Open Access Library Journal
Vol.04 No.08(2017), Article ID:78235,10 pages

Anti-Global Warming Policy: Solar Power Parks!

Florent Dieterlen1, Jan-Erik Lane2

1Independent Scholar, Geneva, Switzerland

2Public Policy Institute, Belgrade, Serbia

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Open Access Library Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: July 14, 2017; Accepted: August 5, 2017; Published: August 8, 2017


The United Nations have attempted to create a coordination mechanism― UNFCCC―to halt CO2 emissions rise by means of the Paris Treaty 2015― COP21. But the states of the world have not yet started to implement the objectives of anti-global warming governance. Here the link between CO2 and temperature rise in Celsius is analysed and one key remedy is suggested as a model example, namely solar power parks. Time has come for halting and reducing CO2 emissions by real implementation and not utopian dreams of a sustainable economy [1] .

Subject Areas:

Environmental Sciences


Management of Decarbonisation, The UNFCCC Meeting in Paris 2015, The COP21: GOALS: I, II and III, CO2-Temperature Rise, Ouarzazate Size Solar Parks

1. Introduction

The COP Framework by the United Nations and its Committee UNFCCC has delivered the COP Treaty from Paris 2015. The COP21 objectives are: GOAL I: Halt CO2 increases by 2018-2020; some countries already have done so, but far from all; GOAL II: Reduce CO2 emissions by 30 - 40 percent at 2005 levels, depending on how counts, by 2030―an immense challenge; GOAL III: Complete decarbonisation by 2070-2075.

It is astonishing that global warming theory has not been better recognized or even conceptually developed or empirically corroborated within the social sciences. Here are a few recent examples of huge damages:

a) Melting of polar ice massively;

b) Retraction of glaciers globally;

c) Huge land losses along the costs (Bangladesh);

d) Too high temperatures for men and women to work outside (South Asia);

e) Food production decline (Africa);

f) Fish harvest decrease (Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean);

g) Droughts and starvation (South Asia);

h) Lack of fresh water supply (Latin America);

i) Drying up of rivers, affecting electricity supply (Latin America, South Asia, East Asia);

j) Ocean acidification and species extinction (Australia);

k) Highly volatile climate with giant forest fires, storms, rainfall and tornados with tremendous damages (America, Sri Lanka, China, Australia);

l) Deforestation and desertification (Africa, Indonesia, South Asia).

If there occurs a transformation of warm and cold currents in the oceans― Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Current for example, then the extinction prophecy will come true. What one may underline is that so far no known negative feedback has been found that could stem global warming naturally. We seem to have mainly only positive feedbacks, meaning that outcomes reinforce each other in the same direction. The situation in the Amazons and Borneo is basically “lost”, and Siberian forests are threatened.

2. Global Warming Theory (GWT)

The most recent addition to GWT is Stephen Hawking’s ominous prediction about irreversibility. Yet, GWT has been known for some 200 years, but never harbouring such dramatic hypotheses. French mathematician Joseph Fourier discovered global warming in the early 19th century looking at its contribution to warming a too cool planet Earth. But the theory was developed by Swedish chemist Arrhenius around 1895, focusing on the risk of overheating the planet Earth [2] . He calculated that a doubling of CO2 ppm would be conducive to a 5 degree increase in global average temperature, which is not too far off the worst case scenario for the 21st century, according to UN expertise now. Not until Stephen Schneider published Global Warming in 1989 did the theory receive wide attention with his journal Climate Change [3] , no doubt strengthened by the work of Keeling in measuring CO2 ppm globally. Moreover, techniques for viewing the CO2 layer were developed, increasing the attention to climate change. Now, the UN reacted with creating a few bodies to look into the changes going on, one of which was the COP framework.

The economists entered the GWP, worried about the future costs of this transformation of the atmosphere. On the one hand, Kaya and associates presented in 1997 a model that explained CO2:s with energy and energy intensity of GDP [4] . On the other hand, Stern called global warming the largest externality in human history, calling for international governance in order to stem the growth of greenhouse gases [5] . Stern outlined in 2007 a number of activities aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, promising also a Super Fund to channel money from rich advanced nations to poor countries and developing economies. As little has been done through the UN system of meetings and agencies?trans- action costs-up to date, Stern 2015 asked: “What are we waiting for?” [6] , neglecting his promise of the Super Fund (Ramesh, 2015), to assist poor and developing economies with energy transition [7] .

Actually, the dominant opinion in the social sciences and economics towards GWT was skepticism about its claims, if not outright rejection. On the one hand, political scientist Aaron Wildavsky linked GWT to environmentalism, which he regarded as the leftist ideology of an anti-capitalist movement: “Global warming is the Mother of environmental scares”, declared Wildavsky (1997) [8] . On the other hand, Julian Simon (2002) questioned the economic foundation of GWT as well as environmentalism in general. If the ecologists were right, there would be scarcity of basic resources in the world. But prices on raw materials keep falling, noted Simon [9] .

Today, one may speak of two currents of social science theory that are highly relevant for GWT. In the discipline of public administration and policy-making, some ideas about the so-called “implementation gap”―Wildavsky’s hiatus―are highly relevant to the COP21 project (Pressman and Wildavsky, 1973, 1984) [10] . The COP21 has three main objectives: halt CO2 increases by 2018-2020 (GOAL I), decrease CO2 emissions considerable by 2030 (GOAL II) and achieve full decarbonistion by 2070-80 (GOAL III).

But how are they to be implemented? No one knows, because COP21 has neglected what will happen after the major policy decision. The COP21 project outlines many years of policy implementation to reach decarbonisation, but which are the policy tools: market incentives, planning, oversight? COP21 introduces the steps towards a CPR.

A common pool regime, CPR, is vulnerable to the strategy of reneging, as analysed theoretically in the discipline of game theory. The relevant game for the CPR is the PD game, where the sub game perfect Nash equilibrium is defection in finite rounds of play of this game?backwards induction (Dutta, 1999) [11] . This is not recognized by Elinor Ostrom (1990) in her too optimistic view about the viability of CPR:s [12] . It is definitely not the case that Ostrom has overcome Hobbes (“covenants are in vain and but empty words; and the right of all men to all things remaining”), as one commentator naively declared when she was awarded both the Nobel prize and the Johan Skytte prize (Rothstein’ website 2014). The COP21 project is a CPR that may well fail, either due to defection or lack of management resources and skills. COP21 is in reality a global common pool regime (CPR), responding to N. Stern’s declaration in 2007 of climate change as the largest externality in economic history. However, CPRs in general and the COP21 in particular are far weaker than E. Ostrom (1990) predicted. Gaming by the governments of the world could destroy the efforts at global decarbonisation [13] [14] . The COP21 project houses lots of reneging opportunities of various sorts, which will become clear as this CPR project moves forward. One major partner has already defected, which may trigger other governments to renege. The only way to control defection in this global CPR is to employ selective incentives, which is what the planned Super Fund could offer, if at all workable.

3. Keeling Curve and Temperature Rise

One may attempt to calculate exactly how increases in greenhouse gases impact upon temperature augmentations. Take the case of CO2s, where a most complicated mathematical formula is employed:

1) T = Tc + Tn, where T is temperature, Tc is the cumulative net contribution to temperature from CO2 and Tn the normal temperature;

But when it comes to methane, it is not known whether the tundra will melt and release enormous amounts. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere long, like CO2s. For the other greenhouse gases, there is no similar calculation as for the CO2s: If humans could eat less meat from cows, it would mean a great improvement, as more than a billion cows emit methane. Food from chicken should replace beef meat and burgers. The general formula reads:

2) dT = λ*dF, where ‘dT’ is the change in the Earth’s average surface temperature, ‘λ’ is the climate sensitivity, usually with degrees Celsius per Watts per square meter (˚C/[W/m2]), and ‘dF’ is the radiative forcing.

To get the calculations going, we start from lambda between 0.54 and 1.2, but let's take the average = 0.87. Thus, we have the formula [15] :

Formula: 0.87 × 5.35 × ln(C/280).

Diagram 1 shows how CO2 emissions may raise temperature to 4 - 5 degrees, which would be Hawking’s worst case scenario.

When taking into account that global planning speak of a 20 - 30 per cent increase in energy for the coming decades, and then one understands the warning of Hawking. What needs to be done to avert this scenario is to reduce fossil fuel consumption quickly and replace it with renewables, like e.g. solar power. Below,

Diagram 1. CO2s and temperature rise in CELCIUS.

we give an example of what is involved in giant energy transformation to save Planet Earth, starting from the Paris 2015 COP 21 TREATY, with its major second GOAL II: reduction of CO2 emissions.

4. THE COP21: Grand Scale Management

All forms of energy be measured, and these measures are translatable into each other―a major scientific achievement. One may employ some standard sources on energy consumption and what is immediately obvious is the immensely huge numbers involved―see Diagram 2.

It is true that a lot is happening with energy and emissions, but one tends to report only the positive news about coal reduction, more efficiency in energy consumption, new solar and wind plants. Sad to say, one bypasses the constantly increasing need for energy, the augmentation of air transportation, more cars and bigger engines, and first and foremost more human beings! The COP21 call for decarbonisation entails a sharp reduction of fossil fuels up until 2030 in order to stabilize climate change, involving a 30 - 40 decrease in CO2 emissions, measured against the 2005 level of emissions.

Let us first focus upon what this hoped for reduction of fossil fuels implies for the augmentation of renewable energy consumption, here solar power. The use of atomic power is highly contested, some countries closing reactors while others construct new and hopefully safer ones. I here bypass wind power and thermal power for the sake of simplicity in calculations.

Consider now Table 1, using the giant solar power station in Morocco as the benchmark―How many would be needed to replace the energy cut in fossil fuels and maintain the same energy amount, for a few selected countries with big CO2 emissions?

If countries rely to some extent upon wind or geo-thermal power or atomic power, the number in Table 1 will be reduced. The key question is: Can so much solar power be constructed in some 10 years? Thus, the COP23 should decide to embark upon an energy transformation of this colossal size.

Diagram 2. Energy consumption 2015 (Million Tons of oil equivalent).

Source: [16] .

Solar power investments will have to take many things into account: energy mix, climate, access to land, energy storage facilities, etc. They are preferable to nuclear power, which pushes the pollution problem into the distant future with other kinds of dangers. Wind power is accused to being detrimental to bird life, like in Israel’s Golan Heights. Geo-thermal power comes from volcanic power and sites. Let us look at the American scene in Table 2.

It has been researched has much a climate of Canadian type impacts upon solar power efficiency. In any case, Canada will need backs ups for its many solar power parks, like gas power stations. Mexico has a very favourable situation for

Table 1. Number of Ouarzazate plants necessary in 2030 for COP21’s GOAL II: Global scene (Note: Average of 250 - 300 days of sunshine used for all entries except Australia, Indonesia, and Mexico, where 300 - 350 was used).

Source: [17] . iThe United States has pulled out of the deal. iiNo absolute target. iiiPledge is above current level, no reduction.

Table 2. Number of Ouarzazate plants necessary in 2030 for COP21’s GOAL II: American scene (Note: Average of 250 - 300 days of sunshine per year was used for Canada, 300 - 350 for the others).

Source: [17] . iiNo absolute target.

solar power, but will need financing from the Super Fund, promised in COP21 Treaty. In Latin America, solar power is the future, especially as water shortages may be expected. Chile can manage their quota, but Argentine needs the Super Fund for sure.

Table 3 has the data for the African scene with a few key countries, poor or medium income.

Since Africa is poor, it does not use much energy like fossil fuels, except Maghreb as well as Egypt plus much polluting South Africa, which countries must make the energy transition as quickly as possible. The rest of Africa uses either wood coal, leading to deforestation, or water power. They can increase solar power without problems when helped financially.

Table 4 shows the number of huge solar parks necessary for a few Asian

Table 3. Number of Ouarzazate plants necessary in 2030 for COP21’s GOAL II: African scene (Note: Average of 300 - 350 days of sunshine per year was used).

Source: [17] . ivUpper limit dependent on receiving financial support.

Table 4. Number of Ouarzazate plants necessary in 2030 for COP21’s GOAL II. Asian scene (Note: Average of 250 - 300 days of sunshine was used for Kazakhstan, 300 - 350 days of sunshine per year for the others).

Source: [17] . iiNo absolute target; ivUpper limit dependent on receiving financial support.

countries. The numbers are staggering, but can be fulfilled, if turned into the number ONE priority. Some of the poor nations need external financing and technical assistance.

Finally, we come to the European scene, where also great investments are needed, especially as nuclear power is reduced significantly and electrical cars will replace petrol ones, to a large extent (Table 5).

Is there space to build all these solar parks, one may ask. But many, many small houses with solar roofs will also do well. Public buildings and company offices may be run on solar power from their roofs! Innovation is needed everywhere.

As the Keeling curve continues its relentless rise (Earth CO2), we must take Hawkins warning about irreversibility seriously. Moving now and up to 2030, according to the COP21’s GOAL II for decarbonisation eliminates irreversibility. The main solution is solar power parks of Ouarzazate type size. Above is a calculation of what is needed in many countries around the world, taking into account the insights of the research into GDP-energy-emission links.

5. Grand Scale Management

The COP21 project suggests decentralised implementation of goals, given the dominance of state sovereignty in Public International Law. But what tools can be conducive to such an enormous transformation from fossil fuels to renewables, outlined in the above example with solar power parks (Tables 1-5)? The COP21 Treaty speaks of a Super Fund with a budget of 100 billion US dollars to assist poor countries and emerging economies. The upcoming COP23 must clarify the technicalities and funding of this Super Fund. Taxes or charges on fossil fuels is an effective means, but will it be accepted by unanimity is the coordination group of so many states?

The UNFCCC must develop a management structure at the COP23, combining the international level with national ones. And the solar power revolution must be initiated in the COP21 member states. Each country will manage its version of the giant energy transformation in this century, mixing solar power with other renewables and maybe atomic power. But it is now time to start

Table 5. Number of Ouarzazate plants necessary in 2030 for COP21’s GOAL II: European scene (Note: Average of 250 - 300 days of sunshine per year was used).

Source: [17] . EU joint pledge of 40 % compared to 1990.

managing this COP21 process, with key decisions about implementation at the COP23 reunion in Bonn, sponsored by islands state Fiji, as Pacific Islands are much threatened by sea level rise, like Tuvalu already.

6. Conclusion

International governance has managed to set objectives for global coordination towards decarbonisation in this century: GOAL I, II and III of the COP21 Treaty. It is now up to the COP23 reunion to start the implementation process. To avoid defection from the Treaty, as in a PD game, there must be selective incentives. They can only come from the promised Super Fund, allowing the giant emerging economies to shift to renewables with international funding and technological support. Many of the huge chunks of CO2 emissions come from countries that have taken-off economically (Rostow, 1960) [18] and pursue the catch-up strategy (Barro, 1991) [19] . They will not accept major setbacks to their energy provision, so vital for socio-economic development. Countries plan for more energy production, but if this leads to more CO2 emissions, then we have the Myhre et al. effect in Diagram 2 [15] .

Cite this paper

Dieterlen, F. and Lane, J.-E. (2017) Anti-Global Warming Policy: Solar Power Parks! Open Access Library Journal, 4: e3825.


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