Energy consumption and the limits of economic growth.
This research presents modeling of possible time paths for key environment–related variables including GDP per capita, energy use per capita, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita. These forecasts are then assembled into forecasts of the levels data of GDP, energy use, and CO2 emissions using a population forecast. The forecasting horizon mimics those of the economic components of current Integrated Assessment Models (IAM), typically to the year 2100 or 2200. The modeling is at the global level. The motivation is that current IAM apply a long–horizon discounted utility equilibrium model to forecast these outcomes. My methodology takes a more macroeconomic/mathematical and structural approach than existing models, and has the potential for being more realistic in the spirit of heterodox approaches and in the service of better policy. Some surprises emerge, conditional on the population forecasts driving the model. Zero–growth proponents may be encouraged that global GDP growth should level and start down in this century. Those seeking policy guidance to limit emissions will gain a sense of what policies might have the greatest impact. Those interested in sustainability may gain a new context to guide their research and policy ideas.