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Ohio University Voinovich School faculty presents workshop at international EcoSummit

Madison Koenig and Rebecca Cochran November 28, 2012

On October 5, 2012 Ohio University Voinovich School staff and faculty gathered in Columbus, Ohio with external partners to present an interactive workshop at the 4th International EcoSummit. The week-long summit is held every two years and draws leading scientists, researchers, and policymakers from around the world.  Previous conferences have been held in Copenhagen, Denmark; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Beijing, China.

The workshop, entitled "Management of greenhouse gases: Implications and evaluation of sustainable practices, economic growth, air quality and state, federal and international policy scenarios," focused on evaluating greenhouse gas (GHG) management programs and environmental policies from state, regional, and international perspectives.

The presentation team included Voinovich School faculty and staff from Ohio University's Environmental Studies Program and the Center for Air Quality, the Ohio State University Center for Resilience, and the High Road Strategies consultancy.

Discussions included a comprehensive analysis of the implications associated with a potential GHG program, including the related issues of economic development opportunities and air quality improvement that such a program could bring about.

Additionally, the team discussed "Assuring Ohio's Competitiveness in a Carbon-Constrained World," a report they completed in 2011 that explored the unique challenges and opportunities with which the State of Ohio is faced amidst a changing regulatory landscape. The study examined different policies that the State of Ohio could adopt to cope with these federal regulations, and conducted a statewide GHG emissions inventory and an in-depth analysis of a specific economic modeling tool used to inform these policies.

The EcoSummit 2012 team included:

  • Kevin Crist, Director, Air Quality Center, Professor Department of Chemical Engineering, Ohio University
  • Joseph Fiksel, Executive Director, Center for Resilience, The Ohio State University
  • Geoff Dabelko, Professor, Director, Environmental Studies Program, Ohio University Voinovich School
  • Scott Miller, Director, Energy and Environmental Programs, Ohio University Voinovich School
  • Joel Yudken, Principal, High Road Strategies, LLC, Arlington, VA
  • Michael Zimmer, Executive in Residence, Ohio University Voinovich School (moderator)

The EcoSummit powerpoint presentation can be viewed in full here.

(The following are excerpts from the presentations featured at the EcoSummit 2012 workshop, "Management of greenhouse gases: Implications and evaluation of sustainable practices, economic growth, air quality and state, federal and international policy scenarios.")

The Greenhouse Gas Inventory: Dr. Kevin Crist

Dr. Crist gave a briefing of the methodology and results of the comprehensive statewide GHG inventory conducted for the report.  The inventory included: 1. stationary sources: "direct emissions" from facilities; 2. mobile sources: "direct emissions" from on-road and non-road vehicles; and, 3. area sources: "indirect emissions" resulting from county-level estimates and calculations of electricity consumption, steam for heating, chilled water for cooling, land-use practices, etc.
Link to Crist video excerpt
Link to emissions inventory online

Opportunities and Challenges for the State of Ohio: Scott Miller

Scott Miller briefed EcoSummit attendees on the current opportunities and challenges facing Ohio in terms of changing the state's energy systems in light of potential federal carbon legislation.  Additionally, he discussed the evolving energy landscape of the state, noting the increase in attention to natural gas and fuel switching. "That is how much things have changed in the State of Ohio…it [natural gas] wasn't even on our radar screen a year and a half ago [when the 2011 report was completed]."
Link to Miller video excerpt
Link to report chapters


Assuring Ohio's Competitiveness: Dr. Joel Yudken

Dr. Joel Yudken presented possible strategies for helping Ohio and its energy-intensive  industries (EEI) remain competitive in the face of potential federal climate change programs such as a carbon tax. "We've been benefiting from relatively cheap energy compared to Europe and elsewhere. Now we're faced with a whole new ballgame. And this is really about that change. "
Link to Yudken video excerpt
Link to manufacturing chapter online


Modeling Scenarios: Dr. Joseph Fiksel

Dr. Joseph Fiksel explained OSU's collaboration with the Millenium Institute to develop a dynamic energy-economic policy simulation (DEEPS) tool capable of analyzing the impacts of proposed carbon and energy policies and GHG emissions reduction scenarios. Dr. Fiksel explained the various components of the model, adding, "It's a very comprehensive model which does include economic and social aspects of consequences of different kinds of energy strategies." The DEEPS model builds on the T21-Ohio model OSU previously developed with U.S. EPA funding, which utilizes a system dynamics approach to analyze economic, environmental and social impacts.
Link to Fiksel video excerpt
Link to DEEPS model online


Framing Scientific Issues for Diverse Audiences: Dr. Geoff Dabelko

Director of Environmental Studies Dr. Geoff Dabelko concluded the group's workshop with a discussion on the importance of framing issues relating to energy, economics and the environment in relatable ways for audiences of diverse professional backgrounds.  In reference to the study presented by the team, Dr. Dabelko noted, "I leave this very encouraged by the prospects for, not just this study in Ohio, but the ability for this kind of work to really make a difference on some of these higher levels of political organization."
Link to Dabelko video excerpt
Link to Dabelko Twitter feed


A Changing Landscape: Michael Zimmer (moderator)

Michael Zimmer, executive in residence at the Voinovich School, led the workshop presenters and attendees in a Q&A session following the presentations. Topics focused on a variety of possible scenarios relating to domestic policy, energy, natural resources, climate and corporate sustainability. Presenters and attendees discussed recent efforts by companies to address sustainability issues on a global scale, both from an environmental and economic competitiveness point of view, in addition to the value of modeling strategic scenarios, data, and public policy education. The trend toward efficient use of resources to strengthen energy independence and security was also discussed during the session.
Link to report chapters