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Title: Assessing global fossil fuel availability in a scenario framework

This study assesses global, long-term economic availability of coal, oil and gas within the Shared Socio-economic Pathway (SSP) scenario framework considering alternative assumptions as to highly uncertain future developments of technology, policy and the economy. Diverse sets of trajectories are formulated varying the challenges to mitigation and adaptation of climate change. The potential CO2 emissions from fossil fuels make it a crucial element subject to deep uncertainties. The analysis is based on a well-established data set of cost-quantity combinations that assumes favorable techno-economic developments, but ignores additional constraints on the extraction sector. This study significantly extends that analysis to include alternative assumptions for the fossil fuel sector consistent with the SSP scenario families and applies these filters to the original data set, thus resulting in alternative cumulative fossil fuel availability curves. In a Middle-of-the-Road scenario, low cost fossil fuels embody carbon consistent with a RCP6.0 emission profile, if all the CO2 were emitted freely during the 21st century. In scenarios with high challenges to mitigation, the assumed embodied carbon in low-cost fossil fuels can trigger a RCP8.5 scenario; low mitigation challenges scenarios are still consistent with a RCP4.5 scenario.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Energy, 111:580-592
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs); fossil fuel sector; Integrated Assessment Models; Extraction Cost