Received: 21 Aug 2014 – Accepted for review: 28 Aug 2014 – Discussion started: 30 Sep 2014
Abstract. We analyse the global primary energy use and total CO2 emissions time series since 1850 and show that their relative growth rates appear to exhibit periodicity with a fundamental timescale of ~60 years and with significant harmonic behaviour. Quantifying the inertia inherent in these dynamics allows forecasting of future "business as usual" energy needs and their associated CO2 emissions. Our best estimates for 2020 are 800 EJ yr−1 for global energy use and 14 Gt yr−1 for global CO2 emissions, with both being above almost all other published forecasts. This suggests the energy and total CO2 emissions landscape in 2020 may be significantly more challenging than currently envisaged.
How to cite: Jarvis, A. and Hewitt, C. N.: The "Business-As-Usual" growth of global primary energy use and carbon dioxide emissions – historical trends and near-term forecasts, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 5, 1143–1158, https://doi.org/10.5194/esdd-5-1143-2014, 2014.