, you know, how was the play type of idea because it could really cut emissions. On the other hand it could be catastrophically worse than coal itself. In American politics, in American industry right now natural gas and fracking and shale gas is seen as the salvation in 15 different ways, energy independence, et cetera, et cetera. How do we think about this possible catastrophic risk that it includes of methane leakage?
MR. HARVEY: Right. So again at the meta level you -- if you're a crack addict you don't switch to heroin, right? You really want a pathway on. Now, natural gas is a really beautiful fuel, it does burn clean, we do have a lot of it. And, honestly, a lot of these renewables have issues. They all have issues. Every single energy source has issues. If it's a calm day and a hot day you want your air conditioning to run, you want your lights to stay on. The right role for gas, in my opinion, is to turn on quick, to run hard and to shutdown. So you have a combined cycle natural gas turbine power plant that runs two or 300 hours a year or even a thousand hours a year, it plays an amazingly valuable role. We're taking this precious resource and we're using it exactly as we should.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: Because we're balancing the renewables, and we need that. We don't have cost-effective batteries, maybe we'll get them, but we don't have them. So I guess the -- at the top level you can say should it be free to pollute the skies forever?
MR. FALLOWS: No.
MR. HARVEY: No. Even in the University of Chicago they say no.
MR. HARVEY: And then you should say, you know, to burn as much gas as we're burning, natural gas wells, these new fracking wells decline incredibly rapidly. So within three years they're about 70 percent or 80 percent gone, you got to go drill the next one, right? It's like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland; you have to keep running to stay still. So we have to ask, how much of our land are we going turn into Pinedale, Wyoming, how much of our water are we going to threaten?
Now, gas can be done well. I'm not anti-gas by any means, but I want to use it for what it's best not just for every old thing.
MR. FALLOWS: And how about this crucial uncertainty about whether the leakage is a small thing or an enormous thing?
MR. HARVEY: So the Environmental Protection Agency is doing a big study on this. There is a group of oil companies working with Environmental Defense Fund doing a study on this, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is doing work on this. And I think within three or four years we'll have a pretty good handle on this. There is some great new instrumentation that tells you these answers.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah. So you've worked around the world on these issues. Most people in this audience, not all, but most are Americans, how should we think about the American role in global climate issues? Are we seen as a laagered, are we seen as a force for good, and particularly in dealing with the Chinese? So how is -- what is our country doing and what else could it be doing?
MR. HARVEY: If you go to the international stage where climate negotiations happen, I sometimes say, this entire process was invented by Dick Cheney in order to ruin people's spirits and hearts about environmental protection.
MR. FALLOWS: He succeeded in that in so many other fronts.
MR. FALLOWS: -- sorry.
MR. HARVEY: So don't get your hopes up for the UNFCCC to solve the problem. I wish they could do it, they won't. And they hate the --
MR. FALLOWS: The commission on climate change, right, yes.
MR. HARVEY: Yeah, the United Nations -- yeah, Convention on Climate Change. They hate the U.S. there. Why? Become we come with no tons and no money. And they want to be paid for our old emissions and they want to be paid to transform and they want us to commit legally to reduce that. We're not going to do any of those things.
Flip it around and go to the States, and let's start with Missouri, which is the Show-Me State, I think, right? If you do the right thing, if you build the right technologies, if you prove it's cost-effective they will imitate, they will follow, they will join you.
Again, Hank Paulson said yesterday, "It's cooperation and competition." It's a nice mixture of each. So in California -- California uses half as much energy per capita as the U.S. as a whole. They flattened out when Jerry Brown was Governor the first time and U.S. kept going up.
So -- and it saves about $1,000 per family per year. Not a bad deal, right? California, as I mentioned before, signed contracts to get a third of its energy from renewable sources. California is where the American dream lives in the minds of the Chinese, not Washington D.C. So there are now 30 states that are moving in this direction. That's how we're going to work with other countries.
MR. FALLOWS: And how about U.S.-China in particular, are they more working together, working at odds, how do you describe that landscape in that interaction?
MR. HARVEY: So there has been a nice shift. And by far the most important moment of this is when President Xi Jinping and President Obama met in Sunnyland, it was about a 100 degrees, recently. And they agreed to work together to cut the emissions of HFC, hydrofluorochloro something. These are incredibly potent greenhouse gases and they're very cheap to get rid of, and that's a big deal. If that is done -- if that is followed through and it's not -- that's not certain, but if it's followed through to full force, that equals 80 billion tons of CO2 emissions. That's a very big number. And the Chinese didn't have to do that and Obama didn't have to do that, but they're the only two countries that can make it happen.
MR. FALLOWS: And what stands between their agreement and that actually happening?
MR. HARVEY: There is some diplomatic mumbo jumbo, which is that the UNFCCC, the failing organization -- I'm going to get into trouble -- is supposed to handle that problem, and they're not very good at handling that problem. And so they're trying to move it over to the Montreal Protocol, which is a brilliant method for handling those problems. That maneuver requires international diplomacy. John Kerry is on the case, he is working on it very hard. It's going to require some cash, single-digit billions worldwide. And I actually think what Chinese should do right now is step up and say we're going to put up half the money or we're going to cause the politics to happen. It would flip their image in the world.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah. Because China's growth is so rapid, because its pollution is so horrible, because the connection between the U.S. are China are so intense, we tend to talk a lot about the U.S. and Chinese interactions. How about other places like India or big oil producers in the Middle East or Africa? What's the general picture in how the U.S. is working with them or not working with them?
MR. HARVEY: In a lot of these places the U.S. is not that relevant. I mean, India is such a vast, complicated, domestically-driven economy. And the problems they have are so profound and so severe compared to the ones even in China.
There is a very strong popular sentiment in India, probably stronger than any other country I visited, to go to clean energy right away and to skip the dirty faces. But the political system is so sclerotic; it's hard to translate that into actionable policy. Nonetheless they have done a lot of good things, they have a tax on coal in India and they use the money to pay for solar. We don't do that now, right? So India is -- I have a lot of hope for India, but it's a very long process.
I think the Middle East is fascinating. Right now they burn oil in the Middle East to make electricity. Therefore the opportunity cost of that is extremely high.
MR. FALLOWS: Right.
MR. HARVEY: And so they've made huge commitments to solar recently, which makes sense, right? They want to sell the oil, they got plenty of sunshine, just go. I don't know how fast it will happen, but again they have plenty of capital, so that could be game changer.
MR. FALLOWS: So I'm going to return now to the fear and hope balance and just ask you to go into this a little more before I turn it over to members of the audience for questions.
I think everybody here -- everybody who takes the time to attend one of these Ideas Festivals is interested and concerned by the ways in which societies deal with their challenges. You know, it strikes me, I spent a lot of my life living outside the United States, America's objective challenges are relatively modest and, you know, with small changes in its policy it could address them. This is one of bigger ones.
Through our history as a society we've had ways to deal with big challenges. My magazine, The Atlantic, as Anna Deavere Smith was saying at that wonderful presentation, was found as an antislavery magazine. And then -- that was its initial commitment. There have been other big crusade tumultuous moments in our history in the 1890s. Certainly, as you said, in World War II we transformed everything.
How would you equate both the politics and sort of the ethics of this moment to other parts of our history? What is this like? It's not World War II because, you know, nobody has attacked us. It's not yet like the sort of -- not like the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s or even the Cuyahoga River catching on fire, although you could say that Las Vegas is similar to that. So how do you think about this in the larger sense of democratic societies that tend to be driven by inertia and rather just, you know, pay attention to their own families confronting large slow problems?
MR. HARVEY: Well, you nailed it, Jim, because this is a large problem in a sense that it transcends national boundaries. There is no one country, even China, that can solve this, or even the U.S. And so you have to have tacit or explicit cooperation. Well, that's hard. Anything that transcends national boundaries also transcends job descriptions. It's nobody's job description to save the earth, right? It's your job description to defend your own country.
And then there is the time. Slow, right? This is a 10-year problem, it's a 100-year problem, it's a millennial problem even. And people aren't paid to think past the next quarterly report or the next election cycle or the next news deadline for goodness sakes.
So we have to do something that's unnatural, which is we have to quit living by instinct and live by intelligence. And human beings are not especially wired to that. The Ideas Festival is a good place to begin that journey. That said, we have at times grappled with big problems and dealt with them quickly. The Montreal Protocol I mentioned earlier. Now, that was a simple fix. But, you know what, if they hadn’t done that we would have destroyed the ozone layer and actually killed millions of people and millions of species as a consequence. That was a very fast, quick -- we went from science to reality --
MR. FALLOWS: And why was that possible?
MR. HARVEY: Well, the real answer is because it was chemistry and not thermodynamics. You can get factors of a hundred in chemistry easy. New cars today emit 99 percent less conventional pollutants than old cars, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and so forth. But thermodynamics gives you 1 percent at a time and it's really hard. And so to double the fuel efficiency of the car is a 10- or 15- or 25-year project. The other thing is it was a tiny part of the economy for which there were already substitutes and energy as ubiquitous.
MR. FALLOWS: Yes.
MR. HARVEY: And there are no ready substitutes for energy except intelligence and energy efficiency.
MR. FALLOWS: And you made one point as an slide that I think it sounds -- it's obvious once you think about it, but it is really worth absorbing, which is the fact that Moore's Law does not apply to energy production, and would you expand on that for a second because it really is important to absorb that.
MR. HARVEY: Right. So Moore's Law is the idea that chip speeds and computing capacity doubles every 18 months, that's what 70 percent improvement per year or something like that. Thermodynamics is the most unyielding of all sciences. And thermodynamics is very simply the amount of useful energy you get out of something compared to the amount of raw energy you put into it. So in an automobile today we get about 20 percent of the energy and gasoline comes out in motor force and 80 percent comes out -- goes up the pipe in heat. So pretty depressing number.
The best power plants in the world get 60 -- are 65 percent efficient. They're not going to get to 75 percent very easily. You can do tricks and get them up there if you do -- like in Sweden, they do combined heat and power and so on. But you are not going to get doublings and doublings and doublings, right? You however can't get the subtractions on that order. And this is what's interesting, this is why energy efficiency is such a breakaway. I mentioned 90 percent reduction in energy from lighting, that's a pretty great deal. You can do that in all kinds of processes. I talked to a very senior technologist yesterday, who thinks you can eliminate the need for carbon emissions from cement. That's 5 percent of global CO2, right, so subtraction is nonlinear but production is a little more tricky.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah. One last question, then I will ask people to go to the microphones, you know, back there. So as societies deal with change there are some challenges you can deal with on an individual level, sort of individual boycott, individual purchasing decisions or whatever, and there are some that require systemic changes, otherwise it's just meaningless. You know, I could decide never to turn the lights on in my house, that would be much worse for me than it would be good for the world's energy system. Are there any individual behavior changes that actually make sense in this field or is it more a matter of if you don't change the system it doesn't matter.
MR. HARVEY: I'm going to give you my old answer and my new answer, because they're slightly different. My old answer was much as you said, I believed in what we call the green citizen instead of the green consumer. The green consumer walks around and buys recycled toilet paper and green light bulbs and stuff.
Green citizenship doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, honestly. Then there is the green consumer -- I mean, I'm sorry, green consumer doesn't. The green citizen insists that we run our apparatus, our political apparatus in a way that delivers ever better results, and that's the renewable portfolio standards and the fuel efficiency standards. But here is why I need to adjust that a little bit. There is a link between the political and the personal. And so when you go to your house and fix it up and put some solar panels on and get a negative electricity bill, my electricity bill last month was minus $105.
MR. HARVEY: Wow. You know, you become a believer, right? It's not that hard. It didn't take any time at all to turn my house into an energy source. I mean really.
MR. FALLOWS: But also required a system change to setup the grid that way --
MR. HARVEY: To be sure. But the point of it is if you do that, if half the people in this room do that, they're going to talk to their friends, they're going to talk to their political leaders, it takes them out of the world of mumbo jumbo and puts it into the world of reality.
MR. FALLOWS: Okay. Let's -- yes, so in the far back, we'll start back there, and I think microphones will come to you.
MR. McCONVILLE: Hi, great talk. I'm David McConville with the Buckminster Fuller Institute.
And I'm curious about something you referenced earlier, kind of this distinction between geoengineering and what you might call eco engineering where a lot of the large-scale interventions that are discussed from a purely engineering perspective aren't really taking the entire system into account versus things like holistic management, reforestation. And I'm curious in the calculus of what you've been looking at have you seen kind of a quantified understanding of what these types of eco engineering approaches could do that work with ecosystems instead of just trying to intervene within them?
MR. HARVEY: I've seen snippets, but not a cohesive whole. I mean, one kind of geoengineering that we're doing is turning down the world's forests, right? That's geoengineering. It's not very smart. So stopping that solves about 20 percent of the problem. So you might call stopping something bad a kind of geoengineering.
Art Rosenfeld, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs says what if you replace all the roofs in the world with white roofs? And you do it as they fall apart. That turns out to give you high single-digits returns against this problem. That's not a hard thing to go along with.
My own sense is that you should do things on a scale where you're not going to cause catastrophic failure, right? And that is an ecological scale that you have to be able to understand. If you're going to plant trees, plant native species, right. You can even do small-scale things that wreak havoc and you shouldn’t do that. But I think you have to understand nature is designed for a certain resilient outcome, and if you tamper with that in a major way you're going to get whacked.
MR. FALLOWS: So I can't see very well, so I'm going to ask the microphone holders just to go to people and whoever, the microphone holders have, they are then deciders, yes.
SPEAKER: The CO2 that comes out can it be recycled again and used in some way?
MR. HARVEY: Being captured at the smokestack or after it gets into the atmosphere?
MALE SPEAKER: Captured at the smokestack and therefore turn it into something useful.
MR. HARVEY: There are some projects in that regard, yes. Please go ahead.
MR. HARVEY: So can you capture CO2 after fossil fuels are burned and use that for productive use. It is right now being used ironically for enhanced oil recovery. So you go to an old oil field that's not doing so good and you pump a lot of CO2 in there and you get some oil out. That's economical. It's actually an interesting strategy to develop new technologies.
If you're going to do sequestration of the -- the general idea of carbon capture and sequestration is that you capture the carbon, you separate it from other exhaust gases, you compress it until it's a liquid, you pipe it to stable geologic reservoir, you stuff it down in there and then you put a plug on it. And that's carbon capture and sequestration. The problem with it is it pretty well doubles the cost of electricity. And nobody wants to do that since there is no price on carbon today. It also requires engineering feats of absolutely heroic proportion.
There are ideas about using carbon dioxide for cement, which didn't pan out. They us it in Coca Cola, but it's not much.
MR. FALLOWS: And in Pepsi.
MR. HARVEY: Excuse me, Pepsi as well.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah, so -- so, yes. So would that microphone, yes, somebody over here, I think, yes.
SPEAKER: Can you talk to the economics of the renewables? In other words, as you -- as we look forward what today and what 25 years from now is likely to be the most economically attractive renewable? I thought your comments on using gas was very enlightening because what you're saying is you use that when you can't use something else, you can turn it on, you can turn it off.
MR. HARVEY: Right.
SPEAKER: But the economics today if you remove all government subsidies, you just look at what it costs, how does wind stack up against solar, against nuclear and so on?
MR. HARVEY: It's a great question. First of all, ideally you would strip all subsidies and take a look at the problem then. We spend about four times as much subsidizing fossil fuel in this country as we do subsidizing renewable energy, but we subsidize them both. So it's not exactly a level playing field so much as a really lumpy weird one.
Second, the value of energy depends on the market into which it's sold and the type of energy it is. So an electron delivered in Las Vegas at 4:00 in the afternoon on a 117 degree day is a lot -- is worth a lot more than an electron delivered at 2:00 in the morning in North Dakota or somewhat like, you know. So those answers, there is -- it depends.
Then there is the trends. Today's solar panels are more expensive than a new natural gas turbine, quite a bit more expensive, two or three times more expensive, but they've dropped 80 percent in the last four years. So what's your bet going to be on the next four years? And then natural gas prices are volatile, solar prices are stable. I mean sunshine prices are stable at zero.
What's the price of volatility? If you're going to do a 20-year investment, you think natural gas is going to be at $3.50 for 20 years or do you presume it might go up or it might go down, and what's the economic weight you put on that? Okay, enough caveats, I'm going to the answer.
MR. HARVEY: So right now on a new build basis wind is competitive with gas and better than coal. In special circumstances comprising about 15 percent to 18 percent of the electricity markets, solar is cheaper than conventional sources. In other words, if you put it in an overloaded substation we have a lot of sunshine. Those are today's prices. Nobody is building any new coal-fired power plants because they're not economical, but people are building a lot of new natural gas fired power plants. Natural gas turbines are very cheap and natural gas is very cheap, and there is a lot of it.
So natural gas is the biggest -- it's actually now interestingly the second biggest marginal growth. Wind is now the biggest in America. It's growing faster. There is more installations of wind than any other technology, which is kind of amazing.
Should I do two minutes on nuclear?
MR. FALLOWS: Sure, go for it.
MR. HARVEY: So you have to think of nuclear in three generations. Generation Two, which is what we have everywhere, they are all being shutdown in the next 20 to 30 years. Why? Because they become brittle after they are bombarded with radioactivity for that long. And it has nothing to do with license extensions. They're cheap to operate, they're bloody expensive to repair, because you have to repair them with robots. So their going away is a physical fact, even in France.
The third generation nuclear is what's being built now. They building -- they built one in Finland, they're building one in France, they're building a couple dozen in Asia. The problem with them is they are expensive. The one in Finland is going to cost a $11 billion for one power plant, right? So factor of five more expensive than coal, factor of 15 more expensive than natural gas. So I predict that Generation Three is going to peter out after three or four dozen reactors.
Then there is Generation Four, and Generation Four is really neat, because it's small, it's modular, it's proliferation-resistant, it's cheap, only has one problem, it doesn't exist.
MR. HARVEY: So they have to invent it. And I'm not pessimistic about this possibility, but it's a very serious technical challenge. And in fact there is no one idea, there is about ten ideas.
So if we're serious about nuclear power having a future -- and nothing I've said by the way is pronuclear or antinuclear, these are just numbers. If you're serious about having a nuclear future you have to invest mightily in Generation Four and see if you can get there, and nobody is doing that.
MR. FALLOWS: This is very interesting. So I'm going to say a word about wind then take a question or two in just the remaining minutes. So one of my ways I explore America, I'm a one-time small plane pilot, I have a little very fuel efficient single-engine plane, I fly around the heart land. And so I've been over those places. And I went to North Dakota and Wyoming, which was astonishing.
When I was flying here from Sioux Falls, South Dakota five days ago, it was astonishing, you cross the Nebraska to Colorado state line and suddenly there are more windmills you can count. I must have seen 5,000 windmills in just that part of Colorado, which I assume is a state regulatory between Nebraska and Colorado, but there are windmills all over the place. And so that was chilling. A question over here.
SPEAKER: I have a specific U.S. policy question. Given what you said about the U.S.-Chinese relationship on climate changes and so on, what's your perspective on debates in states like Montana on mining coal to export it to China in order to create employment?
MR. FALLOWS: Yes, exporting American coal, sending it to China, what's the over/under?
MR. HARVEY: It's like playing Russian roulette with five bullets instead of six.
MR. HARVEY: I mean, it's stupid. Really, people say coal is fungible. And if they don't buy it from us they will buy it from Australia. Well, there is people in Australia that would like to sell a little bit less coal to China as well, right? And you can have -- I don't think morality at the end of the day is fungible even if commodities may be. So we have to stop coal. There is no physical alternative if we want to save the earth.
MR. FALLOWS: But let me just press you on this. I will tell you as a matter of fact that if United States doesn't sell that coal they are going to either mine it domestically or get it from somebody else.
MR. HARVEY: Okay, but let's say half a dozen nations make it more difficult, Canada, Australia, the United States and Indonesia. Indonesia is the least likely. That's where they're getting their coal. If those four nations make it more difficult they've just raised the price of coal, they have put a carbon price on China.
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah.
MR. HARVEY: That's pretty good. So it's not infinitely fungible. And the way you stop it is by starting to stand out for what's right.
MR. FALLOWS: Okay. We have time for one more question. Who has the microphone and a question? So I think over here.
SPEAKER: Yeah. Hi, thank you very much. I've been in a number of forums like this, and when they're talking about it, and you present a little different approach in that when people are talking about scaling, when they look at the problem they're look at scaling. They're saying that natural gas is probably the best way to scale immediately. And one of the things that they say asking about wind, and they say wind and solar, the things you're not talking about is the amount of land that it takes to do that. Is there any kind of a metric between what does it take in terms of acreage to replace a gas-fired plant as opposed to do that strictly on solar or --
MR. HARVEY: Right. The density of wind is very different from coal and nuclear.
MR. HARVEY: So I don't want to be pollyannaish about any of this. Look, every energy source has problems and every energy source can be done badly. And you can put wind in a bird corridor, bird flight corridor and kill lot of birds, that's dumb, we've learned how not to do that. You can run a transmission line through a proposed wilderness area. You can put solar panels on top of soon-to-be extinct turtles. And by the way same with natural gas, same with coal, same with nuclear, right? So you can't get away from this question of how you do things in an ecologically and an economically intelligent way. You really have to pay attention.
If you do things that are economically stupid in the name of a good cause it will come back and whack you. It will crush itself. There is plenty of land to move to renewables without sacrificing environmental values. If you go to Eastern Colorado the highest best used of Eastern Colorado is a windmill, and I'm sorry.
MR. FALLOWS: No offense.
MR. HARVEY: And the windmill by the way takes up less than 10 percent of the space, you still get 90 percent for the farmers and the farmers are really happy to have a new source of cash flow.
MR. FALLOWS: It's made it a lot harder, a lot trickier to fly around there though you got to go higher.
MR. HARVEY: You got to pull that stick back --
MR. FALLOWS: Yeah, it's true. So we have 30 seconds left. You have 30 seconds to give a final thought to this influential crowd before they disperse.
MR. HARVEY: So this one is winnable. If we fail, the consequences, I guarantee, are far worse than you can imagine, hundreds of millions of dead. We will reduce agricultural productivity in Africa by about a third by 2050 because of heat change alone, right? Imagine what that does. We can win this one. It's a huge job, but technology is finally on our side and politics is moving on our side. And this is exactly the moment to pile on. This is the moment to pick up your phone, get on your computer, get your checkbook out, go to your board meetings, do what you have to do, but it's time to lock this one down.
MR. FALLOWS: Wise words. Thank you very much Hal Harvey.
* * * * *
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