Modelling solutions to climate change

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This page is the home of a small modeling exercise: we are attempting to model the differences and similarities between the solutions to climate change presented in several popular books.

The Challenge

The exercise comes from a challenge by Steve Easterbrook:

There are several excellent books that attempt to address the “how will we do it?” challenge. They each set out a set of suggested solutions, add up the contribution of each solution to reducing emissions, assess the feasibility of each solution, add up all the numbers, and attempt to make some strategic recommendations. But each book makes different input assumptions, focusses on slightly different kinds of solutions, and ends up with different recommendations (but they also agree on many things).


Okay, so what’s the challenge? Model the set of solutions in each of these books so that it’s possible to compare and contrast their solutions, compare their assumptions, and easily identify areas of agreement and disagreement. I’ve no idea yet how to do this, but a related challenge would be to come up with compelling visualizations that explain to a much broader audience what these solutions look like, and why it’s perfectly feasible.

You can read more about the challenge, and the books Steve suggests here:

Our Challenge

We are going to start this exercise by modeling only one aspect of each of the books Steve mentions: wind power. We are currently focusing on modeling these sections using a variety of different modeling techniques.

We meet:

  • When: 2-5pm, Tuesdays
  • Where: SE seminar room, SE Wing (er.. room number?)
  • Why: see above.
  • What: see below. you'll need to do your homework to actively participate.

What are we doing next at the next meeting? (i.e. What's the homework)

I'll try to keep this section updated with the latest homework and tasks for the next meeting.

Our goal over the next few meetings is to construct an ontology, ER/domain, and goal model for McKay's book. After we've done this we'll move on to the other books to see what happens.

Homework for October 6th meeting:

(for help on this, see below.)

See the #Meeting_notes below for an idea of what we did in previous weeks.

How to model

As for class/ER/domain entity modeling, the questions should be something like:

  • Who are the important entities in your domain? This will include people, systems, organizations, groups, roles, physical items, abstract items, groups of items, and possibly abstract concepts (anything that is a thing).
    • How do these entities relate to eachother?
      • Generalization, something is a something else?
      • Composition, is something a part of something else and can't exist on it's own?
      • Aggregation, is something a part of something else and can exist on it's own?
      • Association, there is some sort of communication or other relationships between entities?
      • Other?

For i* modeling, see here (pdf).

Source Material

The following is a list of the relevant parts of each book:

Sustainable Energy -- without the hot air

You can find the entire book here:

Plan B 3.0 - Mobilizing to Save Civilization

The entire book is here:

Meeting notes

September 29, 2009

Modeled the first five pages of McKay's book, and constructed the following ER diagram:


We will continue next week, beginning skimming the rest of the chapter (from the section "The climate-change motivation" through), and move on to Chapter 4 and 10.

September 22, 2009

At this meeting we talked about where to take the modeling exercise. We decided to a few specific modeling techniques to model the source material, rather than our more adhoc methods so far. In particular, we decided that for each book we'd construct a ontology, ER/domain model, and maybe a goal model.

We also decided that we need a larger chunk of time and slightly more formal meeting arrangement. So, we will now meet on Tuesday's from 2-5pm in the small seminar room in the SE wing.

August 25, 2009