The impacts of technologies depend on various factors, including the background state of the environment. Here we explore how the intensity and decay of impacts influences the relative attractiveness of technologies. We focus on comparing the impacts of various greenhouse gases, and develop new models to evaluate technologies.
Papers in progress focus on the development of new metrics to compare the impacts of greenhouse gases and technologies to one another. We are also investigating how technology portfolios can optimally adapt to a changing background environmental state.
New metric development: We are working on a revised emissions factors which take into account the timing of use of a technology relative to the nearness of critical thresholds. This work focuses on comparing methane and carbon dioxide emissions across various transportation fuels and electricity generation options (Figure 1).
- Edwards MR, Trancik JE, Climate Impacts of Energy Technologies Depend on Emissions Timing, to appear in Nature Climate Change.
Portfolio optimization: In this work we ask how we should value methane and carbon dioxide emissions against one another in a transportation fuel portfolio. We are exploring the possibility of using revised emissions factors to reduce environmental impact while meeting energy demand.