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An assessment of energy resources for global decarbonisation

Author

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  • Jean-Francois Mercure

    ()

  • Pablo Salas

    () (Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge)

Abstract

This paper presents an assessment of global economic energy potentials for all major natural energy resources. This work is based on both an extensive literature review and calculations based onto natural resource assessment data. In the first part, economic potentials are presented in the form of cost-supply curves, in terms of energy flows for renewable energy sources, or fixed amounts for fossil and nuclear resources, using consistent energy units that allow direct comparisons to be made. These calculations take into account, and provide a theoretical framework for considering uncertainty in resource assessments, providing a novel contribution aimed at enabling the introduction of uncertainty into resource limitations used in energy modelling. The theoretical details and parameters provided in tables enable this extensive natural resource database to be adapted to any modelling framework for energy systems. The second part of this paper uses these cost-supply curves in order to build a tool for analysing global scenarios of energy use, in the context of exploring the feasibility global decarbonisation using renewable energy sources. For such a purpose, a theoretical framework is given for evaluating either flows of stock energy resources for given price path assumptions for the related energy carriers, or the prices of energy carriers given energy demand assumptions. Results of both approaches are used in order to produce a complete comparison of global energy resources. The particular case of the feasibility of global decarbonisation by the end of the century is explored. Since the scale of the required amount of energy flows from renewables is comparable to the sum of the technical potentials, the associated scale of global land use for energy production is found to be large. For complete decarbonisation, without energy demand reductions, 7 to 12\% of the global land area could be required for energy production activities, emphasising the importance of improving energy consumption patterns and intensity of the global economy. The third part of this work is an appendix that provides all missing details, equations and databases necessary to understand and reproduce the work of Part I. This part is therefore aimed at enabling energy modellers to reproduce exactly and use in their own work the database that was constructed in this work.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Francois Mercure & Pablo Salas, 2013. "An assessment of energy resources for global decarbonisation," 4CMR Working Paper Series 002, University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy, Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ccc:wpaper:002
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    File URL: http://be.4cmr.group.cam.ac.uk/working-papers/pdf/4cmr_WP_02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Global energy resources; Climate change mitigation; Energy Commodity Price Dynamics; Global Decarbonisation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q31 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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