11.9.1 Sectoral mitigation action: links to climate change and adaptation
Section 4.5.5 covers the impact of climate change on energy supply, such as extreme events (Easterling et al., 2000), the effect of warming on infrastructure (such as damage to gas and oil pipelines caused by permafrost melt) and changes in water levels for hydro projects (Nelson et al., 2002). There is a broad consensus that a decentralized energy system (4.3.8) might be more robust in coping with extreme events. Areas that clearly link mitigation and adaptation include, in particular, hydro, biomass and nuclear. Changes in rainfall patterns/glacier melting will clearly impact hydro power and future hydro as a feasible carbon-neutral alternative. The same could be said for biomass, in which too much land used for energy crops may affect both food supply and forestry cover, thereby reducing the ability of communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change, reducing food supplies and therefore making them more vulnerable. Nuclear power generation has been vulnerable to shortages of cooling water due to heat-waves resulting in high ambient temperatures, like those in the EU in 2003 and 2006. This problem is expected to intensify with the rise in these climate-related events. There are opportunities for synergies between mitigation and adaptation in the area of energy supply, particularly for rural populations. For example, the opportunity to develop perennial biomass, such as switch grass, would meet rural energy needs and also provide adaptation benefits because of its relatively low water supply requirements (Samson et al., 2000).