From Sir David Kings Plenary Lecture at the AAAS 2004, Global Warming: The Imperatives for Action (see links at bottom).
In less than 200 years, human activity has increased the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases by some 50% relative to preindustrial levels. At about 372 ppm, today's atmospheric carbon dioxide level is higher than at any time in at least the past 420,000 years. Figure source: University of Berne and NOAA.
Updated March 7, 2005
Fusion: Energy Source for the Future? Friday, February 18, 2005 1:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level, Marriott Ballroom Salon 1
SYNOPSIS: In principle, fusion has the characteristics to be an ideal energy source for the future -- plentiful fuel supply and benign environmental impact. In practice, several key issues must be resolved to establish the practicality of fusion as an energy source. Two major approaches are being pursued worldwide: magnetic confinement fusion using toroidal magnetic bottles and inertial confinement fusion using high-power lasers or particle beams to compress fuel capsules. Significant progress has been made in addressing the fundamental issues related to creating, confining and controlling high-temperature plasmas similar to those expected in a fusion power plant. A critical next step for both magnetic and inertial fusion is to create and control a "burning plasma." This session will describe the general characteristics of fusion as an energy source, the status of science and technical issues, and updates on proposed burning plasma experiments and those under construction to determine if fusion can be an energy source.
Energy for a Future without Carbon Emission Saturday, February 19, 2005 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Omni Shoreham Hotel, Lobby Level, Congressional A
SYNOPSIS: As carbon dioxide concentrations continue to rise in the earth's atmosphere, evidence of global climate change is accumulating. There is also a growing body of data suggesting that the increased carbon dioxide concentration is due to the large-scale deployment of fossil fuels. Since most "business as usual" scenarios with continued large-scale use of fossil fuels risk quite dire consequences, it is important to assess the potential for energy sources that can provide the world's energy needs for the coming centuries without releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Extreme Energy Efficiency: Possible? Profitable? Essential Monday February 21, 2005 9:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Omni Shoreham Hotel, Level 2B, Empire, Organized by T. Kaarsberg and E. Hopson.
Presentations are at http://www.ornl.gov/sci/eere/communications.htm Holdren summary is below
Since 2002, [Science] has featured several articles on clean energy options for the 21st century. They differ in the technologies highlighted and in whether scientific breakthroughs will be needed, but all minimize the importance of energy efficiency. Yet improvements in energy efficiency have been substantial in recent decades. Without the energy efficiency improvements attained since 1973, worldwide energy use would be 50 percent higher than it is today. This symposium will examine the evidence for and against the [Science] articles' inference that future energy efficiency improvements are limited, too costly, or economically inefficient. The first speaker will examine energy flows in the U.S. and the world and discuss methods to increase productive use of energy. The second speaker will explore the physical limits of efficiency -- beyond [Carnot] cycle heat engine efficiency -- of mechanical and chemical technologies, especially considering improvements based on nano-, bio- and information technology. The third speaker will illustrate his scenario for steadily improving world energy intensity (E/GWP) with examples from California where state energy intensity is dropping far more quickly than that for the U.S. The discussant will then comment on these technology presentations implications. The second half of the symposium has economic analysis of costs and benefits of energy efficiency improvements. The first speaker will explore how a much higher level of energy efficiency also could be economically optimal based on improved understanding of how market based technological change is affected by energy research policies. The second speaker will discuss a simulation of the economic impacts of doubling efficiency in the United States with accelerated penetration of available technologies. The final speaker will examine the implications of the discovery of strong linkages between energy efficiency and productivity in the United Stated and other developed countries. The discussant will comment on these economics presentations and the overall symposium results
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