Climate and Carbon Science
Objective: ISEN will discover more sustainable methods for the use of fossil fuel resources and improve our understanding and prediction of climate change impacts.
The world’s energy supply mix will remain heavily fossil- fuel based through 2040 according to the International Energy Agency, dividing almost-equally among oil, gas, coal, and low-carbon or carbon-free sources.
Although energy-dense fossil fuels have significantly contributed to the development of modern global societies, an amplified greenhouse effect – as a result of burning fossil fuels – will last for centuries. The impacts of amplified warming on global food production, coastal flooding, severe storms and droughts, and other global-scale processes will present a challenge greater than any humanity has yet faced. A cross-cutting response is needed to predict the rates and patterns of environmental change and improve our understanding of human vulnerabilities.
ANALYZE environmental impacts of past warming events and the feedback processes regulated by the natural carbon cycle.
STUDY risk mitigation methods for the extraction of unconventional carbon resources and novel chemical and geologic techniques for carbon capture and storage.
EVALUATE new approaches for climate adaptation and mitigation, including the economic implications of carbon industry regulation and investment.
PURSUE a network of CO2 monitoring stations to assess greenhouse gas emissions in urban settings.
WHY IT MATTERS:
- Global energy demand is expected to increase 48% by 2040, which makes it imperative to develop cleaner, more efficient technologies for carbon-based fuels, while working to replace them with renewable energy sources.
- 2016 is outpacing 2015 as the warmest year recorded for global average surface air temperatures.
- By the end of the century, states in the Southeast, lower Great Plains, and Midwest could experience a 50% to 70% loss in average annual crop yields.
- A warming climate will exacerbate the spread of infectious diseases, put stress on global food production, and limit access to potable water. The most severely affected populations will be those in low- to mid-latitude developing countries that have the highest rates of population growth.