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The value of technological advance in decarbonizing the U.S. economy

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  • Richels, Richard G.
  • Blanford, Geoffrey J.

Abstract

This paper examines the role of technology in managing the costs of a carbon constraint on the U.S. economy. Two portfolios of technology are examined. One reflects modest investments in climate-friendly technologies, the other more aggressive development. The analysis indicates that the development of a broad range of low- to zero-carbon emitting technologies can substantially reduce (but not eliminate) the economic cost of decarbonization. By enabling large-scale emission reductions on the supply-side, costly reductions in demand are avoided. In particular, the emergence of electricity as a low-carbon fuel provides a powerful lever for achieving reductions in other sectors of the economy at lower cost. While the analysis suggests that there is no "free lunch," the bill, which may indeed be well worth paying, can be greatly reduced through an accelerated R&D program and successful diffusion of new technology throughout the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Richels, Richard G. & Blanford, Geoffrey J., 2008. "The value of technological advance in decarbonizing the U.S. economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2930-2946, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:30:y:2008:i:6:p:2930-2946
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Manne, Alan & Mendelsohn, Robert & Richels, Richard, 1995. "MERGE : A model for evaluating regional and global effects of GHG reduction policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 17-34, January.
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    4. Popp, David, 2006. "ENTICE-BR: The effects of backstop technology R&D on climate policy models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 188-222, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Samuel Fankhauser & Cameron Hepburn & Jisung Park, 2010. "Combining Multiple Climate Policy Instruments: How Not To Do It," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(03), pages 209-225.
    2. Pugh, Graham & Clarke, Leon & Marlay, Robert & Kyle, Page & Wise, Marshall & McJeon, Haewon & Chan, Gabriel, 2011. "Energy R&D portfolio analysis based on climate change mitigation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 634-643, July.
    3. Jakub Sawulski & Jan Witajewski-Baltvilks, 2017. "Optimal RES differentiation under technological uncertainty," IBS Working Papers 07/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    4. Bosetti, Valentina & Longden, Thomas, 2013. "Light duty vehicle transportation and global climate policy: The importance of electric drive vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 209-219.
    5. L√ľken, Michael & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Knopf, Brigitte & Leimbach, Marian & Luderer, Gunnar & Bauer, Nico, 2011. "The role of technological availability for the distributive impacts of climate change mitigation policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6030-6039, October.
    6. Weyant, John P., 2011. "Accelerating the development and diffusion of new energy technologies: Beyond the "valley of death"," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 674-682, July.
    7. Blyth, William & Bunn, Derek & Kettunen, Janne & Wilson, Tom, 2009. "Policy interactions, risk and price formation in carbon markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5192-5207, December.
    8. Santen, Nidhi R. & Anadon, Laura Diaz, 2016. "Balancing solar PV deployment and RD&D: A comprehensive framework for managing innovation uncertainty in electricity technology investment planning," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 560-569.
    9. Turnbull, D. & Glaser, A. & Goldston, R.J., 2015. "Investigating the value of fusion energy using the Global Change Assessment Model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 346-353.
    10. Delavane B. Diaz, 2015. "Integrated Assessment of Climate Catastrophes with Endogenous Uncertainty: Does the Risk of Ice Sheet Collapse Justify Precautionary Mitigation?," Working Papers 2015.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. Enrica Cian & Fabio Sferra & Massimo Tavoni, 2016. "The influence of economic growth, population, and fossil fuel scarcity on energy investments," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 39-55, May.
    12. Eom, Jiyong & Edmonds, Jae & Krey, Volker & Johnson, Nils & Longden, Thomas & Luderer, Gunnar & Riahi, Keywan & Van Vuuren, Detlef P., 2015. "The impact of near-term climate policy choices on technology and emission transition pathways," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 90(PA), pages 73-88.
    13. Enrica De Cian & Fabio Sferra & Massimo Tavoni, 2013. "The Influence of Economic Growth, Population, and Fossil Fuel Scarcity on Energy Investments," Working Papers 2013.59, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    14. Massimo Tavoni & Enrica Cian & Gunnar Luderer & Jan Steckel & Henri Waisman, 2012. "The value of technology and of its evolution towards a low carbon economy," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 39-57, September.
    15. Emanuele Massetti & Elena Claire Ricci, 2011. "Super-Grids and Concentrated Solar Power: A Scenario Analysis with the WITCH Model," Working Papers 2011.47, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    16. Hiromi Yamamoto & Masahiro Sugiyama & Junichi Tsutsui, 2014. "Role of end-use technologies in long-term GHG reduction scenarios developed with the BET model," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 583-596, April.

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