Engaging attribute tradeoffs in clean energy portfolio development

Governments and privately-held utilities will have to drastically reduce their carbon emissions to mitigate climate change. Such reductions will require transitioning electrical infrastructure to rely on cleaner fuels and power-generation technologies. Despite the myriad factors influencing both the process and eventual outcome of these transitions, it is typically transitions’ cost and individuals’ willingness to pay…

The social, economic and environmental benefits of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in Michigan.

DISCLAIMER: I’m an applied decision researcher and professor for energy systems at Michigan State University.  My research focuses principally on helping people to identify their values, concerns and objectives and then engage the trade-offs between those values, concerns and objectives and the many options available. The trade-offs between purchasing and operating a conventional gasoline vehicle…

Interested in studying energy sustainability? Join me in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University.

The Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS) at Michigan State University is an interdisciplinary department addressing contemporary issues of sustainability in agriculture, recreation, natural resources, and the environment. Recently the department expanded that focus to include energy!  Specifically, the department hired an assistant professor of sustainable energy systems.  This person–hint, it’s me!–is tasked with researching sustainable…

Ohio Deer Management Plan Stakeholder Engagement Process

The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working with a diverse group of stakeholders to develop a Deer Management Plan that will provide a 10-year framework for managing huntable deer populations based on historical perspectives, stakeholder interests and science-based management. Using a process known as Structured Decision Making (SDM), representatives from stakeholder organizations are helping the…

Preferences and perceptions of green infrastructure: Blueprint Columbus

In 2015, Columbus, Ohio submitted a Wet Weather Management Plan to the Ohio EPA entitled “Blueprint Columbus,” which would eliminate 28 miles of sanitary sewer overflow tunnels in favor of green infrastructure (GI) improvements including rain gardens. The mayor of Columbus has argued Blueprint Columbus would not only bring the city into EPA compliance, but…

Assessing non-market loss and damage in the context of climate change

This spring a group of twenty-four scientists from Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, United Kingdom, United States, and South Africa (Table 1) came together across disciplines to explore how loss and damage (L&D) is understood and experienced by particular groups of people in various geographic settings. We conducted a workshop in Perth, Australia, between 18th and…

Structured decision support for organic farmers in the Midwest

This December Robyn Wilson, Christian Beaudrie and I traveled to San Diego to report on a decision support framework we’re building to help organic farmers make ecological weed management decisions. This tool uses as its foundation mental models research done by Sarah Zwickle and the SDM principles that my colleagues and I rely on to…

Facilitating ecological weed management decisions by assessing risk-benefit tradeoffs

We used the mental models research method to generate a conceptual map of how Midwest farmers use knowledge, experience, and individual perceptions of weed-related risk to make weed management decisions. We discovered that Midwest farmer knowledge of ecological weed management practices is robust, and that the difficult trade-offs farmers make regarding cultivation, cover crops, and…

Decision support for developing energy strategies

Policymakers and the public need a mechanism for making a series of difficult and interrelated choices over time, and research in decision science offers a promising way forward. The United States clearly needs a new energy strategy. In fact, many industrialized nations are in the same position. But this raises an obvious question: What is…

Decision support framework for developing regional energy strategies

In an effort to reduce “carbon pollution” as well as prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan calls for changes to be made to the nation’s energy system. In addition to focusing on alternative portfolios of different fuels and power-generation technologies, researchers and advisory panels have urged…