Energy and Climate

Principal Researcher:  Julia Seixas

The master aspiration towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy is to achieve a near-zero carbon intensity target, meaning that welfare and prosperity is reached with no net greenhouse gas emissions, while taking action to cope with climatic risks either on socio-economic systems and on ecological values. Energy is at the core of such aspiration, constituting an opportunity to accelerate innovation and the adoption of sustainable models for energy production, and energy consumption. The transition from a fossil to a low carbon economy is full of research challenges and opportunities, crossing over all economic activities, including new technologies, new social values, new lifestyles, new business and new governance models, while dealing with and reducing climatic risks. Although climate change is a global problem, the group is sensitive to Southern European vulnerability to expected climate changes (IPCC, 2013) making our region (Iberian peninsula) an appealing laboratory to calibrate and test our approaches and solutions. Low carbon economy is a key corner of sustainability.

 Main goals of the ENERGY & CLIMATE thematic line are to:

- understand, anticipate and cope with an emerging environmental issue, represented by a world warmed up, where greenhouse gases must stop to be emitted;

- guarantee the attractiveness of the best students and researchers, due to the recognized urgency of the research agenda and of the international policy framework;

- promote dissemination and communication with the scientific community and also with public and private stakeholders, due to the great usefulness of results for public policy and businesses.

Our research is founded in two main assumptions:

 (a) the need for an integrated framework to assess, model, innovate and respond on radical climate mitigation (Meinshausen et al, 2009) and on climatic risks from a warmer earth; state-of-the-art is considered climate mitigation and climate risk separately, which have hidden inter-linked costs and benefits, harmed the effectiveness of instruments and confused social awareness.

 (b) the vision that future societies will develop over communities of prosumers (producers and consumers of energy and other goods and services), like a myriad of nodes in a frame (Da Silva, 2012), linked by information technologies and digital models; few works on long term low carbon perspectives have considered this approach.

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