Climatic Change

, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 57–68 | Cite as

Implications of uncertain future fossil energy resources on bioenergy use and terrestrial carbon emissions

  • Katherine CalvinEmail author
  • Marshall Wise
  • Patrick Luckow
  • Page Kyle
  • Leon Clarke
  • Jae Edmonds


The magnitude and character of the global resource base of fossil fuels is a key determinant of the evolution of the future global energy system and corresponding fossil fuel carbon emissions. What is less well understood is the potential magnitude of impact of the availability of fossil fuels, due to the interaction with biomass energy, on agriculture, land use, ecosystems and therefore carbon emissions from land-use change. This paper explores these links and implications. We show that if oil resources are limited, then the consequently higher price for liquids induces both the use of coal-to-liquids technology deployment, but also enhanced production of bioenergy crops particularly in a business-as-usual scenario. This in turn implies greater pressure to convert unmanaged ecosystems to produce bioenergy, and higher rates of terrestrial carbon emissions from land use.


Fossil Fuel Carbon Emission Climate Policy Bioenergy Production Fossil Fuel Resource 
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.



The authors are grateful for research support provided by Stiftung Mercator ( The authors also wish to express appreciation to the Integrated Assessment Research Program in the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy for long-term support that enabled the development of the Global Change Assessment Model, which was used in the conduct of this research. This research also used Evergreen computing resources at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park, which is supported by DOE SC-IARP.

Supplementary material

10584_2013_923_MOESM1_ESM.doc (147 kb)
Figure S1 The High, Medium, and Low curves are the supply curves input into GCAM (labeled “Input”). The four BAU curves are the cumulative production/price mappings that result from the scenarios (labeled “Output”). Input costs and output prices differ due to the inclusion of transportation and other costs in the output price. (DOC 147 kb)
10584_2013_923_MOESM2_ESM.doc (64 kb)
Figure S2 Total Global Fossil Fuel Production in the BAU Scenarios (DOC 64 kb)
10584_2013_923_MOESM3_ESM.doc (162 kb)
Figure S3 Cropland and Bioenergy Land by Aggregate Region in the BAU Scenarios (DOC 162 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Calvin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marshall Wise
    • 1
  • Patrick Luckow
    • 2
  • Page Kyle
    • 1
  • Leon Clarke
    • 1
  • Jae Edmonds
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint Global Change Research InstitutePacific Northwest National LaboratoryCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Synapse Energy Economics, Inc.CambridgeUSA

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