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Master's Dissertation
DOI
https://doi.org/10.11606/D.106.2020.tde-12022021-095019
Document
Author
Full name
Luciana Russo Corrêa Castilla
E-mail
Institute/School/College
Knowledge Area
Date of Defense
Published
São Paulo, 2020
Supervisor
Committee
Abramovay, Ricardo (President)
Marcovitch, Jacques
Nobre, Carlos Afonso
Val, Adalberto Luis
Title in Portuguese
A transição energética e as premissas do cenário RCP8.5: o 'business as usual' é menos drástico do que parece
Keywords in Portuguese
Business as Usual
cenários climáticos
RCP8.5
transição energética
Abstract in Portuguese
O atual cenário mais pessimista publicado pelo IPCC, o RCP8.5, frequentemente citado como o cenário "Business as Usual", foi desenvolvido há 15 anos e suas premissas desde então não foram atualizadas. Em particular, as sobre inovação no setor energético e da adoção de tecnologias de geração de energia limpa não foram validadas pela realidade observada nos últimos 15 anos devido à transição energética em curso. Embora as emissões de gases de efeito estufa hoje estejam próximas às do caminho de emissões deste cenário, argumentamos que a mudança substancial no perfil de emissões do setor de energia deveria levar a uma revisão do cenário no próximo relatório do IPCC e que o cenário RCP8.5 não pode mais ser considerado um cenário "Business as Usual". Em termos de debate de políticas públicas entender as discrepâncias entre o que está realmente acontecendo, tanto em termos de inovação tecnológica quanto nas trajetórias de emissões, em comparação com as premissas originais do cenário RCP8.5, fornece melhor orientação para redirecionar investimentos para decisões de políticas públicas que são adequados para o propósito. O ciclo de avaliação de 7 anos do IPCC pode não ser compatível com os ciclos rápidos de inovação tecnológica que acontecem no setor de energia renovável e, portanto, cresce a probabilidade de incompatibilidade entre eles. O fato de a transição energética com foco na descarbonização estar acontecendo e de a trajetória de emissões do setor provavelmente ser menor do que a estimada pelo cenário RCP8.5 não significa que possamos ser complacentes com as mudanças climáticas. Mas não reconhecer as mudanças que tornam cada vez menos verossímeis as hipóteses deste cenário é render-se a um fatalismo que pode ser paralisante.
Title in English
The energy transition and the RCP8.5 energy premises: Business as usual is less dire than it seems
Keywords in English
Business as Usual
climate scenarios
energy transition
RCP8.5
renewable energy
Abstract in English
The most pessimistic scenario published by the IPCC to-date - RCP8.5 - is often cited as the "Business as Usual" scenario, but this scenario was developed 15 years ago, and its premises have never been updated since then. In particular, the premises behind the energy sector's innovation pathways and the adoption of clean energy generation technologies have not been validated by the reality observed over the last 15 years due to the ongoing energy transition. Although greenhouse gas emissions today closely match this scenario's emission pathway, we argue that the substantial change in the energy sector's emissions profile should lead to a review of the scenario in the upcoming IPCC report and that the RCP8.5 scenario can no longer be considered a "Business as Usual" scenario. In terms of the public policy debate, understanding the discrepancies between what is actually happening, both in terms of technological innovation and the emissions pathways, compared with the original premises of the RCP8.5 scenario, provides better guidance for redirecting investments for public policy decisions that are fit for purpose. The RCP 8.5 scenario sets the learning rates for renewables at a maximum of 10% and, whether from IEA, IRENA, academic articles, or specialized consultants, all measured learning rates point to much higher rates. The IPCC's 7-year assessment cycle may not be compatible with rapid technological innovation cycles happening in the renewable energy sector, and thus the likelihood of mismatch between them naturally increases. The fact that the energy transition focused on decarbonization is happening and that the sector's emissions trajectory will probably be lower than that estimated by the RCP8.5 scenario does not mean that we can be complacent with climate change. On the other hand, not recognizing that clean energy technology innovations have made this scenario much less plausible is to surrender to paralyzing fatalism.
 
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Publishing Date
2021-03-04
 
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