Are There Any Initiatives That Will Solve Climate Change?

What is climate change, and why should we do something about it? That was the question that triggered a global research initiative in 2017. The quest for a global survey on climate change and decision-making processes took the form of a science-fair project at the Stanford Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. This science-fair project was awarded the 2017 award for the best research project that not only helped people better understand the changing climate, but also provide practical solutions for averting the worst effects.

Participants from nine countries took part in the study, including Bangladesh, China, India, and Japan. The research team also measured the social cost of carbon (CO2) emissions and the amount of energy used to generate them. The results of the study showed that the annual costs of an additional 2.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduced by 2017 solar panels are $0.042/MWh – $0.055/MWh. This translates to an economic benefit of $2.6 billion for the United States.

“This study helps us better understand how to balance the trade-offs between human health and the environment,” said co-author Andrea Gerlak, a senior research associate at the Stanford Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research and lead author on the paper. “Our findings also suggest that policy solutions to reduce CO2 emissions will have to take into account the social cost of carbon.” The research team also developed a new modeling framework that incorporates social and economic conditions into existing climate models. The research was based on a social cost of carbon (LCOE), a framework that measures the economic harm caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions relative to the social cost of carbon (CO2). This means that the climate model can be used to estimate the societal cost of carbon (CO2) and the amount of energy used to generate it. “This work shows how we can incorporate economic and political considerations into existing climate models, making them more tractable and more efficient,” said co-author Andrea Gerlak, “And it helps us better understand how clean energy can best be leveraged to reduce carbon emissions.”

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