About the Carbon Mitigation Initiative
Finding Safe, Effective and Affordable Solutions to Climate Change
Our unique approach brings together scientists, engineers, and policy experts to design carbon mitigation strategies that are safe and effective as well as affordable.
Working Together in Three Research Groups
Experts from the Princeton Geosciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Civil and Mechanical Engineering Departments, the Princeton Energy Systems Analysis Group, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, along with their international collaborators, work together in three main research groups:
- The CMI Science focuses on how terrestrial vegetation and the oceans soak up carbon and thereby determine the fraction of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere that actually stays there (the fraction is about one-half). CMI science increasingly features close collaboration with Princeton’s neighbor, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. A recent and growing component of CMI addresses climate variability and departures from the historical frequency of extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, and hurricanes.
- The CMI Technology studies energy conversion in conjunction with CO2 capture and storage. Capture studies include both biological and fossil fuel inputs. Storage studies emphasize leakage pathways and now also investigate storage in shales. The program on advanced batteries has begun.
- The CMI Integration and Outreach introduces new conceptual frameworks that are useful for climate change policy. One effort seeks to make the emerging statistical analyses of extreme events more accessible. A second effort focuses on improving the risk-assessment framework for the current scientific understanding of sea level rise. A third explores the value for climate policy analysis of adding a new component to traditional carbon accounting that tracks “committed emissions,” i.e., the future emissions that are likely to result when a power plant, vehicle, or addition to infrastructure is placed into service.
Led by CMI Co-Directors Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow since its formation in 2000, the group has grown to include over 60 researchers actively engaged in national and international discussions of emissions reduction options.
Together we are building a comprehensive view of the challenges of carbon mitigation - and how they can be overcome.