Table of Contents

Handbook on Energy and Climate Change

Handbook on Energy and Climate Change

Elgar original reference

Edited by Roger Fouquet

This timely Handbook reviews many key issues in the economics of energy and climate change, raising new questions and offering solutions that might help to minimize the threat of energy-induced climate change.

Chapter 12: Anthropogenic influences on atmospheric CO2

David F. Hendry and Felix Pretis

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, environment, climate change, energy policy and regulation, environmental sociology


We identify anthropogenic contributions to atmospheric CO2 measured at Mauna Loa using the statistical automatic model selection algorithm Autometrics. Estimating the determinants of atmospheric CO2 is traditionally a challenge due to the complex systems of data involved. CO2 is a highly autocorrelated, non-stationary time series, and globally there exist a large number of potential carbon sources and sinks. There is mixed evidence in the literature on anthropogenic contributions to atmospheric CO2: the long-term trend is widely attributed to human factors, while the main seasonal fluctuations are thought to be driven by the biosphere. However, the statistical measures applied are often somewhat unsatisfactory due to the complexities of dealing with large numbers of variables. Over the long run of geological time, evidence of repeated glaciations, and of coal and oil deposits from extinct tropical forests, reveals that atmospheric CO2 has varied greatly, and manifestly without any anthropogenic influence, including very low levels and levels as high as 1000 parts per million (ppm): see, for example, Hoffman and Schrag (2000); Hendry (2011) provides a summary. In the more recent half million years of ‘ice ages’, natural fluctuations include highs and lows of 300 and 180 ppm from Antarctic ice sheet drilling (see Juselius and Kaufmann, 2009). Finally, in the last 10 000–12 000 years, humanity has transformed planet Earth, replacing forests by agriculture and creating an industrial world (see, e.g., Ruddiman, 2005).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information