Technology Dynamics and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation: A Cost Assessment

Roehrl RA & Riahi K (2000). Technology Dynamics and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation: A Cost Assessment. IIASA Research Report (Reprint). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-00-017. Reprinted from Technolgical Forecasting and Social Change, 63(2-3):231-261 [2000].

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Abstract

This article analyzes long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their mitigation in a family of high economic and energy demand growth scenarios in which technological change unfolds in alternative "path dependent" directions. Four variants of this family are developed and used as baseline scenarios, for which alternative policy cases leading to a stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 450, 550, 650, and 750 ppmv by the end of the 21st century are examined. The baseline scenarios share common demographic, economic, and energy demand developments, but explore alternative development pathways of technological change and resource availability. We illustrate the sensitivity of projected future GHG emission levels and resulting global climate change to alternative developments in energy systems technologies. We conclude that uncertainties in technological change are as important for determining future GHG emissions as uncertainties in long-term demographic and economic developments. We also illustrate that differences in costs between alternative baseline scenarios of technological change may be larger than the cost differences of reaching alternative environmental (climate change stabilization) targets. Under our assumptions of high economic and energy demand growth, even in scenarios favoring fossil fuels, the long-term energy portfolio needs to include improvements in zero-carbon technologies and carbon-related technologies and infrastructures. We suggest that improvements in these technology options are a robust hedging strategy for an uncertain energy future.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report (Reprint))
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies (ECS)
Bibliographic Reference: Reprinted from Technolgical Forecasting and Social Change; 63(2-3):231-261 [2000]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:12
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 07:11
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/6255

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