Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System
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Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System

Identifying Possibilities Using Long-Term Energy Scenarios

Leo Schrattenholzer, Asami Miketa, Keywan Riahi and Richard Alexander Roehrl

Sustainable development and global climate change have figured prominently in scientific analysis and international policymaking since the early 1990s. This book formulates technology strategies that will lead to environmentally sustainable energy systems, based on an analysis of global climate change issues using the concept of sustainable development. The authors focus on environmentally compatible, long-term technology developments within the global energy system, while also considering aspects of economic and social sustainability.
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Chapter 1: Sustainable development and climate change

Leo Schrattenholzer, Asami Miketa, Keywan Riahi and Richard Alexander Roehrl


Since the early 1990s, the concept of sustainable development has been receiving considerable and increasing attention by scientists and policy makers alike. It has become common to look separately at three parts of the general concept. These are social, economic and environmental sustainability. As to the global environment, climate change is the issue that dominates policy making and analysis alike, and many groups analysing climate change embed this issue in the overall framework of sustainable development. Energy use is central to climate change, but also to sustainability in general. Addressing both goals at the same time leads to the formulation and analysis of strategies that lead to environmentally compatible and sustainable energy systems, which is the main theme of this book. Sustainability is rarely studied by one discipline alone; nonetheless, interdisciplinary studies of sustainable development have a focus. The study presented in this book was conducted by the Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies (ECS) Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). It focuses on environmentally compatible longterm developments of the global energy–economy system, but also includes aspects of economic and social sustainability. It is a matter of course, but it shall be explicitly emphasized that the sustainability of the global energy system as presented here can only be partial. The global system as a whole could still be unsustainable in aspects that are beyond the system boundaries considered here. Even with this focus on the energy system, the field of sustainable development is vast and characterized by...

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