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Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 23–31 | Cite as

Can green power save us from climate change?

  • M. Scott Taylor
Open Access
Article
  • 134 Downloads

Summary

International efforts to lower emissions have largely failed, and many now believe we will fail to limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. In this extended abstract, I discuss whether a wholesale movement to renewable energy or Green Power could limit carbon emissions to meet a 2 degree Celsius target while simultaneously meeting the world’s growing demands for energy. Using a very simple growth model I calculate the burden Green Power must carry in order to keep emissions within the 2 degree target, and then discuss the speed, scope, and size of the energy transition this would imply. An energy transition of sufficient speed and magnitude to meet these targets is unlikely, leading me to believe that Green Power cannot save us from climate change.

JEL-Classification

Q42 Q47 Q54 

Keywords

environment carbon emissions energy transition 

References

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  3. National Research Council (2010), Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia, National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  4. Exxon Mobil (2010), The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030.Google Scholar
  5. Fouquet, Roger (2010), “The Slow Search for Solutions: Lessons from Historical Energy Transitions by Sector and Service”, Energy Policy, 38(11), pp. 6586–6596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Smil, Vaclav (2010), Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects, Santa Barbara (CA): Praeger.Google Scholar

Copyright information

©  Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Scott Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Canada Research Chair in International, Energy and Environmental Economics, the Department of EconomicsUniversity of Calgary Research Associate, NBERCanada

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