NAMEInês Azevedo, PhD | Energy Resources Engineering (ERE)
TITLE"Climate, air pollution decisions in electricity and transportation: examples from recent research"
ABSTRACTI will be talking about a few recent results from our group. First, we will look at optimizing the emissions reductions from the U.S. power sector for climate and health benefits. Improved air quality and human health are often discussed as “co-benefits” of mitigating climate change, yet they are rarely considered when designing or implementing climate policies. We determine the best locations for replacing power plants with new wind, solar, or natural gas to meet a CO2 reduction target in the United States. We employ a capacity expansion model with integrated assessment of climate and health damages, comparing portfolios optimized for benefits to climate alone or both health and climate. The model estimates county-level health damages and accounts for uncertainty by using a range of air quality models (AP3, EASIUR, and InMAP) and concentration−response functions (American Cancer Society and Harvard Six Cities). We find that reducing CO2 by 30% yields $21−68 billion in annual health benefits, with an additional $9−36 billion possible when co-optimizing for climate and health benefits. Total health benefits equal or exceed climate benefits across a wide range of modeling assumptions. Our results demonstrate the value of considering health in climate policy design and the need for interstate cooperation to achieve additional health benefits equitably. Second, we will look at transportation. We estimate the life cycle monetized damages due to greenhouse gas emissions and criteria air pollutant emissions for different types of passenger-moving vehicles in the United States. We find substantial spatial variability in the monetized damages for all fuel-vehicle technologies studied. None of the fuel-vehicle technologies leads simultaneously to the lowest climate change damages and the lowest air pollution damages across all U.S. counties. Instead, the fuel-vehicle technology that best mitigates climate change in one region is different from that for the best air quality (i.e., the trade-off between decarbonization and air pollution mitigation). Finally, I will also present some preliminary work on how consumption patterns for different goods and services changed during the shelter in place orders imposed by the ongoing pandemic.
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