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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, April 25, 2014
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. Rajan Gupta
Los Alamos National Labs

Designing energy and climate security in different regions of the world

Spectacular developments in technology and resource exploitation have provided 2-3 billion people with unprecedented lifestyles and opportunities in the twentieth century. On the energy front, this has largely been achieved using inexpensive fossil fuels-- coal, oil and natural gas. The real costs of burning fossil fuels, many of which are hidden and long-term, have been environmental. Today, all species and nature, are being stressed at unprecedented levels and face conditions that have an increasing probability of resulting in catastrophes. Providing the same opportunities to nine or ten billion people will require 2-3 times current energy resources even with business-as-usual anticipated gains in efficiency. There is little doubt that, globally, we have the resources (100 more years of fossil fuels) and the technology to use fossil-fuels ever more cleanly so that the impacts on the environment are smaller and localized. Unfortunately, the emissions of green house gases and their contributions to climate change mandate we transform from the existing successful fossil-fuel system to zero-carbon emission systems. This talk will examine energy resources in different regions of the world and address the issue of whether these resources can provide energy security for the next fourty years. I will next examine how countries with enough resources (fossil, nuclear, hydroelectric) can reduce their carbon footprint in the power sector. I will then discuss the conditions needed to integrate large-scale solar and wind resources to create sustainable systems. Finally, I will identify areas which lack adequate reserves of fossil fuels and how they can address the simultaneous challenges of energy and climate security.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM