Limitations of the Calculator

The Global Calculator is an engineering-based model of the whole world's energy, land and food systems and their greenhouse gas emissions to 2050. The team aimed to make it comprehensive whilst still being open-source and relatively easy to use and understand. Therefore it uses a philosophy of being "as simple as possible, but no simpler". We did this by reducing the number of feedback loops and interactions between sectors. The Calculator is not meant to be a replacement for other energy models that include this functionality or economic modelling. Instead it aims to complement existing models and to present evidence in a new way that will appeal to different audiences.  Here is a summary of the key caveats for the Global Calculator:

  • Using the Calculator: the Global Calculator models at a global level and is best suited to long-term, global strategic questions such as highlighting the role for electric vehicles or the role for wind power globally. It is not for country-level analysis. It is user driven and does not automatically take into account the potential feedback effects between supply and demand sectors and levers. It does not include macroeconomic impacts
  • Example pathways: The Global Calculator includes example pathways based on existing analysis by other organisations, such as the International Energy Agency’s "Energy Technology Perspectives 2014" report. These pathways are inevitably not a perfect match to the original pathways because they were specified in another model which use different structures and assumptions.

More information

Global Calculator caveats paper.pdf