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Joint Meeting Pacific Section, AAPG & Cordilleran Section GSA April 29–May 1, 2005, San José, California

Modeling Climatic Effects of Energy Policy Proposals

Michael R. Fleishman
US Geol Survey, 345 Middlefield Rd, MS 973, Menlo Park, CA 94025, [email protected]

During periods in which energy policy ascends to the forefront of public discussion, there is no shortage of propositions for addressing global climate change, the security of future energy supplies, and political conflicts over natural resources. These discussions however are rarely immune to political and economic agendas, and there are consequently significant controversies regarding the ultimate impacts of partisan proposals. This study is designed to address the need for impartial evaluation of energy policy scenarios through the use of a NASA/NSF numerical climate model (EdGCM). With focus on the United States and the Circum-Pacific region, forecasts of future energy consumption are used to determine atmospheric concentrations of primary greenhouse gases, the inputs for model runs spanning the following century. The issues used to determine initial parameters include: the Kyoto Protocol (including/excluding the United States and developing countries), fuel replacement in the power generation sector (with emphasis on coal), and emissions from the transportation sector. The model output is made up of a variety of variables (change in average temperature, precipitation, snow/ice cover, sea temperature, albedo, humidity, etc.), determined for all points on earth.

Through an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, one can compare the relative significance of proposals put forward by governmental bodies, industry, and environmental organizations. This methodology identifies topics and strategies critical to the climate change issue, thereby improving the focus of international research and policy efforts on global warming.

Posted with permission of The Geological Society of America; abstract also online ( © Copyright 2005 The Geological Society of America (GSA).