The impact of near-term climate policy choices on technology and emission transition pathways

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Journal Article
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2015, 90 (PA), pp. 73 - 88
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© 2013 Elsevier Inc. This paper explores the implications of delays (to 2030) in implementing optimal policies for long-term transition pathways to limit climate forcing to 450ppm CO2e on the basis of the AMPERE Work Package 2 model comparison study. The paper highlights the critical importance of the period 2030-2050 for ambitious mitigation strategies. In this period, the most rapid shift to low greenhouse gas emitting technology occurs. In the delayed response emission mitigation scenarios, an even faster transition rate in this period is required to compensate for the additional emissions before 2030. Our physical deployment measures indicate that the availability of CCS technology could play a critical role in facilitating the attainment of ambitious mitigation goals. Without CCS, deployment of other mitigation technologies would become extremely high in the 2030-2050 period. Yet the presence of CCS greatly alleviates the challenges to the transition particularly after the delayed climate policies, lowering the risk that the long-term goal becomes unattainable. The results also highlight the important role of bioenergy with CO2 capture and storage (BECCS), which facilitates energy production with negative carbon emissions. If BECCS is available, transition pathways exceed the emission budget in the mid-term, removing the excess with BECCS in the long term. Excluding either BE or CCS from the technology portfolio implies that emission reductions need to take place much earlier.
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