Exploring the feasibility of low-carbon scenarios using historical energy transitions analysis (C3)

This study analyses the dynamics pf previous energy transitions with a view to applying these insights to assess the feasibility of low-carbon scenarios produced by a global energy systems model (the Grantham Institute’s TIMES Integrated Assessment Model, TIAM-Grantham).

The study first reviews recent literature investigating past energy transitions, as well as how the feasibility of low-carbon scenarios has been assessed through comparing projected technology deployment rates and energy resource changes within those scenarios to past analogues. The study next reports on a workshop undertaken for the AVOID 2 programme in October 2014, in which energy system modelling experts and energy transition experts discussed the different ways in which low-carbon scenario feasibility could be assessed. The workshop, and responses to a post-workshop questionnaire that captured many of the insights from the discussion, highlighted features worthy of consideration when assessing low-carbon scenarios. These insights, combined with those from the literature review, are used to formulate a set of six diagnostic methods to assess the feasibility of a low-carbon scenario produced by the TIAM-Grantham model with the aim of achieving a 2°C median (i.e. 50% chance) temperature change by 2100.