Tenth Year Annual Report: Carbon Policy & Integration

The Policy & Integration Effort, composed of the Pacala-Socolow Group and the Oppenheimer Group, works to promote carbon mitigation by identifying challenges for mitigation, forecasting the impacts of climate change, and seeking creative solutions to resolve stakeholder conflicts. The group also works to disseminate CMI research results through public service in the policy realm and outreach to lay audiences.

2000-2010 Accomplishments

Stabilization Wedges

Development and dissemination of Stabilization Wedges concept has made the idea a paradigm in the field of carbon mitigation. Since the original paper was published in Science in 2004, the wedges have become an important focus of CMI outreach, including facilitated workshops, collaboration with developers of environmental curricula, work with science museum exhibit staff, and development of a popular teacher's guide and game available on the CMI website.

One Billion High Emitters

A paper on a global individual emissions cap, "Sharing global CO2 emission reductions among one billion high emitters," has gained traction as a possible way to break a historical impasse on carbon mitigation between the developed and developing worlds. This paper received the CMI Best Paper Award for 2010, with the award shared by its postdoctoral-fellow authors, Shoibal Chakravarty and Massimo Tavoni. An online data visualization tool has been developed to help communicate this work to a broader audience, and subsequent work on how to account for historical emissions is underway.

Linking Emissions with Climate Damages

Michael Oppenheimer and colleagues have made important contributions toward our understanding of the impacts of climate change. Their analyses have allowed climate-related damages to be linked to particular emissions scenarios and demonstrated that even temporary overshoots of CO2 targets could lead to the kind of climate and ecosystem damage expected at significantly higher stabilization CO2 levels. More recently, the team has developed new approaches to ice sheet modeling and analysis of paleodata to make estimates of warming-induced sealevel rise more robust and relevant to policymakers.

Public Service

Co-Directors Socolow and Pacala have played important roles in several multiyear national committees on climate, future energy sources, and carbon monitoring. Steve Pacala chaired a National Academies' panel on Methods for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions, while Rob Socolow was a member of the National Academies' America's Energy Future and America's Climate Choices committees and co-chaired an American Physical Society study on direct capture of CO2 from the air with chemicals.

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