More than 100 countries have proposed or are considering a net zero emissions target for mid-century. But how can we get there? To assess future decarbonization pathways, integrated assessment modeling methods (IAMs) have been used to model the coupled human-natural system and evaluate the cost and environmental implications of different mitigation strategies. While most IAMs still focus on optimal, idealized policies, real-world decisions need to balance competing objectives, manage future uncertainties, and ensure political feasibility. In this talk, I will discuss recent efforts from my group to advance IAMs by: a) adding decision science methods to identify robust strategies under future uncertainties, and b) adding social science insights to identify realistic strategies under social and political constraints. I will demonstrate a range of modeling examples, from the surprisingly inexpensive cost of state-driven climate policy in the United States to the unequal regional distribution of air pollution and health effects from a global carbon price.
Wei Peng is an assistant professor of international affairs and civil and environmental engineering, SIA’s first joint appointment faculty member with the College of Engineering. Peng’s research focuses on the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of energy policies in both emerging markets and advanced economies. Prior to her arrival at SIA, Peng was a Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Her research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Energy, and Nature Sustainability, among others. She earned her Ph.D. in science, technology, and environmental policy from Princeton University and her B.S. in environmental science from Peking University.
Visit her personal website to learn more.