, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 63-81
Date: 18 Feb 2010

Validity of the Fossil Fuel Production Outlooks in the IPCC Emission Scenarios

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Abstract

Anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2 emissions is strongly and fundamentally linked to future energy production. The Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) from 2000 contains 40 scenarios for future fossil fuel production and is used by the IPCC to assess future climate change. Previous scenarios were withdrawn after exaggerating one or several trends. This study investigates underlying assumptions on resource availability and future production expectations to determine whether exaggerations can be found in the present set of emission scenarios as well. It is found that the SRES unnecessarily takes an overoptimistic stance and that future production expectations are leaning toward spectacular increases from present output levels. In summary, we can only encourage the IPCC to involve more resource experts and natural science in future emission scenarios. The current set, SRES, is biased toward exaggerated resource availability and unrealistic expectations on future production outputs from fossil fuels.