Climatic Change

, Volume 91, Issue 3–4, pp 211–231 | Cite as

The new global growth path: implications for climate change analysis and policy

  • Peter SheehanEmail author


In recent years the world has moved to a new path of rapid global growth, largely driven by the developing countries, which is energy intensive and heavily reliant on the use of coal—global coal use will rise by nearly 60% over the decade to 2010. It is likely that, without changes to the policies in place in 2006, global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion would nearly double their 2000 level by 2020 and would continue to rise beyond 2030. Neither the SRES marker scenarios nor the reference cases assembled in recent studies using integrated assessment models capture this abrupt shift to rapid growth based on fossil fuels, centred in key Asian countries. While policy changes must and will occur, the realism of the reference case is critical for analysis and policy formulation. Using such a reference path will have significant effects on impact and damage estimates, on the analysis of achievable stabilisation paths and on estimates of the costs of achieving stabilisation at a given GHG concentration level. Use of a realistic reference path is also essential for the international negotiations, arising out of the COP13 meeting in Bali, to achieve widely desired stabilisation goals: both the level of emission reductions to be achieved, and the preferred distribution of those reductions over countries and regions, will be heavily influenced by the reference case assumed.


Climate Policy Reference Case Growth Path International Energy Agency SRES Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Strategic Economic StudiesVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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