Bet 848

Duration 10 years (02020-02030)

“Between 2021 and the end of 2030, annual emissions of fossil fuel plus cement CO2 will not exceed annual emissions in 2019. Results will be judged based on final (not preliminary) estimates from the Global Carbon Project.”

Ted Nordhaus


Nordhaus's Argument

Technological change and structural transformations of the global economy have been slowly decoupling carbon emissions from economic activity for many decades. Improving technical efficiency, the sectoral shift in advanced developed economies toward knowledge and service economies, the global glut of cheap natural gas, and falling costs of clean energy have accelerated those processes over the last decades, aided and abetted by two deep global economic shocks that have stranded older, inefficient, energy and carbon intensive capital stock. Prior to the Covid pandemic, global emissions appeared on track to likely peak by the middle of the 2020's. The deep recession and likely long and slow recovery has accelerated that date and it appears that global emissions are unlikely to exceed their 2019 peak over the next several years. As a result, given continuing technological change, it is extremely unlikely that carbon emissions associated with combustion of fossil fuels will ever again exceed their 2019 level globally.

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