Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Projecting Energy and Climate for the 21st Century

Open Access Article

Abstract:
The growing evidence of severe climate change impacts on human life and the global economy has created the increasing need for an assessment of low-carbon pathways. While the ultimate goal of zero- or near-zero global emissions is clear, the timing and trajectory to achieve low-carbon economic system is not. Projecting energy and climate is getting more challenging because the current energy and emission policies diverge further and further from the stated long-term policy goals. We provide a discussion of descriptive and prescriptive approaches to energy and climate forecasts. While the fundamental uncertainties are unavoidable, a group of scenarios that project the entire range of plausible developments provides better guidance for decision-making than any (or several) individual scenario(s). We offer an example of an integrated approach from the MIT Joint Program Outlook that can be used for a quantitative analysis of decision-making risks associated with different energy pathways. Despite the broad variety of scenarios, the article finds some robust findings for the energy system.
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Keywords: Energy transition, Scenarios, Climate policy, Energy system, Emission mitigation

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.9.1.spal


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Published in Volume 9, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


 

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