Iowa NSF EPSCoR Energy Policy Seminar Series

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Date/Time:Monday, 06 Apr 2015 from 3:40 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:1306 Elings Hall
Channel:Bioeconomy Institute
Categories:Lectures Live Green
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"Is performance regulation based on life cycle assessment feasible?" Richard Plevin, UC-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Plevin will discuss the semantics and uses of LCA, epistemological issues with "carbon intensity," the challenges of modeling complex environmental problems, and the requirements for a successful performance-based regulation.

Several jurisdictions in the US, Canada, and Europe use performance standards based on life cycle assessment (LCA) to regulate the climate effects of transportation fuels, and interest in this novel form of regulation is growing. These standards require fuel blenders and refiners to reduce the life cycle GHG intensity of their products through in situ improvements in existing processes, by blending lower-GHG-intensity fuels into their mix, or by purchasing credits from over-complying parties. Performance-based regulations have a well-deserved reputation as more efficient than command-and-control regulation in many important contexts, but their operation depends on government's ability to measure and monitor performance at the point of regulation, and their welfare efficacy depends on a clear link between the performance measure and the outcomes of interest.

Richard Plevin is a research scientist in the Sustainable Transportation Energy Program of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. His research focuses on techniques to estimate and understand the climate effects of transportation and transportation fuels and policies to mitigate these effects. His research interests include the climate effects of bioenergy, life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, extending LCA toward integrated energy-economy-environment modeling by accounting for market-mediated effects, and improving the representation and communication of uncertainty in computer-based modeling systems. His recent projects include the development of an emissions accounting model for biofuels-induced land use change that processes results from the GTAP computable general equilibrium model, the development and analysis of Monte Carlo simulations to quantify parametric uncertainty in the combined GTAP/emissions accounting system. He is currently developing tools to incorporate uncertainty and robustness analysis into consequential LCA models of the climate effects of fuel policy alternatives. Dr. Plevin received masters and doctoral degrees from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley, and holds MS and BS degrees in computer science from Yale University and the SUNY Albany, respectively. He was a contributing author to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group III, in both transportation and biofuels.