Global Energy Consumption in a Warming Climate
E. De Cian and I. Sue Wing
Environmental & Resource Economics (1 February 2019)
We combine econometric analysis of the response of energy demand to temperature and humidity exposure with future scenarios of climate change and socioeconomic development to quantify the impacts of future climate warming on final energy consumption across the world. Globally, changes in climate circa 2050 have a moderate impact on energy consumption of 7–17%, depending on the degree of warming. Impacts vary in sign and magnitude across regions, fuels, and sectors. Climatically-induced changes in energy use are larger in tropical regions. Almost all continents experience increases in energy demand, driven by the commercial and industrial sectors. In Europe declines in energy use by residences drive an overall reduction in aggregate final energy. Energy use increases in almost all G20 economies located in the tropics, while outside of Europe G20 countries in temperate regions experience both increasing and declining total energy use, depending on the incidence of changes in the frequency of hot and cold days. The effect of climate change is regressive, with the incidence of increased energy demand overwhelmingly falling on low- and middle-income countries, raising the question whether climate change could exacerbate energy poverty.
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