BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Modeling Future Climate to Make Decisions Today
Published: February 14, 2011
Posted: June 22, 2011

While biophysical climate research depends strongly on historical records, a challenge for socio-economic research concerns the need to look forward and act today based on expectations of the future. DOE researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change have published a new study comparing the results of their Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model solved as a recursive dynamic or as a forward-looking model. A recursive dynamic solution is obtained by solving for equilibrium in all markets one period at a time, reflecting the historical evolution of capital stock, GDP growth, prices, and other time-dependent variables. In a forward-looking model, all time periods are solved simultaneously using a simplified model, and so decisions made in early periods take into account the values of economic variables in all future periods. The goal was to see how the forward-looking solution approach affected results, since more complex versions of the EPPA model cannot be solved as forward-looking models. The study analyzes three different U.S. climate scenarios with varying levels of emissions abatement occurring between 2012 and 2050. The researchers found that the forward-looking and the recursive models produced very similar emissions abatement and carbon price paths, reassuring consistency, as it implies that the recursive model, which can be extended to longer time horizons and more geographic regions and include greater technological detail, approximates well the results of the forward-looking approach in terms of prices and emissions.

Reference: Gurgel, A. C., S. Paltsev, J. Reilly, and G. Metcalf. 2011. β€œAn Analysis of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Proposals Using a Forward-Looking Economic Model,” Environment and Development Economics 16, 155–76.

Contact: Bob Vallario, SC 23.1, (301) 903-5758
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Multisector Dynamics (formerly Integrated Assessment)

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)