To stabilize climate change and limit global warming to any given level (e.g. 1.5°C or 2°C) net emissions eventually need to be reduced to zero. The cumulative amount of carbon emissions humanity will have emitted by the time net emissions reach zero will decide upon peak warming (carbon budgets). While we have not yet consumed the carbon budgets for 1.5°C or 2°C warming, much of the remaining budget is already locked-in by existing capital stock (especially electricity generation infrastructure) that will emit for many years to come. The ‘decarbonization equation’ describes properties of all levers policy makers can pull to make sure future emissions from infrastructure stay within the defined budget: (1) committed emissions from already existing capital stock; (2) future commitments by decisions and investments yet to be made; (3) magnitude and implications of a stranding of existing (and future) capital stock; and (4) possibility to create additional carbon budget (atmospheric space). My current research focuses on better ways how to forecast committed emissions from capital stock yet to be built by (a) using historical commitment ratios on predicted realized emissions, and (b) by using more granular forecasts of new additions to the capital stock in different scenarios.
While I just started with my research on this I still hope to get valuable feedback on the current status of my research and my research plans.