Interactions between Abatement and Adaptation

Externalities of variable and intermittent sources of electric power:
Adapting to climate change in the U.S. will require, among many other things, additional air conditioning, large-scale water transport (and possibly desalinization), and changes in agricultural fertilizer use (fertilizer is a heavy user of natural gas, as is electric power generation). Climate change may lead to additional stress on the large-scale transmission network needed to support wind and solar power if extreme weather events increase. The variable character of on-shore wind power is poorly matched to air conditioning load… [+more]

Energy demands and externalities of fresh water produced via desalinization:
Climate change is expected to produce major shifts in the distribution of precipitation. While globally the amount of precipitation is expected to increase, much of it will come in more intense episodes, and periods of drought will likely become more frequent. At the same time, much of the U.S. has been operating with non-sustainable use of fossil water. Taken together these developments raise the possibility that the future may see much expanded use of water desalinization. While this technology is becoming more affordable, it can use prodigious amounts of energy, giving rise to a potential interaction with efforts to reduce GHG emissions by limiting growth in demand for electricity… [+more]

Integrating Climate and Air Quality Decision-making:
The twin problems of climate change and “traditional” air pollution (mostly airborne particulate matter and surface-level ozone “smog”) are linked at several points. One ready example is particulates: reducing particulate exposures could substantially improve public health, but could also make an incremental contribution to global warming because particulates reduce insolation. Other examples include climate change mitigation strategies (e.g. carbon capture with amine scrubbers) with potentially significant air quality impacts or reductions in “black carbon” particles (soot) that lead to health benefits and may have significant, but highly uncertain, climate change co-benefits… [+more]

Air-conditioned public spaces to reduce mortality and morbidity due to heat waves:
Ideally, mitigation and adaptation to climate change should be internal to the strategic and tactical planning processes of governments and corporations at every level. Experience over the past decade has demonstrated the need for decision-aiding to pay close attention to: Assessment of climate change priorities vis-à-vis pre-existing concerns shaping public policy; Appreciation of interactions among climate impacts, measures designed for GHG mitigation and climate impact adaptation; Understanding the distributive impacts of mitigation and adaptation measures and how public perceptions of these distributive issues can influence sound decision-making… [+more]