Emissions Scenario Analysis
WRI is a leader in near and long-term greenhouse gas emissions scenario development and analysis, which are designed to clarify the emissions and economic impacts of choices in front of policymakers and investors. This includes near-term policy analysis, such as Delivering on the U.S. Climate Commitment, which examined several pathways for the United States and presented a 10-point action plan to use existing authority to meet the nation’s near-term climate targets while taking advantage of economic opportunities from improved efficiencies and affordable, low-carbon solutions. It also includes analysis of deep decarbonization strategies that would allow the nation to achieve carbon emission reductions of 80 percent by mid-century. This research has included leading the analysis underlying the 2016 report from the Risky Business Project, From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy, which determined that achieving the reduction is both technically and economically feasible—and presents major economic opportunities for innovation in manufacturing and deployment.
Carbon dioxide emissions can be deliberately removed from the atmosphere, either through natural ecosystem services or new technologies, and stored in our lands, forests, oceans, underground geological formations, and durable products. This is referred to as "carbon removal" or “negative emissions.” Climate modeling indicates that in addition to ambitious emissions abatement, including through renewable energy and other actions, negative emissions are needed to achieve climate targets. Experts from across WRI’s Climate, Energy, and Natural Infrastructure teams are working together to explore the challenges and opportunities to leveraging carbon removal strategies to help tackle climate change.
The impacts of climate change impose costs on society as a whole. Pricing carbon – in the form of a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax – shifts these costs away from society to those responsible for the emissions, while providing an incentive to reduce emissions. WRI continues to provide authoritative evidence on the ways that a national price on carbon would reduce emissions across sectors, the types of decisions that need to be made in designing a program, and the expected economic effects of carbon pricing and the associated uses of revenues. For the past several years, WRI has issued a series of guidebooks for U.S. policymakers with comprehensive guidance on options and key elements for putting a price on carbon.
The U.S. Climate Impacts project works to ensure that policymakers at all levels of government are aware of climate impacts, local efforts to respond, and the need for national policy to address the impacts and root causes of climate change. By bridging the communications gap between scientists, decision-makers, and the public, this information can supplement local and state efforts to address the changing climate.