Ecological macroeconomic assessment of meeting a carbon budget without negative emissions




Sers, Martin R.

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Global Sustainability


Non-technical summary. This paper expands the range of scenarios usually explored in integrated assessment models by exploring unconventional economic scenarios (steady-state and degrowth) and assuming no use of negative emissions. It is shown, using a mathematical model of climate and economy, that keeping cumulative emissions within the 1.5 degree carbon budget is possible under all growth assumptions, assuming a rapid electrification of end use and an immediate upscaling of renewable energy investments. Under business-as-usual investment assumptions no economic trajectory corresponds with emissions reductions consistent with the 1.5 degree carbon budget. Technical summary. This paper presents a stock-flow consistent input–output integrated assessment model designed to explore the dual dynamics of transitioning to renewable energy while electrifying end use subject a carbon budget constraint. Unlike the majority of conventional integrated assessment model analyses, this paper does not assume the deployment of carbon dioxide removal and examines the role that alternative economic pathways (steadystates and degrowth) may play in achieving 1.5°C consistent emissions pathways. The model is internally calibrated based on a life-cycle energy return on investment scheme and the energy transition dynamics are captured via a dynamic input–output formulation. Renewable energy investment as a fraction of gross domestic product for successful emissions pathways reaches 5%. In terms of new capital requirements and investments, degrowth trajectories impose lower transition requirements than steady-state and growth trajectories. Social media summary. We explore the role that steady-state and degrowth economic trajectories may play in emissions reductions consistent with a 1.5 degree world..



climate change, economics, energy


Sers, M. R. (2022). “Ecological macroeconomic assessment of meeting a carbon budget without negative emissions.” Global Sustainability, 5(e6), 1-17.