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Getting from here to there – energy technology transformation pathways in the EMF27 scenarios

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Based on a large number of energy-economic and integrated assessment models, the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) 27 study systematically explores the implications of technology cost and availability for feasibility and macroeconomic costs of energy system transformations toward climate stabilization. At the highest level, the technology strategy articulated in all the scenarios in EMF27 includes three elements: decarbonization of energy supply, increasing the use of low-carbon energy carriers in end-use, and reduction of energy use. The way that the scenarios differ is in the degree to which these different elements of strategy are implemented, the timing of those implementations, and the associated macroeconomic costs. The study also discusses the value of individual technologies for achieving climate stabilization. A robust finding is that the unavailability of carbon capture and storage and limited availability of bioenergy have the largest impact on feasibility and macroeconomic costs for stabilizing atmospheric concentrations at low levels, mostly because of their combined ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Constraining options in the electric sector such as nuclear power, wind and solar energy in contrast has a much smaller impact on the cost of mitigation.

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  1. Feasibility here relates to the ability of models to produce specific scenarios (see Section 4.2).

  2. Throughout this study, primary energy accounting is based on the direct-equivalent method.

  3. Several other options to produce negative emissions such as afforestation, enhanced weathering and direct air capture are discussed in the literature, but the majority of models in the EMF27 study included bioenergy coupled with CCS as the only negative emissions option.


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Volker Krey’s, Gunnar Luderer’s and Elmar Kriegler’s contribution was supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement n° 282846 (LIMITS). Leon Clarke’s contribution was supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Integrated Assessment Research Program.

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Correspondence to Volker Krey.

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This article is part of the Special Issue on "The EMF27 Study on Global Technology and Climate Policy Strategies" edited by John Weyant, Elmar Kriegler, Geoffrey Blanford, Volker Krey, Jae Edmonds, Keywan Riahi, Richard Richels, and Massimo Tavoni.

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Krey, V., Luderer, G., Clarke, L. et al. Getting from here to there – energy technology transformation pathways in the EMF27 scenarios. Climatic Change 123, 369–382 (2014).

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