Dynamics of the oil transition: Modeling capacity, depletion, and emissions
The global petroleum system is undergoing a shift to substitutes for conventional petroleum (SCPs). The Regional Optimization Model for Emissions from Oil Substitutes, or ROMEO, models this oil transition and its greenhouse gas impacts. ROMEO models the global liquid fuel market in an economic optimization framework, but in contrast to other models it solves each model year sequentially, with investment and production optimized under uncertainty about future prevailing prices or resource quantities. ROMEO includes more hydrocarbon resource types than integrated assessment models of climate change. ROMEO also includes the carbon intensities and costs of production of these resources. We use ROMEO to explore the uncertainty of future costs, emissions, and total fuel production under a number of scenarios. We perform sensitivity analysis on the endowment of conventional petroleum and future carbon taxes. Results show incremental emissions from production of oil substitutes of ≈ 0–30 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon over the next 50 years (depending on the carbon tax). Also, demand reductions due to the higher cost of SCPs could reduce or eliminate these increases. Calculated emissions are highly sensitive to the endowment of conventional oil and less sensitive to a carbon tax.
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