Search Results for 'SWITCH'

RAEL Meeting — SWITCH Model — Nov 4

SWITCH Model

RAEL Lab Meeting

12 - 1 pm, 4 November 2015

310 Barrows Hall, Room 323

---WEDNESDAY---

Josiah Johnston will be presenting a review of approaches for dealing with uncertainty in the context of Switch, an investment planning tool for low-emission electric power grids. The discussion will also include an introduction to stochastic programming and decomposition tools available for use with the new version of Switch from the PySP python libraries.

This lab meeting will roughly be divided into equal time for presentation and discussion. It will be of most interest to people interested in working with uncertainty in Switch, or general interest in computational tools for optimizing under uncertainty.

RAEL Lunch Seminar, Wednesday — Oct 14, 12pm — SWITCH Modeling

SWITCH Model

RAEL Lab Meeting

12 - 1 pm, 14 October 2015

310 Barrows Hall, Room 323

---WEDNESDAY---

Join in for a fun meeting discussing the progress of a variety of SWITCH projects and potential research ideas. Dan Kammen will also provide food to boost brain power and stimulate a lively discussion!

SWITCH — A capacity expansion model for the electricity sector

SWITCH (Solar and wind energy integrated with transmission and conventional sources) is a linear programming modeling platform used to examine least cost energy systems designed to meet specific reliability, performance and environmental quality standards.   Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 12.13.31 PM SWITCH is a capacity expansion model that invests in new generation and transmission assets as well as in end-use and demand-side management options (including electrified vehicles and storage) with a high-resolution assessment and planning package to explore the system performance resting from different scenarios. SWITCH was initially developed for California, but has been expanded and refined to explore energy choices across the US West (the WECC, Chile, Nicaragua, China), with future plans to cover the East African Power Pool (EAPP) and India. A wide range of SWITCH publications are in print and in use at various energy, climate, and development agencies.

How renewable energy could emerge on top after the pandemic

For the original posting in Grist and Yale Environment360click here.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, renewable energy was growing steadily — but still not fast enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s carbon reduction goals, let alone to make the further strides needed to keep climate change from spiraling out of control.

Now, the virus-induced economic shock is likely to slow the expansion of wind, solar, and other clean power sources, at least temporarily, experts say. But while lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and financial uncertainties have put some new projects on ice, the underlying strengths of renewables remain strong, and analysts expect their economic advantage over volatile fossil fuels will only increase in the long term.

Leaders must seize the opportunity to design economic recovery packages so they accelerate a shift toward wind and solar power, rather than propping up the fossil fuel economy, said Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body.

“The only thing we have to be afraid of,” he said, “is that governments can be pushed by lobbyists to bail out sectors that belong to the past. And this is the real danger.”

As shutdowns aimed at stemming the viral spread have caused global energy demand to plummet, renewable sources have accounted for an increased share of power generation. That is in part because the low cost of solar and wind power means they are often dispatched to grids before other sources such as coal and nuclear power. The huge drop-off in demand, for both electricity and transportation fuels, has also pushed oil and gas prices to historic lows, and left fossil fuel companies struggling to find storage space for huge gluts of product.

In the short term, however, analysts say that the global economic fallout from the pandemic will almost certainly also be a drag on the growth of renewables. Stay-at-home orders halted production at factories making solar panels and wind turbine parts, and shipping delays have exacerbated supply problems. Construction on some big arrays stopped, and social distancing requirements have forced home solar companies to postpone rooftop installations and sales visits.

“The industry needed installations to be speeding up rather than slowing down at this point” for countries to bring carbon-cutting realities into line with their promises under the Paris Agreement, said Logan Goldie-Scot, head of clean power research at analysis firm BloombergNEF, or BNEF. “Anything that makes that gap bigger is hugely problematic from an emissions perspective.”

BNEF has scaled back its projections for 2020 installations by 12 percent for wind and 8 percent for solar, compared to what it anticipated before the pandemic. Renewables growth has been steady in recent years, and last fall, the International Energy Agency, or IEA, predicted the world’s renewable power supply would grow by 50 percent over the next five years, adding new power generation equivalent to the entire existing electricity capacity of the United States.

VCG / Getty Images

“We were expecting a boom year” in 2020, said Heymi Bahar, the IEA’s senior renewables analyst. “So this becomes very bad timing.”

The bigger question, experts say, is what happens as countries reopen. With cash tight, and economic troubles expected to keep energy demand below pre-COVID-19 levels, new wind and solar projects may find financing hard to come by.

Auctions in which companies bid to build such projects have been postponed. Altogether, more than 40 percent of wind and solar capacity that was scheduled to be commissioned from April to the end of this year has been delayed, said Goldie-Scot. “That’s an immediate setback.”

Home solar took a bigger hit than utility-scale projects. Those rooftop sales are likely to continue struggling, as the slowdown forces homeowners and small businesses to restrict spending on big-ticket items like solar arrays, even if, in the long run, they generate substantial savings.

Still, analysts agree the renewable energy sector’s fundamentals are strong. A lot has changed since the last global meltdown, the financial crisis of 2007-08. Technologies have matured and prices dropped, to the point where renewables in most cases provide cheaper energy than fossil fuels. Battery storage, key to making clean power steady and reliable, is improving rapidly.

“Renewable generation sources have become extraordinarily competitive from an economic standpoint,” said Dan Shreve, head of global wind energy research at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. “It’s a terrific story. Do we expect any of that to change in the near term? No, I don’t think so.”

Indeed, with oil companies in a tailspin, clean energy’s steadiness also increases its appeal to investors, in Shreve’s view. “Folks looking for a safe haven in a very turbulent market may continue to turn to this sector,” he said.

Even the breathtaking drops in oil and gas prices may not be enough to undermine wind and solar. While oil is central to transportation, it doesn’t play a direct role in power generation. And its low price will mean drilling is scaled back. Since natural gas — which does go up against wind and solar in electricity markets — often flows from the ground along with oil, its supply is likely to decline too, bringing its price back up.

“Which means it won’t be competitive with renewables,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Indeed, Shreve said nuclear and coal-fired power plants faced far stiffer headwinds than renewables. “That’s been the case for the last five years. It was expected to be the case for the next five years, regardless of the Covid crisis,” he said. Early retirements of such plants, particularly the ones for which finances were already in trouble, could pick up pace, he said.

Another sector likely to take a hit is electric cars. That has less to do with low oil prices than with unemployment slowing sales for all cars, Jaffe said. “If you believe that people were going to have the next car they buy be an electric vehicle, if you delay by two or three years the next time they’re going to buy a new car,” that will slow the transition, she said.

Fewer electric cars means less power demand, which hurts the renewables outlook. But Jaffe said the pandemic could hasten the economy’s electrification in other ways, including a long-term increase in remote working, which would likely shift energy demand away from oil-based transportation needs, and toward residential use, which is more heavily electric.

Deng Heping / VCG via Getty Images

In the bigger picture, what comes next depends on the virus, the economy, and the path governments decide to chart. With vast amounts of stimulus money likely to be poured into economies around the world, clean power advocates say it’s a historic opportunity to speed the growth of a sector whose fortunes are central to hopes of stemming climate change. La Camera said the renewable energy sector’s big-picture strengths, and its resilience through the crisis so far, make him hopeful.

“My impression is that we are going to have a future that will be more decarbonized than we could have imagined three months ago,” he said. “And in the end, this health and economic crisis will push us to a cleaner path forward.” Risks in the other direction include not just direct government support to oil firms, but also regulatory loosening like the Trump administration’s decision to essentially suspend enforcement of air and water pollution rules, or to relax limits on mercury and other toxic power plant emissions. Such moves save the industry vast sums it would otherwise have to spend reducing pollution, said Daniel Kammen, professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Even without a push to help fossil fuel companies, COVID-19 could bump climate change down the list of leaders’ priorities.

For now, most governments are still focused on immediate response to the health and jobs crisis. Longer-term measures will come next, and countries including South Korea and New Zealand are already talking about incorporating climate action into recovery plans. The European Union may combine parts of its Green Deal — a plan for transforming nearly every sector of its economy to cut carbon and improve quality of life — with efforts to repair the pandemic’s damage. In the U.S., the fate of any ambitious renewables plan depends largely on whether President Trump is reelected in November.

For the most part, countries’ interest in green stimulus plans aligns with their pre-coronavirus stance on climate action. “We think they are more likely in countries where there was already broad-based support,” such as China and much of Europe, Goldie-Scot said.

What might green recovery efforts entail? Given clean power’s competitiveness, companies don’t really need direct subsidies anymore, experts say. They would benefit from upgrades that make power grids smarter and more flexible, and therefore better able to utilize renewables. Spending to expand electric vehicle charging networks is essential, too, the analysts say.

The U.S. and China both have year-end deadlines when important tax and price incentives for renewables expire.

Access to credit will also be crucial, Bahar said. While it easily competes with fossil fuels on cost, “the renewables industry just doesn’t have as deep pockets,” added Kammen.

Policy changes matter, as well. National, long-term carbon-cutting commitments would provide some certainty in frightening times. In the shorter term, the U.S. and China both have year-end deadlines when important tax and price incentives expire; extending those would help projects delayed by the pandemic, analysts say.

Green stimulus advocates say climate action is well-suited to creating jobs, and if done right can also help remedy the stark economic, social, and racial inequalities the virus has exposed so vividly, particularly in the U.S.

A shift to cleaner energy promises health gains too. Many have taken note of the better air quality lockdowns have brought, and Shreve said that could help people see the benefits of finding lasting ways to reduce fossil fuel use.

“The one bright spot in this crazy crisis is to have been able to walk outside in places that have been notorious for air pollution, and seeing clean skies, and having a dose of what could be,” he said.

Kammen said he is hopeful the pandemic would ultimately speed the move to a cleaner economy.

“Covid gives an opportunity for governments and companies to make that switch more strongly,” said Kammen. “I don’t think this is going to be an easy goodbye, but I would definitely say we’re in the long goodbye to fossil fuels.”

 

Yale Environment360: How Renewable Energy Could Emerge on Top After the Pandemic

  Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 11.32.46 AM

The short-term prospects for wind and solar power look rocky amid the economic upheaval of the coronavirus. But long term, renewables could emerge stronger than ever, especially if governments integrate support for clean energy into COVID-19 economic-recovery programs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, renewable energy was growing steadily — but still not fast enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s carbon reduction goals, let alone to make the further strides needed to keep climate change from spiraling out of control. Now, the virus-induced economic shock is likely to slow the expansion of wind, solar, and other clean power sources, at least temporarily, experts say. But while lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and financial uncertainties have put some new projects on ice, the underlying strengths of renewables remain strong, and analysts expect their economic advantage over volatile fossil fuels will only increase in the long term. Whether the pandemic ultimately puts clean energy on a faster track than before, though, depends to a large extent on the choices political leaders make now, analysts say. Which means 2020 is shaping up to be a pivotal moment for renewables — and the world’s hopes of checking warming. Leaders must seize the opportunity to design economic recovery packages so they accelerate a shift toward wind and solar power, rather than propping up the fossil fuel economy, said Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body.
Some 40 percent of wind and solar capacity that was scheduled for the rest of 2020 has been delayed.
“The only thing we have to be afraid of,” he said, “is that governments can be pushed by lobbyists to bail out sectors that belong to the past. And this is the real danger.” As shutdowns aimed at stemming the viral spread have caused global energy demand to plummet, renewable sources have accounted for an increased share of power generation. That is in part because the low cost of solar and wind power means they are often dispatched to grids before other sources such as coal and nuclear power. The huge drop-off in demand, for both electricity and transportation fuels, has also pushed oil and gas prices to historic lows, and left fossil fuel companies struggling to find storage space for huge gluts of product. In the short term, however, analysts say that the global economic fallout from the pandemic will almost certainly also be a drag on the growth of renewables. Stay-at-home orders halted production at factories making solar panels and wind turbine parts, and shipping delays have exacerbated supply problems. Construction on some big arrays stopped, and social distancing requirements have forced home solar companies to postpone rooftop installations and sales visits. “The industry needed installations to be speeding up rather than slowing down at this point” for countries to bring carbon-cutting realities into line with their promises under the Paris Agreement, said Logan Goldie-Scot, head of clean power research at analysis firm BloombergNEF (BNEF). “Anything that makes that gap bigger is hugely problematic from an emissions perspective.” BNEF has scaled back its projections for 2020 installations by 12 percent for wind and 8 percent for solar, compared to what it anticipated before the pandemic. Renewables growth has been steady in recent years, and last fall, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted the world’s renewable power supply would grow by 50 percent over the next five years, adding new power generation equivalent to the entire existing electricity capacity of the United States.
A worker installs solar panels on a house in Hayward, California amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A worker installs solar panels on a house in Hayward, California amid the coronavirus outbreak. AP PHOTO / BEN MARGOT

“We were expecting a boom year” in 2020, said Heymi Bahar, the IEA’s senior renewables analyst. “So this becomes very bad timing.” The bigger question, experts say, is what happens as countries reopen. With cash tight, and economic troubles expected to keep energy demand below pre-COVID-19 levels, new wind and solar projects may find financing hard to come by. Auctions in which companies bid to build such projects have been postponed. Altogether, more than 40 percent of wind and solar capacity that was scheduled to be commissioned from April to the end of this year has been delayed, said Goldie-Scot. “That’s an immediate setback.” Home solar took a bigger hit than utility-scale projects. Those rooftop sales are likely to continue struggling, as the slowdown forces homeowners and small businesses to restrict spending on big-ticket items like solar arrays, even if, in the long run, they generate substantial savings. Still, analysts agree the renewable energy sector’s fundamentals are strong. A lot has changed since the last global meltdown, the financial crisis of 2007-08. Technologies have matured and prices dropped, to the point where renewables in most cases provide cheaper energy than fossil fuels. Battery storage, key to making clean power steady and reliable, is improving rapidly. “Renewable generation sources have become extraordinarily competitive from an economic standpoint,” said Dan Shreve, head of global wind energy research at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. “It’s a terrific story. Do we expect any of that to change in the near term? No, I don’t think so.”
“Folks looking for a safe haven in a turbulent market may continue to turn to [the renewables] sector,” says one analyst.
Indeed, with oil companies in a tailspin, clean energy’s steadiness also increases its appeal to investors, in Shreve’s view. “Folks looking for a safe haven in a very turbulent market may continue to turn to this sector,” he said. Even the breathtaking drops in oil and gas prices may not be enough to undermine wind and solar. While oil is central to transportation, it doesn’t play a direct role in power generation. And its low price will mean drilling is scaled back. Since natural gas — which does go up against wind and solar in electricity markets — often flows from the ground along with oil, its supply is likely to decline too, bringing its price back up. “Which means it won’t be competitive with renewables,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations. Indeed, Shreve said nuclear and coal-fired power plants faced far stiffer headwinds than renewables. “That’s been the case for the last five years. It was expected to be the case for the next five years, regardless of the COVID crisis,” he said. Early retirements of such plants, particularly the ones for which finances were already in trouble, could pick up pace, he said. Another sector likely to take a hit is electric cars. That has less to do with low oil prices than with unemployment slowing sales for all cars, Jaffe said. “If you believe that people were going to have the next car they buy be an electric vehicle, if you delay by two or three years the next time they’re going to buy a new car,” that will slow the transition, she said. Fewer electric cars means less power demand, which hurts the renewables outlook. But Jaffe said the pandemic could hasten the economy’s electrification in other ways, including a long-term increase in remote working, which would likely shift energy demand away from oil-based transportation needs, and toward residential use, which is more heavily electric.
A wind turbine blade being built at a manufacturing plant in Haimen, Jiangsu province, China in 2019.

A wind turbine blade being built at a manufacturing plant in Haimen, Jiangsu province, China in 2019. FEATURECHINA VIA AP IMAGES

In the bigger picture, what comes next depends on the virus, the economy, and the path governments decide to chart. With vast amounts of stimulus money likely to be poured into economies around the world, clean power advocates say it’s a historic opportunity to speed the growth of a sector whose fortunes are central to hopes of stemming climate change. La Camera said the renewable energy sector’s big-picture strengths, and its resilience through the crisis so far, make him hopeful. “My impression is that we are going to have a future that will be more decarbonized than we could have imagined three months ago,” he said. “And in the end, this health and economic crisis will push us to a cleaner path forward.” Risks in the other direction include not just direct government support to oil firms, but also regulatory loosening like the Trump administration’s decision to essentially suspend enforcement of air and water pollution rules, or to relax limits on mercury and other toxic power plant emissions. Such moves save the industry vast sums it would otherwise have to spend reducing pollution, said Daniel Kammen, professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley. Even without a push to help fossil fuel companies, COVID-19 could bump climate change down the list of leaders’ priorities. For now, most governments are still focused on immediate response to the health and jobs crisis. Longer-term measures will come next, and countries including South Korea and New Zealand are already talking about incorporating climate action into recovery plans. The European Union may combine parts of its Green Deal — a plan for transforming nearly every sector of its economy to cut carbon and improve quality of life — with efforts to repair the pandemic’s damage. In the U.S., the fate of any ambitious renewables plan depends largely on whether President Trump is reelected in November. For the most part, countries’ interest in green stimulus plans aligns with their pre-coronavirus stance on climate action. “We think they are more likely in countries where there was already broad-based support,” such as China and much of Europe, Goldie-Scot said. What might green recovery efforts entail? Given clean power’s competitiveness, companies don’t really need direct subsidies anymore, experts say. They would benefit from upgrades that make power grids smarter and more flexible, and therefore better able to utilize renewables. Spending to expand electric vehicle charging networks is essential, too, the analysts say.
The U.S. and China both have year-end deadlines when important tax and price incentives for renewables expire.
Access to credit will also be crucial, Bahar said. While it easily competes with fossil fuels on cost, “the renewables industry just doesn’t have as deep pockets,” added Kammen. Policy changes matter, as well. National, long-term carbon-cutting commitments would provide some certainty in frightening times. In the shorter term, the U.S. and China both have year-end deadlines when important tax and price incentives expire; extending those would help projects delayed by the pandemic, analysts say. Green stimulus advocates say climate action is well-suited to creating jobs, and if done right can also help remedy the stark economic, social, and racial inequalities the virus has exposed so vividly, particularly in the U.S. A shift to cleaner energy promises health gains too. Many have taken note of the better air quality lockdowns have brought, and Shreve said that could help people see the benefits of finding lasting ways to reduce fossil fuel use. “The one bright spot in this crazy crisis is to have been able to walk outside in places that have been notorious for air pollution, and seeing clean skies, and having a dose of what could be,” he said.
Kammen said he is hopeful the pandemic would ultimately speed the move to a cleaner economy. “COVID gives an opportunity for governments and companies to make that switch more strongly,” said Kammen. “I don’t think this is going to be an easy goodbye, but I would definitely say we’re in the long goodbye to fossil fuels.” For a link to the original story in Yale Environment360click here.

Faster traffic, more clicks. How COVID-​​19 affects emissions

For the original article, click here. Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 5.07.38 PM Reports from Italy detail the grim reality of a nation on lockdown. All businesses but pharmacies and food stores have shut their doors. Airlines are canceling flights, and roadblocks prevent people from leaving or entering some towns. It presents a glimpse of how dramatically American life could change if COVID-19 spreads rapidly in the United States. Many U.S. cities are already encouraging "social distancing" practices. Schools and universities are temporarily closing or switching to remote learning platforms. Conferences, music festivals and other public events are being canceled or going virtual. These kinds of disruptions stand to get more severe in the coming weeks. They could also come with an unexpected side effect: an impact on carbon emissions. The spreading virus has caused a dip in global greenhouse gas emissions. Reasons include a temporary blow to industrial activities in China, falling demand for oil and a decline in air travel. In China, the world's largest carbon emitter, experts estimate that emissions over the past month have been about 25% lower than normal. These effects aren't wholly unexpected. History suggests that global disasters, particularly those with major effects on the economy, tend to drive a temporary decline in carbon emissions. The 2008 recession, for instance, was accompanied by a temporary dip in global carbon emissions. On a local scale, the climate impact of an epidemic is more complex — it's likely to hinge on a wide variety of changes in the way people carry out their daily lives, from how often they leave their homes to how they travel around their cities to how they do their shopping. Scientists are still working to understand how fast the new coronavirus will spread, how it might respond to the changing weather and why it affects some demographics more severely than others. As it turns out, the virus may also teach scientists something about the complex relationships among everyday human behaviors, their response to large-scale disasters, and their carbon footprints. "Pull one string here, and it affects everything else," said Christopher Jones, a climate policy expert at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead developer at the CoolClimate Network, a research consortium focused on tools to reduce carbon emissions. "With the economy and carbon footprints, they're so interrelated that you really quickly start to have all these complex interactions."

The stay-at-home effect

Transportation is already taking a hit in parts of the United States. Schools and universities are closing campuses across the country, and many companies are encouraging their employees to work from home. In places like New York City, officials are warning residents to exercise caution on public transit, where it's often impossible to avoid close contact with large crowds of people. Some data indicates school closures and work-from-home mandates have already reduced traffic flow around Seattle. Reports from data analytics company Inrix point to significant increases in the speed of traffic in the Seattle area as highways empty out. Similar statistics have suggested that rush-hour traffic is down in New York City, as well, according to Crain's New York Business. And reports from Bay Area Rapid Transit, which serves San Francisco, said ridership on public transit has fallen precipitously in recent weeks. BART ridership dropped by 8% between the end of February and the first week of March. And it was a whopping 25% lower in the second week of March than it was the last week of February. Under some circumstances, a decline in ridership on public transit could suggest that people are driving more. But in this case, "I would say that if transit ridership is down, all vehicle travel is down, as well," Jones said. "I think that it's just an indicator that people are staying home more." The transportation sector is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. As schools and businesses close their doors, reduced travel could temporarily drive down carbon emissions in communities where people are spending more time at home.

More complications

Less vehicle traffic, on its own, seems good for the climate. But there's a potential catch. "There's been a lot of studies on the benefits of telecommuting, and the conclusion usually is 'it depends,'" Jones said. If people are spending more time in their homes, they could be using more energy. It depends largely on weather conditions, geography and different family lifestyles. "If you come home to a cold house and you have to heat it, that's going to more than offset the savings from not driving your vehicle to work, on average," Jones said. "If you come home to a beautiful day like we have in California, and there was somebody home anyway, really we're not using much more energy than if I were at work." Pandemics like COVID-19 could also spur less obvious behavior changes, which may nonetheless affect a household's carbon footprint. For instance, reports have suggested a recent spike in online shopping and home deliveries, especially for groceries. This is likely another byproduct of the virus as people increasingly avoid public spaces. The carbon footprint of online shopping, compared with making purchases in a store, is often tricky to parse out. According to at least one recent study, it may largely depend on whether the deliveries come from a store in the community or are shipped in from somewhere else, and what means of transport the shopper would ordinarily use to pick up the goods in person. That adds one more level of complexity to the impact of COVID-19 on household carbon footprints. To top it off, there's a great deal of uncertainty about how much worse the virus will become in the United States and how deeply it might affect the national economy. In China, domestic carbon emissions plummeted as industrial activities faltered. In the United States, a major economic downturn would likely drive a further decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, as people simply consume less resources. "The biggest potential impact of this virus is the effect on the economy," Jones said. "So if it affects the entire economy, then that's going to affect economic output, consumption and emissions."

Lessons to be learned

There's nothing to celebrate about the spread of the coronavirus, even if it does contribute to a temporary decline in greenhouse gas emissions. Global carbon emissions tend to bounce back fairly shortly after a global disturbance ends, history suggests — and meanwhile, COVID-19 has already killed thousands of people around the world, including several dozen in the United States. But the pandemic may hold some insight into the ways that cascading changes in human behavior can affect carbon emissions. Disturbances such as hurricanes and other natural disasters have provided these kinds of lessons, as well. But one key difference with the new coronavirus — at least for now — is that a lot of the behavioral changes it's driving are voluntary. "I think this is somewhat novel in the way that we're trying to do social distancing and really slowing down our economies in really significant ways," said Jacqueline Klopp, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University. "And that does sort of happen with a natural disaster, but also you have a lot of your infrastructure disrupted. We have our infrastructure in place, but we're just slowing down our economy." She pointed to recent data from the New York State Department of Transportation that indicates an increase in cyclists over New York City bridges this month. The increase would seem to suggest that people who have the ability to commute by bicycle versus other forms of transit are increasingly choosing to do so as the outbreak spreads. It's a lesson in human behavior and motivations. It's also a warning about disaster preparedness at the city level — and the ways that resilience in both the public health sphere and the climate sphere can often overlap. "For resiliency in crises, public health and greenhouse gas reductions, it is critical to build cities that cater for zero emissions, healthy modes of transport," Klopp said in a follow-up email to E&E News. "They can do that by investing in safe, segregated bike lanes and excellent sidewalks, as well as amenities not too far away from where people live, so they have the option of using these modes. "These are all key aspects of resilient, healthy cities that sadly, are often neglected," she added. "COVID-19 is reminding us that we badly need this kind of shift in investment and visioning." Whether people may continue to apply the more carbon-friendly changes in their behavior after the pandemic is another question. "Certainly in the short term you'll see big changes in behavior, and that is going to have an impact on emissions — either positively or negatively," Jones said. "I think the important question is: Are there going to be long-term changes? Will any of these behaviors stick? Will people learn to telecommute; will they learn that they like online shopping; will they learn to stay at home more, or be less willing to travel?" The present situation could offer an unusual opportunity to broach the subject, Klopp said. "I hope that these kinds of events — where people are actually pausing and they're in their homes and they have a chance to think — we use those moments to communicate some of these bigger issues that are facing us," Klopp said.

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