“The more scientific evidence we can give of the consequences … of different energy scenarios and policy scenarios, the more informed our decisions can be.”
— Michelle Bell
The Center includes an administrative core, a fulltime project manager, and two support units. One, a quantitative methods unit, will deliver technical support for statistical challenges and help provide a more unified framework for all the projects. Much of the statistical code will be made available for other interested researchers and students who want to apply the models to their own work. “We’re committed to making much of the work publicly free and available,” Bell said.
The second support unit, led by Daniel Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at F&ES, connects with policymakers who deal with air quality, climate, and energy. “Our goal is to not have just a one-way interaction where the scientists generate results and we provide them to policy makers, but to have two-way communication,” Bell said. Researchers will continue to meet with staff from local, state, and federal air agencies throughout the project to help convey what the science means, to learn what types of scientific questions are most relevant, and to develop more effective methods of presenting scientific research to policymakers and the public.
“The primary driver for environmental policy, historically, has been human health,” Bell said. “EPA’s mission is to protect the environment and human health, not just to protect the environment. The more scientific evidence we can give of the consequences, especially for health but also other consequences, of different energy scenarios and policy scenarios, the more informed our decisions can be.”