Debate over whether to promote natural gas or not has been elevated across the country following President Obama’s State of the Union address where he made a strong call for natural gas development. Just yesterday, one of the nation’s largest and oldest environmental organizations, the Sierra Club, announced that it will no longer support natural gas. Below is a post from systems modeler and Climate Interactive partner, Tom Fiddaman, about some of the dynamics at play when considering gas as a transition fuel to low-carbon energy sources.
Tom Fiddaman, February 3, 2012
In his latest blog post, Climate Interactive partner Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems shares thoughts on his recent interview for SEED Magazine. The story discusses using models to develop “complex solutions to complex problems” and notes the utility of C-ROADS:
“having the capacity to accurately predict the utility of proposed policy—whether it be domestic legislature or multilateral agreements—in real time while discussions are ongoing, opens the door for an entirely new way to enact policy”
You can view Fiddaman’s post here, or read the entire article on SEED Magazine’s website.
Check out this short video to view the new features of C-ROADS.
(Click on the “Vimeo” word in the bottom right corner to view a larger version)
The top five improvements:
1. Choose from 14 different reference scenarios, pulled from EMF and SRES
2. Create emissions scenarios by changing Carbon intensity
3. Land use emissions are disaggregated by country (thanks to primary research funded by Heinz Center and TCG)
4. Flexible analysis of historical contribution by country to cumulative emissions, radiative forcing, and temperature (this feature is amazing — watch the video….)
5. Flexible analysis of effects of uncertainty
Dr. Phil Rice of Climate Interactive created this short video describing our “new tricks.” The improvements were completed primarily by Dr. Rice, Dr. Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems, Dr. Lori Siegel of Climate Interactive, and Tony Kennedy of Ventana Systems, through a contract with the US DOE and funding from Zennstrom Philanthropies, ClimateWorks Foundation, the Morgan Family Foundation, and others.
A new simulation from the C-ROADS team is coming!
To fully address climate change, we’ll need to look at strategies, policies, and investments over the next decade that will affect greenhouse gas emissions for much longer into the future. (One big reason — fifteen times the needed Carbon abatement will happen post 2020!)
We’re working on an extension of C-ROADS that helps decision-makers take such a long term view. The picture here captures many of the scenarios we can imagine. Continue reading
Today we have guest post by Tom Fiddaman of our Climate Interactive team. The original is here.
Models and copyrights
Tom Fiddaman, July 15, 2010
Or, Friends don’t let friends work for hire.
Image Copyright 2004 Lawrence Liang, Piet Zwart Institute, licensed under a Creative Commons License
Photographers and other media workers hate work for hire, because it’s often a bad economic tradeoff, giving up future income potential for work that’s underpaid in the first place. But at least when you give up rights to a photo, that’s the end of it. You can take future photos without worrying about past ones.
For models and software, that’s not the case, and therefore work for hire makes modelers a danger to themselves and to future clients. The problem is that models draw on a constrained space of possible formulations of a concept, and tend to incorporate a lot of prior art. Most of the author’s prior art is probably, in turn, things learned from other modelers. But when a modeler reuses a bit of structure – say, a particular representation of a supply chain or a consumer choice decision – under a work for hire agreement, title to those equations becomes clouded, because the work-for-hire client owns the new work, and it’s hard to distinguish new from old. Continue reading
Climate Interactive partner Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems gave a climate talk at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman Montana on C-ROADS and C-Learn. The original post is was published on his blog, and you can download the slides here.
Cool hybrid stock-and-flow and causal loop diagram — even cooler in the step-by-step build that is included in his slides.
Much of this structure is in C-ROADS. But water vapor, clouds, precipitation, and ice sheets are not captured explicitly. Nor the big red-dotted-line feedback loop along the bottom…… (yet).
Dr. Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems, in my opinion the top system dynamics modeler of climate change science and policy, will be leading a public training course next month in New Mexico, USA.
As person who has learned a lot from Tom over the past fifteen years, I would STRONGLY encourage interested folks to sign up.
It will be June 7, in Albuquerque New Mexico, and is titled “Climate Policy & System Dynamics.”
The description says, “Examine the dynamics of climate science and climate policy, using accessible small-scale models. The course assumes familiarity with Vensim, including subscripts as well as a general knowledge of current climate issues.”
He’ll likely include examples from his thesis model from his PhD at MIT as well as C-ROADS and other simpler versions such as C-Learn.
More details and registration forms for these courses are here.
The Climate Interactive team, led by Sustainability Institute, delivered big results in Copenhagen at the UNFCCC’s COP15 climate conference.
Bill McKibben wrote in the UK Guardian, from Copenhagen: “the only people who really understand what’s going on may be a small crew … called Climate Interactive. Their software speaks numbers, not spin – and in the end it’s the numbers that count.”
He is overstating our uniqueness, but here are the top ten most notable moments and achievements.
1. Obama heard (at least they tell us). From our office in Copenhagen hosted by the Rasmussen Foundation and Sea Change, 48 hours before President Obama’s arrival, we created two rounds of customized real-time C-ROADS analysis of the COP15 negotiations requested by and delivered to a top White House science advisor who briefed the President before his activities in Copenhagen.
2. Our Climate Scoreboard went viral. While we expected only dozens of blogs and Facebook pages to embed the “widget” we created, we found that over 1500 actually did and that sites around the world, in multiple languages, added the Scoreboard (supported by Morgan Family Foundation) to their online media. CBS, NPR, Boston Globe, YES!, Washington Post, ABC News, and Nature for example. While we expected a couple thousand visits, we witnessed over 300,000 visits to the Scoreboard! See videos of Beth Sawin presenting it here and here.
3. Real time analysis of negotiations happened. As draft texts were released, we analyzed their impacts in C-ROADS (supported by Zennstrom Philanthropies) really fast. Press releases during Copenhagen are here.
4. C-ROADS analysis got to the negotiators. A dramatically leaked confidential UN document (reported in a scanned pdf version mid-conference by the UK Guardian) had the words “Climate Interactive” and “Climate Scoreboard” scrawled across the top! Check it out in the document. Continue reading
The collaboration of the C-ROADS team with Chinese climate analysts at Tsinghua University is growing via a university partnership.
At the recent UN conference in Copenhagen, Drew Jones of Sustainability Institute met with Professor He Jiankun of Tsinghua University (shown in the photo) to discuss extending and customizing the C-ROADS simulation to better match the energy development future in China.
And over the past two weeks, teams from Sustainability Institute, Tsinghua University, MIT, the Society for Organizational Learning, and Ventana Systems are collaborating to include important factors such as GDP, energy intensity, and fuel mix onsite at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Some of the group at MIT in Cambridge are shown in the picture. Dr. John Sterman (MIT), Xiaohu Luo (Tsinghua), Lori Siegel (SI), Drew Jones (SI), Tom Fiddaman (Ventana), Zhou Li (Tsinghua), Peter Senge (MIT/SoL), Rebecca Niles (SI/STC).
(This is a guest post by Climate Interactive team member Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems. His terrific blog is here. This post originally ran at the blog of Xujun Eberlein: Inside Out China.)
I’ve finally recovered from a long and frustrating week at COP15 in Copenhagen. Like many, I never actually made it into the conference center itself – even though I had the needed secondary pass, registration lines were just too long. I bailed out when the Danish police started passing out coffee in the queue. Instead, I spent the week with the Climate Interactive team, analyzing potential proposals, talking to the press, and preparing briefing materials.
What unfolded was a bizarre flurry of contradictory official and unofficial draft texts of an agreement. In the final hours of the conference, language about hard targets, enforcement, and other encouraging steps gradually disappeared. In the end, the assembled parties approved a decision that merely “takes note” of the nth hour “Copenhagen Accord” presented by the US and BASIC countries. Continue reading