Day 2 :
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA
Keynote: Climate catastrophe refugees and the political value of terrorism to climate change denial in the United States
Time : 09:30-10:15
Wendy Lynne Lee is a Professor of Philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where she taught for over 25 years. She has published about 40 scholarly essays in her areas of expertise which include philosophy of language, philosophy of mind/brain, feminist theory, theory of sexual identity, post-Marxian theory, nonhuman animal welfare, ecological aesthetics, aesthetic phenomenology and philosophy of ecology. Her most recent book is Eco-Nihilism: The Philosophical Geopolitics of the Climate Change Apocalypse.
The aim of this study is to show how legislative processes ostensibly aimed at drafting laws that embody justice and equality have become systemically co-opted and corrupted through the machinations of legislators beholden to a donor class whose profit-objectives depend on the unfettered extraction of hydrocarbons. It’s thus no surprise that the denial of anthropogenic climate change has come to inform not only energy-legislation, but potentially all law-making insofar it has become imperative to insure against profit-suffocating regulation. Senator James Inhofe offers an apt example. In 2015, he sponsored two bills, one acknowledging that climate change is real, but denying that it’s anthropogenic; another to make English the official language of the US, the English Unity Act of 2015. While the first attempts to circumvent the debate concerning climate change, the second aims to discourage border crossings are two apparently different issues until we realize that many migrants are climate change refugees. Inhofe denies climate change but tacitly recognizes that it produces conditions for migration. He calls human-made global warming a hoax, but sponsors a bill to deter migrants seeking to flee its consequences. Throughout Inhofe’s defense of the two bills, he refers to illegal immigrants as drug-runners and terrorists, a narrative that offers just what he needs: it detracts from the facts about climate change refugees and provides justification for policies like President Trump’s wall. It provides apparent substance to the American president’s references to radical Islamic terrorists alleged to cross from the South and helps to justify US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. In the world, according to climate change denial, drafting law is less about social or environmental justice and more about insuring the hegemony of multinational energy interests. There are no winners. But there are losers: A planet that can no longer support human life makes refugees of us all.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Time : 10:15-11:00
Hans J Mueller has completed his PhD in Geophysics at the Academy of Sciences Berlin, Germany. During the last 30 years, he published multiple papers in reputed journals about high pressure geophysics, mineral physics and the deep interior of terrestrial planets.
Among many other information in my understandig the most important result of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 21st Conference of the Parties - short form COP 21 (2015) - is that limiting further greenhouse gas emissions is simply insufficient to make the survival of mankind possible. In near future, i.e. starting at about 2050, we need negative emissions and the time frame for developing the corresponding technologies is closing rapidly. Unfortunately since fall 2016 the melting process of both polar ice caps accelerated dramatically – see several break out sessions at EGU, 2017, Vienna. If this continues the nightmare of an ice-free arctic ocean – anticipated for about 2050 – could become real already during the next 3 years,i.e. 30 years earlier. The reason for this acceleration is not clear yet, because in 2016 the worldwide green house gas emissions grew, but not extraordinarily. That means, it could be the beginning of a dominating positive feedback process. If we continue in a way we do right now following published models it looks like the global mean surface temperature of planet Earth will reach something between +5 and +7 degrees above the global mean temperature of the preindustrial era, i.e. about 1750, latest 1815 at the next turn of the century. Similar conditions already existed in geological history. There were 5 mass extinction events. Last time it happened at the Permian-Triassic-extinction event, 252 Mio years ago. Recent data indicate the trap basalt volcanism released carbon dioxide resulting in an increase of the mean global surface temperature of 5 degrees followed by an increase of further 5 degrees because of the secondary (temperature triggered) release of methane and halons (halogenated hydrocarbons). As the result of this 98.5 % of all species became extinct. Most of them were much more robust than we are today. Consequently the agreement to limit the temperature increase in a minimum to about +2 degrees, and if procurable even to +1.5 degrees is crucial. What that means in terms of land use and technology is widely not understood and accepted in politics and administration. Unfortunately all our recent technological tools, as e.g. replacing elder combustion techniques by higher developed new ones, extended use of renewable energies, i.e. windturbines, photovoltaic panels and the use of sustainable raw materials etc. are completely insufficient to reach that goal. In the maximum all of them are only able to reduce future emissions to some degree. Complete ecobalances show that the results are often very small and sometimes even negative. Unfortunately even a small positive effect is practically overcompensated by the global industrial growth and the standard of living improvement of a growing world population. It is widely repressed that mankind had exclusively renewable energies during its development energies up to the industrial revolution. Only the transition to fossil fuels beginning in the 18th century allowed further dvelopment and restoration of the natural invironment e.g. by reforestration. But unfortunately this was the reversal of the carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere by photosynthesis, i.e. it artificially restores climate conditions which we have no chance to survive. The unpleasant truth is business as usual combined with a little more reasonable, i.e. more ecological behavior, is good, but completely insufficient to interrupt the global change process unfortunately. The 6th mass extinction event is nothing which we can prevent to start. It is already running. Following recent studies (see panel discussion at EGU annual meeting 2017, Vienna) the loss of species per time is already about factor 2 or more higher than at the Permian-Triassic-extinction-event. During the last 200 years we have simply used our atmosphere as a waste disposal site, as we also did at countryside, oceans, lakes and rivers. Meantime many countries of the world have sanified the dump sites at the continentss. Now it’s time to do the same with the atmosphere too. Therefor I think it is time to switch the anti global warming strategy from technologies for limiting further continued positive emissions to techniques for real negative emissions. We have to realize man made global warming is so fast that it is much outside any equilibrium, i.e. removing and save underground storage of green hous gasses. That means we have only a chance for a further sustainable development if we restore our atmosphere as fast as possible back to its stage of 1815 – at least before the next turn of the century, best much earlier than 2050 if possible. It is time to concentrate our resources to this challenge. The paper uses published data from geo- and planetary science as well as from different engineering disciplines. Based on many consultations and interdisciplinary work it attempts to discus and evaluate already existing and conceivable future scientifical and techological options to make negative emissions real, i.e. disruption of man-made global warming by reduction of the atmospheric green house gas load from land use and burning fossil fuels to the preindustrial era in time. The fastest and cheapest way for reaching negative emissions is massive reforestration. Unfortunately this is not enough because only about the half of the amount of atmosperic green house gases are the result of deforestration and human land use. Today we use this area for agricultural food production, sttlement and infrastructure. Technological sequestration means washing out green house gases, chemical reduction to long-term stable compounds and elements and its reliable storage. But there is a powerful opponent – the entropy. Any concentration process is accompanied by reducing the entropy, i.e. it is energy consuming. That means first of all that requires a lot of energy in addition to that part which our society is consuming right now and in future. It is necissarily more we have “earned” when we discharged energy from combustion of fuels in the past and recently. Let us have a look to the technologies able to do this in principle.
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, UAE
Time : 11:15-12:00
Mohammad R M Abu Zahra is an Associate Professor and Department Head of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Masdar Institute. His current research focuses on the development of CO2 capture technologies including the development of advanced solvents, solid sorbents and novel processes. He is currently the Coordinator of the CCS research activities within Masdar Institute and he is leading major related projects.
Conventional method capturing CO2 using amine solution has been well-known and practiced in natural gas purification for long time, but it involves high energy demand, corrosion and degradation and not suitable to capture CO2 from industrial sources like power plant flue gas. Amino-functionalized mesoporous silica adsorbent has emerged as a promising material for CO2 post-combustion capture due to its possible reduction in regeneration energy, cheap price and ease to produce at large scale. Different types of adsorbents have been prepared by impregnating amines or grafting amino functional groups on inexpensive mesoporous silica and tested for CO2 capture. Polyethyleneimine impregnated mesoporous silica (PEI-MPS) possesses high CO2 loading (above 11 mg/g), it is easy to be produced at large scale and stable for multiple adsorption/regeneration cycles operating in a packed bed reactor. It lost only 16.6% CO2 loading after 335 adsorption/regeneration cycles at 65/120 oC, respectively. At high temperature, PEI-MPS encounters the vaporization of PEI causing a quick degradation, particularly in fluidized bed reactor. Amino-functionalized mesoporous silica (APTES-MPS) is synthesized by grafting method, in which, amino-functional groups form a chemical bond to silica substrate through Si-O-Si bridges. Thanks to the chemical bonding, APTES-MPS is more thermally and mechanically stable; it starts degradation at 205 oC. Even though, the CO2 loading of this adsorbent (~80 mg/g) is lower than that of PEI-MPS, it may be suitable for CO2 capture using fluidized bed reactor. Recent study indicated that the use of PEI-MPS for CO2 capture reduced ~46% regeneration energy in comparison with conventional 30% ethanolamine solution. This is due to the low heat capacity of solid adsorbent (~2.2 J/oC) and the avoidance of water vaporization. Mesoporous silica is produced using sodium silicate; cheap silica precursor therefore resulting amino-functionalized mesoporous silica could be inexpensive and suitable CO2 capture. Highly stable adsorbent with significant reduction in energy consumption is a basis for an advanced CO2 capture process.
Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Time : 12:00-12:45
Queena K Qian is tenure-tracked Assistant Professor at OTB Department, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment with the award of Delft Technology Fellowship (2014). She has also received Fulbright award (2010) and Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Fellowship (2013). She has carried out research related to sustainable housing development including green building, building energy efficiency and energy retrofits, transaction costs analysis and age friendly urban development issues. She has published over 20 international referred journal papers and currently serves as an Editor and Board Member of Journal of Housing and the Built Environment.
Buildings are responsible for at least 40% of energy use in most countries. The absolute figure is rising fast, as construction booms and the rise of living standard. Urgent solution is needed to reduce buildings’ energy use, thus addressing climate change. Reports show that with currently available technology, the energy-efficiency level could be increased by 30%, yet this does not happen. Affordability, i.e., higher capital investment is considered as the focal concern. The affordability study often ignores the hidden costs, i.e., transaction costs, including costs in the form of time delay, risk, stress due to the lack sufficient information, etc. The hidden costs to different stakeholders during the green building (GB) transaction are often ignored. Understanding these hidden transaction costs (TCs) helps appraise the costs and benefits of GB and policy effectiveness. The example of a gross floor area (GFA) concession scheme is used systematically to explore and understand the fundamental issues of TCs’ typology and chronology in the GB development process. The GFA concession scheme is a popular incentive due to its indirect compensation to developers by allowing additional floor area without expenditure by government to implement GBs. A TCs’ framework is used critically to review and evaluate the costs and benefits of the GFA concession scheme. Its particular implementation in both Hong Kong and Singapore is explored. Hong Kong is used as a case study, complemented with in-depth expert interviews on GFA concession in Hong Kong. The key contribution is to establish the parameters for estimating the optimum GFA bonus that could both motivate various stakeholders and minimize the negative impacts on the built environment in future.