Object-Oriented Energy, Climate, and Technology Systems (ObjECTS) Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM)

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Logo: Object-Oriented Energy, Climate, and Technology Systems (ObjECTS) Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM)
ObjETS GCAM is a global integrated assessment model for exploring consequences and responses to global change with particular emphasis on the representation of human earth systems including interactions between the global economic, energy, agricultural, land use, and technology systems.



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This tool is included in the Development Impacts Assessment (DIA) Toolkit from the LEDS Global Partnership.

Approach

GCAM is a dynamic-recursive model with representations of the economy, energy sector, land use and water linked to the MAGICC climate model of intermediate complexity. It can be used to explore climate change mitigation policies including carbon taxes, carbon trading, regulations and accelerated deployment of energy technology. GCAM provides the ability to understand the impact of technologies and policies related to greenhouse gas emissions in a national and global context, and quickly evaluate technologies including carbon capture and storage. Flexible object-oriented structure allows new technologies and sectors to be quickly implemented. GCAM is a global model, with the economy and energy system are disaggregated into 14 geopolitical regions.


When to Use This Tool

This tool is most useful for development impacts assessments focused on:

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Social

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Economic

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Environmental

Learn more about the topics for assessing the impacts of low-emission development strategies (LEDS).

Key Outputs

The model allows the user to:

  • Assess the impact of technologies and policies related to GHG emissions in a national and global context.
  • Quickly evaluate technologies including carbon sequestration.
  • Perform an evaluation of land use given that biomass land competes with food and fiber uses in the agriculture/land-use model.
  • Calculate GHG concentrations, radiative forcing, and climate change in the form of changes in temperature and sea level rise.

Outputs of the model have allowed for evaluations of sustainability and country-based vulnerabilities.



How to Use This Tool

Training Available
None provided; Computable General Equilibrium (CGE)/economic modeling knowledge recommended

Level of Expertise
Moderate

Key Inputs

Economic, energy, agricultural, and land use data. For a description of the complete inputs see “Model Documentation for the MiniCAM” (Brenkert, Smith, Kim, and Pitcher, 2003).



Case Studies

Examples of how Object-Oriented Energy, Climate, and Technology Systems (ObjECTS) Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) has helped people assessing the impacts of low-emission development strategies in countries and regions:

A selection of GCAM papers and reports can be found here: http://wiki.umd.edu/gcam/index.php/References





Description

" Model Name and Version: ObjECTS GCAM. Model Type: Dynamic-recursive model (economy, energy and land-use) including numerous energy supply technologies, agriculture and land-use model, and a reduced-form climate model. Sixteen emissions tracked including CO2, CH4, N2O, and SO2. 15-year time step. Run period 1990 - 2095.

Developer/Home Institution: Joint Global Change Research Institute (PNNL). Contacts: Patrick Luckow (patrick.luckow@pnl.gov) or Leon Clarke (leon.clarke@pnl.gov).

Energy Sector Detail: Three end-use sectors (Buildings, Industry, Transportation). Energy supply and transformation sectors: fossil-fuels (oil, natural gas, coal), biomass (traditional & modern), electricity, hydrogen, synthetic fuels.

Regional Detail: Global coverage with 14 regions (United States, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Australia & New Zealand, Former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, China [& Asian Reforming Economies], India, South Korea, Rest of South & Eastern Asia)

Key Drivers: Regional population and labor productivity growth assumptions drive the energy and land-use systems. Technology Detail: GCAM includes numerous technology options to produce, transform, and provide energy services as well as to produce agriculture and forest products, and to determine land use and land cover.

Primary energy detail: Oil (conventional and unconventional), Natural Gas, Coal, Bioenergy, Hydroelectric power, Wind, Solar (various technologies), and geothermal. Bioenergy production includes: Traditional, Crop residue, and Dedicated bioenergy crops (Bioenergy crops generated regionally by the GCAM agriculture-land-use-terrestrial-carbon-cycle model). Energy Transformation Technologies Include: Electricity generation, Hydrogen production, and Synfuels. Petroleum refining (conventional and unconventional primary liquids to fuels for end-use sectors) Electric generation (various power generation technologies using the following fuel inputs: Coal, Oil, Gas, Biomass, Hydro, Nuclear, Wind, Solar PV; includes CO2 capture and storage technology options for hydrocarbon fuel inputs) Hydrogen production using various feedstocks (Coal, Oil, Gas, Biomass, water using Electrolysis, and thermal dissociation) Synthetic fuels production (liquids and gases from coal, oil, gas, biomass), geologic carbon storage from hydrocarbon fuels (fossil fuels and bioenergy) (electric generation, hydrogen generation, synthetic fuel production). Energy Demand: Technology-based U.S. end-use sectors.

Transportation by mode (Passenger: light duty vehicles, bus, train, air, motorcycle; Freight: truck, ship, rail, air) and technology (e.g., ICE cars, ICE light trucks, hybrid cars, electric cars, fuel-cell cars). Separate commercial and residential buildings by service (heating, cooling, lighting, hot water, other) and technology (e.g., gas or oil furnace, electric baseboard, electric heat pump). Industrial energy use by sector (9 manufacturing sectors; 4 non-manufacturing) and end-use (boilers, process heat, machine drive, HVAC, electro-chemical, feedstocks, other).

ObjECTS Framework: The GCAM is implemented within the Object-Oriented Energy, Climate, and Technology Systems (ObjECTS) framework. ObjECTS is a flexible, modular, Integrated Assessment modeling framework. The component-based structure of this model represents global energy, land-use, and economic systems through a component hierarchy that aggregates detailed technology information up to a global macroeconomic level. Input is provided by the flexible XML standard, where data is structured in an object hierarchy that parallels the model structure.

Special Features: Ability to understand the impact of technologies and policies related to GHG emissions in a national and global context. Ability to quickly evaluate technologies including carbon capture and storage. An embedded reduced form model of the carbon cycle, atmospheric chemistry and climate change, MAGICC, provides GHG concentrations, radiative forcing, and climate change. Flexible object-oriented structure allows new technologies and sectors to be quickly implemented.

GCAM Modeling Community Meeting: PNNL has committed to making the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) a community tool – expanding its user community and gradually opening the development of the model beyond PNNL. On September 29 and September 30, 2010, the first meeting of the GCAM modeling community was held at JGCRI. The meeting took place over two days. The first day focused on plans for building a GCAM modeling community, an overview of the model, examples of existing work by GCAM collaborators, and plans for model development. The second day included a tutorial on running and interpreting GCAM as well as hands on assistance from JGCRI staff. The agenda for the meeting and presentations are below."

AgLU Model

"The agriculture-land-use model (AgLU) endogenously determines land use, land cover, and the stocks and flows of carbon from terrestrial reservoirs. AgLU is fully integrated with the GCAM energy and economy modules. Land competition allocation between 15 land uses: Pasture Land, Corn, Wheat, Sugar Crops, Other Grain Crops, Oil Crops, Misc. Crops, Fodder Crops, Fiber Crops, Bioenergy Crops, Rice, Forests, Unmanaged Forests, Unmanaged Land, and Non-Arable Land. Stocks and flows of terrestrial carbon and other greenhouse gases are determined by associated land use and land cover and land-use-land-cover changes."

References

  1.  "GCAM"