Bimonthly CEDM updates and news


"Theory and Methods" Workshop Held in Washington DC

The Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) organized a Theory and Methods workshop on “Identifying and Avoiding Potential Dead Ends and Missed Opportunities in Climate Policy” on Feb 4-5 in Washington, DC. The workshop drew 31 participants from government, academia, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and industry. Participants grappled with short term policy and technological decisions that would make it much harder to achieve virtually complete decarbonization in the long term.
A number of questions were debated: Would renewables and natural gas help or hinder deep decarbonization? What could be done to stimulate new nuclear reactor designs that are cheaper and safer than the current light water paradigm? What is the historical experience with re-purposing major infrastructure as technology and society’s needs evolve? The workshop laid the groundwork for the “visioning exercises” that CEDM will undertake to construct possible game plans of how the energy system could be transformed when the policy window for such a transformation opens.

Inês Azevedo Attends COP21 on behalf of CMU and CEDM

Nominated by Resources for the Future, Inês Azevedo attended the COP21 Climate Change Conference from December 1-4. She attends events such as "China-US Cooperation,"  "Dialogue on the Comparison of Climate Change Policies," and "International Carbon Markets in Post 2020 Climate Regime."
EPP/CEDM PhD student Travis Carless was featured on National Science Foundation post for Black History Month. “My research involves investigating the environmental and economic competitiveness of small modular reactors, generation II, and generation III+ nuclear power plants. I am also investigating the socioeconomic impacts base load power plants have on surrounding communities. The proudest moment of my scientific career was presenting my research on estimating the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a small modular reactor at an annual Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center Advisory Committee Meeting. As a child I was drawn to science because I could apply the knowledge I had gathered from my classes to everyday life as well as explain natural phenomena.” – Travis Carless, Ph.D. student, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

EPA Cites Zhai, Rubin, and Ou in CO2 Final Standards Document

In August 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final standards for controlling carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed power plants. The final rule cited the major conclusion of a new study by EPP Professors Haibo Zhai, Edward Rubin and a graduate student Yang Ou to support the discussion that retrofit of carbon capture and storage at some existing coal-fired power plants can be feasible. The citation of their study is: Zhai, H., Ou, Y., & Rubin, E. S. (2015). Opportunities for Decarbonizing Existing US Coal-fired Power Plants via CO2 Capture, Utilization and Storage. Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (13): 7571-7579.

Morgan Presents at IRGC and UCL Conference in London

"Planning Adaptive Risk Regulation" was the title of the conference organized by IRGC and UCL on January 7-8. Granger Morgan presented in the introduction to the conference by speaking on "Considerations in the design of adaptive policies." The conference sough to bring together academia, regulatory agencies, and industry to discuss experiences, challenges and ways to improve regulation related to new scientific developments and technologies.

Public Health Roundtable

Three CEDM researchers, Dr. Baruch Fischhoff, Dr. Tamar Krishnamurti, and Dr. Alex Davis participated in a roundtable discussion of their research with renowned public health and education expert Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg. Former president of the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Fineberg currently leads the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and was invited to Carnegie Mellon as part of the Simon Initiative Distinguished Lecture Series.
Remember to Save the Date for the CEDM Annual Meeting 
23-24 May 2016

Cohon Testifies Before Congressional Commission

Jared Cohon testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Development Subcommittee  and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Energy Subcommittee about the findings of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, that he co-chairs with T.J. Glauthier.
The Commission’s report is entitled “Securing America’s Future, Realizing the Potential of the National Energy Laboratories.” As described in the testimony, ”Our overall finding is that the national laboratory system is a unique resource that brings great value to the country in the four mission areas of the Department of Energy: nuclear security, basic science R&D, energy technology R&D, and environmental management.…However, our National Lab system is not realizing its full potential. Our commission believes that can be changed. We provide 36 recommendations that we believe, if adopted, will help the labs to become more efficient and effective and have even greater impact, thereby helping secure America’s future in the four mission areas of the Department of Energy.”


Research Award for Caruso

Denise Caruso (EPP), and David Danks and Liam Bright (Philosophy), have received funding for the first phase of a study on peer review of interdisciplinary grant and project proposals. The study will explore the decision-scientific, cognitive, and other aspects of the interdisciplinary peer review process. Its aim is to understand how those who review interdisciplinary proposals are able to recognize, _a priori_ and without a traditional disciplinary framework, the quality and the potential of the proposals they review. The first phase of the study includes a survey of interdisciplinary PIs and reviewers, conducted in January, followed by a workshop for interdisciplinary experts, researchers and funders. The workshop will be held on the CMU Pittsburgh campus in May. Funding was provided by the James S. McDonnell Foundation.
Fan Tong presented a poster titled "Spatial Analysis of Air Quality Impacts from Using Natural Gas for Road Transportation" at the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual Meeting  in Washington DC in February 2016.

More CEDM Poster Presentations

EPP PhD students Casey Canfield and Barry Dewitt presented posters at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making 2015 Annual Meeting, held in Chicago this November. Casey's poster, entitled "Using Signal Detection Theory to Measure Phishing Detection Ability and Behavior," describes her work applying methods from behavioral decision research to tackle the cybersecurity threat of phishing emails. Barry's poster, "Environmental Risk Perception from Visual Cues: The Psychophysics of Tornado Risk Perception," presents the results of a project investigating the ability of the public to notice the danger of tornadoes from physical cues of tornado risk (e.g., cloud formations). Both research projects were supervised by EPP professors Baruch Fischhoff and Alex Davis, with Stephen Broomell from Social and Decision Sciences providing further supervision for Barry's work.
CEDM In the News

Rubin Headlines in Spain

Prof. Ed Rubin (Carnegie Mellon, EPP/MechE) was featured in two of Spain’s leading newspapers (see above) for his views on climate change and the recent international climate accord in Paris. 

A full-page op-ed piece entitled, “Innovation, the Key to Combat Climate Change” appeared last December in Cinco Días, a prominent financial daily published in Madrid.  In the article Rubin argues that “technological change on a massive scale” will be needed to achieve climate change goals, and that a portfolio of government policies is needed to “strongly influence the pace of innovation and diffusion of new low-carbon technologies into the marketplace.”

Rubin went to Madrid in January to serve on the jury selecting this year’s recipient of the prestigious Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change, sponsored by the BBVA Foundation. He is the U.S. member of this six-person international panel, and was also invited by the Foundation to contribute the op-ed piece above in conjunction with the climate negotiations in Paris.

Rubin also traveled to Valencia (Spain’s third largest city), where he was invited by the newly-elected mayor to discuss measures the region could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the years ahead. His visit was heavily covered by the media, including an extensive interview in Levante, the leading regional newspaper.

Rubin reports that, “I was impressed by their ambitious goals, and the fact that climate change was a prominent part of the mayor’s platform when he ran for office last year.” As a result of his meetings, Rubin agreed to work with the mayor and regional officials in their efforts to make Valencia a leader in addressing climate change. Rubin is also collaborating with colleagues at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, where he spent three months on sabbatical last year.

Global Policy Journal Reviews Global Energy Justice: Problems, Principles, and Practices by Michael H. Dworkin and Benjamin K. Sovacool

Following a trend of "getting universally positive reviews," Global Policy Journal published its review of CEDM researchers Michael Dworkin and Benjamin Sovacool's book. The review does "raise some gentle criticisms," Sovacool notes one of the more poignant and constructive quotes from the review:

"Global Energy Justice is a very interesting read, providing an excellent overview of the energy-related aspects and issues … the book triggers important questions and provides compelling arguments for both well-established and novel forms of energy policy that could lead to a more energy-just world."

To read the review of Global Energy Justice online, see the website for Global Policy Journal.

Jeremy Michalek, Ines Azevedo, and Alan Jenn Study Featured on CMU/CIT News: 

“Alternative Fuel Vehicle Adoption Increases U.S. Emissions and Gasoline Consumption Due to Federal Policy.” “Recent updates of federal policy for model years 2012 through 2025 include incentives that allow automakers to meet less stringent fleet efficiency targets when they sell AFVs – so the more alternative fuel vehicles an automaker sells, the dirtier its overall vehicle fleet is permitted to be,” says Jeremy Michalek, professor of engineering and public policy and professor of mechanical engineering.” - Read More.

Research by Arthur Yip, Jessica Lovering, and Ted Nordhaus Featured on

“Why America abandoned nuclear power (and what we can learn from South Korea).” From the article: “But there's also an optimistic story for nuclear — one that I think is worth hearing out. A recent paper in the journal Energy Policy by Jessica Lovering, Arthur Yip, and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute looked at construction costs for hundreds of reactors built in the US, France, Canada, Japan, German, India, and South Korea between 1960 and 2010. Their data tells a more nuanced story.” Read more at

Faria and Jaramillo Featured on BBC Brasil

Felipe Faria and Paulina Jaramillo from EPP recently published a paper in the Environmental Research Letters (ERL) journal about the greenhouse gas emissions related to the degradation of biomass in recent and planned Amazonian hydro-power reservoirs. Their results indicate that some projects (6 out 18 assessed hydro-power plants) may emit greenhouse gas emissions in the same levels of fossil fuel power plants. The study was also featured on the main page of BBC Brasil. The other co-authors of the paper are Henrique Sawakuchi, Jeffrey Richey, and Nathan Barros.
NPR and the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation
CEDM Researchers and Affiliates have recently been featured on Energy Bite, by NPR and the Scott Institute for energy Innovation. Energy Bite is a weekly 90-second radio program where listeners can learn about energy innovation opportunities and challenges related to every day life.

Episode 143: Do markets tend to solve environmental problems without government regulation? - Nick Muller
Episode 142: Is there one single technology or strategy that could solve the climate problem? - Ines Azevedo
Episode 141: Is the environmental effect of renewables the same everywhere? - Ines Azevedo
Episode 140: Do rebates for energy efficient appliances work? - Ines Azevedo
Episode 139: Are natural gas vehicles a good idea? - Ines Azevedo
Episode 132: How Can Cities Prepare for Blackouts? - Jay Apt

Listen to more at
Jinhyok Heo, a Carnegie Mellon and CEDM alumnus, won the Best Poster Award at the Society for Risk Analysis in each category, Judges' Choice and Members' Choice, for his poster using research supported by CEDM. His poster was titled "Air Pollution Social Cost Accounting Toward Optimal Policy Decision Making for Air Quality, Energy, and Climate Change." Use this link to see his poster submitted to SRA.

EPP Ph.D. student Nathaniel Horner has been named a Finalist for Presidential Management Fellowship, which provides recent graduates with a two-year period of government service and an integrated leadership development program, contingent upon finding a placement at a Federal agency.

Kelly Klima, Ines Azevedo, and Michael Craig have been nominated as part of the second cohort of NAS's Science and Engineering Ambassadors. The first cohort includes Neil Donahue and EPP alums Stephen Rose and Emily Fertig.

Barry Dewitt presented at the annual conference of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and was awarded the 2015-2016 John Jeffries Meteorology Scholarship for research completed with EPP faculty Baruch Fischhoff, Alex Davis, and Social & Decision Sciences' professor Stephen Broomell, on the public's risk perception of tornadoes. 

Debbie Stine selected as Innovative Early-Career Engineering Faculty participant in NAE's Seventh Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium. Seventy of the nation's most innovative, young engineering educators have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering's seventh Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium. Faculty members who are developing and implementing innovative educational approaches in a variety of engineering disciplines will come together for the 2-1/2-day event, where they can share ideas, learn from research and best practice in education, and leave with a charter to bring about improvement in their home institution. The attendees were nominated by NAE members or deans and chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The symposium will be held Oct. 25-28 in Irvine, Calif.
Recent CEDM Publications
"Enabling private sector investment in microgrid-based rural electrification in developing countries: A review" - N. Williams, P. Jaramillo, J. Taneja, T. Selim Ustun, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 52 (2015), 1268–1281. [Full Paper]

"A Heat Vulnerability Index and Adaptation Solutions for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" - K. Bradford, L. Abrahams, M. Hegglin, K. Klima, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (19), 11303–11311. [Full Paper]

“Life Cycle Water Use of Coal- and Natural-gas-fired Power Plants with and without Carbon Capture and Storage" - Y. Ou, H. Zhai, E.S. Rubin, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 44, 249-261. [Full Paper]

"Characterizing the GHG emission impacts of carsharing: a case of Vancouver" - M. Namazu, H. Dowlatabadi, Environmental Research Letters, 10 (2015), 1-10. [Full Paper]

"Stream Dynamics and Chemical Transformations Control the Environmental Fate of Silver and Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in a Watershed-Scale Model" - A. Dale, G.V. Lowry, E. Casman, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (12),  7285–7293. [Full Paper]

"Estimating greenhouse gas emissions from future Amazonian hydroelectric reservoirs" - F. Faria, P. Jaramillo, H.O. Sawakuchi, J.E. Richey, N. Barros, Environmental Research Letters, 10 (2015), 1-13. [Full Paper]

"Environmental risk perception from visual cues: the psychophysics of tornado risk perception" - B. Dewitt, B. Fischhoff, A. Davis, S.B. Brommell, Environmental Research Letters, 10 (2015), 1-15. [Full Paper]

"The Cost of CO2 Capture and Storage" - E.S. Rubin, J.E. Davison, H.J. Herzog, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 20 (2015), 378-400. [Full Paper]

"Characterizing the GHG emission impacts of carsharing: a case of Vancouver" - M. Namazu, H. Dowlatabadi, Environmental Research Letters, 10 (2015), 124017. [Full Paper]

"Strategic Demand-Side Response to Wind Power Integration" - A. Daraeepour, S. Jalal Kazempour, D. Patino-Echeverri, A. J. Conejo, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 2016. [Full Paper]

"Forecasting light-duty vehicle demand using alternative-specific constants for endogeneity correction versus calibration" - C.G. Haaf, W.R. Morrow, I. Azevedo, E. McDonnell Feit, J.J. Michalek,  Transportation Research Part B, 84 (2016), 182-210. [Full Paper]

"Consequential life cycle air emissions externalities for plug-in electric vehicles in the PJM interconnection" - A. Weis, P. Jaramillo, J. Michalek, Environmental Research Letters, 11 (2016), 1-12. [Full Paper]

 "Robust resource adequacy planning in the face of coal retirements" - R. Lueken, J. Apt, F. Sowell, Energy Policy, 88 (2016), 371-388. [Full Paper]

“Uncertainty in the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Production of Three Bio-based Polymer Families" - I.D. Posen, P. Jaramillo, W.M. Griffin, Environmental Science & Technology, accepted. [Full Paper]

"Residential Solar PV Systems in the Carolinas: Opportunities and Outcomes" - B. Jubran Alqahtani, K. Moore Holt, D. Patino-Echeverri, L. Pratson, Environmental Science & Technology, 50 (2016), 2082-2091. [Full Paper]

"Geographic smoothing of solar PV: results from Gujarat" - K. Klima, J. Apt, Environmental Research Letters, 10 (2015), 1-7. [Full Paper]

"Innovacion, la clave para combatir el cambio climatico" - E.S. Rubin, Diaria, December 14, 2015. [Full Piece]

"Effects of Regional Temperature on Electric Vehicle Efficiency, Range, and Emissions in the United States" - T. Yuksel, J.J. Michalek, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (6), 3974-3980. [Full Paper]

"A Review of Learning Rates for Electricity Supply Technologies" - E.S. Rubin, I. Azevedo, P. Jaramillo, S. Yeh, Energy Policy, 86 (2015), 198-218. [Full Paper]

"Fuel poverty, excess winter deaths, and energy costs in Vermont: Burdensome for whom?" - J. Teller-Elsberg, B. Sovacool, T. Smith, E. Laine, Energy Policy, 90 (2016) 81-91. [Full Paper]

"Fuel economy testing of autonomous vehicles" - A. Chaim Mersky, C. Samaras, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 65 (2016) 31-48. [Full Paper]

"The potential of renewables versus natural gas with CO2 capture and storage for power generation under CO2 constraints" - M. van den Broek, N. Bergout, E.S. Rubin, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 49 (2015), 1296-1322. [Full Paper]

"Emissions and Cost Implications of Controlled Electric Vehicle Charging in the U.S. PJM Interconnection" - A. Weis, J.J. Michalek, P. Jaramillo, R. Leuken, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (2015), 5813-5819. [Full Paper]

"An alternate wind power integration mechanism: Coal plants with flexible amine-based CCS" - R. Bandyopadhyay, D. Patino-Echeverri, Renewable Energy, 85 (2016), 704-713. [Full Paper]

"Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors" - J.R. Lovering, A. Yip, T. Nordhaus, Energy Policy, 91 (2016), 371–382. [Full Paper]

"Opportunities for Decarbonizing Existing U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants via CO2 Capture, Utilization and Storage" - H. Zhai, Y. Ou, E.S. Rubin, Environmental Science and Technology, 49 (2015), 7571-7579. [Full Paper]

"Alternative Fuel Vehicle Adoption Increases Fleet Gasoline Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions under United States Corporate Average Fuel Economy Policy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards" - A. Jenn, I. Azevedo, J.J. Michalek, Environmental Science & Technology, 50 (5), 2165–2174. [Full Paper]

"What can reanalysis data tell usabout wind power?" - S. Rose, J. Apt, Renewable Energy, 83 (2015), 963–969. [Full Paper]

"Modeling Nanomaterial Environmental Fate in Aquatic Systems" - A. Dale, G.V. Lowry, E. Casman, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (5), 2587–2593. [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]

"Water impacts of a low-carbon electric power future: assessment methodology and status" - H. Zhai, E.S. Rubin, Current Sustainable Renewable Energy Reports, 2 (2015), 1-9. [Full Paper]

"A techno-economic analysis and optimization of Li-ion batteries for light-duty passenger vehicle electrification" - A. Sakti, J.J. Michalek, E.R.H. Fuchs, J.F. Whitacre, Journal of Power Sources, 273 (2015), 966-980. [Full Paper]

"Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Plants: Paving the way for thermal solar" - B. Jubran Alqahani, D. Patino-Echeverri, Applied Energy, 169 (2016), 927-936. [Full Paper]

"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]
Upcoming Energy Related Events
CMU's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation's First Energy Week

CMU Energy Week

Carnegie Mellon’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation invites members of the public, students, industry, non-governmental organizations, and foundations to attend our inaugural Energy Week! Energy Week is on March 14-18, 2016 at Carnegie Mellon University's campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each day of Energy Week has a theme: energy research, policy, innovation, education (including an Energy Tech Expo), and Field Trips!

We will be joined by interesting keynote speakers such as Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, DOE Deputy Secretary and Grace M. Bochenek, Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, as well as Bunker Roy, founder of Barefoot College, an organization that works to teach women in rural villages how to install and maintain solar collectors. 

Visit to find out more information.
CEDM Annual Meeting
23-24 May 2016
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
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
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