Technologies for Deep Decarbonization: A Focus on the Social and Policy Aspects
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Climate change is an increasingly global concern that prompts collaborative actions to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. The recent 2018 IPCC climate report emphasizes the need to limit the rise in temperature to less than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. This requires even deeper decarbonization pathways to transit to low-emission sources and technologies across the electricity, transportation, industry, building, and agriculture systems. The electrification of major activities that primarily rely on fossil fuels such as space heating and ground transportation, combined with a cleaner electricity grid, play a critical role. Though the adoption of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies have grown rapidly in the last decade, better knowledge of the social, economic, and policy implications of technology deployment is needed to transition to a decarbonized economy.
This panel focuses on the two biggest sectors that consume energy: buildings and transportation. We examine what and how market mechanisms and policies motivate the adoption of renewable and energy efficient technologies, with an emphasis on governance motivations and impacts. More specifically, our papers investigate the following questions:
- What factors motivate state governments to adopt policies for electric vehicles?
- What factors affect learning and capacity increase of cellulosic ethanol?
- How do heat pumps (a key technology for electrifying space heating) affect housing prices?
The papers use a variety of methods to analyze the impact of decarbonization technologies and policies, including econometrics analysis, machine learning, and engineering-economic modeling and across different geographic areas. Our panel participants have diverse backgrounds and perspectives, including economics, engineering, and policy analysis. In addition, one of our discussants is a practitioner working at the Department of Energy.
The studies examine how multiple socioeconomic and political factors influence policy formation; how capacity size, cost, and learning factors influence technology development; and how new technologies gain price premiums and policy supports. Together, this panel attempts to demonstrate the broad scope and various methods of policy analysis in the field of deep decarbonization.
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