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Cool model for a hot planet
Date:3/8/2010

BINGHAMTON, NY -- In his recent book, "Strategic Bargaining and Cooperation in Greenhouse Gas Mitigations," Binghamton University's Zili Yang suggests ways governments might realistically work together to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He also makes a case for curbing the use of fossil fuels whether they contribute to climate change or not.

"If global warming is factually true and I'm not making a scientific judgment here then a rational government should do something," said Yang, a professor of economics. "And suppose, hypothetically, that climate change is not true. You can burn fossil fuels all you like. Sooner or later you will still run into a situation that requires you to adopt a new technology. If we use climate change as an excuse for arriving sooner at alternative energy, it does not hurt anybody."

Yang uses game theory to create a cost-benefit analysis of actions countries could take to curb global warming. His work is not political, but rather applies modeling and logic to the issue. "Advocates make the argument, sometimes without justification, and are quite emotional," he said. "My approach shows the incentive to do something."

Yang believes that the economic issues associated with climate change must be considered in tandem with the natural sciences. Researchers who work from this multidisciplinary perspective have created "integrated assessment," or IA, models, which take into account climatology, ecology, regional sciences and engineering as well as economic concerns.

There are several IA models, including an influential system that Yang had a role in developing while he was a graduate student at Yale University in the 1990s. That model, named RICE (the Regional Integrated Model of Climate and the Economy), is fairly simple and small, said Yang, who has also worked on much larger models.

Yang said he thinks a small model such as RICE is "beautiful," though the algorithm and simulation scenar
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Contact: Gail Glover
gglover@binghamton.edu
607-777-2174
Binghamton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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