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Sustainability Events

Special Seminar: Climate Policy and Energy Transformations

Elisabeth Moyer

  • Associate Professor, Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy, Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

Preventing or slowing climate change presents uniquely difficult challenges that push the limits of traditional policy analysis in guiding solutions. Both the potential damages of climate change and potential solutions that require transforming human energy use are 1) large, so that any choices structurally affect economics; 2) show, with timescales of a century or more, and 3) unprecedented, so that choices must be made under conditions of uncertainty. The University of Chicago's Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy works to build tools, datasets, and analyses aimed at providing guidance and breaking impasses that can impede constructive policy. This talk reviews the Center's approach and tools, and presents new work on the scale of the U.S. energy system and its evolution over the last two hundred years that provides insight into the pace and expense of any transformation of that system. We show that existing policy analysis tools typically omit many of the actors that make climate change uniquely problematic, and that a combination of detail and back-of-the-envelope calculations can provide instructive constraints on the pace, cost and feasibility of energy transformations.

Thursday, September 20, 2018
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.