Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2016

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Symposium: Climate Change & Economic Analysis

Room: Marina 6   1:30 pm–3:00 pm

Chair(s): Elisabeth Gilmore

Sponsored by Economics and Benefit Analysis Specialty Group

Achieving the goals laid out in the Climate Agreement adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in 2015 will entail substantial mitigation and adaptation efforts over the coming decades. Economic analysis has the potential to play an important role in supporting these efforts. In this symposium, we present the strengths and limitations of using economic and risk analysis for supporting climate change policy on both national and global scales. First, we show how benefit-cost and distributional analysis can be employed to evaluate climate interventions in the United States. Second, we discuss how climate indicators can be employed for the identification of climate risks and economic valuation. This is contrasted with a global perspective on how regional and global economic growth and political stability may influence mitigation and adaptation costs and capacity. Finally, the limitations of economic and risk analysis are discussed with respect to extreme or abrupt climate risks.

M3-D.1  1:30 pm  Benefit cost and distributional effects analysis for solar PV in the United States. Azevedo IL*, Vaishnav P; Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: Solar irradiance varies by location and time, as do the private benefits – in terms of offset electricity purchases – of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV). The health and environmental benefits of displacing a unit of grid electricity production, which stem from reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulphur oxides, as well as fine particulates, also vary by time and location. Furthermore, because pollutants are transported over large distances, the benefits of displacing grid electricity production may be felt far away from where the offset electricity was produced, and where the solar panel is installed. For example, the benefits of installing solar panels on a farmhouse in the countryside might be concentrated in the center of a densely-populated city, because the small improvement in ambient air quality there affects a large number of people. This distribution may have environmental justice implications. We perform a location-specific cost-benefit analysis that quantifies the county-level costs, benefits, and distribution of benefits for residential solar PV in the continental United States. We will also study how the environmental benefits and their distribution has evolved as the grid has changed; currently, in response to historically low natural gas prices, and in the future likely to due to regulations such as the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. We will analyse the implications of these results for the subsidies needed to encourage adoption of alternative energies, and for environmental justice.

M3-D.2  1:49 pm  Using Visualization Science To Diagnose And Improve Global Change Indicator Understandability. Kenney MA*, Gerst MD, Wolfinger JF; University of Maryland

Abstract: Indicators are variables that stakeholders believe summarize relevant trends. They have become an increasingly important part of continuous assessment of global environmental change. For indicators to be effective, they need to be understood by diverse audiences. Using visualization science, we have diagnosed and redesigned a set of global change indicators, showing how simple visual changes can lead to large improvements in understandability.

M3-D.3  2:10 pm  Economic growth, armed conflict and the implications for climate change. Gilmore EA*, Hegre H; University of Maryland

Abstract: Armed conflict and economic growth are inherently coupled; armed conflict can substantially reduce economic growth, while economic growth is a strongly correlated with a reduction the propensity of armed conflict. Similarly, economic growth and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions play a central role in evaluating the challenges for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Here, we investigate these interactions by simulating the incidence of armed conflict and its effect on economic growth simultaneously along the economic pathways defined by the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). We then model the change in GHG emissions from the revised GDP pathways that account for the incidence of armed conflict using the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM). We find that the more pessimistic SSPs have much higher incidences of armed conflict than predicted under an exogenously forecasted GDP with a more modest effect for scenarios with higher underlying economic growth rates. Further, there are strong regional patterns with countries with contemporaneous conflicts experiencing much higher conflict burdens and reduced economic growth by the end of century. The lower economic growth associated with armed conflict can sharply reduce overall GHG emissions, although regional mitigation efforts may be more challenging.

M3-D.4  2:30 pm  Markets, Morals, and Climate Change. Monast J, Murray B, Wiener JB*; Duke University

Abstract: Markets are attracting both favor and criticism as an economic incentive instrument to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate markets (e.g. cap and trade, emissions trading, allowances, quotas, credits) are expanding around the world, including in Europe (the ETS), the USA (California, RGGI, and the EPA Clean Power Plan), China (its seven pilot programs and proposed national market), and elsewhere. The Paris Agreement (2015) includes Article 6 endorsing international mitigation transfers. Yet there is also criticism, including in Pope Francis' 2015 Encyclical (paragraph 171, opposing carbon credits as a ploy that may hurt the poor while doing little to reduce actual emissions), and in moral and ethical debates about emissions trading as licensing the right to pollute. This paper assesses the moral arguments about climate markets. It addresses the history of support and opposition to market-based environmental policy design; the virtues of climate markets; the moral critiques of climate markets; potential responses to these moral critiques; and ways that market-based climate policy might be (re)designed to help reconcile these points of view.

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