Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions
Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions / Steven J Davis, Robert H Socolow, Environmental Research Letters, 2014; 9 (8): 084018
Authors’s abstract :
The world not only continues to build new coal-fired power plants, but built more new coal plants in the past decade than in any previous decade. Worldwide, an average of 89 gigawatts per year (GW yr–1) of new coal generating capacity was added between 2010 and 2012, 23 GW yr–1 more than in the 2000–2009 time period and 56 GW yr–1 more than in the 1990–1999 time period. Natural gas plants show a similar pattern. Assuming these plants operate for 40 years, the fossil-fuel burning plants built in 2012 will emit approximately 19 billion tons of CO2 (Gt CO2) over their lifetimes, versus 14 Gt CO2 actually emitted by all operating fossil fuel power plants in 2012. We find that total committed emissions related to the power sector are growing at a rate of about 4% per year, and reached 307 (with an estimated uncertainty of 192–439) Gt CO2 in 2012. These facts are not well known in the energy policy community, where annual emissions receive far more attention than future emissions related to new capital investments. This paper demonstrates the potential for ‘commitment accounting’ to inform public policy by quantifying future emissions implied by current investments.
About the paper :
Natural gas usage will have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions, researchers find, Science Daily, 24/09/2014 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140924113659.htm