By the end of the Spring Semester of 2016, I would be only 30 percent away from completion of my master’s degree. I am currently enrolled in Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate (EPC) at Johns Hopkins University, which is offered as an interdisciplinary, professional degree. There would be a lot of different opinions about this program, especially considering its relatively short history, but here I’d like to share my personal thoughts as a current student for those who may consider choosing this particular degree program.
Ever since global leaders came to an agreement in Copenhagen that “an increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius ” in 2009, there have been heated discussions over whether the so-called 2-degree goal is appropriate, realistic or sufficient as a means of avoiding the worst climate scenario. CNN even set up a “2-degrees series” on its opinion section to thread the goal through energy and climate issues .
Today, countless smokestacks around the world are emitting carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This is not a good news, as “cumulative emissions of hundreds or even thousands of gigatonnes of CO2 would need to be prevented during this century to stabilize the CO2 concentration at 450 to 750 ppmv (IPCC).” Because we cannot just stop using fossil fuels overnight, other ways are pursued to offset the emissions. The idea of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is simple; to capture the emissions from energy-using processes and dispose it. In details, CCS technology includes collecting and concentrating the CO2, transport it to a storage location, and then store it for as long as possible .
One of the hottest environmental issues during the Obama Administration has been the Keystone XL pipeline. In January 2012, President Obama exercised his veto power against the proposed project. The 875-mile long pipeline and related facilities were supposed to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from Alberta, Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana . Once constructed, the pipeline that would go across the entire North America is expected to last for over 50 years.