Toward a Policy Agenda for
Climate Change: Changing
Technologies and Fuels and
the Changing Value of Energy
The business as usual case for global affairs suggests that some very dis-
turbing trends are apparent today and could lead to signiﬁcant changes by
2050. By then, the global population will grow by around 40 percent. The
number of megacities will grow considerably. The number of vehicles in the
world will increase from 700 million to 2 billion. The global demand for
energy will increase between two- and threefold, and energy security will
become an increasingly signiﬁcant issue, with the cost of energy remaining
high. These trends will be particularly marked in the developing world.
One of the greatest challenges posed by the current trends is to address
the increasing buildup in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide (CO
) and other
greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with increased use of fossil fuels as
the world’s primary energy source. CO
and other GHG emissions have
been implicated, almost without doubt, as a major factor in global climate
In 2004, policy analysts proposed a “wedge and slices” approach to
addressing the need to reduce CO
emissions (Browne, 2004; Pacala and
Socolow, 2004). In essence, this approach involved reducing the seemingly
inexorable growth of emissions to retain emissions in 2050 at 2000 levels.
This would involve taking 7 gigatonnes (Gte) of carbon out of the atmos-
phere. Estimates showed that, by breaking this into seven or more slices of
up to 1Gte each, the problem becomes manageable. The good news is that
technologies available today are capable of making sizeable reductions in
Copyright © 2006 by Academic Press.
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