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The share of cooling electricity in global warming: Estimation of the loop gain for the positive feedback

Shakouri G., Hamed
Energy 2019 v.179 pp. 747-761
buildings, burning, carbon dioxide, cooling systems, electric energy consumption, electricity, electricity generation, fossil fuels, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrocarbons, models, power plants, temperature
Our world's future is strongly connected to energy consumption trends. There are bi-directional relations between energy consumption and the average temperature of Earth, leading to positive causal loops. Increasing temperatures cause activity of more cooling systems most of which are electrified by burning hydrocarbons that consequently yield more carbon dioxide concentration and warmer climates. This paper is a trial to estimate the loop gain by employing a bottom-up regional model. The model is a spreadsheet containing sets of parameters and variables to estimate electricity used for cooling buildings in the residential and commercial sectors of 12 regions all around the world. The share of fossil-fuel based power plants determines each region's contribution to CO2 emissions. Then, by processing data on the global emission trend and land temperature anomaly, a linear ARMAX relationship is estimated to compute the loop gain. The results show that, even in the optimistic scenario of IPCC (A1B), emission from cooling electricity will double up by the end of the century. With the estimated 1 + 1.4 × 10-6 loop gain, even if fossil-fuel electricity generation is gradually reduced to 40%, after a short fall, it will start growing again in the mid-century.