Gains in economic energy efficiency as the impetus for increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide

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Publication Type Journal Article
School or College College of Mines & Earth Sciences
Department Meteorology
Creator Garrett, Timothy J.
Title Gains in economic energy efficiency as the impetus for increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide
Date 2007-12-17
Description Growth of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is frequently diagnosed as a product of population, per capita economic production, the energy intensity of economic production (or inverse of its energy efficiency), and the carbon intensity of energy. This paper introduces an alternative, prognostic emissions model that accounts for human system feedbacks: economic production adds to a generalized form of infrastructure; infrastructure enables energy consumption through a constant of proportionality; in return, energy consumption powers economic production: CO2 is emitted as the waste-product. Core assumptions in the model are shown to be supported by economic records from recent decades, implying that, perhaps surprisingly, it is the growing energy efficiency of the economy, not increasing population or standard of living, that most directly explains accelerating CO2 emissions. Thus, further increases in energy efficiency are likely to backfire as a mitigation strategy. Instead, any strategy for limiting future atmospheric CO2 emissions requires strong and accelerating reductions in the carbon content of energy
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject carbon dioxide, energy efficiency, economics
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Garrett, T. J. (2007). Gains in economic energy efficiency as the impetus for increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide
Rights Management (c) Tim Garrett
Format Medium application/pdf (portable document)
Identifier ir-main,2080
ARK ark:/87278/s6v41ck6
ID 705342
setname ir_uspace
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=705342
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