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Energy policy and economics under climate change

1 Department of Design, Monash University-Caulfield Campus, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia
2 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Monash University-Clayton Campus, Victoria, Australia

Most anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the result of the combustion of fossil fuels. Proposals for mitigating climate change thus include various carbon dioxide removal technologies, replacement of fossil fuels by non-carbon alternatives (renewable and nuclear energy), and reduction in energy use overall by improving energy efficiency. We argue here that deep controversy surrounds the efficacy and likely costs of all these technical fix proposals. Optimistic conclusions are often drawn for these technical solutions partly because many of the analyses do not follow an Earth Systems Science approach. Instead, we argue that in future solutions based on non-technical solutions will need to be a key approach for mitigating climate change in the short time frame we have left.
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Keywords carbon dioxide removal; climate mitigation; fossil fuels; energy costs; energy policy; energy return; Earth System Science; nuclear energy; precautionary principle; renewable energy; uncertainty

Citation: Patrick Moriarty, Damon Honnery. Energy policy and economics under climate change. AIMS Energy, 2018, 6(2): 272-290. doi: 10.3934/energy.2018.2.272

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