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RE<<C and IPCC Scenario Compression

Q. What will be the most important technological development over the next 10 years that will have the greatest impact in reducing climate change risks? A. RE<

Note: this is my entry into the Masdar 2017 Engage Global Social Media Competition.

Question and Proposed Answer

Q. What will be the most important technological development over the next 10 years that will have the greatest impact in reducing climate change risks?

A. RE<<C and IPCC Scenario Compression

180-Word Summary with Key Slides

In 2016, we reached the milestone where renewable electricity (wind and solar photovoltaics) became cheaper than coal. In the terminology of the old Google.org initiative, we achieved RE<C.

By 2026, renewables will become much cheaper than coal: RE<<C.

This has profound implications for reducing climate change risks, because it means that renewable electricity will become the business-as-usual path, even in the absence of climate policy. (To a large extent, it already has.)

Current IPCC RCP (representative concentration pathway) models were developed before we achieved RE<C, so they still assume high coal use in 2100. As RE<<C arrives and IPCC scientists gain confidence that ours will be a low-coal future, the range of IPCC scenarios may compress towards lower-emissions pathways which correspond with still-severe but less catastrophic levels of global warming.

If and when this happens, RE<<C and IPCC Scenario Compression would provide an inspiring “win” for global citizens and policy-makers to rally around, to catalyze further progress. It would also affirm the power of ethical ideals and entrepreneurial zeal to effect positive change against even the most daunting of problems.

Full Presentation

The presentation can be found on Slideshare, here.

With luck, the original presentation (created in “Google Slides”) will also be embedded below. 


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Matthew Klippenstein is a renewable energy consultant in Vancouver, Canada. He has chronicled the Canadian electric car market for GreenCarReports.com since 2013, and has provided commentary (in English and French) for print, television, radio, web and podcast media. An early guest on "The Energy Transition Show", his work has also been discussed on "The Energy Gang". An occasional contributor to CleanTechnica, he co-hosts our own CleanTech Talk with Nicolas Zart.

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