CO2 Emissions and Climate Wedges Application

Our assigned group project mimicked the Stabilization Wedges Game created by the Carbon Mitigation Initiative and Princeton University.  My teammates Will Vazquez and Cameron Stearn created an application using MATLAB's latest feature, appdesigner.

 

The inspiration behind the game stems from an article released Pacala and Socolow, which talks about the usage of stabilization wedges to implement carbon-cutting strategies through a simple framework in order to convey the practicality of cutting carbon emissions.  With this, there are associated costs, benefits, and constraints.

This graph provides the schematic of the billions of carbon emitted per year and the stabilization wedges required to make a 'flat path'.  The historical emissions portion indicates the rate of carbon, and achieving a flat path would result in a steady state system where the rate of carbon emitted into the atmosphere is equal to the rate of carbon being taken out.

The dashed line indicates a 'business as usual' line which provides a representation of the rate of carbon emissions into the atmosphere if no actions take place.  As it stands the rate CO2 emissions are predicted to double within 50 years.  It is predicted that without intervention, the rising CO2 can trigger environmental catastrophes.  Within increased carbon content in the atmosphere, light is able to pass through much easier and heat has difficulty dissapating out causing a greenhouse effect.

With this literature in mind, there are associated mathematical relationships that we used to integrate this into an application.

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

t     = years

C    = mass of carbon in the atmosphere 

E    = rate of carbon added to the atmosphere

F    = Radiative forcing

T    = Temperature

      = climate sensitivity paramater

t0   = 2017

With these equations, the stabilization wedges game can be played.  The user interface of the game requires users to upload 3 text files: a constraints file, strategy file, and wedges file.

Constraints File

Strategy File

Wedges File

Due to the inability to embed my MATLAB appdesigner application onto the website, I've provided links to the project folder containing our climate wedges app.  In order to run the program, MATLAB2017b or later must be downloaded and all of the files must be downloaded to the same directory.  Click here

From this experience, I learned a glimpse of object oriented programming, and given more time there are additional features I would have liked to added.  The current features calculate the carbon emission rate after 50 years given each wedge being implemented simultaneously.  A new feature that would be easily to calculate but more difficult to implement would be allowing the user to select which climate mitigation strategy at different times.  This would be much more realistic, and accurate.