Kevin Tempest

Staff Scientist (former)


Seattle, WA
kevin.tempest@sei-us.org
skype: kevintempest
+1 (206) 547-4000 x4#

Kevin joined the Seattle office of SEI-US in April 2013, to work on various climate change mitigation projects and greenhouse gas inventories. He is particularly interested in sustainable growth strategies, with an emphasis on efficiency and clean energy deployment, aiming to simultaneously mitigate climate change impacts while addressing climate equity concerns.

Kevin received his M.Sc. in chemical oceanography from the University of Washington in 2011, and then earned a fellowship from the Program on Climate Change and an Advancement in Science and Technology Scholarship. His research there focused on global scale distributions of dissolved gases in seawater as a tool for separating physical (gas exchange) from biological contributions (photosynthesis, respiration, nitrogen cycling) and quantifying rates of various biologically processes. He has participated in research cruises in Samoa, down the length of the Atlantic Ocean, and to Antarctica, among other locations.

He received a B.S. in chemistry (2006) and a B.A. in international relations (2007) from Lehigh University while competing for the Mountain Hawks basketball team. He followed his undergraduate studies with an invigorating year near Hangzhou, China, teaching English language classes and traveling.

Kevin left SEI-US in September 2015.


Recent Publications by Kevin Tempest

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Fossil fuel production in a 2°C world: The equity implications of a diminishing carbon budget

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Kartha, S. ; Lazarus, M. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Equity ; Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This discussion brief examines the equity implications of constraining future fossil fuel production as part of efforts to limit the global surface temperature increase to 2°C. The brief begins with a short overview of the scientific and political context of fossil supply issues, before delving into the two broad equity perspectives. It then presents some quantitative insights into the financial implications (expressed in terms of rents) of historical fossil fuel extraction, and the anticipated financial consequences of constraining extraction. It also quickly reviews some explanations for the lack of deeper examination of these equity related issues in the scholarly literature and policy discourse. The closing section provides some final comments and directions for future research.
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Supply-side climate policy: the road less taken

SEI Working Paper No. 2015-13

Author(s): Lazarus, M. ; Erickson, P. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper explains the concept of supply-side climate policy, examines why these options have not been widely used to date, and provides a framework for assessing their effectiveness. It provides a typology of supply-side policies and frameworks for assessing their effectiveness, efficiency, and feasibility. It finds that supply-side policies, such as removal of producer subsidies, compensation of resource owners for leaving fuels "unburned", or outright restrictions on resource development, could bring important benefits. Such policies could allow for greater emission reductions at the same (or lower) cost than demand-side policies alone. They could also help to reduce carbon lock-in effects, making it easier for lower-carbon alternatives to compete with fossil fuels.
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Carbon lock-in from fossil fuel supply infrastructure

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Lazarus, M. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: A transition to a low-carbon economy is essential to ensuring a safer climate, but it will not be easy, as the world continues to rely heavily on an abundant and growing supply of fossil fuels. A key concern with ongoing investments in fossil fuel supply and the technologies that use these fuels is "carbon lock-in" – that, once certain carbon-intensive investments are made, and development pathways are chosen, fossil fuel dependence and associated carbon emissions will be "locked in", making it more difficult to move to lower-carbon pathways. The authors propose a two-step approach to gauging the relative lock-in risks of investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
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Keeping cities green: Avoiding carbon lock-in due to urban development

SEI Working Paper No. 2015-11

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: Cities around the world are emerging as leaders in the fight against climate change, embracing low-carbon transport, high-efficiency buildings, renewable energy and other strategies to reduce emissions while building more vibrant urban communities. At the same time, urban areas are growing astoundingly fast: 1.4 million new urban dwellers each week, and with corresponding demands for energy, goods, and services. Therefore, how our cities are built is a critical factor in the intensity of urban energy use. This paper examines carbon "lock-in" risks from an urban planning perspective, comparing two scenarios of urban development over the next 15 years to gauge the emissions implications of different choices.
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Assessing carbon lock-in

Environmental Research Letters, 10(8),084023

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Kartha, S. ; Lazarus, M. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper presents a straightforward approach to assess the speed, strength, and scale of carbon lock-in for major energy-consuming assets in the power, buildings, industry, and transport sectors. The authors pilot the approach at the global level, finding that carbon lock-in is greatest, globally, for coal power plants, gas power plants, and vehicles. The approach can be readily applied at the national or regional scale, and may be of particular relevance to policy-makers interested in enhancing flexibility in their jurisdictions for deeper emissions cuts in the future, and therefore in limiting the future costs associated with "stranded assets".
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