High Costs for Achieving Emission Reductions Targets without Nuclear and C.C.S.

by Cameron Bernhardt

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation is one of the primary means by which humans can mitigate global climate change. Employing nuclear power generation and carbon capture and storage (C.C.S.) are two methods for decarbonizing electricity generation processes, but the merit of these technologies is often debated. While these technologies are typically effective in lowering the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, they pose other environmental and economic threats that frequently limit their popularity and use. These realities have created some uncertainty regarding the future deployment of C.C.S. and nuclear power generation. Akashi et al. (2014) use a multi-scenario analysis to investigate the feasibility of the international emissions reduction target (holding the increase in the global average temperature below 2oC) in a future without nuclear or C.C.S. technology. The authors considered four different scenarios: baseline, standard 50 percent reduction, 50 percent reduction with no C.C.S. or new nuclear power plants being built, and a variant of the third scenario but with improved material efficiency. Continue reading