IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

What energy levels can the Earth sustain?

  • Moriarty, Patrick
  • Honnery, Damon
Registered author(s):

    Several official reports on future global primary energy production and use develop scenarios which suggest that the high energy growth rates of the 20th century will continue unabated until 2050 and even beyond. In this paper we examine whether any combination of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy sources can deliver such levels of primary energy--around 1000Â EJ in 2050. We find that too much emphasis has been placed on whether or not reserves in the case of fossil and nuclear energy, or technical potential in the case of renewable energy, can support the levels of energy use forecast. In contrast, our analysis stresses the crucial importance of the interaction of technical potentials for annual production with environmental factors, social, political, and economic concerns and limited time frames for implementation, in heavily constraining the real energy options for the future. Together, these constraints suggest that future energy consumption will be significantly lower than the present level.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V2W-4W034C2-4/2/aeaae3d8b74d503aa1dc07bf2c467657
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 2469-2474

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:7:p:2469-2474
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Schiffer, Hans-Wilhelm, 2008. "WEC energy policy scenarios to 2050," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2464-2470, July.
    2. Feltrin, Andrea & Freundlich, Alex, 2008. "Material considerations for terawatt level deployment of photovoltaics," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 180-185.
    3. Patrick Moriarty & Damon Honnery, 2007. "Global bioenergy: problems and prospects," International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 27(2), pages 231-249.
    4. de Vries, Bert J.M. & van Vuuren, Detlef P. & Hoogwijk, Monique M., 2007. "Renewable energy sources: Their global potential for the first-half of the 21st century at a global level: An integrated approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2590-2610, April.
    5. Abbasi, S. A. & Abbasi, Naseema, 2000. "The likely adverse environmental impacts of renewable energy sources," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 65(1-4), pages 121-144, April.
    6. Nel, Willem P. & Cooper, Christopher J., 2009. "Implications of fossil fuel constraints on economic growth and global warming," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 166-180, January.
    7. Moriarty, Patrick & Honnery, Damon, 2008. "Mitigating greenhouse: Limited time, limited options," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1251-1256, April.
    8. Ayres, Robert U., 2008. "Sustainability economics: Where do we stand?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 281-310, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:7:p:2469-2474. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.