Energy and Climate Outlook 2014

The 2014 Energy and Climate Outlook provides a glimpse into the future on how affected our natural resources will be if we continue on the development path we are on. The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change delivers results by using three broad country groups: Developed countries (USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand); an approximation of Other G20 nations (China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and several fast‑growing Asian economies); and the Rest of the World. The world is constantly changing and this Outlook stresses the importance of our future by making changes too.

A principal product of this Outlook is a detailed set of economic, energy, land use, water stress, and emissions projections for each of the 16 major countries or regions of the world, through the year 2050. We provide this numerical data in the hopes that researchers and policymakers will find them useful for their own analyses.

The report shows a projection, not a prediction, on how the world needs to mitigate and adapt to unavoidable global environmental changes. The 2014 Energy and Climate Outlook is full of graphs and interactive maps showing how the world is going to be affected both with and without the changes suggested.

The suggested changes are divided into three areas of Key Findings that MIT focused on:

Changes in Energy and Emissions
“With emissions stable and falling in developed countries, on the assumption that Copenhagen-Cancun pledges are met and retained in the post‑2020 period, future emissions growth will come from the Other G20 and developing countries.”

Changes in Climate
“Global change will accelerate with changes in global and regional temperatures, precipitation, land use, sea level rise and ocean acidification.”

Changes in Water Flows
“Annual freshwater flow increases globally by about 15% by 2100.”

“This Outlook provides a view into the future as we project it in 2014. From this research effort, it is clear that the Copenhagen-Cancun pledges do not take us very far in the energy transformation ultimately needed to avoid the risk of dangerous warming. Even if policy efforts in developed countries are successful in holding emissions constant, as other nations grow and industrialize, their emissions will contribute to further increases in greenhouse gas concentrations and climate change. Our initial speculation on the outcome of ongoing international climate negotiations for the post‑2020 period show further progress, but an emissions path that still remains far above any “windows” that would lead to stabilization of concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere.”


Expectations for the 2015 UN Climate Agreement:

•  Likely efforts will further bend the curve of emissions growth, with an estimate of 68 Gt CO2‑eq emissions in 2050—about 9 Gt less than our Outlook estimate for 2050.

•  Unless the post‑2020 agreement is significantly more stringent than we speculate, the emissions path will divergefurther from what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group  III shows to be consistent with stabilization of GHG concentrations to 530–580 CO2‑eq by 2100.

• On this emissions path, by 2030 the world will be within about 7 years of hitting cumulative emissions levels that the IPCC Working Group I shows to be consistent with a 50% chance of holding temperature increase to less than 2°C.


View the 2014 Energy and Climate Outlook in the HSDL here.


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