CDMC Seminars - 2010

December 10, 2010
Robert Ayres
Professor of Environment and Management, INSEAD

"Why Increased Energy Efficiency is both Possible and Essential"
The Center on Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) and the Climate Decision Making Center (CDMC) will sponsor a lunch seminar entitled "Why Increased Energy Efficiency is both Possible and Essential" with speaker Dr. Robert Ayres.

129 Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
December 10, 2010
12:00 pm

Lunch will be served beginning at 11:50 am. Attendees must RSVP.

An announcement will be distributed by Dec. 2, 2010. If you have not received the announcement by that date, contact Steve Gradeck to RSVP.

Seminar Abstract:

Even if we were living on an “ocean” of oil (and gas), the world probably can’t tolerate significant further accumulation of GHGs in the atmosphere. Renewables can’t be brought on line fast enough. Higher efficiency is the only possible answer in the near-term, but it will require serious political commitment and effort. Fortunately, it is also the primary engine of economic growth.

Speaker Bio:

Robert U. Ayres is a physicist and economist noted for his work on the role of thermodynamics in the economic process, and more recently for his investigation of the role of energy in economic growth. He is emeritus professor of economics and technology at the international busi–ness school INSEAD, in France, where he has continued his life-long, pioneering studies of materials/energy flows in the global economy. He originated the concept of “industrial metabolism”, which has since evolved into a field of study known today as “industrial ecology” with its own journal.

Ayres was trained as a physicist at the University of Chicago, University of Maryland, and Kings College London (Ph. D in Mathematical Physics). He was Professor of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from 1979 until 1992, when he was appointed Professor of Environment and Management at INSEAD. He is currently an Institute Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.


December 9, 2010
Sarah Cooley
Postdoctoral Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

"Assessing OA’s Effects on Humans through Ecosystem Services"
The Center on Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) and the Climate Decision Making Center (CDMC) will sponsor a lunch seminar entitled "Assessing OA’s Effects on Humans through Ecosystem Services" with speaker Sarah Cooley.

129 Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
December 9, 2010
12:00 pm

Lunch will be served beginning at 11:50 am. Attendees must RSVP.

An announcement will be distributed by Dec. 2, 2010. If you have not received the announcement by that date, contact Steve Gradeck to RSVP.

Seminar Abstract:

Experiments show that ocean acidification could harm some marine organisms by affecting calcification, respiration, or other cellular processes, and ecological theory suggests that any changes that could alter survival, growth, or reproduction of individuals could also alter overall population size or location. Individual species’ responses to new ocean chemistry could transform the composition of entire ecosystems by affecting trophic relationships or habitat availability. Ultimately, marine ecosystem function would also change. Underwater transformations could be felt on land once ecosystem services such as commercial harvests, coastal protection, tourism, cultural identity, or ecosystem support became altered. We have identified threshold dates when future ocean chemistry will distinctly differ from that of today to help guide the development of strategies for maintaining present mollusk-related ecosystem services.

Speaker Bio:

Sarah’s research uses oceanographic and social science approaches to forecast the total consequences of human-driven changes in the marine inorganic carbon cycle. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Georgia (2006) examined inorganic carbon cycling in the offshore Amazon River plume. Her postdoctoral work in the Marine-Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2007-present) has focused on analyzing ocean acidification forecast by ocean models and presenting its risks in human-relevant terms using social science datasets.


November 30, 2010
Dr. Dalia Patino-Echeverri
CEDM/CDMC researcher; Gendell Assistant Professor of Engineering Systems and Public Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; and an alumni of the department of Enginnering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon

"Flexible Regulation For Climate Policy"
The Center on Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) and the Climate Decision Making Center (CDMC) will sponsor a lunch seminar entitled "Flexible Regulation For Climate Policy" with speaker Dr. Dalia Patino-Echeverri.

129 Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
November 30, 2010
12:00 pm

Lunch will be served beginning at 11:50 am. Attendees must RSVP.

An announcement will be distributed by Nov. 23, 2010. If you have not received the announcement by that date, contact Meryl Sustarsic to RSVP.

Seminar Abstract:

To achieve substantial CO2 emissions reductions while enabling the continued use of fossil fuel will likely require carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. We examine investment choices for electricity generation under a strict emissions rate performance standard that would require the installation of CCS on fossil-fired plants. We compare the strict standard with a flexible one that imposes a surcharge for emissions in excess of standard. A third policy allows the surcharge revenue to fund later CCS retrofits. Analytical results indicate that increasing flexibility leads to the earlier introduction of CCS, lower aggregate emissions and higher profits. We test this using dynamic stochastic optimization, with uncertain future natural gas and emissions allowance prices. Analytical predictions hold under most realizations. However in some cases different technologies are chosen, or technology is replaced over the time horizon. In some cases investments are delayed to enable the decision maker to learn additional information.


Speaker Bio:

Dr. Patino-Echeverri is the Gendell Assistant Professor of Engineering Systems and Public Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. Her research focuses on public policy design for energy systems, with a particular emphasis on risk management. Much of her current work focuses on the policies that affect capital investment decisions within the electricity industry, and the corresponding costs to society. Her models explore the effects of different government policies by modeling the industry’s decisions under uncertainty on future technological advancement, fuel prices, and emissions regulations. Dr. Patino-Echeverri received her Ph.D. from the department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She has a Masters of Engineering Degree in Industrial Engineering and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Los Andes. Prior to joining Duke university, she worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Climate Decision Making Center at CMU.


November 29, 2010
Peter Irvine
PhD Student, University of Bristol; alumni of the University of Durham with a Master�s Degree in Physics

"Should We Geoengineer the Earth's Climate?"
The Center on Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) and the Climate Decision Making Center (CDMC) will sponsor a lunch seminar entitled "Should We Geoengineer the Earth’s Climate?" with speaker Peter Irvine.

129 Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
November 29, 2010
12:00 pm

Lunch will be served beginning at 11:50 am. Attendees must RSVP.

An announcement will be distributed by Nov. 23, 2010. If you have not received the announcement by that date, contact Meryl Sustarsic to RSVP.

Seminar Abstract:

Geoengineering describes a group of ideas that aim to undo global warming by either removing the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere or by reflecting sunlight to cool the planet. This talk will focus on sunlight reflecting geoengineering techniques, which some claim may be a cheap and effective way to deal with the consequences of global warming. With results from climate model simulations this talk will try to answer some questions around geoengineering. What would be the impact of geoengineering on the climate? Would the changes in climate be for the better? Should we geoengineer the earth’s climate?

Speaker Bio:

Peter Irvine is a PhD student at the University of Bristol studying the effects of climate engineering using reduced complexity climate models. His research interests focus on the impacts of geoengineering-induced climate change and in particular their effect on human populations and ecosystems and how to model uncertainty on these predictions. Irvine’s work has focused on differ¬ing regional responses to climate engineering and the effects of model uncertainty on sea-level re¬sponse to geoengineering. Irvine received a Master’s Degree in Physics at the University of Durham in 2008 with his thesis describing ultra-cold atomic trap properties of a radio-field dressed magnetic nanowire, and is currently a visiting scholar working with Klaus Keller at Penn State University on the uncertain sea-level response to geoengineering.


November 9, 2010
Dr. James Conca
Senior Scientist, Institute for Energy and the Environment, New Mexico State University

"The Cost of Sustainable Energy Future"

Time: 12 noon
Location: Baker 129 conference room

Seminar Abstract and Speaker Bio

Attendance for this seminar is RSVP only. To RSVP, contact Meryl Sustarsic.


October 22, 2010
Dr. Leonard Smith
Centre for the Analysis of Time Series; London School of Economics; Oxford

"Scientific Modeling in Support of Decision Making: Skill and Value, Nonlinearity and Credibility"
129 Baker Hall
Beginning at 12:30 pm, October 22, 2010, the Climate Decision Making Center will sponsor a lunch seminar entitled "Scientific Modeling in Support of Decision Making: Skill and Value, Nonlinearity and Credibility" with speaker Dr. Leonard Smith, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, Professor in Statistics at the London School of Economics, and Senior Research Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford.

Lunch will be served beginning at 12:20 pm. Attendees must RSVP.

If you have not received an announcement by email, contact Meryl Sustarsic to RSVP.

*Abstract*
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.

*Bio*
Professor Leonard Smith is Director of the LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Time Series (CATS), Professor in Statistics at the London School of Economics, and Senior Research Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. Prof. Smith' research focuses on nonlinear dynamical systems, predictability, and the role of probability in real-world decision support. He publishes in areas ranging from mathematical systems and laboratory experiments, through industrial decision-support and financial time-series analysis, and on to understanding weather and climate. A member of the American Statistical Association's Advisory Committee on Climate Change Policy, a former member of the WMO Expert Teams for Forecast Verification, he was awarded the Royal Meteorological Society's Fitzroy Prize for contributions in applied meteorology, and was a Selby F


March 8, 2010
Jennifer Smokelin and Vanessa Schweizer
ReedSmith, LLP and Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

"Reflections on Copenhagen"
Engineering and Public Policy Conference Room, 129 Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon University

Beginning at 12 noon, March 8, 2010, the Climate Decision Making Center will sponsor a seminar entitled "Reflections on Copenhagen" with speakers Jennifer Smokelin, Counsel, ReedSmith LLP; and Vanessa Schweizer, PhD Candidate, EPP. The seminar speakers will discuss their observations from the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference this past December.

ABSTRACT
From December 7-18, 2009, representatives from nations around the globe gathered in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement on climate change. Denmark acted as host for this fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP 15. COP 15 was, by the numbers, the largest COP ever: there were over 100 heads of state and over 35,000 registrants for an event center that could hold only 15,000. By comparison, COP 3, where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, had 11,000 registrants. The numbers underscore the unprecedented convergence of public opinion and politics (and perhaps over-optimism) on addressing global climate change. This presentation will reflect on COP 15 and look forward to the likely affect of the Copenhagen Accord from the perspectives of two stakeholder groups: business and industry non-governmental organizations (BINGOs) and the general citizenry.

Slides from the seminar are available here .



 

Climate Decision Making Center 2009