Panel: Addressing Complex Environmental and Energy Problems Using Computational Tools and Techniques
(Tools of Analysis: Methods, Data, Informatics and Empirical Design)

Saturday, November 8, 2014: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Acoma (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Heather Campbell, Claremont Graduate University
Panel Chairs:  Spiro Maroulis, Arizona State University
Discussants:  Elizabeth Kistin-Keller, Sandia National Laboratories and Walter E. Beyeler, Sandia National Laboratories

Residential Mobility and Environmental Justice: Insights from Agent-Based Analysis
Adam Eckerd, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Heather Campbell, Claremont Graduate University and Yushim Kim, Arizona State University

All Politics Is Local: Integrating an Agent-Based Decision-Support Model with GIS Data
Hal Nelson, Nicholas L. Cain and Zining Yang, Claremont Graduate University

This panel presents analytical innovations to address challenging environmental and energy policy problems and discusses how these approaches bring new insights to the problems. Governing the environment presents complex global policy and management problems that seem to be of ever-increasing importance and difficulty. We have learned that policies designed to address environmental problems can unintentionally further exacerbate problematic situations. This calls for a different frame of mind to research the problems, along with creativity in crafting policies. This panel pays special attention to analytical innovations that have been made to understand complex dynamics among various players that are part of the environmental system –the public, firms, and policy-makers. The ultimate goal of the panel is to draw innovative perspectives and approaches that can support policy decisions based on new understandings in the field. This panel illustrates some of the analytical innovations that have arisen to answer the following questions that are of importance to policymakers: - What is the role of residential mobility in societal environmental injustice? - How does network segregation influence the adoption of energy-efficient technologies? - How does political power play into the environmental decision-making process of the siting of locally unwanted land-use facilities? - How can we synthesize analytical approaches to support policies that encourage a reduction of energy consumption produced from fossil fuels? The underlying innovation behind these papers is the development of computational tools and techniques (e.g., agent-based modeling) to analyze interdependencies and interactions among heterogeneous decision-makers in dynamic societies. These tools and techniques are well equipped to model realistic human decision-making processes within various environmental situations. Computational tools and techniques have expanded capacities to support policy decisions when integrated with Geographical Information Systems and other traditional analytical approaches. This panel is a collection of papers that shows the versatility of computational approaches to complex policy problems and the ability to generate new perspectives and insights on these problems. This panel contributes to the discussion of data, methods, informatics, and empirical designs in the context of the environment and energy by illustrating that these analytical innovations help us think about challenging problems differently. The panel highlights the importance of a comprehensive perspective on the public response to complex environmental issues, and provides practical insights to improve environmental policy decisions.