Summary of Global Climate Related Facts

This is an html version of the appendix of Welch-Cornell (2022): Global Climate Change. The data is as of late 2021 / early 2022. Warning: It has been hand-transcribed and therefore may contain errors. Please refer to the book itself in case of doubt.

Please bring any errors to our attention ASAP.

01: Population

Fig 3: Population (in billion)
History Trend and Future
1960 2020 2100e Δ
OECD 815 1,369 1,400 +31 +2%
USA 187 331 434 +103 +31%
EU27 356 445 364 –81 –18%
Not OECD 2,220 6,426 9,475 3,049 +47%
Asia 1,705 4,641 4,720 +79 +2%
China 660 1,439 1,065 –374 –26%
Other Far East 963 2,206 1,826 –380 –17%
South Asia 517 1,605 1,689 +84 +5%
India 451 1,380 1,447 +67 +5%
Africa 203 1,341 ↑↑ 4,280 +2,939 +219%
Sub-Sahara 220 1,094 ↑↑ 3,776 +2,682 +245%
Nigeria 45 206 ↑↑ 733 +527 +256%
World Total 3,035 7,795 ↑↑ 10,875 +3,080 +40%

Primary Data Source: Worldbank and United Nations.

02: Primary Energy (PE)

Fig 8-9: PE By Region (ca 2022)
Popln Total pPpD
OECD 1.38 71 PWh 141 KWh
USA 0.33 28 PWh 232 KWh
Europe 0.60 24 PWh 109 KWh
Not OECD 6.50 116 PWh 49 KWh
China 1.45 48 PWh 90 KWh
India 1.41 12 PWh 23 KWh
Other Asia 1.18 14 PWh 32 KWh
Africa 1.37 7 PWh 14 KWh
Sub-Sahara 1.04 2 PWh 5 KWh
USSR (CIS) 0.25 11 PWh 121 KWh
Mid-East 0.26 10 PWh 111 KWh
Latin America 0.52 8 PWh 41 KWh
World 7.88 187 PWh 65 KWh

Primary data source is US EIA. Population (Popln) is in billions. pPpD is per Person per Day. USSR, Mid-East and Latin America are from British Petroleum (BP).

Tbl 5: Energy Purpose
USA World
Home/Work 40% 30%
Transport 30% 20%
Industry 30% 50%

Primary Source: NAS.

Typical Data Disagreements
BP EIA1 HDB EIA2 IEO
162 PWh 186 PWh 173 PWh

All three estimates are for total primary energy consumption for the world in 2019. Our World in Data also uses the BP data. The first EIA number is from the Historical Data Browser, the second is from the International Energy Outlook.

Tbl 10: Primary Energy Growth
1965 2019 2050e
49 PWh 185 PWh 260 PWh

The 1965 estimate is inferred from Our World in Data and the EIA 2019 number.

Tbl 10: Primary Energy Use By Region (in PWh)
2022 2050e Δ
OECD 71 PWh 82 PWh +11 PWh
USA 28 PWh 32 PWh +3 PWh
EU 24 PWh 28 PWh +4 PWh
Non-OECD 116 PWh 177 PWh +62 PWh
China 48 PWh 58 PWh +10 PWh
India 12 PWh 35 PWh +23 PWh
Other Asia 14 PWh 25 PWh +11 PWh
Africa 7 PWh 13 PWh +6 PWh
World 187 260 +73 PWh

Over the next 30 years, the world is expected to increase its energy consumption by about 40%.

Fig 11: Energy Sources (2019)
Source PEnergy in %
Biomass 11 PWh 7%
Coal 44 PWh 28%
Oil 54 PWh 34%
Natgas 39 PWh 25%
Nuclear 7 PWh 4%
Hydro 10 PWh 6%
Wind 4 PWh 3%
Solar 2 PWh 1%
Total 173 PWh 100%

Non-fossil fuels are grossed up as if they had similar efficiency losses as fossil-fuels.

03: Emissions

Fig 1: CO₂ Equiv, By Greenhouse Gas
Gas Emission in %
CO₂ 38 GtCO₂ 75%
Methane 9 GtCO₂e 18%
NOx,CFC,+ 5 GtCO₂e 10%
Land Charge 4 GtCO₂e 8%
Total 55 GtCO₂e 108%

The number adds to more than 100% because of the land-charge.

Fig 3: By Emitting Use
By Use Emission in %
Energy 37 GtCO₂e 73%
Agriculture 10 GtCO₂e 20%*
Other 4 GtCO₂e 8%
Total 51 GtCO₂e 100%

If the land charge accrues to agriculture, then agriculture’s share increases from 20% to 2S%.

§3.2: Annual Atmosphere Change

  • Human Emissions: +38 GtCO₂.
  • First-Year Natural Atmospheric CO₂ Removal: ≈20 GtCO₂.
    (Total removal: 100s-1000s of years.)
  • Extra Human-Caused Atmospheric: +18 GtCO2/year ≈ +2.5 ppm/year.
  • 1870: 2,200 GtCO2 ≈280ppm.
  • 2021: 3,200 GtCO2 ≈420ppm.
Tbl 14: CO₂ Emissions, 2022 and 2050e
2022 2050e Δ
OECD 12.1 12.1 −0.0 GtCO₂
USA 4.8 4.8 −0.0 GtCO₂
EU 3.8 3.7 −0.1 GtCO₂
Non-OECD 24.2 30.8 +6.6 GtCO₂
China 11.0 10.5 −0.5 GtCO₂
India 2.7 5.8 +3.1 GtCO₂
Other Asia 2.8 4.9 +2.0 GtCO₂
Africa 1.3 2.0 +0.7 GtCO₂
World 36.8 42.8 +6.6 GtCO₂

The table in the text quotes log-growths. The table here shows GtCO₂ instead.

Tbl 17: CO₂ Emissions (ca 2022)
Total pPpY
OECD 12.1 GtCO₂ 8.8 tCO₂
USA 4.8 GtCO₂ 14.4 tCO₂
Europe 3.8 GtCO₂ 6.4 tCO₂
Not OECD 24.2 GtCO₂ 3.7 tCO₂
China 11.0 GtCO₂ 7.6 tCO₂
India 2.7 GtCO₂ 1.9 tCO₂
Other Asia 2.8 GtCO₂ 2.4 tCO₂
Africa 1.3 GtCO₂ 1.0 tCO₂
Sub-Sahara 0.4 GtCO₂ 0.6 tCO₂
World 36.3 GtCO₂ 4.6 tCO₂

Fossil-fuel based CO₂ emissions. pPpY = per Person per Year.

04 - 05: Temperature

§4.4.4. Atmosphere State

  • Long-Run: 2 × CO₂ (ppm) ⇒ +1.0 C. Includes water vapor.
  • ⇒ 50% increase from 280-420 ppm (+50%): ≈ 0.5 ° C

Data Basis: mostly IPCC 2021 6th Report (sometimes 5th) for RCP 4.5 and 7.0. RCP 6.0 is now interpolated.

Fig 5-9: Estimated Planetary Conditions
Year CO₂ Temp SeaLvl
(in ppm) (in dC) (in m)
Vostok
–100,000 236 –2.1
–30,000 206 –6.8 –80
–20,000 200 –8.1 –133
–10,000 240 –2.5 –62
0 280 –0.4 –0.1
Mann
1400 280 –0.3 0.0
1700 276 –0.8 0.0
1800 281 –0.5 0.0
NASA
1980 339 0.0 0.0
2000 370 +0.3 +0.2
2020 415 +1.0 +0.2
Fig 5-9: Estimated Planetary Conditions
Year CO₂ Temp SeaLvl
(in ppm) (in dC) (in m)
NASA and IPCC 2021 Report, Page SPM-29
RCP 4.5
2050e 500 +1.5 +0.3
2100e 560 +2.5 +0.3
RCP 6.0
2050e 500 +1.6 +0.3
2100e 720 +3.0 +0.4
RCP 7.0
2050e 600(?) +1.7 +0.3
2100e 850(?) +3.6 +0.5
Clark
10,000e 630 +3.0 +37

The base year is 1980. Clark et al’s estimate is based on RCP 6.0 extrapolated.

Fig 5.1: RCP Emissions Trajectory
2050e 2100e
RCP 4.5 45 GtCO₂ 15 GtCO₂
RCP 6.0 55 GtCO₂ 50 GtCO₂
RCP 7.0 60 GtCO₂ 80 GtCO₂

Equivalent 2020 emissions: 39 GtCO₂. RCP 6.0 was interpolated from RCP 4.5 and RCP 7.0.

§5.2: Expected Economic Damages

  • Terrestrial effects are difficult to assess: hotter but wetter. Uneven.
  • More energetic weather phenomena.
  • Sea level effects: 400 million displaced, primarily in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

§5.6: Dangers

  • Fast speed of increase.
  • Dormant feedback loops.
  • Tipping points.
  • (Very rare asteroids, supervolcanos)

06: Economics

§6.3 Social Cost of CO₂ (SCC)

  • Slight commmon misnomer: SCC is not the social cost of carbon, but of CO₂.
  • SCC is globally optimal tax on CO₂:
    • more ⇒ curtail too much.
    • less ⇒ pollute too much.
  • CO₂ sequestration cost is one ceiling to SCC.
  • Many problems in real life: judging harm, inefficient administration, corrupt administration, differential harm, domicile escape.
§6.2: GDP by Region (2020)
Total (t$) pPpY Ppltn
OECD $52.3 62% $38,000 1.4b
USA $20.9 25% $63,000 0.3b
Europe $15.3 18% $34,200 0.4b
China $14.7 17% $10,400 1.4b
India $2.7 3% $1,900 1.4b
Sub-S Africa $2.1 2% $1,500 1.4b
World $84.7 100% $10,900 7.8b

Estimates can vary. The IMF estimate of world GDP for 2021 is $94 trillion. The population estimate for 2021 is 7.9b (8.0b for 2022).

See GDP Forecasts, PwC
In US$ in PPP
2020 2020 Trend 2050e
OECD 62% ≈49% ≪50%
USA 25% 16% 12%
Europe 18% 15% 9%
Not OECD 38% ≈ 51% ≫50%
China 17% 18% 20%
India 3% 7% 15%
World 100% 100% 100%

§6.5.5: Marginal Thinking and Cost/Benefit

  • COP are not about eliminating global warming but about reducing it by “10–20%.”
    • Consider RCP 6 to RCP 4.
    • Reduction of global warming by 2050 by 5% (from about 1.7°C to about 1.6°C).
    • Reduction of global warming by 2100 by 20% (from about 3°C to about 2.6°C).
  • Est. required reduction: ≈ 15 GtCO₂/year.
  • 4–5 GtCO₂ for each 0.1°C reduction by 2100.
  • All US CO₂ emissions: 4.7 GtCO₂.
  • 15 GtCO₂ at $50/tCO₂ about $750 billion:
    • About 1% of World GDP. About $100 per person per year.
    • About 1.5% of OECD GDP. About $500 per OECD inhabitant.
    • About 3.5% of US GDP. About $2,000 per US resident.
    • About size of US military spending.
    • About size of US Public School education spending.
  • $50 SCC is reducible through (a) smart ramping up of CO₂ tax; (b) smart delay (better tech).

(Warning: All above numbers are immensely huge.)

§6.3: Cost Concepts

  • Diminishing Returns;
  • Sunk Costs;
  • Learning Curves (FOAK);
  • Returns to Scale;
  • Optimal Delay.

07: IAMS (Integrated Assessment Models)

Tbl 5: $50/tCO₂ Tax
Product Cost Change
Oil & Gasoline +50%
Coal +400%
Natgas +100%
Tree –$3/tree
Fig 2-3: Important Scenarios
Nordhaus RCP
Year Base Prefers “2°C” 4.5 7.0
CO₂ Tax 2020 $0 $45 $60
2050e $0 $110 $150
2100e $0 $300 $500
Welfare 2020 0 –0.15% –0.14%
2050e 0 –0.23% –0.53%
2100e 0 +0.42% –0.71%
Emissions 2020 39Gt 33Gt 32Gt 39Gt 39Gt
(CO₂) 2050e 60Gt 40Gt 34Gt 45Gt 60Gt
2100e 71Gt 16Gt –10Gt 10Gt 80Gt
Temp pre-ind ≈ –0.45°C
1980 0.0°C
2020 1.0°C
2050e 2.1°C 2.0°C 2.0°C 1.5°C 1.7°C
2100e 4.1°C 3.5°C 3.3°C 2.5°C 3.6°C

§7.4: Key IAMS Issues

  • sensitivity to discount rate.
  • estimating future parameters.
  • uncertainty and risk.
  • omitted choices: population, income inequality, opportunity costs of other philanthropic activities.

08: The Wrong Question

Irrelevant

  • Problem is understanding choices by decision-makers.
  • World outcome is not the engineered solution to a world problem.
  • OECD countries are no longer big enough to solve the problem.
  • Non-OECD countries are too poor to fight it.

09: Fantasy

Key Problems

  • §9.2: Global (SCC) carbon tax is impossible without a global government.
  • §9.3: Treaties not in self-interest. Excludability and free-riding incentives. No similar treaty ever effective.
  • §6: Carbon footprints known for decades. (Carbon-shaming or setting an example?)
  • What will change? Need to convince 8–11 billion people, not just 25% of the (more climate-conscious) population in the 25% that the OECD represents.

10: Reality

Best Viable Choices

  • §10.1: Adaptation.
  • §10.2: Locally justifiable fossil-fuel taxes (PM Health costs: $10/tCO₂ to $100/tCO₂).
  • §10.3: Clean Technology.
  • §10.4: Reforestation with lumber harvesting.

11: Fossil Fuels Vs. ...

§11.2: Fossil Fuels

  • Achilles Heel: High mining and transport costs;
  • 75% of fossil-fuel primary energy ends up as waste heat.
  • Primary energy vs. Nameplate Power.
  • PM Health costs: $10/tCO₂ to $100/tCO₂.

Fossil Fuel Alternatives

  • §11.3: Hydrogen: similar to NatGas, but likely far too expensive for many decades.
  • §11.4: Nuclear Power: • 1 Meltdown / 3,704 reactor years; • 500 (old) nuclear power plants worldwide; • waste disposal solution; • need safer reactors (pebble-bed?)
  • §11.5: (Li) Batteries • <1/10 energy density of fossil fuels, but reusable; • High power, Low capacity; • Almost perfectly in/out-efficient; • Tiny capacity on grid (≈ 10 min total); • Expensive.

§11.7: Propaganda Clarifications

  • Most clean-tech in lab will fail (true), but there are dozens of exciting techs in lab.
  • All numbers are immensely large — think 1/10 of all agriculture.
  • Space and materials needed for clean tech, but plenty are available long-run.
  • Clean-tech enjoys some subsidies, though small compared to fossil fuels.
  • Expect bumps on the road.

12: Electricity

§12.3: Fundamentals.

  • High-quality energy. Jack of all trades. High conversion efficiency to kinetic energy.
  • Typical daily electricity demand pattern today: Low at noon; Peaks at 7am and 8pm.
  • Typical clean-energy supply: High at noon, low at 7am and 8pm.
Tbl 5: LCOE per MWh
2020 2050e
Solar $35 $15
Wind $35 $20
Nuclear $70 $60
Natgas, 24/7 $40 $45
Natgas, Peaker $200 $200
Coal $75 $65
Hydro $55

Costs are in 2020-$ and representative utility-scale but vary by location.

Tbl 6: Coal Plant Status 2022, in GW
Oprtg Construct Permit Announced
OECD 501.0 16.0 5.0 3.9
USA 232.8 - - -
Europe 117.8 12.2 - -
Non-OECD 1,566.7 168.5 74.9 107.9
China 1,046.9 96.7 43.0 72.1
India 233.1 34.4 11.7 11.7
All others ≈280 ≈37 ≈20 ≈24
World 2,067.7 184.5 78.9 111.8
Tbl 8: Storage Cost, 2030e
Cost per MWh
Batteries $120 or $200-$250
Natgas Peaker $100-$200
Pumped Hydro $130
Compressed Air $100
Fig 9: Needed E-Storage on Grid
% Clean Elec Needed Hours
50% 1 hour
80% 10 hours
90% 100 hours
100% 1,000 hours
(currently minutes)
Tbl 11: E-Generation in TWh
Region Year USA China World
Coal 2020 774 4,313 8,244
2050e 593 3,556 8,115
NatGas 2020 1,636 267 6,458
2050e 1,953 803 7,306
Nuclear 2020 785 331 2,630
2050e 594 1,002 3,025
Hydro 2020 283 1,117 4,034
2050e 294 1,448 5,548
Wind 2020 343 574 1,741
2050e 790 1,001 6,833
Solar 2020 132 281 832
2050e 1,072 3,379 10,152
Total 2020 4,061 6,893 24,991
2050e 5,458 11,230 41,953

These are secondary energy estimates, EIA base scenario.

§12.7: Transmission

  • About $2 million per GW per mile.
  • Cheap now only because generation is near use. Will become more expensive as generation has to be farther away.
  • Giant regulatory mess.

13: Beyond Electricity

Fig 3: Vehicle Use Efficiency
Fuel Effncy * Mvng Effncy ≈ Total Effncy
Battery Electric 95% 75% 70%
Hydrogen Fuel Cell 50% 40% 20%
Hydrogen Combustion 45% 30% 13%

14 Remediation

Key Points

  • §14.1: Removal cost is one upper ceiling to the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide.
  • §14.2: Reforestation with lumber harvesting is cheapest method, perhaps as low as $10/tCO₂ for first marginal GtCO₂ (that world is not taking).
  • Industrial CO₂ removal projects seem hopelessly expensive for decades to come. Economics work only to arbitrage government subsidies.
  • §14.3: Solar radiation management is worth investigating, but not (yet) deploying. Danger of unintended consequences.

15: Transition

Favorites

  • Increase innovation.
  • Share technology better.
  • Tax fossil fuels for local health.
  • Forestation.
  • Price by supply cost (time).
  • Uproot bad habits / nudges.
  • Reverse tech lock-in.
  • Coordinate transition.
  • Reduce green red tape.
  • Targeted Federal land leases.
  • Kill worst emitters.
  • Minor international agreements.

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