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Issue 1, 2020
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Reply to the ‘Comment on “Powering sustainable development within planetary boundaries”’ by Y. Yang, Energy Environ. Sci., 2020, 13, DOI: 10.1039/C9EE01176E

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Abstract

In our recently published work, we incorporated planetary boundaries in the optimization of the United States (US) power sector in 2030. Yang claims there is a double-counting error in our results and encourages us to minimize direct emissions instead of life cycle emissions in our model. Here, we argue that Yang's main criticism based on the risk of double-counting emissions when multiple sectors are simultaneously optimized does not apply to our case study, in which only one sector – the power sector – is analyzed. To assess the implications of Yang's suggestion to minimize direct emissions, we repeated the calculations optimizing direct emissions instead of life cycle emissions. We found that this approach is unable to discriminate effectively between electricity production technologies and, consequently, leads to a suboptimal mix with impacts on climate change, ocean acidification and freshwater use 102, 33 and 1.5 times the limits, respectively, whereas our original solution meets all planetary boundaries concurrently. Our findings imply that Yang's suggestion of optimizing direct emissions in energy systems models might not the best way forward in single-sector studies like ours.

Graphical abstract: Reply to the ‘Comment on “Powering sustainable development within planetary boundaries”’ by Y. Yang, Energy Environ. Sci., 2020, 13, DOI: 10.1039/C9EE01176E

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Article information


Submitted
29 Sep 2019
Accepted
22 Nov 2019
First published
12 Dec 2019

This article is Open Access

Energy Environ. Sci., 2020,13, 313-316
Article type
Comment

Reply to the ‘Comment on “Powering sustainable development within planetary boundaries”’ by Y. Yang, Energy Environ. Sci., 2020, 13, DOI: 10.1039/C9EE01176E

I. M. Algunaibet, C. Pozo, Á. Galán-Martín, M. A. J. Huijbregts, N. Mac Dowell and G. Guillén-Gosálbez, Energy Environ. Sci., 2020, 13, 313
DOI: 10.1039/C9EE03146D

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