climate change policy analysis; renewable portfolio standards
Jennifer Morris tackles uncertainty in climate policy analysis
Joint Program student Jen Morris is interested in climate policy. As she puts it, she likes “the nitty-gritty details of policy design: what are the components in a climate bill and how would they interact?”
Now a doctoral student working with advisor John Reilly, Jen completed her M.S. in the Technology and Policy Program at MIT in 2009, and has been part of the Joint Program for almost four years. Studying climate policy options in the context of the US, she has largely focused on using EPPA—the Emissions Predictions and Policy Analysis model to gain insight into the likely costs and impacts of developments in renewable energy technology and climate policies.
Currently, Jen’s research is taking a new direction: she is now working to better represent uncertainty in policy analysis models such as EPPA. As she explains, “One of the main challenges in the models we use is how we capture all of the important uncertainties, such as: ‘How is the economy going to grow?’ and ‘What is the cost of future technologies going to be?’”. According to Jen, her work will “more formally incorporate uncertainty analysis into models such as EPPA, so that we can more fully explore the range of possibilities and possible futures.” Improving how policy and economic models such as EPPA represent uncertainty isn’t simply an academic exercise. As Jen explains, EPPA and other such models are used to inform policy and decision-making. For this reason, improving how these models represent the uncertainty involved in real world decision-making will allow them to “do an even better job of helping provide information to policy-makers about what potential policies might do and what kind of impacts they might have. And that is the goal.”
As for her experience working with the Joint Program, Jen says “it is such an excellent place to be because it is so well established and so well respected in the realm of climate change and climate change analysis…I’ve been here for about four years now and I’m loving it!”
Spring 2011, by Danya Rumore