EP8900 - Integrated Assessment Modelling


New from the academic year 2019/2020

Course content

Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are extensively used in the analysis of climate change mitigation and are informing national decision makers as well as contribute to international assessments such as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The objective of this course is to provide an overview of the field of integrated assessment modeling, including a characterization of different types of IAMs, their methodological basis and applications of IAMs. The field starting emerging in the 1970’s, based on research by 2018 Nobel laureate William D. Nordhaus and others, and has undergone a dynamic development to the present. The course will introduce important concepts in the field of climate change research, including the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) and the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) that link integrated assessment modeling with climate and earth systems modeling as well as climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability research.

Applying IAMs to analyze the potential role of individual technologies and different policies in mitigation of climate change will be studied from a systemic perspective which is becoming increasingly important with the increasing connections between regions and parts of human and natural systems. A recent expansion of IAM research therefore deals with putting climate change mitigation and policy into the context of broader sustainable development objectives, including air quality, water management, energy security or resource efficiency. The linkage of IAMs with methods and tools from other disciplines such as atmospheric chemistry and health research related to air pollution or industrial ecology research (e.g., lifecycle assessment) is discussed.

The course will also provide an introduction to state-of-the-art modeling techniques, including methods to ensure reproducibility of results, such as version control and usage of tools for collaborative model development and quality control. This will be achieved through exercises that require the operation and modification of an existing IAM framework to analyze different types of scenarios. Finally, studying current applications and methodological expansions of IAMs in a seminar part of the course will deepen the understanding of IAM applications at the research frontier.

Learning outcome

The course provides the student with knowledge about:
a) Different types of integrated assessment model of climate change, their strengths and limitations.
b) The methodological basis of integrated assessment models.
c) Basic concepts used in climate change research, including the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs).
d)State-of-art applications of integrated assessment models, including .

The course gives the student insight about:
a) How to parameterize and run an integrated assessment model.
b) How to perform scenario analyses and interpret the results.

Skills - The course should enable the student to:
To run scenarios with an integrated assessment model and interpret scenarios.

General competence - The course should give the student insight on:
The interactions between climate change mitigation policies and measures in different sectors of the energy and land systems and the economy as a whole.

Learning methods and activities

The course consists of lectures and problem sets. The course has manatory problemsets and reading. The lectures are in English. Since the teaching is given in English, the examination papers will be given in English only.

Further on evaluation

Portofolio assessment is the basis for the grade in the course. The portofolio includes a final written exam (70%) and exercises (30%). The result for the parts are given in %-score. If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may be changed from written to oral. To pass the course a score of at least 70 percent is required

Required previous knowledge

Linear algebra and basic programming/scripting skills is required. (Python or R will be used).

Course materials

Course material consists of set of presentations, integrated assessment models (incl. software tool, documentation), tutorials, journal articles

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2019

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)


Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Energy and Process Engineering


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