Quarterly CEDM updates and news


CEDM Annual Meeting Held May 23-24

The Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) held it's sixth Annual Meeting - and first since the Center was again funded by NSF in 2015 - at Carnegie Mellon University in May. 

Altogether, there were over 80 attendees and 29 presentations spread over the course of the two day meeting. Organized into three parts, the research presented spanned the following sections of CEDM's proposal: Part 1: Public understanding of, and communication about, climate issues; Part 2: Behavioral, economic, and technical issues, and issues in regulatory design; and Part 3: Visioning - Roadblocks to deep decarbonization.

Much of the Advisory Board was in attendance in person and virtually. In their letter of feedback, Chair of the Board Anthony Janetos congratulates the center and offers advice for the future as well. Certainly not the whole of the letter, but some excepts are included below:

"Thank you for a very interesting and productive meeting with the investigators of the CEDM... We note that the Center has been quite responsive to the Advisory Committee’s feedback provided in last year’s letter.
"The Center’s focus on deep decarbonization has three implications.  Policy and other decision makers need to understand the actual scope of the problem, they need technological options, and they need a strategy for moving through the transition.  Thus, workshop efforts and publications on the difficulty of relying on muddling through, and discussions of how to avoid policy dead-ends, are extremely important.  So are the individual projects on technology options, costs and benefits, but they still need a systems-level road-map to show how they might fit in an overall strategy...

"We applaud the examples you discussed of having students work with EDF, and other NGO’s, where the linkages between the decision sciences and other communities are being explored, and where there is an opportunity to see first-hand the complexity of decision processes.  This is an important practical step, and we encourage you to do more of it, which should also benefit the students as well as the Center...

"As always, we came away from the meeting very enthusiastic about the Center’s progress.  We congratulate you on this..."

On behalf of the Executive Committee of CEDM, we thank everyone who participated, presented, and planned another fantastic Annual Meeting. See the end of the newsletter for more pictures from the meeting.

SUCCEED 2016 Comes to a Close

Summer Center for Climate, Energy, and Environmental Decision Making  

SUCCEED was founded in 2011 by Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making. SUCCEED includes two programs: a free 5-day summer program for rising 10th and 11th graders and a 2-day workshop for teachers.

The 5-day summer program for students complements what students learn about energy, climate change, and the environment in school. The program includes a variety of experiments and field trips in addition to interactive lessons. Photos from past student summer programs are available here.

The 2-day teacher workshop helps teachers incorporate information about energy and climate change into their curricula.

Michael Craig, Ken Sears, and Lauren Cook worked hard to run a superb program this year. They recruited more students than have ever taken part in SUCCEED - 17 girls and 7 boys - and 10 teachers. They curated all of the lesson plans that have been used in SUCCEED in previous years. This will make it easier to develop material in the future, and will allow us to share all the material that's been developed with K-12 teachers on the web. They were very creative in finding ways to keep the program within budget, even when it meant a fair bit of extra work for them. - Parth Vaishnav, Research Engineer

Rubin Featured in Spain (Again!)

La Vanguardia, one of the largest newspapers in Barcelona, featured Dr. Ed Rubin in their paper on June 18, 2016 after giving a public lecture in the city on Climate Change and Innovation. He was later featured in another newspaper called Ara which serves the Catalonia region of Spain. You can read translations of the articles here and here.

In other news for Dr. Rubin, he has been invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to participate in a 4-day scoping meeting for the Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. 

This special report was requested last December at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in conjunction with the international decision to adopt the Paris Agreement on climate change.  That agreement seeks to prevent no more than a 2°C rise in average global temperature, with aspirations to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C.  The IPCC special report is intended to provide guidance on how to achieve that objective. The IPCC scoping meeting, to be held in Geneva August 15-18, will outline in detail the topics to be covered in the special report.  Rubin was selected to participate in this meeting from among hundreds of nominees around the world.  Once approved by the IPCC, a new nominating process will begin later this year to select the participants invited to author the special report.  Completion of the report is planned for 2018.  Further details of the study are available on the IPCC website: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/.

Parth Vaishnav Featured in Aviation Week & Space Technology and on CMUEngineering's Instagram

From his opinion piece in AW&ST:
"In September 2013, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) declared that it would vote on a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation in 2016 and implement it by 2020. This March, two years after it began considering an extraordinarily complicated strawman proposal, ICAO published the draft Assembly Resolution text."
Read the rest of the article with a valid email at Aviation Week & Space Technology.

From CMUEngineering Instagram:
"This week, the Summer Center for Climate, Energy, and Environmental Decision Making (SUCCEED) kicks off with 5 full days of activities, lectures and field trips designed to teach local high school students how they can effect the planet's climate for the better." Watch the clip on instagram.

Baruch Fischoff to be honored at Society for Judgment and Decision Making

The upcoming meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making in Boston will include a tribute for Baruch Fischhoff on Friday November 18 from 5:30-7pm ((http://www.sjdm.org/).  This tribute will celebrate Baruch’s major contributions to generations of scholars in multiple disciplines, including JDM, psychology, economics, engineering, philosophy, and public health. Special attention will be given to his influence on real-world policy, including as chair of the Food and Drug Administration Risk Communication Advisory Committee and various National Research Council committees. Speakers will be announced soon. The session is being organized by Wändi Bruine de Bruin (chair), Maya Bar-Hillel, Ann Bostrom, and Andrew Parker.

Wandi Bruine de Bruin is Deputy Director of the new Priestley International Centre for Climate

which brings together climate scientists and social scientists at the University of Leeds to work on climate change policy (http://climate.leeds.ac.uk/). The Priestley International Centre for Climate is one of the university’s flagship strategic investments in response to the global challenge of climate change, with £6.82 million invested in it over five years. The Centre launched on 14 June 2016, in an event that drew 200 attendants (http://climate.leeds.ac.uk/news/formal-launch-of-priestley-international-centre-for-climate/).
Americans start driving less; a Texan natural gas company drills into a shale formation; more building managers opt for energy efficiency. While these events may seem disconnected, their effects on each other—and on the lives of everyday Americans—can be drastic. But understanding how events such as these interact with each other is very difficult—just ask Engineering and Public Policy Ph.D. student Evan Sherwin. Read the rest of the article on CIT's website.
To any interested CEDM Graduate Students, we have a number of very old Lenovo computers that are up for grabs. They are very old and very slow, but if you would like to use them for anything (including parts), please email Elisabeth Udyawar at ebass@cmu.edu.

Inês Azevedo Participated in National Academies for the US Global Change Research Program

Her participation led to the publication of a report on  Characterizing Risk in Climate Change Assessments: Proceedings of a Workshop for the U.S. Global Change Research Program that can be read or downloaded as a free PDF via the following link: http://www.nap.edu/23569.

If you were able to choose where your energy could come from, what source would you choose? Coal? Nuclear? Wind? Solar? Engineering and Public Policy doctoral student Brian Sergi is interested in your answer to that question—and everyone else’s answers, too.

“Most of my work has been focused on public perceptions of energy and how people think about the tradeoffs between different energy sources,” says Sergi. “We get our energy from a lot of different sources—coal, nuclear energy, natural gas, and renewables—and each of these has costs, benefits, and environmental consequences.” Read the rest of the article on CIT's website.

Dr. Jay Apt Quoted in New York Times

Jay Apt, professor of Business and Engineering and Public Policy, was recently quoted in The New York Times for his explanation of the economics of nuclear power. Apt explained that the recent decreases in the cost of electricity have led to a decrease in available capital for periodic investment for the nuclear industry. Read the full article.

PhD Student Nathaniel Horner and Professor Inês Azevedo Contribute to LBNL Report on Data Centers

From Jonathan Koomey's Blog:
Surprise!: US data center electricity use has been growing slowly for years.

"Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in collaboration with experts at Stanford..., Carnegie Mellon, and Northwestern, today released our latest analysis of electricity used by data centers in the US.  Surprisingly, electricity use in data centers has been roughly flat since the financial crisis with little growth projected to 2020, even though delivery of computing services has been increasing rapidly... the level of inefficiency in enterprise data center facilities leaves lots of room for improvement, and the market is finally getting that message."

Paulina Jaramillo and Ines Azevedo Participated in the Aspen Global Change Institute Workshop on "Getting Near Zero - Decarbonizing the Last 20%"

The purpose of this meeting is to assess the feasibility of decarbonizing the last, and most difficult-to-eliminate, portion of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. The meeting will focus on the technical feasibility of economically achieving near-zero emissions from the energy sector. Challenges to eliminating these last emissions include (1) exploiting and integrating intermittent electricity resources to achieve high reliability via supply- and demand-based strategies, (2) decarbonizing transportation sectors not amenable to electrification (long-distance trucking, aviation, shipping, etc.), (3) decarbonizing heavy industries such as steel or cement manufacture, (4) possible scale up of nuclear and CCS, and/or (5) carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.
SUCCEED students toured the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station in July.

Wong-Pariodi, Krishnamurti, Armanios, and Fischhoff Publish Paper in Nature Climate Change

As part of a special Nature collection on "Energy, Climate and Society," CEDM researchers were published in the issue. Their abstract is below:

"The social and behavioural sciences are critical for informing climate- and energy related policies. We describe a decision science approach to applying those sciences. It has three stages: formal analysis of decisions, characterizing how well-informed actors should view them; descriptive research, examining how people actually behave in such circumstances; and interventions, informed by formal analysis and descriptive research, designed to create attractive options and help decision-makers choose among them. Each stage requires collaboration with technical experts (for example, climate scientists, geologists, power systems engineers and regulatory analysts), as well as continuing engagement with decision makers. We illustrate the approach with examples from our own research in three domains related to mitigating climate change or adapting to its effects: preparing for sea-level rise, adopting smart grid technologies in homes, and investing in energy efficiency for office buildings. The decision science approach can facilitate creating climate- and energy-related policies that are behaviourally informed, realistic and respectful of the people whom they seek to aid."

See publication citation and link to the paper in the publications section below.
Fan Tong presented his poster "Social analysis of air quality impacts from using natural gas for road transportation" at the Scott Hall Dedication Event on April 30. He also later presented the poster at the ISSST2016 Conference in Phoenix AZ in May.

CEDM Researchers Featured on CMU Homepage

The study by Daniel Posen, Paulina Jaramillo and Michael Griffin in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP), was published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology and featured on the Front Page of the Carnegie Mellon University homepage. From their article:

“Making plastics from plants is a growing trend. It’s renewable, but is it better?

“A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers examines the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of three plant-based plastics at each stage of production compared with that of their common fossil fuel-based counterparts…

“The study is novel in the way it treats uncertainty and looks at emissions over the life cycle of plastics. The researchers used a technique called life cycle assessment that analyzes emissions at each stage in the life of a product: resource extraction to manufacturing, to use of the product and end of life.”

Read more at cmu.edu.

Inês Azevedo provided a Colloquium

at ETH Zurich's Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science on the health, environmental and climate change effects of different interventions in the U.S. Electricity Grid. Given the broad audience of her seminars, other institutes and organizations have also requested additional seminars in the subject matter for the upcoming December. 
Recent CEDM Publications
"A decision science approach for integrating social science in climate and energy solutions" - G. Wong-Parodi, T. Krishnamurti, A. Davis, D.d Schwartz, B. Fischhoff, Nature Climate Change, accepted. [Full Paper]

"Stakeholder perceptions of water systems and hydro-climate information in Guanacaste, Costa Rica" - M. Babcok, G. Wong-Parodi, M. Small, I. Grossmann. Earth Perspectives. Accepted.

“The climate and health effects of a USA switch from coal to gas electricity generation” – R. Lueken, K. Klima, W.M. Griffin, J. Apt, Energy, 109 (2016) 1160-1166. [Full Paper]

“Quantifying Sources of Uncertainty in Reanalysis Derived Wind Speed.” – S. Rose, J. Apt, Renewable Energy, 2016 (94) 157-165. [Full Paper]

"Membrane-based Carbon Capture from Flue Gas:  A Review" - R. Khalipour, K. Mumford, H. Zhai, A. Abbas, G. Stevens, E.S. Rubin, Journal of Cleaner Production, 103 (2015), 286-300. [Full Paper]

“Should we build wind farms close to load or invest in transmission to access better wind resources in remote areas? A case study in the MISO region” – J. Lamy, P. Jaramillo, I.L. Azevedo, R. Wiser, Energy Policy, 90 (2016), 341-350. [Full Paper]

"A Techno-Economic Assessment of Hybrid Cooling Systems for Coal-and Natural-Gas-Fired Power Plants with and without Carbon Capture and Storage." - H. Zhai, E.S. Rubin, Environmental Science & Technology, 50 (7), 4127-4134. [Full paper]

“Public Health Costs of Primary PM2.5 and Inorganic PM2.5 Precursor Emissions in the United States” – J. Heo, P.J. Adams, H.O Gao, Sci. Technology, 50 (11), pp 6061–6070. 2016 [Full Paper]

"Reduced-form modeling of public health impacts of inorganic PM2.5 and precursor emissions" – J. Heo, P.J. Adams, H.O. Gao, Atmospheric Environment, 137, 80–89, 2016. [Full Paper]

CEDM Annual Meeting Poster Session

SUCCEED Student Workshop

If you have publications or news that you would like posted in the next newsletter or on the CEDM website, please email the Administrative Coordinator at ebass@cmu.edu.
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