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Worldwide impacts of climate change on energy for heating and cooling


The energy sector is not only a major contributor to greenhouse gases, it is also vulnerable to climate change and will have to adapt to future climate conditions. The objective of this study is to analyze the impacts of changes in future temperatures on the heating and cooling services of buildings and the resulting energy and macro-economic effects at global and regional levels. For this purpose, the techno-economic TIAM-WORLD (TIMES Integrated Assessment Model) and the general equilibrium GEMINI-E3 (General Equilibrium Model of International-National Interactions between Economy, Energy and Environment) models are coupled with a climate model, PLASIM-ENTS (Planet-Simulator- Efficient Numerical Terrestrial Scheme). The key results are as follows. At the global level, the climate feedback induced by adaptation of the energy system to heating and cooling is found to be insignificant, partly because heating and cooling-induced changes compensate and partly because they represent a limited share of total final energy consumption. However, significant changes are observed at regional levels, more particularly in terms of additional power capacity required to satisfy additional cooling services, resulting in increases in electricity prices. In terms of macro-economic impacts, welfare gains and losses are associated more with changes in energy exports and imports than with changes in energy consumption for heating and cooling. The rebound effect appears to be non-negligible. To conclude, the coupling of models of different nature was successful and showed that the energy and economic impacts of climate change on heating and cooling remain small at the global level, but changes in energy needs will be visible at more local scale.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the EU Seventh Framework Programme (ERMITAGE FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement no265170. We would like to thank Dr. Philomena Bacon for her comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank the participants of Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) Annual Congress 2013, Neuchatel, Switzerland and of the International Energy Workshop 2013, Paris, France for their comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Maryse Labriet.

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Labriet, M., Joshi, S.R., Vielle, M. et al. Worldwide impacts of climate change on energy for heating and cooling. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 20, 1111–1136 (2015).

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  • Climate change
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Adaptation
  • Energy system
  • Bottom-up model
  • Computable general equilibrium model
  • Rebound effect