Over the coming year, the Integration group will continue public service commitments, establish links to the wider modeling community, and work to develop modeling tools accessible to the public.
In 2010, both the air capture study for APS and the America’s Climate Choices project for NRC will be completed. Rob Socolow, as a co-chair of the APS study, will be responsible for communicating the results of the study to a variety of audiences, and APS is considering building an educational component onto the report. The ACC study will also get much attention.
As a new item under public service, Socolow is the incoming chair of APS’ Panel on Public Affairs (POPA). POPA is charged by the APS Council with preparing a commentary on its 2007 Statement on climate change, which evoked strong negative reactions among a significant number of physicists when it appeared. POPA is to prepare its commentary over the next few months, and the commentary will be open for review by the entire APS membership prior to action by the APS Council.
Research on individual emissions
The “one billion high emitters” study on was criticized, notably by Lord (Nicholas) Stern, for setting aside considerations of the differential historical responsibility across nations for the extra CO2 already in the atmosphere. Chakravarty, Tavoni and Socolow are now preparing a new paper on historical responsibility, exploring tradeoffs between “safe” and “fair.”
Linking with the international community of integrated assessment modelers
Led by Tavoni, the Pacala-Socolow Group will further develop its collaboration with the community of researchers involved in modeling international and national climate policies. This research effort will be particularly important in the coming year, as results will be peer reviewed in time for their inclusion in the next IPCC 5th assessment report.
In particular, two new international modeling comparison exercises will begin this year: the latest Energy Modeling Forum, coordinated by Stanford University, will focus on the role of technologies, and will officially initiate in April. The Asian Modeling Forum, coordinated by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), will concentrate on the role of Asian countries in international climate agreements, and is meant to bridge the gap between the modeling communities of developed and developing countries. Its first meeting will be held in Beijing in March. Tavoni plans to participate in both events, and to contribute in terms of both scientific contribution and research coordination.
The output of the air capture study for the APS study will also be used to improve integrated assessment models in their description of technologies that sequester CO2 from the atmosphere. This enhancement is important since, until now, all integrated assessment models have focused on the coupling of biomass and CCS as the only option to achieve negative emissions. The add-on will be discussed in the context of the Energy Modeling Forum study on low carbon technologies.
Developing an open source model for India
Shoibal Chakravarty will lead an additional modeling effort to develop a new energy-economyclimate model for India. The main feature of the model will be its use of an open source platform, with a user-friendly interface and full public access to the source code. This endeavor will allow researchers from India and elsewhere to be able to simulate climate policies for this important region, as well as help improve the modeling characteristics. A link with the above mentioned Asian Modeling Forum will be established to help validate and disseminate the work.
Analyzing trends in household energy consumption in urban China
Another strand of research under consideration, building on the completed Ph.D. thesis research of Jie Li, will be to analyze the changing patterns of direct and indirect energy use and emissions in urban Chinese households. The research aims at presenting a socio-economic approach to evaluating the energy and emissions system in urban China from a household perspective, at the disaggregate level, over time and space. Residential energy consumption in Chinese cities is rapidly increasing due to urbanization and higher standards of living. Consumption is a quite small fraction of GDP due to high savings rates and investment, but its role is likely to increase in the coming years and will play a determining role in China’s overall energy and emission projections. Thus, shedding light on the transition of energy use in urban households is likely to provide valuable insights. The results will also be used to validate the reduced form approach underlying the “One billion high emitters” paper published in 2009 in PNAS.
Dissemination of research in an international workshop
Also under consideration is an international workshop in collaboration with the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) in Italy, a leading European research institute in the field of environmental economics. The workshop would be organized in the fall of 2010 to help disseminate the research carried out by both institutions. Among the potential topics, some would relate to the interplay between the safety of climate and the fairness of the mitigation effort across countries.
Lessons from scientific assessments
Keynyn Brysse’s project on scientific assessments is part of a joint initiative between Michael Oppenheimer at Princeton and Naomi Oreskes at UC San Diego. A philosopher of science, Dale Jameison of NYU, has joined the team, and they have applied for additional funding from the National Science Foundation for their project.
Dr. Brysse will continue interviewing key ozone scientists as well policy makers and members of industry. She will combine the results of these interviews with extensive analysis of archival documents already gathered to reconstruct the history of scientific assessment of ozone depletion, in the hopes of informing current and future scientific assessments.