climate change

Peak globalization: Climate change, oil depletion and global trade

Publication date:
2009-12-15
First published in:
Ecological Economics
Authors:
F. Curtis
Abstract:

The global trade in goods depends upon reliable, inexpensive transportation of freight along complex and long-distance supply chains. Global warming and peak oil undermine globalization by their effects on both transportation costs and the reliable movement of freight. Countering the current geographic pattern of comparative advantage with higher transportation costs, climate change and peak oil will thus result in peak globalization, after which the volume of exports will decline as measured by ton-miles of freight. Policies designed to mitigate climate change and peak oil are very unlikely to change this result due to their late implementation, contradictory effects and insufficient magnitude. The implication is that supply chains will become shorter for most products and that production of goods will be located closer to where they are consumed.

Published in: Ecological Economics, Volume 69, Issue 2, 15 December 2009, Pages 427-434
Available from: ScienceDirect

What energy levels can the Earth sustain?

Publication date:
2009-03-03
First published in:
Energy Policy
Authors:
P. Moriarty, D. Honnery
Abstract:

Several official reports on future global primary energy production and use develop scenarios which suggest that the high energy growth rates of the 20th century will continue unabated until 2050 and even beyond. In this paper we examine whether any combination of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy sources can deliver such levels of primary energy—around 1000 EJ in 2050. We find that too much emphasis has been placed on whether or not reserves in the case of fossil and nuclear energy, or technical potential in the case of renewable energy, can support the levels of energy use forecast. In contrast, our analysis stresses the crucial importance of the interaction of technical potentials for annual production with environmental factors, social, political, and economic concerns and limited time frames for implementation, in heavily constraining the real energy options for the future. Together, these constraints suggest that future energy consumption will be significantly lower than the present level.

Published in: Energy Policy, Volume 37, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 2469-2474
Available from: ScienceDirect

Thermodynamics and the Economic Process

Publication date:
2008-12-01
First published in:
http://www.vocat.co.uk/
Authors:
John Bryant
Abstract:

This paper develops further a a model of the economic process concerning the application of thermodynamic laws to economics. The paper sets out relationships between economic output and capital, labour, resource and waste stocks, with specific reference to energy, and is backed up by analysis of data of world energy resources and climate change. the paper concludes that both energy resource availability and climate change will have significant, limiting effects on the forward path of economic development.

Published in: Vocat International Ltd
Available from: Vocat International Ltd

Implications of fossil fuel constraints on economic growth and global warming

Publication date:
2008-08-15
First published in:
Energy Policy
Authors:
W.P Nel & C.J Cooper
Abstract:

Energy Security and Global Warming are analysed as 21st century sustainability threats.

Best estimates of future energy availability are derived as an Energy Reference Case (ERC). An explicit economic growth model is used to interpret the impact of the ERC on economic growth. The model predicts a divergence from 20th century equilibrium conditions in economic growth and socio-economic welfare is only stabilised under optimistic assumptions that demands a paradigm shift in contemporary economic thought and focused attention from policy makers.

Fossil fuel depletion also constrains the maximum extent of Global Warming. Carbon emissions from the ERC comply nominally with the B1 scenario, which is the lowest emissions case considered by the IPCC. The IPCC predicts a temperature response within acceptance limits of the Global Warming debate for the B1 scenario. The carbon feedback cycle, used in the IPCC models, is shown as invalid for low-emissions scenarios and an alternative carbon cycle reduces the temperature response for the ERC considerably compared to the IPCC predictions.

Our analysis proposes that the extent of Global Warming may be acceptable and preferable compared to the socio-economic consequences of not exploiting fossil fuel reserves to their full technical potential.

Published in: Energy Policy, Article in Press
Available from: ScienceDirect

Implications of "peak oil" for atmospheric CO2 and climate

Publication date:
2008-08-05
First published in:
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Authors:
P.A. Kharecha, J.E. Hansen
Abstract:

Unconstrained CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning has been the dominant cause of observed anthropogenic global warming. The amounts of “proven” and potential fossil fuel reserves are uncertain and debated. Regardless of the true values, society has flexibility in the degree to which it chooses to exploit these reserves, especially unconventional fossil fuels and those located in extreme or pristine environments. If conventional oil production peaks within the next few decades, it may have a large effect on future atmospheric CO2 and climate change, depending upon subsequent energy choices. Assuming that proven oil and gas reserves do not greatly exceed estimates of the Energy Information Administration, and recent trends are toward lower estimates, we show that it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding about 450 ppm by 2100, provided that emissions from coal, unconventional fossil fuels, and land use are constrained. Coal-fired power plants without sequestration must be phased out before midcentury to achieve this CO2 limit. It is also important to “stretch” conventional oil reserves via energy conservation and efficiency, thus averting strong pressures to extract liquid fuels from coal or unconventional fossil fuels while clean technologies are being developed for the era “beyond fossil fuels”. We argue that a rising price on carbon emissions is needed to discourage conversion of the vast fossil resources into usable reserves, and to keep CO2 beneath the 450 ppm ceiling.

Published in: Global Biochemical Cycles, Vol 22, 2008
Available from: AGU

Study of World Oil Resources with a Comparison to IPCC Emissions Scenarios

Publication date:
2004-01-01
First published in:
Uppsala University
Authors:
Anders Sivertsson
Abstract:

Our society today is very dependent on oil and gas, almost 65% of the total primary
energy consumption in the world is produced from oil and gas. Due to the vast
amounts of oil consumed every year, discussions occur regarding whether we will, or
will not, run out of oil in the future. Another topic of discussion is the amounts of CO2
emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The purpose of this M.Sc. thesis work was,
firstly, to upgrade a substantial database on world oil and gas resources, including
annual discovery and production. An estimate is also made about how much more oil
and gas that will be discovered and produced. Secondly, the oil and gas production is
compared to the production predicted in IPCC’s 40 emissions scenarios.
The result from the updated database shows that the ultimate amount of crude oil to
be discovered in the world is 1900 Gigabarrels (Gb). Including the year 2002, 1713
Gb is already discovered, which leaves 187 Gb to be discovered in the future.
Furthermore, 891 Gb of crude oil had already been produced at the end of 2002,
which leaves 822 Gb to be produced in the future.

The result from the comparison between the updated database and IPCC’s oil
production numbers in their 40 emissions scenarios shows big anomalies. The whole
range of IPCC’s 40 scenarios on primary energy production from oil and gas between
1990 and 2100 is higher than what the updated database shows as possible. In most of
IPCC’s 40 scenarios the oil and gas consumption between 1990 and 2100 is more than
twice as large as what the updated database shows possible.

Note that the purpose of this M.Sc. project work is to quantify the resource base used
in the IPCC emissions scenarios, it does not evaluate whether climate change is, or
will be, a problem.

Published in: 2004, Uppsala University, undergraduate thesis
Available from: Uppsala University

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