Climate Uncertainty and the Necessity to Transform Global Energy Supply

28 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2004

See all articles by Bob van der Zwaan

Bob van der Zwaan

Columbia University - Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Earth Institute

Reyer Gerlagh

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management

Date Written: June 2004

Abstract

This paper analyses the policy relevance of the dominant uncertainties in our current scientific understanding of the terrestrial climate system, and provides further evidence for the need to radically transform - this century - our global infrastructure of energy supply, given the global average temperature increase as a result of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. We investigate the effect on required CO2 emission reduction efforts, both in terms of how much and when, of our uncertain knowledge today of the climate sensitivity to a doubling in them atmospheric CO2 concentration. Also the roles of carbon-free energy and energy savings, and their evolutions over time, are researched, as well as their dependence on some of our characteristic modelling features. We use a top-down model in which there are two competing energy sources, fossil and non-fossil. Technological change is represented endogenously through learning curves, and modest but non-zero demand exists for the relatively expensive carbon-free energy resource.

Keywords: Global warming, CO2 emissions, Climate sensitivity, Fossil to non-fossil transition, Carbon-free power, Energy savings

JEL Classification: 030, Q25, Q42, Q43, Q48

Suggested Citation

van der Zwaan, Bob and Gerlagh, Reyer, Climate Uncertainty and the Necessity to Transform Global Energy Supply (June 2004). FEEM Working Paper No. 95.04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=556350 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.556350

Bob Van der Zwaan (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Earth Institute ( email )

314 Low Library
535 West 116th Street, MC 4327
New York, NY 10027
United States

Reyer Gerlagh

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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