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MacArthur Foundation awards planning grant to improve decision-making in energy policy
Date:2/20/2009

The University of Chicago is launching a large-scale collaboration to develop a computational modeling tool that will help a wide range of organizations in climate and energy policy decision-making.

A $350,000 planning grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports the effort, called CIM-EARTH (Community Integrated Model of Economic and Resource Trajectories for Humankind). Additional internal support comes from the University and Argonne National Laboratory.

"Governments, industries and individuals worldwide are linked in a single energy system whose emissions affect climate worldwide," said Ian Foster, Director of the Computation Institute, a joint effort between Argonne and the University. "Yet none have a direct economic incentive to act alone in curbing emissions. Overcoming these hurdles to ensure a long-term, sustainable and equitable energy future is arguably the single biggest challenge facing humankind today."

Foster, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Computer Science, will lead the project, working closely with Elisabeth Moyer, Assistant Professor in Geophysical Sciences; Kenneth Judd, the Paul H. Bauer Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy research center associated with Stanford University; David Weisbach, the Walter J. Blum Professor of Law and Kearney Director of the Program in Law and Economics; and Todd Munson, a Computational Mathematician at the Computation Institute and Argonne.

The new modeling framework will analyze and predict the effects of climate policy decisions, designed to alleviate the environmental impacts of energy use (for example, a carbon tax) on the global economy. Understanding the relationship between the earth's physical systems and human economies as well as social behavior lies at the heart of the need for this kind of modeling tool.

According to Foster, this is because policy decisions impact, and in turn, a
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Contact: Steve Koppes
s-koppes@uchicago.edu
773-702-8366
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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