Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kaya confirms Clueless Krugman

Roger Pielke Jr.'s latest blog post has a nice overview of the intertwined issues of economic growth and carbon caps. If one has the time, and the subscriptions, the sequence is a letter from RPJ to the Financial Times incited a silly column from Paul Krugman, which in turn inspired this educational response from RPJ

Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog: Clueless Krugman:
The Kaya Identity is the centerpiece of the analyses found in The Climate Fix and a lot of my work. It is a very powerful tool for understanding the challenge of emissions reductions. It holds that carbon dioxide emissions are influenced by four factors:
  • population 
  • GDP per capita 
  • energy intensity of the economy 
  • carbon intensity of energy 
As an identity, it is expressed --> CO2 = P * GDP/P * E/GDP * CO2/E
(where P is population and E is energy consumption).
Now, the combination of population and per capita GDP is just GDP. Energy intensity reflects technologies of energy consumption (like cars and buses) and carbon intensity reflects technologies of energy production (like power plants and solar panels). Often it is useful to combine EI and CI into a metric of CO2/GDP, or the "carbon intensity of the economy."
The math here is simple. Increases in GDP, all else equal, mean that CO2 emissions go up. Improvements in technology (that is decreases in EI or CI) mean (all else equal) that CO2 emissions go down. Thus, we have two big levers with which to affect emissions - (a) GDP and (b) technologies of energy consumption and production.
read the entire entry at Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog

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