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Our PhD student Ivonne Peña was awarded one of the five available scholarships to participate in the Summer Academy on Sustainable Energy Finance hold by the Frankfurt Finance School and the UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance, in July 14-19th. This is a highly competitive program, directed towards professionals and experts from different disciplines that work on areas related with Financing of Climate Change. Congratulations Ivonne!
CEDM students Nathaniel Horner and Parth Vaishnav, are, for the second year in a row, selected as the top runners for the student case competition organized by USAEE, http://www.usaee.org/usaee2013/. Last year the two CEDM students ended up second place.
Time: 12 Noon
Location: Baker Hall 129 Conference Room
Speaker: Richard L. Smith
Topic: Influence of Climate Change on Extreme Weather Events
Continuing Carnegie Mellon's streak from last year, the CMU team won the Best Proposal award for "The Everything Store" case study and the Most Innovative award for "Fort Worth" case study at the DoE's Better Buildings Case Study competition. The presentations occurred on the White House Campus at the beginning of spring break. Three students in EPP were included on CMU's multi-disciplinary team:
Donald Johnson - Team Lead (MBA Tepper)
Jie Yee Chan (Masters ECE)
Adrian Chong (PhD Architecture)
Chao Ding (PhD Architecture)
Alan Jenn (PhD Engineering & Public Policy)
Mili-Ann Tamayao (PhD Engineering & Public Policy)
Allison Weis (PhD Engineering and Public Policy)
Click on the following links for more information on the competition:
Estimates of the global wind power resource over land range from 56 to 400 TW. Most estimates have implicitly assumed that extraction of wind energy does not alter large-scale winds enough to significantly limit wind power production. Estimates that ignore the effect of
wind turbine drag on local winds have assumed that wind power production of 2-4 W m-2 can be sustained over large areas. New results from a mesoscale model suggest that wind power production is limited to about 1 W m-2 at wind farm scales larger than about 100 km2.
Click here to read more.
Concerns have cropped up in recent years that the methane leaks from oil and gas fields could be large enough to pose a significant climate threat.
In various studies, scientists have estimated that anywhere between 1 and 10 percent of natural gas produced leaks through wellheads, transmission lines and compressor stations. Recent measurements from the Uinta Basin of Utah taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration set leakage as high as 9 percent.
Click here to read more.
New modeling work from Carnegie's Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira shows that if a powerful coalition ever decided to deploy a geoengineering system, they would have incentive to exclude other countries from participating in the decision-making process. Their work is published by Environmental Research Letters and is available online.
Click here to read more.
CEDM Investigator Scott Doney and colleagues recently produced a piece on "Securing ocean benefits for society in the face of climate change" in Marine Policy, for which the abstract reads: Benefits humans rely on from the ocean - marine ecosystem services - are increasingly vulnerable under future climate. This paper reviews how three valued services have, and will continue to, shift under climate change: (1) capture fisheries, (2) food from aquaculture, and (3) protection from coastal hazards such as storms and sea-level rise. Climate adaptation planning is just beginning for fisheries, aquaculture production, and risk mitigation for coastal erosion and inundation. A few examples are highlighted, showing the promise of considering multiple ecosystem services in developing approaches to adapt to sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and rising sea temperatures. Ecosystem-based adaptation in fisheries and along coastlines and changes in aquaculture practices can improve resilience of… Read more »
EPP Assistant Research Professor and CEDM Executive Director Ines Azevedo contributed to the recently released National Research Council (NRC) committee report on "Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting".
More information on the report can be found here.
CEDM investigator Gabrielle Wong-Parodi was just awarded $67,500 for a project on communicating risk and resilience in relation to sea level rise and coastal flooding.
The thermostat. What an invention! Your house gets too hot, just crank the thermostat down a few degrees and you're good to go.
Now, what if we could put a thermostat on our too-hot planet?
As it happens, we could. A few billion dollars is all it would take to deploy a version of solar-radiation management (SRM), a form of geoengineering that would seed the stratosphere with reflective aerosols, creating a sort of sunshade for the planet.
Click here to read more and listen to an audio interview.
Work from CEDM investigator Erwann Michel-Kerjan and colleagues looks at the number of affected residents in New York and New Jersey who did not have flood insurance in the aftermath of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. Joint research by the Wharton Risk Center and Resources for the Future shows that many homes that sustained flood damage from Sandy did not have flood insurance. For example, along the entire New York coast, take up-rates are lower than 30 percent in most ZIP codes.
More information is in the attached Wharton Risk Center Issue Brief, and online at http://opim.wharton.upenn.edu/risk/library/WRCib2012c_Sandy-and-the-NFIP.pdf
CEDM investigators Erwann Michel-Kerjan and Howard Kunreuther have a piece in the New York Times Sunday Review on "Paying for Future Catastrophes"! The full piece can be read here.
The full paper is available here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01822.x/abstract
There's been plenty of debate over the Marcellus Shale natural gas field, but new research adds a twist that could impact political and environmental battles. Two independent financial firms say the Marcellus isn't just the biggest natural gas field in the country - it's the cheapest place for energy companies to drill.
In today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Don Hopey discusses how first nine months of 2012 were the hottest in Pittsburgh in 65 years. CEDM PI Granger Morgan is quoted "NOAA's temperature numbers are another example of how mounting data continues to support the probability that climate change is occurring".
PITTSBURGH - Carnegie Mellon University launched the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation today, a major research and education initiative focused on improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources. The institute was made possible by a lead gift from CMU alumni Sherman Scott (E'66), president and founder of Delmar Systems, and his wife, Joyce Bowie Scott (A'65), a trustee of the university. The institute is named for Sherman's father, Wilton E. Scott.
Dr. Brinda Thomas, a CEDM post-doctoral fellow, provided a short response to Robert Michaels piece on rebound effects in the Wall Street Journal. The original OpEd from Michaels can be found here:
The response from Thomas was: "Robert Michaels fails to note the big difference between rebound effects in developing countries and in the developed world. Even if they are well-designed, programs in the developing world, like Mexico's "Cash for Coolers," are prone to high rebound effects and limited energy savings because families in these countries have limited access to air conditioning and efficient refrigeration, and their incomes are rising fast. This isn't a bad thing, since families can also increase their comfort and well-being. In contrast, our research… Read more »
Alan Jenn recently received the 1st place award for the student paper competition at the IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology IEEE Conference in Boston for his work entitled "Impact of Federal Incentives on the Adoption of Hybrid Electric Vehicles" with his advisers Ines Azevedo and Pedro Ferreira.
Please extend a hearty congratulations to Alan!
Our CEDM colleagues Erwann Michel-Kerjan and Howard Kunreuther from the Wharton School recently published a paper with CEDM support on "Policy Tenure Under the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)". Please find the paper in attchment.… Read more »
PITTSBURGH - For more than a century, electric power has been produced and distributed using alternating current (AC) technology championed by George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.
Carnegie Mellon University researchers report that a competing direct current (DC) electrical power system, pioneered by Thomas A. Edison in the 1880s, may be the most economic way to power lights in commercial buildings, especially in buildings using solar photovoltaics (PV).
Click here for the full text of the press release.
"With all due respect to teams still skating in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the world's most important "hockey stick" on this 43rd Earth Day is wielded by Michael E. Mann and other climate scientists."
A paper has recently been published in "Fish and Fisheries", titled "Nutrition and income from molluscs today imply vulnerability
to ocean acidification tomorrow", by CEDM associated researchers Sarah Cooley and Scott Doney.
The abstract reads "Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human industrial activities are causing a progressive alteration of seawater chemistry, termed ocean acidification, which has decreased seawater pH and carbonate ion concentration markedly since the Industrial Revolution. Many marine organisms, like molluscs and corals, build hard shells and skeletons using carbonate ions, and they exhibit negative overall responses to ocean acidification. This adds to other chronic and acute environmental pressures and promotes shifts away from calcifier-rich communities. In this study, we examine the possible implications of ocean acidification on mollusc harvests worldwide by examining present production, consumption and export and by relating t… Read more »
Engineering and Public Policy Ph.D. students Eric Hittinger and Kimberly Mullins in conjunction with Ines Lima Azevedo, executive director of CMU’s Climate and Energy Decision-Making Center and an EPP assistant research professor are the subject of a recent Carnegie Mellon University press release. The press release describes recent research into energy inefficiencies inherent in current video game console standards, and ways that those inefficiencies could be reduced in the future. The complete report, the first peer-reviewed study of game console electricity use, will be published in the journal Energy Efficiency later this year.
Click here for the full press release text.
CEDM colleagues Vignola, Klinsky and McDaniels have recently published a piece on "Public perception, knowledge and policy support for mitigation and adaption to Climate Change in Costa Rica: Comparisons with North American and European studies" in the journal Mitigation and Adaption Strategies for Global Change.… Read more »
Stephen Rose, Paulina Jaramillo, Mitchell J. Small, Iris Grossmann, and Jay Apt haver recently published a piece in PNAS on "Quantifying the hurricane risk to offshore wind turbines".… Read more »
Eric Hittinger, J. Whitacre, and Jay Apt have recently published a piece on the Journal of Power Sources determining which properties of grid energy storage are most valuable.… Read more »
PhD candidate Brinda Thomas was quoted in the EE news: "Another driver is renewable energy proliferation. Solar panels produce DC power, which has to be inverted to AC before it is fed into a home, an office or the grid. For companies striving for a net-zero-energy building -- one that produces as much energy as it consumes -- or trying to shrink the payback period for their solar investments, bypassing AC can help squeeze more energy from the sun, according to Brinda Thomas, a doctoral student in engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She said installing a DC power system will become cheaper over time, and she envisions buildings with both AC and DC power outlets."
The full text is available here: http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/03/22
Ou colleague Jeremy Michalek has recently been quoted in the Washington Post on the PNAS EV paper. You can find the full piece here:
In "Distributed cogeneration for commercial buildings? Can we make the economics work?" by K. Siler-Evans, G. Morgan, and I. Azevedo, the authors evaluate strategies for making cogeneration more economically attractive, either by increasing the expected returns or decreasing the risks of such investments. Results show that (1) there is an incentive to overcommit in the capacity market due to lenient non-response penalties, (2) there is significant revenue potential in the regulation market, though demand-side resources are yet to participate, (3) a price on CO2 emissions will make cogeneration more attractive relative to conventional, utility-supplied energy, and (4) accelerated depreciation is an easy and effective mechanism for improving the economics of cogeneration. The authors argue that uncertainty in future fuel and electricity prices presents a significant risk to cogeneration projects. Results show that feed-in tariffs with fixed electricity payments does not effectively… Read more »
In "Edison Revisited: Should we use DC circuits for lighting in commercial buildings?", Thomas et al. find that DC lighting systems for commercial buildings lead to limited lifetime cost savings compared with AC lighting systems, except when used with solar PV. However, DC building circuits lower capital costs, can lower installation costs with low-voltage DC, and have some power quality benefits, which might encourage building owners to make these investments. More research on DC power electronics and safety standards with DC is needed to support a transition in DC circuits.
"CEDM investigator Howard Kunreuther provides a testimony on "Examining the Role of Government Assistance for Disaster Victims: A Review of H.R. 3042
Examining the Role of Government Assistance for Disaster Victims"
H.R. 3042 is proposed legislation that proposes changes to federal disaster loans under the Small Business Administration. In the event of a declared disaster, H.R. 3042 would provide SBA loans at 1 percent interest for eligible applicants in the disaster area, with or without credit available elsewhere. This rate would apply for the duration of all loans under such programs made while that declaration is in effect.
On Thursday, February 16, 2012, the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access conducted a hearing entitled Examining the Role of Government Assistance for Disaster Victims: A Review of H.R. 3042.
Howard Kunreuther was among those who testified at the hearing, to offer members of the Sub… Read more »
"Michalek, Samaras, Lave and co-authors recently published a piece on PNAS, with CEDM support, titled "Valuation of plug-in vehicle life-cycle air emissions and oil displacement benefits". The abstract reads:… Read more »
"CEDM PhD student Austin Mitchell has been awarded the 2011 Society for Risk Analysis Student Merit Award by the specialty group, Economics and Benefits Analysis, for his work on the regulatory policy for post-production reclamation of Marcellus shale natural gas well sites".
Please wish Austin a warm congratulations for his recognition!
"CEDM investigator Scott Doney and colleagues have recently published a review characterizing trends in ocean climate and discussing mechanisms by which climate and ocean acidification alter marine biological structure and function at the level of individual organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems. Three case studies are presented for polar ice-dependent systems, tropical coral reefs, and the California Current upwelling system." The full piece can be found here:
Doney, S.C., M. Ruckelshaus, J.E. Duffy, J.P. Barry, F. Chan, C.A. English, H.M. Galindo, J.M. Grebmeier, A.B. Hollowed, N. Knowlton, J. Polovina, N.N. Rabalais, W.J. Sydeman, and L.D. Talley, 2012: Climate change impacts on marine ecosystems, Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 4, in press. doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-041911-111611
(Available online as "Reviews in Advance" from http://www.annualreviews.org/toc/marine/4/1)
CEDM investigators Sarah Cooley and Scott Doney have published an article on how nutrition and income from molluscs today imply vulnerability to ocean acidification tomorrow.
Click HERE to read more.
We present a simple model to account for the potential effectiveness of solar radiation management (SRM) in compensating for anthropogenic climate change. This method provides a parsimonious way to account for regional inequality in the assessment of SRM effectiveness and allows policy and decision makers to examine the linear climate response to different SRM configurations.
Click HERE to read more.
EPP/Tepper Professor Lester Lave died at his home on May 9, 2011. Lester, one of he world's leading applied economists, spent virtually his entire career at Carnegie Mellon. Through his research and teaching he had a profound impact on the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. His friends and colleagues in EPP miss him greatly.
"Elevator speeches" inspired by Lester:
Lester's EPP obituary can be found at:
Lester's CMU obituary can be found at:
Lester's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary can be found at:
"Ahmed Abdulla, CEDM PhD Student, as been awarded a prestigious 2011-2012 Steinbrenner Institute Graduate Fellowship to study the 'Economic Viability of Small, Modular Nuclear Reactors'."
For more information on the Steinbrenner Institute, click here.
"The surplus heat needed to explain the loss of Arctic sea ice during the past few decades is on the order of 1 W/m2. Observing, attributing, and predicting such a small amount of energy remain daunting problems."
Click HERE to read more.
Click HERE to read more.
For her presentation of the paper titled 'Does It Make Sense to Modify Tropical Cyclones? A Decision-Analytic Assessment' at the 2010 Fall Meeting of the Natural Hazards of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, California, Kelly Klima has been selected to receive receive an Outstanding Student Paper Award.
Please congratulate Kelly on her award!
Carnegie Mellon University's Edward S. Rubin was recently tapped to help guide California's policy on the long-term geologic storage of carbon dioxide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Click HERE to read more.
"The earthquake and tsunami in Japan have forced an international spotlight on nuclear energy and its risks to society. Conflicting reports and leadership responses about what exactly is going on with Japan's nuclear reactors and the threats the leaks pose to the population have cast a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the situation."
Click HERE to read more.
Please see the links below for
"Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) may become part of the transportation fleet on time scales of a decade or two. We calculate the electric grid load increase and emissions due to vehicle battery charging in PJM and NYISO with the current generation mix, the current mix with a $50/tonne CO2 price, and this case but with existing coal generators retrofitted with 80% CO2 capture. We also examine all new generation being natural gas or wind/gas. PHEV fleet percentages between 0.4 and 50% are examined. Vehicles with small (4 kWh) and large (16 kWh) batteries are modeled with driving patterns from the National Household Transportation Survey. Three charging strategies and three scenarios for future electric generation are considered. When compared to 2020 CAFE standards, net CO2 emissions in New York are reduced by switching from gasoline to electricity; coal- heavy PJM shows somewhat smaller benefits unless coal units are fitted with CCS or replaced with lower CO2 generation. NOX… Read more »
Debate Topic: This house believes that natural gas will do more than renewables to limit the world's carbon emissions.
Click HERE to read more.
Click HERE to read more.
Science and scientific modeling can aid both decision making and the advancement of science itself. They can also hamper each. The proliferation of nonlinear models and the abuse of statistical "post" processing has led to the oversell of scientific results which may threaten the credibility of science in the long run. And climate science is an empirical science only in the long run. After an intuitive introduction to the strengths and limitations of mathematical modeling in the context of simple physical systems and their nonlinear mathematical counterparts, we will contrast the roles of simulation forecasting in decision support for weather-like tasks and climate-like tasks. The roles of "uncertainty" in observations, in model parameters, in model structure and in external impacts differ significantly in these two situations. Weather-like tasks occur frequently, perhaps daily, providing the chance to learn from our mistakes (and those of our models); probabilistic forecasts are of proven value (if not, perhaps, probability forecasts per se!). In this case proper scores reflect skill and case studies can determine if skillful forecasts add value. Climate-like tasks are much more challenging as they tend to resemble a series of one-off extrapolations on time scales over which our models themselves evolve significantly. Limitations of current climate models are noted explicitly and it is argued that failing to embrace and communicate these limitations risks the credibility of science-based policy. Scientists tend to focus on forecast skill, while those who use forecasts desire forecast value; the failure to clearly distinguish these two features of a probabilistic forecast results in honest miscommunication between the modelling community and both policy makers and industry. This is particularly common when the "best available" model is not "fit for purpose". It is argued that this is the case for zip-code level "probability" forecasts of climate change in the 2080.s; a product is now available online for the UK with government (and implicit Met Office) approval. Using the insights of climate science to limit the miscommunication of these so-called Bayesian approaches by introducing an expert based "Probability of a Big Surprise" is discussed, and an intuitive example where use of Newton's Laws leads to poor decision support is provided. Finally, challenges facing the maintenance of long-term parallel research streams in science and in modelling are noted. Read more »
The report, on "Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenge of a Changing Ocean", has been published.
Click HERE to read more.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) just released recent estimates of GHG emissions by country, sector, etc. PDF and EXCEL files are available at:
A new NSF funded center based at Carnegie Mellon University seeks a post-doctoral fellow in climate decision making. Prefer BS in science or engineering and PhD in behavioral social sciences. Details found on the Jobs @ EPP website. Resume, references and sample publications to:email@example.com
Analysis of climate engineering has focused on sulfate aerosols. Dr. David Keith argues that engineered nanoparticles could exploit photophoretic forces, enabling more control over particle distribution and lifetime than is possible with sulfates because photophoretic levitation could loft particles above the stratosphere. This would reduce their capacity to interfere with ozone chemistry and by increasing particle lifetimes, would reduce the need for continual replenishment of the aerosol. Magnetic forces could be exploited so particles drifted poleward, enabling localized polar albedo modification while minimizing the impact on equatorial climates. Dr. Keith is a CDMC Researcher and Director of the ISEEE Energy and Environmental Systems Group at University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
The World Bank announced that they would appoint Daniel M. Kammen, UC Berkeley Professor of Energy and CDMC Researcher, as the organization's Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. See the San Francisco Chronicle article for more details. Warm Congratulations from CDMC to Dr. Kammen!
Erwann Michel-Kerjan, CDMC researcher from University of Pennyslvania's Wharton School produced an op-ed on recent Pakistan flooding raising his opinion on how to lead in the wake of catastrophe. See the Washington Post article.
Last year, the Maldives' president held an underwater cabinet meeting to raise global awareness.
R&D for the Future of Smart Energy Grids: fostering pilot experiences in Portugal
A series of meetings jointly organized by the CMU-Portugal and the MIT-Portugal Programs, together with the INOVGRID and the MOBI.e and Projects