GLIMPSE – A computational framework for assessing interactions between air quality, climate change, and energy scenarios

What is GLIMPSE?

GLIMPSE is an EPA modeling tool used to find U.S. policy scenarios that simultaneously improve air quality and human health, reduce impacts to ecosystems, and mitigate climate change. It is designed to be fast and comprehensive, so decision-makers can explore a range of options to maximize benefits to air quality and reduce climate change impacts.

What are the benefits of using GLIMPSE?

Energy system technologies, emissions from energy sources, and environmental and health impacts are all interrelated so a change in one area may impact another, either positively or negatively. GLIMPSE allows decision-makers to examine their policy options holistically to ensure they are maximizing the environmental and health benefits.

Effective decision-making requires understanding the energy system as well as a range of environmental and health impacts. For example, a program to promote electric cars may change power plant emissions and the types of pollutants entering the atmosphere. Electricity production from natural gas can lower carbon-dioxide emissions, but may increase methane emissions. Both are greenhouse gases. GLIMPSE can be used to evaluate the benefits and trade-offs.

Who should use GLIMPSE?

Federal, regional, and state-level planning organizations including:

  • Decision-makers interested in finding energy scenarios that achieve both climate change mitigation and air quality human health benefits;
  • Energy officials who  want to understand the impacts of technology choices on the energy system, emissions, and environmental impacts;
  • Environmental planners interested in maximizing human health co-benefits of a greenhouse gas mitigation strategy.

How does GLIMPSE work?

The MARket ALlocation (MARKAL) energy system model is coupled to the GEOS-Chem atmospheric chemistry-transport model.  This enables users to explore the impact of policy actions on emissions of short-lived climate forcers, such as black carbon and greenhouse gases, and the human health costs of air pollutants. EPA scientists developed a range of U.S. energy system scenarios and quantified their human health and climate change impacts.

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