UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The share of cooling electricity in global warming : Estimation of the loop gain for the positive feedback Shakouri G., H.


The 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 a sort of parameters and variables to estimate the amount of electricity used for cooling buildings in the residential and commercial sectors of 12 regions around the world. The share of fossilfuel based power plants determines the share of contribution of each region in 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%, it will decrease first but will start growing again in the century mid.

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