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Emission scenarios in the face of fossil-fuel peaking

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  • Brecha, Robert J.
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    Abstract

    Emissions scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are based on detailed energy system models in which demographics, technology and economics are used to generate projections of future world energy consumption, and therefore, of greenhouse gas emissions. We propose in this paper that it is useful to look at a qualitative model of the energy system, backed by data from short- and medium-term trends, to gain a sense of carbon emission bounds. Here we look at what may be considered a lower bound for 21st century emissions given two assumptions: first, that extractable fossil-fuel resources follow the trends assumed by "peak oil" adherents, and second, that no climate mitigation policies are put in place to limit emissions. If resources, and more importantly, extraction rates, of fossil fuels are more limited than posited in full energy-system models, a supply-driven emissions scenario results; however, we show that even in this "peak fossil-fuel" limit, carbon emissions are high enough to surpass 550 ppm or 2 °C climate protection guardrails. Some indicators are presented that the scenario presented here should not be disregarded, and comparisons are made to the outputs of emission scenarios used for the IPCC reports.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4SY6YJ1-1/2/68e2f33eb64a5808500c3a0804982e8e
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 9 (September)
    Pages: 3492-3504

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:9:p:3492-3504

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    References

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    1. Baffes, John, 2007. "Oil spills on other commodities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4333, The World Bank.
    2. Reynolds, Doug, 1998. "Entropy subsidies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 113-118, February.
    3. Soderbergh, Bengt & Robelius, Fredrik & Aleklett, Kjell, 2007. "A crash programme scenario for the Canadian oil sands industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1931-1947, March.
    4. Reynolds, Douglas B., 1999. "The mineral economy: how prices and costs can falsely signal decreasing scarcity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 155-166, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Steve Newbold & Charles Griffiths & Christopher C. Moore & Ann Wolverton & Elizabeth Kopits, 2010. "The "Social Cost of Carbon" Made Simple," NCEE Working Paper Series 201007, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2010.
    2. Alfredo Marvão Pereira & Rui M. Pereira, 2011. "On the environmental, economic and budgetary impacts of fossil fuel prices: A dynamic general equilibrium analysis of the Portuguese case," Working Papers 110, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    3. Chiari, Luca & Zecca, Antonio, 2011. "Constraints of fossil fuels depletion on global warming projections," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5026-5034, September.
    4. Robert J. Brecha, 2013. "Ten Reasons to Take Peak Oil Seriously," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 664-694, February.
    5. Verbruggen, Aviel & Al Marchohi, Mohamed, 2010. "Views on peak oil and its relation to climate change policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5572-5581, October.

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