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October 08 www. bus- ex. com 25 the future, and nature is not conducive to being predicted with certainty. We all know we have a problem, but it's hard to agree on the size of it, the timescale involved, or the effi cacy and cost of solutions. Despite huge advances in science, technology and economic models, there is no way to prove beyond doubt what is going to happen in 40 or 50 years' time if we do this, that, or the other thing. The absence of certainty creates division in political opinion, which cripples attempts to take action. Leonard sees it as a question of probabilities. " The best statistical analysis from the world's best thinkers is that if we could stabilize CO2 at about 500 parts per million, there's an 80 percent chance that we'll see two degrees or less in the warming effect, and a 20 percent chance of catastrophic events. If we are on the 80 percent branch, there will still be natural disasters, but on a level you can deal with." To stabilize at 500 ppm would require an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, he points out, which in turn would require agreement and strong leadership from the major countries represented by the G8. " But the G8 comes back with a 50 percent reduction by 2050, and a ten year delay in getting started," complains Leonard. " They just reversed the odds. Now we have an 80 percent chance of catastrophic events and only a 20 percent chance that we won't see them. That, to my mind, is perverse. Now we're likely to see parts per million of 800 to a thousand, and we don't know what that will mean." One thing we can all be certain of is that we need to take some kind of action, now, if only to get started. The European Union did that when it launched its experimental Emissions Trading Scheme in 2005. Around 12,000 energy-intensive plants in the EU have been able to buy and sell permits that allow them to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Companies that exceed their individual limit can buy unused permits from fi rms that have taken steps to cut their emissions. Those who exceed their limit and are unable to obtain spare permits are fi ned. Industries included in the scheme include power generation, iron and steel, glass and cement. Leonard applauds the European approach. " They went into it on the basis of ' let's get started, let's see what happens, and then we'll take the lessons learned and implement them into something more permanent that makes sense'," he says. " They found there were a lot of loopholes and ways round things, a lot of segments that weren't covered, and some people held projects back to get the allowances and then implemented things under the scheme that they would have done anyway, but everybody in the world has learned a lot from the European experiment. It was a very positive thing to do. At least they got started." So what are the chances of the US doing something similar? " I think the chances are very good that the US will have something like it in place by 2010," he says. " And I do believe there's a very strong will that just because it takes us longer to get a bill in place, we're not going to lose time on the implementation. I don't think the people who take the decisions are going to say that because it took us fi ve years to get the bill we'll give you fi ve extra years to start complying. The 2012 timeframe is still an appropriate timeframe. Industry is just going to have less time to do it." In their obsession with certainty, however, authorities dither, and the issue remains unsolved. " The problem with something like this is that it gets caught up in an intellectual debate about what is the right way to do it," says Leonard. Scientists, statisticians and economists all have their own models, he says, but it's impossible to prove climate change by scientifi c methods. " So we have to deal with what we know," he says, pragmatically. " In the electric sector, what is absolutely obvious is that coal is 80 percent of the problem. China is building 50 coal powered plants a year. In the US 80- 90 percent of greenhouse gases come out of coal plants. Coal plants are not going to be retired, so we have to come up with a way to fi x them. China will have an enormous investment in coal capacity by 2020 and they are not going to throw that away. We have to fi nd an affordable way to As the world's energy demand grows, Entergy Nuclear is pursuing technologies that optimize safety, security, effi ciency and environmental advantages. Entergy Nuclear is the second largest nuclear fl eet in the nation and a charter member of the NuStart consortium, formed to pursue a construction and operating license for an advanced reactor. At Entergy, we are committed to the pursuit of sustainable growth. 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retrofi t the coal plants – ours and theirs. " There are various alternatives, but almost no research has been done on it," he continues. One option is post- combustion capture, using an absorption agent after the fuel has been burned. " Or you can deal with it before the process, by separating the CO2 before burning the fuel. Or you can deal with it in the actual burning of the fuel itself, by burning the coal in a pure oxygen atmosphere to separate the carbon. Once you've done that, though, you have to fi nd someplace to put it, and a way to get it there." Skeptics in the US argue that it is too expensive, if not impossible, to move large quantities of CO2 into storage, and that it would require pipelines in multiples of what we have now for natural gas, but Leonard does not believe that. " It appears that 66 percent of coal plants that could be retrofi tted are sitting almost right on top of a reserve, a coal seam, an oil seam or something of that nature where you could put it," he says. He is clear on what would be his three point plan. " We have to start to retrofi t existing coal plants. Then we have to get the G8 to be realistic and to agree an overall reduction to keep us around that 500 ppm level. Then we have to look at the transportation sector. If we went to electric vehicles you would have a reduction of about 50 percent in CO2 emissions per mile today. If you had a worldwide agreement on how to attack climate change in the electric sector, which would produce the fuel for the vehicles, and you went for a combination of nuclear and retrofi t coal technology, or even natural gas, you could eliminate 80 percent or more of the emissions from the transportation sector by switching to electric vehicles. " You could solve this problem in the appropriate time frame," he says, " but it's going to change people's lifestyle a little bit and it's going to cost money. We can't rely on the markets alone to solve the problem when there is no assurance that the world community will put an adequate price on carbon, so governments are going to have to get together and do something jointly to start funding the research." 26 www. bus- ex. com October 08 Entergy Corporation