Decomposing the impact of alternative technology sets on future carbon emissions growth
What are the drivers of future global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions growth and how would the availability of key energy supply technologies change their relative importance? In this paper, we apply a novel index number decomposition technique to the results of a multi-region, multi-sector computable general equilibrium model to quantify the influence of five factors on the growth of future carbon emissions: (1) growth in global economic activity; (2) shifts in the regional composition of gross world product; (3) shifts in the sectoral composition of regions' GDP; (4) changes in sectors' energy–output ratios; and (5) changes in the CO2 intensity of energy sources. We elucidate how the relative importance of these factors changes in response to the imposition of a global carbon tax and alternative assumptions about the future availability of key energy supply technologies. Rising global economic activity and shifts in regional composition put upward pressure on emissions while changes in energy and emission intensity and the sectoral output mix have attenuating effects. A global emission tax that increases over time slows economic expansion and shifts the fuel mix, with the most pronounced impacts on China, India, and Russia. Limited availability of carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and hydroelectric generation all lead to upward shifts in the long-run marginal abatement cost curve, causing some countries to choose to pay the tax rather than abate.
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