Co-operation Italy-USA on Science and Technology of Climate Change – ITALY-USA 1
This multi-disciplinary project stems from a research agreement signed in January 2002 by the governments of the United States of America and of Italy; it involves 13 Italian partners and 30 American partners.The project consists of 15 working packages, ranging from climatologic analysis of climate variability to the design of highly efficient fuel cells.
This multi-disciplinary project stems from a research agreement signed in January 2002 by the governments of the United States of America and of Italy; it involves 13 Italian partners and 30 American partners. The agreement acknowledges the importance of robust scientific results and of the power of technological innovation in order to overcome the uncertainty associated with global changes and in particular, with climate change. The project consists of 15 working packages, ranging from climatologic analysis of climate variability to the design of highly efficient fuel cells.
The project is co-ordinated by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). FEEM is responsible for the analysis of the relationship between climate change and national and international energy policies. Moreover, FEEM is in charge of the organisation of workshops on the research’s results.
FEEM scientific contribution involves three sub-projects: the study of the impact of climate change on world energy demand, the analysis of future climate policy regimes and their implications for energy markets, and the study of the linkages among GHG mitigation, uncertainty and technological innovation.
The project aims at filling some important gaps in the state-of-the-art economic research about climate change, and at gaining a deeper understanding of climate policy options and of their interaction with energy policy.
FEEM is involved in two Work Packages: WP3 “Impacts of climate change and energy policies”, and “WP13 “Workshops on clean energy technologies development”.
More specifically, FEEM research under WP3 focuses on the following subprojects.
- Energy demand and climate change
This subproject aims at generating a comprehensive multi-country study of the long and short-run relationship between demand for the main energy vectors and temperature. The results of this study can be used as a basis for an assessment of the worldwide economic impacts of climate-change-induced shifts in energy demand. Such analysis is performed by means of a computable general equilibrium model of the world economy (GTAP-EF).
The US partners in this subproject are: Stanford Energy Modelling Forum and MIT Global Change Forum.
- Future climate policy regimes
The process towards the Kyoto Protocol is still alive, notwithstanding the uncertainty about its coming into force (notably because Russia still hesitates to ratify). However, whatever Russia’s strategy, the US decision not to ratify Kyoto has weakened the Kyoto Protocol and undermined its environmental effectiveness. At the same time, general consensus has emerged that the Kyoto Protocol represents only a first step towards the broader aim of minimising the danger of climate change. The subproject considers alternative plausible instruments to overcome the current impasse of the Kyoto negotiations. More specifically, the subproject:
– analyses whether different emission trading regimes can provide different incentives to participate in a cooperative climate agreement.
– explores the option of replacing international cooperation on greenhouse gas emission control with international cooperation on climate-related technological innovation and diffusion.
– analyses a number of politically relevant and realistic regimes for future emission abatement commitments, as opposed to previous research studies which were mainly based on ad-hoc assumptions, such as, for example, the “Kyoto forever” hypothesis.
– employs the Data Envelopment Analysis methodology to evaluate the performance of alternative climate policy options.
The US partners involved in this subproject are: Exxon Mobil, Resources for the Future, MIT Global Change Forum.
- GHG emissions, uncertainty and technological change
Technological innovation is increasingly seen as one of the main practical keys for reconciling the current fundamental conflict between economic activity and the environment. Hence, several models have been proposed where the technology changes endogenously and/or its change is induced by deliberate choices of agents and government intervention. In addition to this, the climate change domain itself is intrinsically dominated by uncertainty, mainly related to carbon diffusion processes, climate sensitivity and dynamics and to the final impacts on ecosystems and on human activities. In this perspective, the subproject focuses on the role of R&D investments and of learning-by-doing. The role of uncertainty concerning new discoveries and technology diffusion is also analysed. All these factors are taken into account through the formulation of a stochastic programming version of an integrated climate model.
The US partners involved in this subproject are: MIT Global Change Forum, Resources for the Future.
Within WP 13, FEEM is in particular responsible for the organisation of an international workshop on clean energy technologies development to be held in Milan at the beginning of 2005. The following activities are being carried out:
- Research on hydrogen economy focused on the policies to support R&D on hydrogen activities
- Analysis of the policies adopted by other countries (USA, Germany, UK, Denmark, UE, Canada) to support the R&D activities on hydrogen
- The different industrial sectors and R&D direction have been finalised with compliance to fiscal policies for financing Hydrogen research in three main subjects: production, transport, consumption and storage
- Modelling the possible contribute of hydrogen to fulfill the future needs of Italian energy system
- Participation to the working group at Environmental Ministry for evaluation of the first three pilot projects on hydrogen production, transport and consumption
- Contribute to the “Hydrogen Italian Vision and Supporting Program” presented in Beijing at the end of March 2004.