Possible Changes in Future Use of Fossil Fuels to Limit Environmental Effects

  • Alfred M. Perry


Full use of the world’s recoverable fossil fuels could lead to atmospheric CO2, concentrations up to 10 times the preindustrial concentration (Keeling and Bacastow 1977; Siegenthaler and Oeschger 1978; Perry et al. 1982) (See Fig. 27.1). It is not possible at present to specify a maximum allowable CO2, concentration, i.e., a level at which the incremental losses would begin to exceed the incremental benefits, in some aggregate sense. Nevertheless, it is often assumed that a concentration of 600 parts per million by volume (ppm) would induce significant climatic and other changes that should perhaps be avoided if possible. Calculations of future CO2, concentrations are usually based on estimates for future worldwide consumption of fossil fuels that do not incorporate any restrictions on CO2, emissions. Some of us at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with colleagues at the Institute for Energy Analysis and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have asked how difficult it might be (and when it might be necessary to begin) to modify the future use of fossil fuels so that the atmospheric CO2, concentration would never exceed some specified level, such as 500, 600, or 800 ppm (Perry et al. 1982).


Fossil Fuel Coal Consumption Initial Growth Rate High Scenario Global Temperature Rise 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

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  • Alfred M. Perry

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