Climate Change Research: Capabilities
Emission Inventory Development and Quality Assurance
Our staff members work with large emission inventory databases for industrial sectors, individual states, the United States, and other countries. To develop these emission inventories, we assess appropriate emissions based on emission factor models or emissions testing. Our quality assurance measures require that all emission sources be properly identified and emission changes tracked.
Emission Mitigation Assessments
We conduct national and international mitigation assessments for GHGs and radiation-absorbing aerosols. As part of these assessments, we identify existing regulations and assess their effects on baseline emissions. We develop potential solutions, combining pollution prevention approaches and mitigation methods to remove GHGs from waste gases or react with GHGs to yield end-products that are less damaging to the environment.
Drawing on a thorough knowledge of regulations and engineering expertise, our experts prepare reports that identify options -- including those measures that exceed regulatory requirements -- and compare the relative merits of alternative solutions, including cost of implementation.
RTI scientists also serve as impartial, third-party entities to audit company claims of GHG emissions and emission reductions using standard protocols.
We conduct technology assessments related to climate change, including evaluation of emerging technologies and their costs. This work draws on our extensive knowledge of technology trends in transportation, fuels, electrical power generation, and other industries. To generate cost estimates, we conduct thorough literature reviews and employ EPA's AirControlNET, Control Cost Manual, and other accepted cost calculation procedures.
Evaluation of Carbon Sequestration Programs
We evaluate the costs and effectiveness of sequestering carbon dioxide and reducing GHG emissions from forestry and agriculture. Our evaluations frequently use the Forest and Agricultural Sector Optimization Model–GHG version, a dynamic, nonlinear model of the forest and agricultural sectors in the United States. We also have experience working with the latest versions of various biophysical models, including FORCARB, Century, and EPIC.
Environmental Impact Assessment
We have developed a series of tools to help assess and predict the impact of climate change on water and other natural resources. Examples include FOrests, Rangelands, and Watersheds At-Risk Decision Model for the Western United States (FORWARD WEST) and the Drinking Water Mapping Application.
Economic Impact Analysis
Leading environmental economists at RTI analyze the costs and economic effects of climate change on particular industries and countries around the world.
We have decades of experience in conducting environmental policy analysis for EPA and other agencies using the Applied Dynamic Analysis Global Economic (ADAGE) Model. A dynamic computable general equilibrium model, ADAGE combines theory and empirical data to estimate policy effect, while accounting for all interactions among business and consumers. RTI uses this model to investigate economic policies at the international, national, and U.S. regional and state levels.