Understanding climate science

BP’s action to address climate change includes support for climate science research in leading universities around the world

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External perspectives on the carbon challenge from Professors Rob Socolow and Steve Pacala, Co-Directors of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton University

“There is no single technology that will magically solve the carbon and climate problem, but there is a constellation of technologies - silver buckshot instead of a silver bullet.” 
Professor Steve Pacala, CMI
BP’s action to address climate change includes support for climate science research in leading universities around the world. This complements practical steps such as providing gas as a cleaner alternative to coal, supplying renewable energy, pursuing energy efficiency in our operations and developing fuels and lubricants that help increase fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions. 
Research is targeted on finding efficient ways to make the transition to a lower carbon energy mix. This is needed because on current and expected trends, it is expected that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use will rise higher than the pathway that would limit the rise in temperature worldwide to the widely shared aim of 2° above pre-industrial times.

An effective energy transition will require both an increase in energy efficiency and a switch from higher to lower carbon energy sources.
One of BP’s main academic partnerships in this area is the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI). This is a 15-year partnership between Princeton University and BP that brings together some of the world’s leading scientists to advance climate science and explore potential low-carbon energy solutions.  The findings from the CMI research enrich understanding of climate science and provide insights to inform decisions taken in business and government.
”Efficiency is the number one strategy for moving to a lower carbon future. We need to modify energy systems, have an automobile fleet that’s twice as efficient as the one we have today, and have buildings and cities designed to save more energy. This isn’t about picking winners, but having energy efficient transformation across the board.”  
Professor Rob Socolow, CMI
Earlier climate research at the CMI resulted in a tool, called ‘Stabilization Wedges’ which demonstrated the contribution different  technologies and resources could make to reducing global GHG emissions  – from increasing solar or wind capacity and increasing efficiency of vehicles and buildings to replacing coal with gas in power plants and deploying carbon capture and storage. The tool generated valuable insights for policy makers and the public in assessing different technology options for a lower carbon future.
Professor Steve Pacala, co-director of the CMI, said: "There is no single technology that will magically solve the carbon and climate problem, but there is a constellation of technologies - silver buckshot instead of a silver bullet.” 

More recent research at the CMI has focused on natural carbon sources and sinks, as well as energy conversion, storage and other energy efficiency technologies. 

Co-director Professor Rob Socolow added: ”Efficiency is the number one strategy for moving to a lower carbon future. We need to modify energy systems, have an automobile fleet that’s twice as efficient as the one we have today, and have buildings and cities designed to save more energy. This isn’t about picking winners, but having energy efficient transformation across the board.”  

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