Emily Grubert studies electricity fuel cycles, focusing on integrating knowledge about various environmental and social impacts of fuel extraction, use, and disposal to aid decision makers at a local level using life cycle assessment, textual analysis, and multi-criteria decision analysis. Her particular focus is on fuel extraction and water resources. This talk, based on a recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters (Grubert, Beach, and Webber 2012), addresses freshwater consumption for the natural gas- and coal-fired electricity fuel cycles in Texas. Specifically, I will focus on fuel extraction, power plant cooling, and power plant emissions controls, which account for an estimated 95% of the freshwater consumption associated with electricity production. Most of this water consumption (~80%) is for power plant cooling, but fuel extraction and emissions controls have become increasingly important with the advent of unconventional natural gas production that requires hydraulic fracturing and stricter sulfur dioxide control standards for power plants.
Annie Harper discusses Yale’s Community Carbon Fund, a joint project of the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Business and Environment at Yale to support local carbon mitigation projects that go beyond Yale’s immediate campus. When money is donated, the Yale Community Carbon Fund staff invests it in ways that enable low income people or organizations in New Haven to become more energy efficient and save money.
Diego Angarita, Board Member at Co-Op Power, talks about community-based movements from alternative energy to community gardening in New England.
Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, shares his experience and perspective on key decisions made while working with the City of New York to mobilize scientists for a rapid assessment of the damage in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. He also discusses another project involving the loss of Arctic sea ice and its potential for effecting mid-latitude climate.
David Keith explains how solar geoengineering may enable a significant reduction in climate risks by partially offsetting climate change due to increasing greenhouse gases, however this emerging technology entails novel risks and uncertainties along with serious challenges to global governance. He provides a rough summary of the physics of solar geoengineering and present recent findings regarding (a) the climate’s response to radiative forcing by stratospheric aerosols, (b) methods of producing appropriate aerosol distributions, and (c) risks. In closing I will discuss the trade-off between solar geoengineering, emissions reductions and adaptation in climate policy.