News from SEI’s U.S. Center


2013

Keystone XL's biggest GHG impact could be effect on global oil consumption

December 19, 2013
Erickson, P. , Lazarus, M.

A new SEI analysis finds that, to the extent that Keystone XL enables significantly greater development of Canadian oil sands, the pipeline's greatest impact on GHG emissions could be its effect on global oil prices and, in turn, consumption.

Keystone XL pipesClimate policy and analysis often focus on energy production and consumption, but seldom consider how the choices we make about energy infrastructure – coal export terminals, oil and gas pipelines – might help shape future energy systems, energy use, and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal to extend the Keystone XL pipeline, to connect Canadian oil sands production with refineries and ports in the Gulf of Mexico, has brought these questions to the fore. Environmental activists have argued that Keystone XL would strike a serious blow to the climate, and President Barack Obama has said he will only approve Keystone XL if it "does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution". Similar issues have been raised with regard to proposed coal export terminals in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

A new paper by Peter Erickson and Michael Lazarus, senior scientists at SEI-US, identifies a major gap in existing estimates of Keystone XL's potential emissions impact: they appear to pay little attention to the pipeline's effect on the global oil supply, prices and resulting demand.

Modelling supply and demand

Even if those effects are small in global terms, they could be significant in relationship to Keystone XL and U.S. climate policy. To gauge the pipeline's potential impact, they built a straightforward supply-and-demand model using publicly available supply curves and peer-reviewed demand elasticities (the extent to which changes in oil consumption have responded to changes in oil prices).

They examined three possibilities: 1) that if the Keystone XL permit were rejected, the same amount of oil (100% of Keystone capacity) would reach the market by other means; 2) that half of it would; or 3) that none would. For the latter two cases, they found that the pipeline's impact on global oil prices, though modest (less than 1%), would be enough to increase global oil consumption by hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.

If none of the oil would otherwise reach the market, Keystone XL could increase global oil use by as much as 510,000 barrels per year, or 62% of Keystone XL capacity, they found. Including those price effects, the pipeline's annual emissions impact would be 93 million tCO2e per year, four to five times greater than the GHG implications of simply displacing average crude imported into the U.S. with oil-sands crude. If half the oil would still reach markets anyway, the pipeline's GHG impact would be that much smaller.

Read the paper, Greenhouse gas emissions implications of the Keystone XL pipeline »

Read the full version of this article on the SEI International website »


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SEI launches research on the new fossil fuel economy

September 27, 2013
Erickson, P. , Lazarus, M.
SEI recently launched a project that aims to deepen understanding of the risks posed by new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, and of the possible policy responses. The project's first discussion brief reviews methods used to analyze the incremental greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions impact of fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline or coal export terminals in the U.S. How should the emissions impact be assessed? It's a critically important question, yet as our research shows, it defies an easy answer. Other discussion briefs will touch on, among other topics, accounting for the GHG emissions associated with fossil fuel extraction, and the equity implications of one of the necessary steps in limiting climate change: leaving most of the remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
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SEI supports countries tackling short-lived climate pollutants

August 10, 2013
Heaps, C. , Veysey, J. , Davis, M.

Climate change is driven primarily by the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and sharply reducing CO2 emissions is the top priority in the effort to avoid dangerous long-term impacts. But pollutants that don't remain in the atmosphere for long, such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and black carbon (soot), play an important role in the short term, with particularly large impacts in urban areas and sensitive regions such as the Arctic. They also affect human health, crop yields and ecosystems.

In February 2012, aiming to catalyze rapid action on these pollutants, the governments of Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the U.S. and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC).

Since then, the coalition has grown to 66 partners: 33 countries and 33 intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. SEI, which coordinated two major scientific reports on SLCPs that have guided much of the coalition's work, has been involved from the start, and has made it an institutional priority to support CCAC.

SEI Policy Director Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna, an expert in air pollution issues, sits on the coalition's Science Advisory Panel, and he also leads an initiative to help countries develop SLCPs National Action Plans, and is coordinating a new regional assessment of SLCPs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

New tools to support national planning

As part of the planning initiative, SEI has developed a tool to assess the potential for mitigating SLCP emissions in each country, based on the institute's Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) system, which is already used by thousands of planners and researchers around the world.

Colombia scenario screen shotThe LEAP-SLCP toolkit at work: an example of results from scenario modelling for Colombia.

The new LEAP-SLCP tool is part of a CCAC National Action Plans "toolkit" that also includes a Rapid Benefits Calculator developed by SEI's York Centre and the BenMAP-CE tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which focuses on the health benefits of reducing air pollution.

The toolkit got its first trial runs in the pilot phase of the national planning initiative, which began in January with four countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana and Mexico. Initial results were presented at a CCAC meeting in Mexico City on July 22-26, where the coalition also approved $1.9 million USD in new funding to support additional countries' national planning efforts.

CCAC members also approved more than $3 million in new funding for initiatives to address SLCP emissions from household cooking and heating, brick kilns and landfills.

"CCAC fits perfectly with SEI's mission," says Kuylenstierna. "It is trying to achieve action to reduce emissions, and helping developing countries reduce emissions while achieving development benefits – all closely informed by science."

The coalition's next scheduled meeting is in September in Oslo, Norway, with environment ministers and other senior officials from the partner countries. Both Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna and SEI Executive Director Johan L. Kuylenstierna plan to attend.

To learn more about CCAC, visit www.unep.org/ccac; a summary of the meeting is available here. To learn more about the LEAP-SLCP tool, email developer Charles Heaps. For an overview of the science of SLCPs and the benefits of addressing them, watch a video with SEI's Kevin Hicks.



New Colombia partnership enables joint research, capacity-building

August 1, 2013
Escobar, M. , Purkey, D. , Sieber, J.


SEI has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources, one of five government research institutes in Colombia, is in charge of biodiversity assessment at the national level. The new agreement, which covers an initial term of three years, creates a framework for collaboration on research, training and support for environmental policy management.

SEI has a growing presence in Latin America, in multiple realms, including water resources management and climate change adaptation. Marisa Escobar, a senior scientist at SEI-US and a native of Colombia, has examined how the water-energy-land use "nexus" approach can be used to understand socio-ecological transformations in the Orinoco River basin in Colombia, and she is also leading a project sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to build adaptation capacity among regional water resources management boards.

Through this new collaboration with the Humboldt Institute, SEI will contribute to the design of programs and projects related to environmental management systems, analysis of development patterns, climate change adaptation and transformation of governance and institutions.

Both institutions will explore opportunities to finance long-term research to develop the Orinoco River basin. They will draft joint proposals, exchange knowledge and organize conferences and workshops.

In the first step in the partnership, Escobar visited the Humboldt Institute with David R. Purkey, director of the SEI-US Water Resources Group, and Jack Sieber, developer of SEI's Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) system, for a workshop on 18 July. The focus was on development and implementation of a WEAP tool to model hydrology and climate change in the Orinoco region in Colombia.


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New version of LEAP available + 2 regional workshops

May 3, 2013
Heaps, C.


A new version of SEI's Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning system (LEAP) is now available, with features improvements to LEAP's optimization calculations including support for modeling a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and support for more realistically modeling the different sizes (capacities) of different types of power plants by using Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP). The update also allows LEAP to be used simultaneously by multiple user accounts on a single PC.

The new RPS feature allows users to set targets for renewable generation as part of their optimization calculations. At the module level you can specify a Renewable Production Target variable as a percentage of total production from the module. At the process level you can specify for each process, what fraction of production is qualified for the RPS target using the Renewable Qualified variable.

For example, coal and oil would typically have a value of 0%, while wind and solar would have a value of 100%. Some RPS policies don't allow hydropower and biomass to be included. A coal plant fired with 10% biomass might have the Renewable Qualified variable set to 10%.

Users can also now set the minimum size of each capacity addition using the Minimum Addition Size variable. For example, wind power plants may have a minimum size of just a few megawatts, while a nuclear power plant may have a minimum size of a many hundreds of megawatts. If the variable is set to zero, there is no minimum and the optimization calculations will use a faster linear programming approach. If non-zero, the optimization calculations use the much slower technique of Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP). Note that this is still an experimental feature.

LEAP Workshop, June 10-21 at Fundación Bariloche, Argentina

The Institute for Energy Economics of the Fundación Bariloche (IDEE/FB)is hosting the 12th Annual Workshop on Energy Policy for Sustainable Development and Use of the LEAP Modeling System. The workshop is designed for energy and environmental professionals and is open to participants from any country, but please be advised that sessions will be conducted in Spanish, so a high degree of fluency in Spanish is required. A limited number of scholarships are available to help defray the costs of attending.

For more information or an application, visit the COMMEND website.

Regional Training on Using LEAP for GHG Mitigation Assessment in New Delhi, July 15-19

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Low Emissions Asian Development (LEAD) program will host a one-week regional training in New Delhi, India, on using LEAP to analyze low emission development strategies (LEDS). The training will also show how to construct marginal abatement cost (MAC) curves. The workshop is open to up to 40 LEDS practitioners from 10 LEAD partner countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Participants will be selected based on their qualifications and how actively they are engaged in LEDS. The LEAD program will arrange for the travel and accommodation of the selected participants.

For more information or an application, download the event flyer.



SEI paper on Chinook salmon wins ASCE-EWRI research award

March 27, 2013
Escobar, M. , Purkey, D. , Yates, D.
The editors of the ASCE-EWRI Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management have chosen an article by SEI researchers and colleagues at the University of California–Davis, "Water Management Adaptations to Prevent Loss of Spring-Run Chinook Salmon in California under Climate Change", as 2013 Best Research-Oriented Paper. The authors will be presented with the award during the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2013, May 19-23, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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New version of WEAP (3.4) adds several enhancements, full Spanish translation

March 22, 2013
Sieber, J.
WEAP-logo-sm


SEI has released a new version of WEAP, available now for download. Highlights include:

• 3-D chart to show MODFLOW groundwater flow field vectors;
• Improvement of Mabia catchment method via a 2-bucket model;
• Enhanced display of background maps, including thematic coloring from geographic data;
• New Lookup function for expressions; • Spanish translation complete; partial translations for Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Korean, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Vietnamese;
• Numerous other improvements, optimizations and bug fixes.

Click on the link below for a complete list of changes. Current WEAP users should be able to easily update WEAP to this new version. When WEAP starts, it should find this update and offer to download and install it automatically. If not, go to the menu in WEAP: Help, Check for New Version.


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2012

Conference explores links between inequality, sustainability

November 1, 2012
Kemp-Benedict, E. , Fencl, A. , Olson, K. , Davis, M.

Debates over equity – the fair distribution of resources, costs, and benefits – and a closely related topic, economic inequality, have arisen in the wake of the recent financial crisis.

ICIS image

If we are to build a prosperous society, does inequality do more to help or hinder the pursuit of that goal? As we simultaneously seek an equitable and just society, then what level of inequality is consistent with an equitable outcome?

As part of a major international project, SEI hosted a conference at Tufts University on Nov. 9-10 to address these questions – looking at equity and inequality through the lens of sustainability and, conversely, at sustainability from the point of view of equity and inequality.

Download the conference agenda
(PDF, 898kb)

The conference, co-hosted by Tufts' Center for International Environment & Resource Policy (CIERP), brought together sustainability, equity, and inequality researchers from four continents.

The agenda was built on three themes: notions of equity for sustainability; economic structures for sustainability, and inequality and equity in a sustainability transition – each framed by its own keynote address. At the end of the second day, all participants were invited to discuss important policy-relevant questions on the possibility of a "vicious circle" linking inequality and unsustainable practices, social equity in the green economy, and the political role of the equity debate in international agreements.


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WEAP, LEAP linkage create powerful integrated tool to explore the water-energy nexus

August 30, 2012
Heaps, C. , Sieber, J. , Purkey, D.

New releases of SEI's LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning) system and SEI's Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system, both used by thousands of planners and researchers worldwide, link the two tools to offer powerful new integrated modeling.

Climate, water and energy are intricately linked, so choices in any one sector can often reverberate across the others. To achieve the best possible outcomes, policy-makers need to understand the changing dynamics in each sector as well as cross-sector interactions and tradeoffs – the so-called "nexus". Thanks to extensive scientific research and analysis, the nexus framework is now fairly well understood. Yet applying it in practice has been difficult because of the lack of usable quantitative tools. The WEAP-LEAP linkage fills that gap.

LEAP-logo-sm

The Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) system, used in more than 190 countries, is a powerful, versatile software system for integrated energy and greenhouse gas mitigation planning. It is widely used for energy assessments and Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDs), and has been applied in dozens of National Communications on Climate Change to the United Nations.

WEAP-logo-sm

The Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) system is used in 170 countries worldwide for integrated water resources management and planning at a range of spatial and temporal scales. WEAP models both water demand – and its main drivers – and water supply, simulating real-world policies, priorities and preferences.

In a two-year project funded by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sectoral Applications Research Program, WEAP developer Jack Sieber and LEAP developer Charles Heaps worked together to link the two tools to allow users to model evolving conditions in both water and energy systems and examine cross-sectoral impacts of different policy choices. The complete modeling suite was launched at World Water Week in Stockholm on August 30.

SEI is actively encouraging both WEAP and LEAP users to take advantage of the new linkage, which allows them to easily exchange key model parameters and results. For example, LEAP users can now import water availability projections from WEAP to see how much hydropower they can count on in any given month – and how much energy they'll need to supply from different sources. Similarly, LEAP can help WEAP users explore the energy and GHG emissions implications of desalinating seawater to meet growing urban demand.


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National Bioenergy Investment Model (NBIM) Version 0.6 Beta now available for download

June 18, 2012
Kemp-Benedict, E.

SEI recently published the technical documentation for the National Bioenergy Investment Model, a scenario model that simulates decision-making by domestic and foreign investors whether to invest in biofuel projects in a developing country.

Now the model is available for download on our website. It is open-source and free.

The NBIM is useful for rapidly exploring the implications of broad types of policies by seeing how they perform in a simulation. It cannot be used to evaluate specific policies or to make projections, but it can be used to gain insight.

NBIM is a dynamic model that features "boom and bust" investment cycles. For this reason, you might see investment peaking and then falling. Also, you might see some land that was converted to biofuel feedstocks being idled as feedstock prices fall too low.


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Global scenarios to 2050: Laying out a path to 'sustainable energy for all'

June 14, 2012
Heaps, C.

The UN Secretary General has named 2012 the year of "Sustainable Energy for All", and energy access figured prominently on the Rio+20 conference agenda. But what would achieving the UN's goals entail?

A new SEI report, Energy for a Shared Development Agenda, combines a global assessment of energy scenarios up to 2050, case studies, and an in-depth analysis of policy and governance issues to show how it could be done – and the massive changes required.

The authors explore three scenarios: business as usual; basic energy access (BEA), which seeks to meet household needs for lighting, heat and cooking, and shared development agenda (SDA), which examines the implications for energy systems if all nations achieve per capita annual incomes of at least $10,000 USD (at 2005 purchasing power parity rates).

Developing nations are already expanding energy access on their own, and the report shows that if current trends continue, global energy demand would rise from 365 exajoules (EJ) in 2010 to 775 EJ by 2050, with South Asia as the biggest consumer. Global CO2 emissions would rise to 64% above 1990 levels by 2020 and to 152% above 1990 levels by 2050, making it near-certain that temperatures will increase by more than 2°C.

In the BEA scenario, energy demand dramatically decreases due to concerted efforts to improve energy efficiency and sharply reduce the energy intensity of economies. Primary energy use continues to rise until 2020, peaking at 575 EJ but declining to 441 EJ by 2050. Global CO2 emissions increase by 38% in 2020 relative to 1990, but by 2050 decrease by 92% on 1990 levels.

In the SDA scenario, energy demand rises sharply across much of Africa, and to a lesser extent, in South Asia. Yet global energy demand is only 33.5 EJ (11%) higher in 2050 than in the BEA scenario, partly due to sharper reductions in U.S. and Canadian energy use, but with no major changes elsewhere. Carbon emissions are virtually the same as under BEA.

Thailand solar installation
SOLAR INSTALLATION IN THAILAND / FLICKR-ADB

The authors' verdict: Sustainable energy access for all is attainable, but only if nations work together to transform global energy systems. Incremental changes are simply not enough, the authors stress, nor is this simply a technological challenge. Governance at all levels must be strengthened and improved, and effective policies must be adopted to guide public- and private-sector investment.

The scenarios were produced by SEI-US Director Charlie Heaps using the LEAP (Long range Energy Alternatives Planning) system, which has been used by governments, academics, NGOs, companies and energy utilities in more than 190 countries for energy policy analysis and climate change mitigation assessment.

"This is one of the first global energy assessments to be entirely open-source," says Heaps. "We hope that others will build on our work to continue to explore these important issues."


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International Conference on Inequality and Sustainability, Nov. 9-10

June 1, 2012
Kemp-Benedict, E. , Kartha, S. , Stanton, E.A. , Fencl, A. , Olson, K. , Davis, M.

Debates over equity – the fair distribution of resources, costs, and benefits – and a closely related topic, economic inequality, have arisen in the wake of the recent financial crisis. The pursuit of a sustainable society raises further questions, with some arguing that greater income equality and equity may be preconditions for sustainability. This conference, to be held at Tufts University, will bring together sustainability, equity, and inequality researchers to learn from one another and discuss these important questions.
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SEI pilots framework to support local-level climate action

February 9, 2012
Erickson, P. , Stanton, E.A. , Chandler, C. , Lazarus, M. , Bueno, R.

A new study led by Seattle-based SEI researchers combines "production-based" and "consumption-based" greenhouse gas inventories for King County, Wash., and shows how this and other local governments can track and reduce emissions. The project, one of the first of its kind in the United States, was commissioned by the county to update its prior greenhouse gas inventory and provide a more complete picture of how people in the county contribute to global climate change – and what local leaders can do about it.

Along with the two measures, the SEI report includes a new tracking framework that focuses on a "core" set of emission sources that can be most directly affected by local policies, and can be tracked with readily available data: local building energy use, vehicle travel, and waste disposal.

"Local governments have profound influence over the form of urban areas – from land use codes, to transportation systems and building energy performance," says Peter Erickson, an SEI senior scientist and lead author of the report. "This study sets up a new framework for King County to use to track progress over time in the sources of emissions that are most sensitive to local government policy. It also helps quantify the impact of consumption, and in doing so, helps shed light on how consumer actions – from eating less meat to buying less stuff – can help reduce global emissions."


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Bangalore project maps 'urban metabolism' for sustainability

February 7, 2012
Mehta, V. , Kemp-Benedict, E.
Bangalore has been one of India's great success stories, booming as a high-tech capital. But this boom has also brought a surge in population, increasing demand for resources and services that the city's utilities and infrastructure are struggling to meet.

Bangalore water truck
A WATER DELIVERY TRUCK IN BANGALORE / ERIC KEMP-BENEDICT

A Bangalore native now based in SEI-US' Davis office, Vishal Mehta is now leading a project to map the city's resource use in the context of socio-economic and demographic trends, to help local decision-makers and stakeholders plan for a more sustainable future – and in the process, develop a model that could be replicated in other cities.

The project, Urban Metabolic Mapping: Securing the Biophysical Foundation of Indian Cities, is funded by SEI with Indian partners. The key policy tool it is developing is a modeling framework that treats cities as living entities that use energy and resources to generate useful products and waste.

Consumption data will be compared with social, economic and demographic information. Current and future development scenarios will be gauged against dimensions of economic efficiency, social equity and environmental sustainability, facilitating civic discourse on the nature and impacts of various development pathways of Indian cities, and engaging civic bodies at city, state and national level.

Along with Mehta and Eric Kemp-Benedict of SEI, the multidisciplinary team includes ecological economists and environmental scientists at the Indian Institute of Management and the Indian Institute of Science. Throughout the project, the team is also engaging closely with the diverse actors involved in crafting solutions: from government, to civil society.

As part of the project, on Feb. 2, Kemp-Benedict and Mehta presented the urban sustainability framework at the Bangalore World Water Summit. The following day, SEI and IIM co-hosted a day-long participatory planning exercise for stakeholders, Imagining Bangalore: A scenarios workshop on the city's long-term sustainability; participants included government agencies, academic scientists and NGOs.

Follow the link below to see early results from the project.


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Individuals and climate change: A closer look at the Caribbean

January 9, 2012
Stanton, E.A. , Bueno, R.

LOURDES AYALA SANTOS, OF PUERTO RICO, PROFILED ON SEI-CIEL.ORG

This blogpost applies SEI's Climate Impact Equity Lens tool to the Caribbean to show the wide range of projected impacts from climate change on people in the region. The authors note that the Caribbean islands include the countries with the lowest and highest average incomes in the greater Latin American and Caribbean region: Haiti, at less than $500 per year, and the Cayman Islands, at $52,000, and there is great income diversity within countries as well.

Impacts on individuals also differ greatly depending on their source of income, with higher projected damages among those who work in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, or other climate-vulnerable sectors. And physical vulnerabilities such as exposure to sea-level rise and water scarcity also vary throughout the region.

This diversity of experiences, the authors argue, shows how crucial it is for policymakers to look beyond the regional average in order to understand the severity of impacts on the most vulnerable.

The link below leads to the Climate & Knowledge Development Network blog, where the article first appeared; it was also reposted on RealClimateEconomics.


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2011

California Public Radio spotlights research on salmon, hydropower

October 13, 2011
Escobar, M. , Purkey, D.

CHINOOK SALMON / U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE PACIFIC SW REGION

Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif., recently went on a field trip with SEI and University of California-Davis researchers to learn firsthand about Chinook salmon in Butte Creek, whose survival is threatened by climate change.

The interdisciplinary research team linked SEI's WEAP system to a salmon population dynamics model to analyze tradeoffs between different ecosystem services, including fish habitat and hydropower.

Spring-run Chinook salmon used to be plentiful in California's Central Valley but are now an endangered species, down from about a million fish to only about 16,000, and limited to a handful of watersheds. Because adults over-summer in freshwater streams before spawning in the fall, they are particularly threatened by climate change.

The Butte Creek study found that without changes in water management, the water in the streams will become too warm within decades, and Chinook salmon will likely go extinct in Butte Creek and all of California. The study also found that halting the diversion of water from Butte Creek at one major dam during the critical July-September holding period could significantly improve the salmon's survival chances, but at the expense of large amounts of power generation.


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Is regulation a job-killer? A look at claims on coal ash

October 11, 2011
Ackerman, F.

Regulation of coal-ash disposal at the federal level would lead to a net job gain, not massive losses as industry claims, a new SEI policy paper shows.

The paper addresses claims made in an industry-sponsored study that regulating coal ash under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the stricter of two options being considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would lead to the loss of up to 316,000 jobs nationwide. SEI senior economist Frank Ackerman finds the study deeply flawed, on multiple levels.

Ackerman's own calculation, based on cost estimates from an industry-sponsored study and the IMPLAN model of the U.S. economy, shows a net gain of 28,000 jobs per year.

"The claim that hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost, especially in such troubled economic times, would seem to suggest that we can't afford to regulate coal ash, no matter what the benefits might be," Ackerman said. "But this report shows that what we can’t afford is such careless and exaggerated calculations of job impacts."

"Despite industry's claims to the contrary, strict regulation of coal-ash disposal would have a net positive effect on jobs," he added. "That fact doesn't, by itself, clinch the argument for regulation. But it does free us of the unfounded fear of massive job loss, allowing us to evaluate the regulation on its merits."


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SEI and GHGMI re-launch Carbon Offset Research & Education (CORE) web resource

August 26, 2011
Kollmuss, A. , Lazarus, M. , Lee, C.M.

Launched by SEI and the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, CORE provides an up-to-date analysis and synthesis of the most influential carbon offset programs and activities. It reflects on lessons learned, and aims to inform consumers as well as offset program participants and designers.

The site includes three sections: in-depth information and analysis about offset design and policies; information for offset buyers; and information about GHG calculations from aviation for carbon offsetting.

With the re-launch, which is being phased in, the website is being updated to reflect recent program changes and policy debates. To learn more about the updates, click here.


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World Water Week 2011: Hydropower and salmon in a changing climate

August 22, 2011
Escobar, M.

SEI-U.S. research on California's spring-run Chinook salmon, how they are threatened by climate change, and the implications for hydropower, was featured at World Water Week 2011, a week-long conference held in Stockholm on Aug. 21 to 26.

Wild Pacific salmon populations in California, Oregon, and Washington have been declining for many years, stressed by overfishing, changes in ocean conditions, water quality and habitat degradation, genetic mixing with hatchery stocks, and the damming of rivers.

Spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), which used to be plentiful in California’s Central Valley, are now an endangered species, down from about a million fish to only about 16,000, and limited to a handful of watersheds. And because adults over-summer in freshwater streams before spawning in the fall, they are greatly threatened by climate change.

SEI has used WEAP, its Water Evaluation And Planning system, in combination with other tools to project the long-term impact of climate change on Chinook salmon in California's Butte Creek. At the conference, SEI-U.S. researcher Marisa Escobar presented the study findings, which suggest that the only way to protect Chinook salmon from extinction by the century's end is to suspend water diversions for hydropower generation during the summer months.

More than 150 dams in California are set to be relicensed in the next decade, Escobar noted, and the conditions placed on those dams could make a difference between survival and extinction.


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Lee Schipper: A tribute

August 17, 2011

Leon J. 'Lee' Schipper, 64, an internationally renowned scholar in the fields of transport and energy efficiency, passed away in Berkeley, Calif., on August 16.


IMAGE COURTESY OF EMBARQ/WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

Schipper was a project scientist for the Global Metropolitan Studies Initiative at the University of California-Berkeley; senior research engineer for the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University; founder of the World Resources Institute's center for sustainable transport, EMBARQ; and a longtime contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He was also the father of Lisa Schipper, a senior scientist at SEI-U.S., as well as a friend and occasional partner in SEI research.

Follow the link below to read a tribute on the SEI-International website.


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Climate Risks and Carbon Prices: Revising the Social Cost of Carbon

July 13, 2011
Ackerman, F. , Stanton, E.A.

A new SEI analysis raises serious questions about the U.S. government's estimate of the "social cost of carbon" – a calculation of the damage caused by each additional ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere – and a key policy-making factor, used in cost-benefit analyses of everything from power plant regulations to car fuel-efficiency standards.

The figure the U.S. government has used since last year, developed by an interagency group, is $21 per ton of CO2. But that number, the report shows, is based on fundamentally flawed methodologies and grossly understates the potential impact and uncertainty of climate change. Making small adjustments to the models to address these issues leads to values as high as $893 per ton in 2010 and $1550 in 2050.

Comparing prior research on the cost of reducing emissions with the report's new findings on the cost of carbon, the authors conclude that it is highly likely it is costing the United States more to do nothing about climate change than it would to adopt mitigation measures.


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EPA webinar: Measuring the Impacts of What We Consume

June 7, 2011
Lazarus, M. , Erickson, P. , Stanton, E.A.

Globalization has shifted a large share of U.S. carbon emissions abroad, but that doesn't make Americans' carbon footprints any smaller – we just have to measure them differently.

This webinar, held June 7, 2011, and attended by about 340 people, looked at how and why we measure the environmental impacts of our consumption, and how that measurement can inform us on our path to more sustainable patterns of consumption in our communities.

SEI researchers presented their work on the CBEI (Consumption-Based Emissions Inventory) model, which has now been applied to Oregon; King County, WA (Seattle), and San Francisco and California, and more broadly on greenhouse gas emissions inventories.


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New version of WEAP exports results to Google Earth

May 31, 2011
Sieber, J.

Version 3.1 of WEAP, SEI's Water Evaluation And Planning system, allows users to export results to Google Earth, providing a powerful and convenient way to package and share the materials. Click here for a demonstration. The new version also updates the linear program solver, allows users to constrain reservoir release due to a maximum hydraulic flow, and makes other small improvements.

This update follows a major new WEAP release in January that pulled together two years' worth of upgrades, adding improved analytical tools, more customization options, and full compatibility with Windows 7, including the 64-bit version. WEAP was created by SEI scientists more than 20 years ago and has been applied to water systems in countries around the world.


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SEI to host 'writeshop' for climate adaptation researchers and professionals in Latin America

May 30, 2011
Schipper, L.

SEI, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and CATIE are hosting a 'writeshop' July 25-29 in Costa Rica for early-career researchers and professionals working in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Sixteen participants will be selected. All costs, including travel, are covered by the organizers.

The writeshop will involve one-on-one work with facilitators to provide supplemental training on academic writing and argumentation, to help new authors reach a standard of writing suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals. The writeshop will be held in Spanish; papers may be written in Spanish or English, and for anyone who wishes to have a paper translated into English, the cost will be covered.

The Latin America writeshop is the third in a series cosponsored by SEI and UN/ISDR that aims to bring more developing-country perspectives into the peer-reviewed journals that help shape climate policy worldwide. Read more about the initiative on the SEI International website.


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A social-science approach to climate change adaptation

May 7, 2011
Schipper, L. , Fencl, A.

Two years ago, the Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences (ICARUS) was launched to bring together researchers, students, decision-makers and activists interested in social-science and humanistic approaches to climate change adaptation.

The ICARUS II Conference on Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation: Marginal Peoples and Environments was held May 5-8 at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and two SEI-US researchers, Lisa Schipper and Amanda Fencl, presented their work.

Schipper spoke about the wide range of definitions for "adaptation," and how to ensure that activities done under that name don't actually do more harm than good. The answer, she said, is not necessarily to create a single, specific definition of the term, but to agree that the overarching goal of adaptation is to stimulate change toward sustainable development.

Fencl's presentation focused on a case study completed by SEI researchers last year in Northeast Thailand, "Using social network analysis to understand innovation and diffusion of sustainable agricultural water resource management in a changing climate."


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Jordan uses WEAP to create National Water Plan

May 5, 2011
Sieber, J. , Purkey, D.

The Kingdom of Jordan is using SEI's WEAP system to monitor and manage all its aquifers and to develop a National Water Plan. The government unveiled the project at a WEAP regional conference May 3-5 in Amman that was co-sponsored by SEI, the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan.


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SEI releases major new version of LEAP system

May 5, 2011
Heaps, C.

SEI has released a major new version of LEAP, the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning system, its powerful, versatile software system for integrated energy planning and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation assessment.

LEAP is already used by thousands of organizations in over 190 countries, including government agencies, academics, non-governmental organizations, consultants, and utilities, and is becoming the de facto standard for countries undertaking GHG mitigation assessments and creating Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDs).

LEAP2011 screen

The new release, LEAP2011, is more streamlined and easier to use than previous versions, but also adds significant new capabilities. For example, it includes optimization modeling – a technique that automatically calculates least-cost configurations of future energy systems under different conditions, such as specific GHG emission reduction targets.

LEAP2011 also includes more powerful tools for modeling seasonal and time-of-day variations in energy demand and supply, a crucial feature as energy planners seek to dramatically increase the share of power generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind power, which are intermittent by nature.

In addition, LEAP's code has been substantially reengineered, making it faster and more robust, allowing it to fully support any language. LEAP2011 also has a simplified, easier-to-use interface, with wizards that provide step-by-step assistance to users.

To learn more or to download LEAP2011, visit www.energycommunity.org.



The Economics of Climate Change in China: Towards a Low-Carbon Economy

April 28, 2011
Ackerman, F. , Heaps, C. , Kartha, S. , Lazarus, M. , Stanton, E.A.

China book cover China faces many modernization challenges, and responding to climate change may be the most pressing. China must find a new economic growth model that is environmentally sustainable, doesn't depend on fossil fuels, and can improve living standards for the population.

But what does such a model look like? And how can China best make the transition from its present macro-economic structure to a low-carbon future?

A new book based on a groundbreaking study led by SEI and the Chinese Economists 50 Forum tries to answer those questions. Leading international thinkers map out a deep carbon reduction scenario, analyze economic policies that shift carbon use, and show how China can dramatically reduce its carbon emissions over the next 40 years while maintaining high economic growth and minimizing adverse economic effects.

The book, rated among the top 40 sustainability books of 2010 by the University of Cambridge, argues that transitioning to a low-carbon economy is an essential part of China's development and modernization, and it would present opportunities for China to improve its energy security and move its economy higher up the international value chain.

Click here to learn more about the book and the project on which it is based.



WEAP workshop in Madrid trains researchers from 18 countries

April 15, 2011
Purkey, D. , Escobar, M.
The Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) hosted a WEAP workshop April 12-15 that drew 32 researchers from 18 countries. SEI's David Purkey and Marisa Escobar provided WEAP training, and users spoke about their ongoing projects with WEAP. Three of the WEAP applications presented are part of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water & Food, in the Volta Basin in Ghaha, the Nile Basin in Ethiopia, and the Andes.
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Blog: Think energy efficiency isn't working? Think again

April 5, 2011
Ackerman, F.
Several recent commentaries have suggested that energy efficiency is not cost-effective. Writing in Grist, Frank Ackerman looks at latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration – and what it really says about households' energy use.
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The Implications of International Greenhouse Gas Offsets on Global Climate Mitigation

March 29, 2011
Lazarus, M. , Erickson, P.

A new SEI paper and policy brief show that potential double-counting of international greenhouse gas emission offsets, if not addressed, could reduce the ambition of 2020 pledges under the Cancun Agreements by up to 1.6 billion tons CO2e, and outline possible policy solutions.

The paper, The Implications of International Greenhouse Gas Offsets on Global Climate Mitigation, was presented by Michael Lazarus on March 29 in Paris, at a seminar on carbon markets and accountability hosted by the OECD and the International Energy Agency. It notes that to date, 42 developed countries have submitted emission reduction pledges, projected to reduce emissions by up to 4 billion tons (Gt) CO2e in 2020 from "business as usual," and over 40 developing countries have submitted nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs).

It's unclear, however, whether both developed (buyer) and developing (seller) countries will be able to count emission reductions from offset projects towards their respective pledges. Double-counting offsets, the paper shows, could effectively reduce the ambition of current pledges by up to 1.6 billion tons CO2e in 2020 – equivalent to 10% of the total abatement required in 2020 to stay on a 2°C pathway.

The paper outlines policy approaches that could reduce the risk of double-counting, which the authors said would enhance the credibility and environmental integrity of international offsets under the Cancun Agreements.


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Interview: Lord Nicholas Stern on the economics of climate change

March 14, 2011
Ackerman, F.
Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the U.K.'s landmark Stern Review, visited Tufts University on March 8 to accept the 2011 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. As part of his visit, he did an interview with SEI's Frank Ackerman, focusing on the economics of climate change and the need to invest in a low-carbon future. Click below for the video.
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SEI-US 2010 Environmental Report now available

March 3, 2011

The SEI-US Center Environmental Report contains a greenhouse gas emissions inventory including utilities, commuting and air travel, as well as information about efforts to green SEI's operations. The report shows total SEI-US emissions were 233.4 Mt of CO2e, or 9.3 Mt per full-time-equivalent staff member.
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SEI Study Finds Climate Change Will Significantly Worsen Southwest Water Crisis

February 10, 2011
Ackerman, F. , Stanton, E.A.
Water is already a major concern in the Southwest, where homes, businesses and farms use far more water than is produced by rain and snowfall, and groundwater reserves are shrinking. A new SEI study finds that without prompt action to reduce water use, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah will face a combined shortfall of 1,815 million acre feet from population and income growth alone, plus 282 million to 439 million more from climate change – at a combined cost of as much as $5 trillion.
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WEAP International Workshop, April 2011

January 26, 2011
Purkey, D. , Escobar, M. , Sieber, J.
WEAP, the Water Evaluation And Planning system, is a software tool designed by SEI for integrated water resource planning. The Universidad Politecnica de Madrid will be hosting a workshop titled "Using WEAP as a decision support system for water resources management and adaptation to climate change." For more information, or to register, please see the brochure.

Report on Alternatives for Woody Biomass Residues

January 15, 2011
Lee, C.M. , Erickson, P. , Lazarus, M. , Smith, G.
The new report examines the GHG and air pollutant emissions for using or disposing of woody debris.
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New Version of WEAP released!

January 6, 2011
Sieber, J.
SEI has released a new version of its WEAP system (Water Evaluation And Planning) with improved analytical tools, more customization options, and full compatibility with Windows 7, including the 64-bit version. WEAP was created by SEI scientists more than 20 years ago and has been applied to water systems in numerous countries around the world. The new release pulls together two years' worth of upgrades and improvements, most notably to add flexibility for advanced users.
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SEI-US Lunch Talk: Tackling Emissions from International Transport

January 3, 2011
Strong A.
Why are international transport fuels so difficult to regulate and what factors have prevented action? This talk, Jan. 19 at SEI-US, explores the role of the International Maritime Organization in global climate change policymaking and its relationship with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – in particular the UNFCCC's principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" for tackling climate change between developed and developing countries.
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2010

Massachusetts Sets Targets to Cut CO2 Emissions

December 30, 2010
Heaps, C. , Clark, V.
In compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) of 2008, Massachusetts has set statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits for 2020 and released the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, which describes how it will comply with that limit. The limit has been set to 25% below 1990 levels, the maximum authorized by the GWSA.  The reduction plan is built on an analysis developed by a team including SEI and using SEI's LEAP energy planning software. For more information please see this story in the New York Times.
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SEI @ AGU

December 16, 2010
Escobar, M. , Joyce, B. , Purkey, D. , Mehta, V.
Read about SEI's presentations at this year's American Geophysical Union conference.
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Response to Adipic Acid Criticism

December 10, 2010
Lazarus, M. , Kollmuss, A.
SEI has received several comments and questions regarding our adipic acid paper. Download the paper and our response here..

SEI @ COP16

November 30, 2010
Kartha, S. , Kemp-Benedict, E. , Davis, M.
SEI researchers are involved in multiple COP16 events in Cancún. More Information

SEI-US Symposium – Cross Currents: Water and Energy Challenges in the 21st Century

November 4, 2010

The important fields of water and energy policy are becoming increasingly connected. One emerging challenge is the provision of adequate water supplies to match the world's growing demands for energy. This will likely be difficult both with traditional approaches to energy production such as thermal power plants, which require huge amounts of cooling water, but also for some renewable energy systems such as solar power, which need to be sited in areas where sunshine is plentiful but water generally is not. In addition, our water supply systems' energy needs are growing rapidly and will continue to grow as we become more dependent on groundwater from steadily falling aquifers. A third emerging challenge is how best to manage the competing demands on our water systems, particularly with respect to how dams are managed for hydropower, agricultural irrigation and the protection of ecological systems.

Our day-long symposium, held on November 4, 2010 at Tufts University and attended by 80 participants, explored how these and other perspectives on water and energy can be assembled into a useful framework that can support the development of sustainable water and energy management policies in a changing world.

To read more and download the presentations, click here.



New Study: Growing Water Scarcity in US is 'Hidden' Financial Risk for Investors

October 21, 2010
Yates, D.
A major new study, "The Ripple Effect: Water risk in the municipal bond market," as reported in the New York Times Business section, used WEAP to model the flows of water and to measure water scarcity.

Industrial gas CDM projects may lead to increases in greenhouse gases

October 18, 2010
Lazarus, M. , Kollmuss, A.
Incentives created by the CDM may have lead to a significant shift of adipic acid production from plants in industrialized countries to CDM plants, a new SEI study shows. This may have led to "carbon leakage" and the issuance of 13.5 million offsets that did not result in overall emissions reductions.
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Critical Review of Supply Estimates of International Offsets

August 31, 2010
Erickson, P. , Lazarus, M.
Proposed US cap-and-trade legislation allow for emitters to use up to 1.5 billion tons CO2e of offsets from developing countries to meet their annual compliance obligations. This paper reviews estimates of the projected availability of such offsets.
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Reports examine U.S. climate policy impacts on states

August 17, 2010
Stanton, E.A. , Ackerman, F.
SEI analyzed how interstate differences would affect potential climate policies' impact on states and found that a simple approach that puts a price on carbon, then returns almost all the revenue to households, would effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions without hurting most Americans' incomes. An accompanying white paper offers 7 key questions by which to judge U.S. climate policy.
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A New Model of Climate and Development

April 28, 2010
Ackerman, F. , Stanton, E.A. , Bueno, R.
SEI's Climate and Regional Economics of Development (CRED) model is designed to analyze the economics of climate and development choices. Its principal innovations are the treatment of global equity, calculation of the optimum interregional flows of resources, and use of McKinsey marginal abatement cost curves to project the cost of mitigation.
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The Social Cost of Carbon

April 1, 2010
Ackerman, F. , Stanton, E.A.
This Economics for Equity and the Environment (E3 Network) white paper analyzes the assumptions underlying the economic models which the U.S. government used for defining the "social cost of carbon." The paper highlights the significant short-comings of the models and point out how they lead to underestimating the risks and costs of climate change.
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New Handbook on Carbon Offsets

March 8, 2010
Kollmuss, A. , Lazarus, M. , Lee, C.M.
The EarthScan book provides a systematic and comprehensive review of existing offset programs.It is an essential reference for all regulators, policy makers, business leaders and NGOs concerned with the design and operation of GHG offset programs world-wide.
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Exploring the Causes of Income Inequality Within Countries

March 2, 2010
Kemp-Benedict, E.
This working paper develops a quantitative model to explore how social and political factors impact in-country inequality.
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SEI Wins 2010 Quentin Martin Award for Best Practice-Oriented Paper

March 1, 2010
Purkey, D. , Sieber, J. , Young, C. , Joyce, B.
A team of SEI and other researchers won the award for the paper Climate Driven Water Resources Model of the Sacramento Basin, California. The award will be presented during the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress

New Blog on Climate Economics and Equity

February 1, 2010
Stanton, E.A.
Liz Stanton's blog covers climate economics, public policy, recent research and more.Visit the blog.

The Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) to use LEAP

January 1, 2010
Heaps, C. , Clark, V.
SEI's LEAP modeling system will be used to develop a new energy and climate mitigation model for the State that will examine how the 2020 and 2050 GWSA goals can best be met.
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Daydreams of Disaster: Report to the California Attorney General 2009

January 1, 2010
Ackerman, F.
This report is an evaluation of the Varshney-Tootelian critiques of AB 32 and other regulations. Varshney and Tootelian have authored two recent reports on the economic impact of implementing California's greenhouse gas law, AB 32, and on the cost of state regulation on California small businesses. Their studies predict that AB 32 will result in losses as large as 10% of California's output, and that the losses from state regulation overall are responsible for a loss of one-third of California's output. Both studies are unsound and unreliable economic analysis. The losses they project would be serious economic impacts if they were real. They are, however, entirely unreal; they should be viewed merely as daydreams of disaster.
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2009

Governor Schwarzenegger unveils two new applications developed by SEI

December 2, 2009
Lee, C.M. , Mehta, V.
The new Google Earth-based tools help to visualize climate change impacts in California. Funded by the California Energy Commission and Google.org, SEI has developed a web site using the Google Earth platform to display an interactive tour on climate change in the State.
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A Copenhagen Prognosis: towards a safe climate future

December 1, 2009
Kartha, S.
A concise diagnosis of the state of the biosphere and observed trends and offers a treatment plan that is consistent with a 2 °C warming threshold, equity and economic development.
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Europe's Share of the Climate Challenge

December 1, 2009
Heaps, C. , Erickson, P. , Kartha, S. , Kemp-Benedict, E.
This report examines how Europe can show leadership in keeping global climate change within these limits: firstly, by undertaking domestic actions to rapidly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and secondly, by fulfilling its international obligations to help other countries address the twin crises of climate change and development.
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A 350 ppm Emergency Pathway

November 1, 2009
Kartha, S.
What would it actually take to bring the atmospheric CO2 concentration back to 350 parts per million? This memo provides a quick, up-to-date overview of the issues. In particular, it specifies a representative emissions pathway consistent with a 350 ppm concentration target. It then compares this 350 pathway to an emission pathway consistent with a 2 °C temperature target. Written by Sivan Kartha, SEI, Paul Baer and Tom Athanasiou of EcoEquity
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The Economics of 350: The Benefits and Costs of Climate Stabilization

October 1, 2009
Ackerman, F. , Stanton, E.A.
America's largest network of independent climate economists has issued a major new report showing that the more aggressive world leaders are in curbing world carbon emissions, the greater the economic benefits will be. The two lead authors, SEI researchers Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth A. Stanton, co-authored the report with researchers from universities and think-tanks across the country. The report argues that a worldwide effort to lower atmospheric carbon concentrations to 350 parts per million is affordable; it can create more new jobs, spur more innovation and protect businesses, governments and households from the damages caused by the rapid heating of the earth.
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2009 SEI-US Center Report

October 1, 2009

Overview of the US Center's 2009 projects and publications.
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Carbon Offset Research and Education (CORE)

June 1, 2009
Kollmuss, A. , Lazarus, M. , Lee, C.M.
SEI's Carbon Offset Research and Education (CORE) website provides an up-to-date analysis and synthesis of the most influential offset programs and activities. It reflects on lessons learned, and aims to inform consumers as well as participants and designers of current and future offset programs.
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Road-testing of Selected Offset Protocols and Standards; A Comparison of Offset Protocols: Landfills, Manure, and Afforestation/Reforestation

June 1, 2009
Lazarus, M. , Lee, C.M.
SEI Working Paper US10-01 (version 1: US09-04). Changes in Version 2.0: In June 2009, the authors published the first version of their road test analysis. Since that time, several offset programs have updated their protocols and have provided feedback on version 1. This version incorporates these revised protocols (CAR's forest project protocol and all of CCX's project protocols), modifications to some of the sample projects, and clarifications based on reviewer comments.
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Carbon Offsetting & Air Travel Part 2: Non-CO2 Emissions Calculations

June 1, 2009
Kollmuss, A.
The second of two papers that examine the key factors that have to be taken into account when calculating air travel emissions for the purpose of climate footprint and offset calculations. The paper is written for a non-technical audience and explains how to account for non-CO2 impacts of air travel emissions. More information and download report
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Climate and Development Economics: Balancing Science, Politics, and Equity

June 1, 2009
Stanton, E.A. , Ackerman, F.
SEI Working Paper US09-08. Download paper
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Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Developing Countries - Promising Options in China, Mexico, India, Brazil, South Africa, and South Korea

June 1, 2009
Erickson, P. , Heaps, C. , Lazarus, M.
SEI Working Paper US09-03. Download Paper
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First Regional Conference on Applying WEAP as a Decision Support System

May 25, 2009

Workshop details: May 25th-27th 2009 in Syria. Download conference report (pdf)

Greenhouse Gases and the American Lifestyle: Understanding Interstate Differences in Emissions

May 1, 2009
Stanton, E.A. , Ackerman, F.
This report explains why some states have much lower emissions than others and helps clarify the potential regional impacts of policies, such as cap-and-trade, which will impose a price on energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. More information
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SEI Co-Sponsor of Biological Sequestration Workshop

April 28, 2009
Lazarus, M. , Lee, C.M.
SEI co-sponsored the Biological Sequestration through GHG Offsets: Identifying the Challenges and Evaluating Potential Solutions workshop organized by the World Resource Institute. The workshop convened technical representatives of key U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, RGGI, WCI, MGGRA, and the Province of Alberta together.

Climate Change and Water in the Andes

April 15, 2009
Escobar, M. , Purkey, D.
Presentation on Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on a Glaciated Watershed in Peru. Download the presentation (pdf)

Testimony before the US Congress

April 15, 2009
Ackerman, F.
Testimony before the US House of Representatives subcommittee on Energy and Environment on ˜The Climate Crisis: National Security, Public Health, and Economic Threats." Download the testimony or read the blog about the testimony.

Stern advice for Copenhagen

April 9, 2009
Ackerman, F.
Review of Nicholas Stern's newly released book,"A Blueprint for a Safer Planet".Read it on nature.com Nature Reports: Climate Change.
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4th Seminar on Climate Change, Energy, Water, and Food Security in the Arab Region

April 6, 2009
Dougherty, B.
Bill Dougherty speaks on "Vulnerability of Arab countries to climate change" at the Arabian Gulf University May 6-7, 2009.

www.RealClimateEconomics.org launched

April 1, 2009
Ackerman, F.
SEI senior researcher Frank Ackerman played a leading role in developing a new website launched by Economics for Equity and the Environment Network (E3), www.RealClimateEconomics.org, to demonstrate the weight of economic analysis in the peer reviewed literature that supports immediate, large-scale policy responses to the climate crisis.
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Greenhouse Gases and Human Well-Being: China in a Global Perspective

March 1, 2009
Stanton, E.A.
SEI Working Paper US09-07.
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Carbon Embedded in China's Trade

March 1, 2009
Ackerman, F.
SEI Working Paper US09-06.
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Can We Afford the Future? The Economics of a Warming World

January 1, 2009
Ackerman, F.
A refreshing look at the economics of climate change, explaining how the arbitrary assumptions of conventional theories get in the way of understanding this urgent problem. More information
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2008

SEI-US Symposium

December 5, 2008

Taking Climate Change Seriously: Research and Policy Directions for the Next US Administration Over 150 participants attended our recent symposium. To learn more and to access symposium materials click here.

2nd Edition of Greenhouse Development Rights

December 1, 2008
Kartha, S.
For a detailed and yet short explanation of Greenhouse Development Rights, see the Executive Summary of the second edition. Download the 2nd edition and read more general information on GDRs.
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A Review of Offset Programs: Trading Systems, Funds, Protocols, Standards and Retailers

December 1, 2008
Kollmuss, A.
This report discusses the role of offsets and reviews and compares offset programs of 24 mandatory and voluntary market mechanisms. More information
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UNFCCC Resource Guides on National Communications

December 1, 2008
Heaps, C. , Kollmuss, A.
The mitigation module of the new UNFCCC Resource Guides on Preparing National Communications for Non Annex 1 (NAI) Parties. The module introduces the basic concepts behind performing a mitigation assessment, reviews mitigation options in different sectors of the economy, outlines barriers to mitigation and provides a brief introduction to alternative modeling tools for mitigation assessment. The mitigation module is available. A companion module about vulnerability and adaptation to climate change is available here.
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2008 SEI-US Center Report

October 1, 2008

Overview of the US Center's 2008 projects and publications.
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Testimony before US House Ways and Means Committee

September 18, 2008

SEI staff Frank Ackerman testified at the Sept. 18, 2008 hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, on the costs of inaction on climate change.

WEAP and LEAP Workshops

August 1, 2008
Sieber, J. , Heaps, C.
The SEI modeling tools for energy planning (LEAP) and water resources modeling (WEAP) are used globally. Training workshops are ongoing, a WEAP training was recently held in Iran and a LEAP training in Peru

The Caribbean and Climate Change: The Costs of Inaction

June 1, 2008
Bueno, R. , Stanton, E.A. , Ackerman, F.
Commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), this study is the first detailed analysis of the potential economic effects of continued climate change for the entire Caribbean region.
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Poisoned for Pennies: The Economics of Toxics and Precaution

June 1, 2008
Ackerman, F.
A new book presents a critique of cost-benefit analysis and describes an alternative, precautionary approach to policy for toxic chemicals. The research was done at the Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE) a research institute at Tufts University.
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Carbon Offsetting & Air Travel Part 1: CO2-Emissions Calculations

May 2, 2008
Kollmuss, A.
The first of two papers on air travel emissions calculations for the purpose of carbon offsetting. More information
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Climate Change: Costs of Inaction for the United States

May 1, 2008
Ackerman, F. , Stanton, E.A.
New study on the costs of inaction for the U.S. economy. Commissioned by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), this report presents both a detailed analysis of four major categories of climate costs, and comprehensive modeling of climate impacts on the economy as a whole. More information
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The economics of climate protection: cost-benefit analysis or global insurance policy?

March 26, 2008
Ackerman, F.
Hearing of the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on Climate Change (CLIM), Brussels

Making Sense of the Voluntary Carbon Market: A Comparison of Carbon Offset Standards

March 10, 2008
Kollmuss, A.
Release of a comprehensive new report on the voluntary carbon offset market.
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New study on cross-sector planning

January 1, 2008
Kemp-Benedict, E.
This paper focuses on an approach to cross-sector project planning developed in the context of a climate change adaptation strategy being carried out in Ghana.

SEI and HIVOS publishes a new report on biofuels

January 1, 2008


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Examining the UK Government's Approach to Climate Change Economics.

January 1, 2008
Stanton, E.A.
Two new SEI reports commissioned by Friends of the Earth (FOE), examine the UK Government's approach for evaluating the economics of climate change. The first report examines DEFRA's new approach for assigning a damage cost to CO2 emissions. The second report critically assesses how the UK government is proposing to assess the costs and benefits of expanding Heathrow Airport. The FOE press release for this report is available here.
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CO2 Emissions from UK Consumption Increase

January 1, 2008

A SEI study reports that CO2 emissions associated with UK consumption increased by 18%, between 1992 and 2004 in sharp contrast to official figures which report a decline of 5%. The difference is due to a fuller accounting to not only include emissions occurring within the nation's borders but also those caused by goods imported into the UK. The research was funded by the UK Government and undertaken by SEI's Center at the University of York in the UK and the Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) in Sydney, Australia.
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2007

Side Event at COP 13 in Bali

December 10, 2007
Kartha, S.
The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World: Sivan Kartha of SEI will be presenting the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework. More information
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SEI Climate Symposium

November 30, 2007

Researchers from SEI and Tufts University gave a symposium on global climate change.

Florida and Climate Change: The Costs of Inaction

November 28, 2007
Stanton, E.A. , Ackerman, F.
This report is the first detailed analysis on the potential consequences of continued climate change for the state's economy. The report is the first detailed analysis on the potential consequences of continued climate change for the state's economy.
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New Paper on Rules for Estimating Residuals in Scenarios

November 1, 2007
Kemp-Benedict, E.
This paper discuses a theoretical rule for estimating residuals in scenarios.
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New Version of LEAP!

October 24, 2007
Heaps, C.
SEI announces the release of a major new version of LEAP, its Windows-based software for climate change mitigation and energy policy analysis. Full announcement
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New Version of WEAP!

August 1, 2007
Sieber, J.
SEI has released a new version of its water planning model, WEAP. This new version includes advanced models for surface water quality and groundwater flows, and a new modeling architecture for linking WEAP to other models.