The Basic Arithmetic of the Global Energy Transition

24 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2020 Last revised: 22 Feb 2021

See all articles by Bradford Cornell

Bradford Cornell

Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA

Date Written: February 20, 2021

Abstract

The point of this short paper is to argue that any discussion of energy and climate policy should begin with a clear presentation of the basic arithmetic of energy transition. The basic arithmetic highlights the fact that the numbers must add up – projected energy consumption must equal future energy production. Furthermore, the matching must occur in real time. Modern economies cannot function with any protracted energy shortfall. In that regard, the paper has a simple objective – to lay the basic arithmetic of a transition of the world’s energy economy to one more based on renewables. Analysis of a few simple scenarios illustrates the importance of starting any policy analysis with the basic arithmetic.

Keywords: Energy, Climate Change

JEL Classification: A00, A10

Suggested Citation

Cornell, Bradford, The Basic Arithmetic of the Global Energy Transition (February 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3722561 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3722561

Bradford Cornell (Contact Author)

Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626 833-9978 (Phone)

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