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Why do we need economic models?

Is our energy future sunny and windy or do we go on burning fossil fuels? Watch Frank Krysiak and Hannes Weigt explaining the need for modeling.
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What will our future look like?
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Will our cities continue to be fueled by burning fossil fuels and harvesting nuclear energy?
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Or will we live a life in a 100% renewable future fueled by solar and wind?
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How can we address the challenges of climate change?
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Are we running out of time?
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IPCC graphs show different scenarios with regard to emissions for the next 100 to 200 years. Each of these scenarios implies a different future setting. If we want to predict these settings and their impact on our society as well as on the environment, we need economic models. Model results have concrete practical implications. They influence policy decisions, like emission reduction targets, and company activities, like renewable energy investments. Thereby, one might say that models have an impact on our future. In this course, you will learn how economic models can be used to answer questions raised by environmental or energy policy.
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We will guide you through the different aspects of modelling so that in the end, you will be able to use a model to design your very own energy future. I am Frank Krysiak, Professor for Environmental Economics at the University of Basel and one of the lead educators during this course. My field of research is the design of environmental and energy policy. During this course, I will discuss the conceptual aspects of model design and environmental policy with you. I am Hannes Weigt, energy economist at the University of Basel and the second lead educator for this course. I will guide you through the more computational and energy related aspects.
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With climate change, regulation efforts, and new emerging technologies, energy markets are facing significant changes and challenges all around the world. Models can help us to better understand and evaluate those developments. So stick around if you want to know how our energy future could look like.

In this course, you will learn how our environmental and energy economic models can be used to answer questions raised by environmental and energy policy.

We will show you how to transfer a question to a model, solve the model, and interpret the results.

Energy markets are currently facing significant changes and challenges all around the world. Models can help us to better understand and evaluate those developments.

So stick around if you want to know what our energy future could look like.

Profile pages

You can view the profile pages of your fellow learners, and ‘follow’ them to keep track of their comments. We recommend that you follow the educators Frank Krysiak and Hannes Weigt. That way, you’ll be able to see all the comments that they make.

For the same reason it might be a good idea to follow the mentors of this course, who will help to guide the discussions: Rebecca Lordan-Perret, Sebastian Schäfers, and Hector Ramirez. Mentoring will take place from 5th October 2020 to 9th November 2020.

Learning online

Courses such as this one attract thousands of learners, which means it is not possible for us to provide individual help in most cases. The big advantage however is that learners can help each other. So, if you know the answer to a question being asked, don’t be shy. Post an answer. If you find an answer or comment helpful, please ‘like’ it, so the best answers can be found more easily by others (filter by ‘most liked’).

In some steps, we’ll provide additional learning material as external links or downloads. Please have a look at them as well.

Are you new to learning online? Then you might like to read these tips and tools for social learning, to help you get the most from FutureLearn’s features.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: to help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement or Statement of Participation when you become eligible.

Find out more.

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Exploring Possible Futures: Modeling in Environmental and Energy Economics

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