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Energy to 2050, Scenarios for a Sustainable Future, 2003

Energy to 2050, Scenarios for a Sustainable Future, 2003

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Published by: i-people on Mar 28, 2008
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03/26/2013

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Scenario Features

This scenario is characterised by both rapid technological change and
strong concern for the global environment by both the public and
policymakers.

Other features of this scenario include a (global) GDP growth rate
somewhere in between the first two cases but closer to the second, robust
trade and market liberalisation trends, a narrowing down of income
differences across regions and countries. As a result, overall, energy prices will
be somewhat higher than in the second scenario but lower than in the first.

In this scenario, governments of developed countries agree to deal with the
threat of climate change in a co-ordinated fashion and to take action to slow
down and reverse current trends in GHG emissions. In due time they are
joined in this process by developing countries, who agree to take increasingly
stringent commitments for GHG emission control and reduction.
Domestically, developed country governments set out to design and
implement policies that will, on the one hand, encourage a reduction of
energy-related GHG emissions and, on the other, channel both government
and private resources towards development of new technologies for climate
change mitigation. These efforts produce a host of positive technological
outcomes, which allow the attainment of environmental goals, and also
enhance energy security while keeping prices relatively low.

90

2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

In this scenario (figure 2.4) as in the first one, increasing awareness of
global climate threats coupled with increasing frequency and severity of
climate impacts, feed a growing attention to climate change issues by the
public and the governments. Public support for action is fuelled by a
widespread view that technology options will keep the cost of mitigation
relatively low, and optimism that ancillary benefits of GHG reduction will
also lead to both enhanced energy security and a strong multi-lateral
system that promotes trade and reduces conflicts. This attitude has several
implications. At the individual level it translates into more environmentally
friendly behaviour, increased demand for goods and services that have a
lighter environmental footprint and energy products with a low or zero
carbon content. At the collective level this attitude spurs national
governments (first in developed countries and subsequently in the
developing world) to respond to the demand for more ambitious climate-
mitigation policies. Businesses take into account these new preferences in
product design and particularly in the type of energy services provided.
Near-term success in both technology development and GHG reduction
reinforce this trend.

In this scenario, governments of developed countries deal with the threat
of climate change in a co-ordinated fashion and take action to slow down
and reverse current trends in GHG emissions, so as to stabilise
concentrations at a safe level before the end of the century. They are

91

2.Three Exploratory Scenarios to 2050

Bright
skies

Technological change

Slow

Unconcerned

Concerned

Attitudes towards the global
environment

Fast

Figure 2.4 Scenario 3

aware that developing countries will only slowly begin to commit
themselves to emissions reductions, but agree to go ahead with a
concerted effort themselves first. Simultaneously, they pursue through
multilateral diplomatic processes the goal of substantial participation of
developing countries in the emission control effort. Developing countries
are supported by financial assistance and, in the interest of maximising
industrialised countries’ technology export markets, through technology-
transfer programs and assisted trade agreements. This gradually leads
developing countries to become involved in the process, initially by
accepting rules to control the increase in their GHG emission and later by
agreeing to reduce them.

Overall, in this scenario the pressure on fossil fuel energy resources would
be much mitigated with respect to the Dynamic but Careless scenario. Oil
use in the developed world would grow at a much slower rate, thus
dampening potential tensions in the market. Coal use would decrease in
industrial countries both as a share in primary energy and in absolute terms
while it would increase but at a much slower pace in developing ones.
However, the exploitation of gas resources would be probably more intense
than in the Dynamic but Careless scenario, leading to increasing prices.

This scenario would likely have a slightly slower growth rate of global GDP
than the Dynamic but Careless scenario. Growth would be slower at the
beginning in developed countries, due to the increased costs of providing
energy in a more environmentally compatible way. However, as the system
responds and technology advances, the net increase in energy prices may
not be that big. Furthermore, technological innovation by creating
successful new industries and environment-friendly products would foster
new economic growth.

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