Adrian Down

Staff Scientist


Seattle, WA
adrian.down@sei-us.org
skype: a.h.down
+1 (206) 547-4000 x5#

Adrian is a Staff Scientist at SEI-US, based in Seattle. His research focuses on energy and climate change policy, with emphasis on the role of urban areas in climate change mitigation and on the economics of fossil fuel production and consumption.

Prior to joining SEI, Adrian was an energy analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. In this role, he contributed to policy recommendations in the U.S. DOE's first Quadrennial Energy Review aimed at improving the efficiency of energy infrastructure systems in the U.S. He also has professional experience as a software development engineer.

Adrian has a Ph.D. in ecology from Duke University, where his research focused on the ecological impacts and greenhouse gas emissions of natural gas infrastructure. He has bachelor's degrees in physics and math from the University of California, Berkeley.


Recent Publications by Adrian Down

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Effect of government subsidies for upstream oil infrastructure on U.S. oil production and global CO2 emissions

SEI Working Paper No. 2017-02

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M. ; Koplow, D.
Year: 2017

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper quantifies the effect of federal and state subsidies on U.S. oil production, focusing on the 800+ fields that have been discovered but not yet developed, and examines the climate implications. At recent oil prices of $50 per barrel, subsidies push nearly half of yet-to-be-developed oil into profitability, potentially increasing U.S. oil production by almost 20 billion barrels over the next few decades. Once burned, this oil would emit 8 billion tonnes of CO2, about 1% of the world's remaining carbon budget to keep warming under 2°C, as envisioned in the Paris Agreement. This would represent a much greater share – perhaps a quarter – of a carbon budget for U.S. oil production alone.
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How would eliminating subsidies to the U.S. oil industry affect potential oil production and CO2 emissions?

SEI policy brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M. ; Koplow, D.
Year: 2017

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This policy brief, based on an SEI working paper, examines how removing subsidies to U.S. oil producers would affect potential oil production and resulting global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The analysis shows that billions of dollars in federal and state subsidies could enable large amounts of oil and gas production in the U.S. that would not otherwise be economic. At $50 per barrel, roughly the current oil price, nearly half of discovered (but not yet producing) U.S. oil would depend on subsidies to reach minimum returns acceptable to investors.
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Norwegian oil production and keeping global warming `well below 2°C'

SEI Discussion Brief

Author(s): Down, A. ; Erickson, P.
Year: 2017

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

Description:

This discussion brief examines the implications of the Paris Agreement, and Norway’s own pledges under it, for future oil production, considering the break-even cost per barrel of developing different fields.


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Making future U.S. offshore oil leasing more consistent with climate goals

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This briefing paper examines how U.S. oil production might be phased down to align with the Paris Agreement goals, focusing on offshore drilling in federal waters in particular. The short time scale to phase out fossil fuels requires prompt and ambitious action. It is widely acknowledged that to date, progress in reducing emissions has not been fast enough. Even with recent policies, global CO2 emissions are still expected to rise at least through 2040, and investment in coal, oil and gas production remains high and is expected to hold steady or continue to grow. That disconnect between nations' climate goals and fossil fuel-sector investment has led to questions about whether fossil fuel production needs to be constrained along with consumption. In these last days of the Obama administration, there may be opportunities to use federal leadership to initiate such a transition for oil in addition to coal. Offshore oil is especially relevant in the U.S. because it is the dominant source of oil from federal lands, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been evaluating its upcoming lease schedule.
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