Richard Plevin

Job title: 
Research Scientist
Lead Researcher
Transportation Sustainability Research Center

Richard Plevin's overarching interests relate to the use--and limitations--of computer models to inform or implement environmental policy. He is particularly interested in ways to incorporate uncertainty and scenario analysis into transportation fuels policy.

Much of his work has involved Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of biofuels, using both the standard "attributional" approach, and techniques to estimate market-mediated effects such as biofuel-induced indirect land use change and price effects in global petroleum markets. Another area of interest is LCA methodology and application in policy. His current work involves using the GCAM integrated assessment model as a platform for consequential LCA of biofuels.


PhD (2010), Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
MS (2006), Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
MS (1982), Computer Science, Yale University
BS (1981), Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, SUNY Albany


National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (2006-2009)

Research interests: 
  • Richard has recently developed analyses of ILUC emissions for corn grain, corn stover, and switchgrass ethanol using the GCAM model. A paper on these analysis is forthcoming.
  • He also developed a software framework for running Monte Carlo simulations that supports the GTAP and GCAM models on high-speed computing systems. In December 2015, he published the framework as an open-source project at A journal article with an example analysis can be found at
  • Another spin-off from this work is the pygcam package for simplifying the GCAM modeling and analysis workflow.
  • He is currently developing "robust decision making" tools based on my Monte Carlo simulation framework, which I will be using to analyze alternative policy formulations under "deep" uncertainty, regarding e.g., petroleum prices, the pace of technological change, future climate policies, and climate feedbacks.