4CMR focuses on research that examines the interactions between energy, environmental and economic (E3) systems as these can be used to improve global strategies for climate change risk reduction and sustainable economic development. At the heart of the work is a variety of integrated models built up over several decades of research in E3 modelling. This interdisciplinary research rests on five more specialised Platforms that provide the scholarly basis for exploring pathways to climate risk reduction, and provide the links to scholarly traditions that inform our work. The environmental aspects of our E3 work is through collaborations with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and our partners in Cambridge Climate.
In addition to this modelling, our research includes study of the decision processes of key organisations and sectors as these influence uptake of low carbon strategies; assessment of adaptation strategies to reduce the vulnerability of economies to climate impacts; assessment of the health co-benefits of climate policies; development of coordinated suites of policies to deliver on complex E3 strategies; and defining the political, legal and institutional barriers to climate policy instruments.
The Platforms of 4CMR
Economics: Developing core theories and models to improve understanding of the role of economies in energy and environmental systems, and to identify paths forward to a sustainable global economy. This includes bringing clarity to the idea of sustainable, low carbon economies; linking micro and macroeconomic approaches; studying the interconnections of national and global economies; incorporating environmental and ecological valuation into economic analyses; and simulating the impact of economic policies on greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Systems Modelling: The Energy systems modelling research group at 4CMR revolves around the Future Technology Transformations (FTT) project, funded by the EPSRC. FTT is a general modelling framework of technology substitution dynamics for generating scenarios of future technology and energy use in order to calculate future greenhouse gas emission. It is adaptable to any framework (i.e. IAMs, E3 or economic models), but is also integrated within 4CMR's macroeconomic model of the global economy E3MG.
See the research group page here.
Integrated Platforms: Developing module-based, open-source modelling platforms through which communities of researchers can contribute to the improvement of our climate policy models; decision-makers can understand the nature and quality of those models; and uncertainty due to model structure can be assessed by systematically replacing model components with alternatives to examine the influence of different modelling assumptions and approaches on findings.
Risk and Decisions: Developing methods to perform uncertainty, variability and sensitivity analyses for climate change risk reduction strategies and policies, and using these tools to understand and improve decisions. This includes characterising the magnitude, cause and implications of uncertainty; human health risk analysis and the co-benefits of climate change policy; exploring how climate policy can be harmonised with the treatment of risk and precaution in other areas of environmental policy; and developing agent-based models of the behaviours of individuals and organisations to help explain and inform the top-down energy and economics models.
Energy, Land and Climate Policy: Assessing and developing instruments for national and global mitigation and adaptation strategies. This includes analysis of collective action problems; the role of international trade in global climate policies; and assessment of the effectiveness of specific instruments in driving mitigation and adaptation strategies. Given our location within the Department of Land Economy, our first framework of analysis is understanding the ways in which policies of land use (including development of the built environment) affect energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and the resilience of communities to climate impacts.