This manuscript reviews a collection of recent energy scenarios from a policy and planning perspective and compares these scenarios quantitatively with respect to US energy consumption, energy efficiency, and carbon content of the fuel mix in 2020. Carbon efficiency, a combined measure of the effects of energy efficiency and decarbonization, is defined and is shown to be proportional to the product of energy efficiency and the inverse of the carbon content of the fuel efficiency and the results used to define a set of stylized meta-scenarios that span a broad range of possible US energy futures. Pathways to these meta-scenarios and implications for US energy policy are discussed in comparison to past and present US energy experience.
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