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Impacts of Technology Uncertainty on Energy Use, Emission and Abatement Cost in USA: Simulation results from Environment Canada's Integrated Assessment Model

To what extent could various technological advancements in the coming decades potentially help greenhouse gas mitigation in the U.S.? What could the potential contribution of end-use technology and other key clean electric energy technologies such as CCS, Nuclear power, wind & solar, and biomass be? This paper presents simulation results from an Integrated Assessment Model that suggest that, in the absence of policy measures, even under the most optimistic state of technology development and deployment scenarios, the U.S. energy system would still be dominated by fossil fuels and GHG emissions would increase significantly between 2010 and 2050. A pessimistic scenario in end-use technology would result in increased electric and non-electric energy use and GHG emissions compared to the advanced technology scenario, while a pessimistic scenario in any one of the four clean technologies examined would result in reduced electric and non-electric energy use and a small increase in GHG emissions. However, if all technologies are in pessimistic status, GHG emissions would increase significantly as more fossil fuels would be used in the energy system. Technology alone cannot achieve the abatement levels required. A market-based policy targeting the reduction of U.S. GHG emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050 would result in dramatic decrease in coal-fired generation. With abatement policies in place, favorable technology scenarios reduce abatement costs and facilitate the energy system transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Keywords: Energy use, Clean technology, GHG abatement, Abatement cost

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JEL Codes: Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q42: Alternative Energy Sources, Q55: Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation, Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming, Q35: Hydrocarbon Resources

Keywords: Energy use, Clean technology, GHG abatement, Abatement cost

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.35.SI1.12

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Published in Volume 35, Special Issue of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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