Hegre H, Buhaug H, Calvin KV, Nordkvelle J, Waldhoff ST, Gilmore E. Forecasting civil conflict along the shared socioeconomic pathways. Environmental Research Letters [Internet]. 2016;11:054002. WebsiteAbstract
Climate change and armed civil conflict are both linked to socioeconomic development, although conditions that facilitate peace may not necessarily facilitate mitigation and adaptation to climate change. While economic growth lowers the risk of conflict, it is generally associated with increased greenhouse gas emissions and costs of climate mitigation policies. This study investigates the links between growth, climate change, and conflict by simulating future civil conflict using new scenario data for five alternative socioeconomic pathways with different mitigation and adaptation assumptions, known as the shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). We develop a statistical model of the historical effect of key socioeconomic variables on country-specific conflict incidence, 1960–2013. We then forecast the annual incidence of conflict, 2014–2100, along the five SSPs. We find that SSPs with high investments in broad societal development are associated with the largest reduction in conflict risk. This is most pronounced for the least developed countries—poverty alleviation and human capital investments in poor countries are much more effective instruments to attain global peace and stability than further improvements to wealthier economies. Moreover, the SSP that describes a sustainability pathway, which poses the lowest climate change challenges, is as conducive to global peace as the conventional development pathway.
Fann N, Gilmore EA, Walker K. Characterizing the Long-Term PM2.5 Concentration-Response Function: Comparing the Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Synthesis Approaches. Risk Analysis [Internet]. 2015:n/a–n/a. WebsiteAbstract
The magnitude, shape, and degree of certainty in the association between long-term population exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and the risk of premature death is one of the most intensely studied issues in environmental health. For regulatory risk analysis, this relationship is described quantitatively by a concentration-response (C-R) function that relates exposure to ambient concentrations with the risk of premature mortality. Four data synthesis techniques develop the basis for, and derive, this function: systematic review, expert judgment elicitation, quantitative meta-analysis, and integrated exposure-response (IER) assessment. As part of an academic workshop aiming to guide the use of research synthesis approaches, we developed criteria with which to evaluate and select among the approaches for their ability to inform policy choices. These criteria include the quality and extent of scientific support for the method, its transparency and verifiability, its suitability to the policy problem, and the time and resources required for its application. We find that these research methods are both complementary and interdependent. A systematic review of the multidisciplinary evidence is a starting point for all methods, providing the broad conceptual basis for the nature, plausibility, and strength of the associations between PM exposure and adverse health effects. Further, for a data-rich application like PM2.5 and premature mortality, all three quantitative approaches can produce estimates that are suitable for regulatory and benefit analysis. However, when fewer data are available, more resource-intensive approaches such as expert elicitation may be more important for understanding what scientists know, where they agree or disagree, and what they believe to be the most important areas of uncertainty. Whether implicitly or explicitly, all require considerable judgment by scientists. Finding ways for all these methods to acknowledge, appropriately elicit, and examine the implications of that judgment would be an important step forward for research synthesis.
Gilmore EA, Blohm A, Sinsabaugh S. An economic and environmental assessment of transporting bulk energy from a grazing ocean thermal energy conversion facility. Renewable Energy [Internet]. 2014;71:361 - 367. WebsiteAbstract
Abstract An ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) facility produces electrical power without generating carbon dioxide (CO2) by using the temperature differential between the reservoir of cold water at greater depths and the shallow mixed layer on the ocean surface. As some of the best sites are located far from shore, one option is to ship a high-energy carrier by tanker from these open-ocean or “grazing” \{OTEC\} platforms. We evaluate the economics and environmental attributes of producing and transporting energy using ammonia (NH3), liquid hydrogen (LH2) and methanol (CH3OH). For each carrier, we develop transportation pathways that include onboard production, transport via tanker, onshore conversion and delivery to market. We then calculate the difference between the market price and the variable cost for generating the product using the \{OTEC\} platform without and with a price on \{CO2\} emissions. Finally, we compare the difference in prices to the capital cost of the \{OTEC\} platform and onboard synthesis equipment. For all pathways, the variable cost is lower than the market price, although this difference is insufficient to recover the entire capital costs for a first of a kind \{OTEC\} platform. With an onboard synthesis efficiency of 75%, we recover 5%, 25% and 45% of the capital and fixed costs for LH2, \{CH3OH\} and NH3, respectively. Improving the capital costs of the \{OTEC\} platform by up to 25% and adding present estimates for the damages from \{CO2\} do not alter these conclusions. The near-term potential for the grazing \{OTEC\} platform is limited in existing markets. In the longer term, lower capital costs combined with improvements in onboard synthesis costs and efficiency as well as increases in \{CO2\} damages may allow the products from \{OTEC\} platforms to enter into markets.

Forecasting armed conflict along the`shared socio-economic pathways'

. In: Working Paper. ; 2014. sspforecasts_workingpaper.pdf