Carbon cycling

A schematic representation of the FeliX model carbon cycle is shown below. Emissions from the energy and LULUCF sectors cycle through the atmosphere into the land sink (biosphere and pedosphere) and ocean.

The formulas for calculating gross flux are shown at left in the diagram below and discussed in the most recent FeliX publication, "Pathways for balancing CO2 emissions and sinks."

The parameterization of the carbon cycle is validated against the Coupled Climate Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP), as shown in the table below.

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Primary Energy: Renewable Fuels

Wind, solar, and biomass energy are modeled explicitly in the FeliX model. Investment in and development of these energy sources is calibrated to the results of IIASA's Global Energy Assessment (2012) for RCP 6.0. As shown below, future development of renewable energies--especially solar & biomass--shows strong dependence on population growth. In the case of biomass, this dependence has important consequences for land use change: specifically, forest degradation.

 Annual primary energy supply (in EJ) generated from wind, solar, and biomass for the period [2000-2100]. The shaded ranges for each energy stream indicate the effects of high and low population estimates. Projections are consistent with IIASA's Global Energy Assessment for RCP 6.0.

Annual primary energy supply (in EJ) generated from wind, solar, and biomass for the period [2000-2100]. The shaded ranges for each energy stream indicate the effects of high and low population estimates. Projections are consistent with IIASA's Global Energy Assessment for RCP 6.0.


Primary Energy: Fossil Fuels

Historical rates of consumption of coal, oil, and gas are used in the FeliX model to project likely future demand. In the plot below, the model-generated market shares of coal, gas, and oil are plotted along with historical market share (defined as a fraction of primary energy supply) from the IEA publication Key World Energy Statistics 2013. This data is used to calibrate energy market parameters, including most importantly the price elasticity of demand (PED) for each fuel.

PEDs for natural gas and oil are calibrated to historical data, and are consistent with meta-analyses of long-term price elasticities of demand [1].

Over the course of the century, the market share of fossil fuels is projected to fall from nearly 100% of primary energy supply in 1999 to 56% in 2100. During this period, total annual primary energy supply also doubles, implying that absolute production levels stay roughly constant (coal) or peak and fall (oil & gas) over this period, as shown in the plots below.

A Note on Peak Oil: The BAU scenario of the FeliX model may overestimate fossil fuel reserves in order to avoid externalities like severe Peak Oil in projecting future development. The baseline is premised on the notion that global agriculture, energy, and development continue (muddle) along, more-or-less as they have been. A corollary of this assumption is that it is possible to just continue along, something that Peak Oil precludes. Similarly, specific and transformational technological developments such as fusion or a breakthrough GMO are, though possible, externalities which distract from consideration of the ultimate consequences of business-as-usual.

[1] Espey, M.: Gasoline demand revisited: an international meta-analysis of elasticities. Energy Economics 20, 273–295 (1998) 

Primary Energy: Supply

Total energy demand, shown below as the black dashed line, is based on per capita demand (tied to GDP) and scaled to BAU population projections. This coupling is calibrated to data from Key World Energy Statistics (2013), a product of the International Energy Agency, plotted below in grey. 

 Total annual primary energy demand in EJ/year and supply in the BAU scenario. The colored numbers at right list the production from each source in 2100, while the grey numbers above the demand curve indicate supply as a fraction of demand. Historical data from the IEA is plotted in grey.

Total annual primary energy demand in EJ/year and supply in the BAU scenario. The colored numbers at right list the production from each source in 2100, while the grey numbers above the demand curve indicate supply as a fraction of demand. Historical data from the IEA is plotted in grey.

Seen above, total annual energy demand is predicted to grow nearly 90% by the end of the century. During this period, fossil fuels lose market share due to the expansion of renewables, with absolute production levels of oil and gas peaking around 2050 and 2060, respectively.

Each of the seven fuels integrated into the FeliX model is modeled independently, according to anticipated prices and return on investment (fossil fuels discussed here and renewables here). This information is used to calculate emissions from energy generation