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[en] Recent efforts to promote a transition to a low carbon economy have been influenced by suggestions that a low carbon transition offers challenges and might yield economic benefits comparable to those of the previous industrial revolutions. This paper examines these arguments and the challenges facing a low carbon transition, by drawing on recent thinking on the technological, economic and institutional factors that enabled and sustained the first (British) industrial revolution, and the role of ‘general purpose technologies’ in stimulating and sustaining this and subsequent industrial transformation processes that have contributed to significant macroeconomic gains. These revolutions involved profound, long drawn-out changes in economy, technology and society; and although their energy transitions led to long-run economic benefits, they took many decades to develop. To reap significant long-run economic benefits from a low carbon transition sooner rather than later would require systemic efforts and incentives for low carbon innovation and substitution of high-carbon technologies. We conclude that while achieving a low carbon transition may require societal changes on a scale comparable with those of previous industrial revolutions, this transition does not yet resemble previous industrial revolutions. A successful low carbon transition would, however, amount to a different kind of industrial revolution. - Highlights: ► Investigates lessons for a low carbon transition from past industrial revolutions. ► Explores the implications of ‘general purpose technologies’ and their properties. ► Examines analysis of ‘long waves’ of technological progress and diffusion. ► Draws insights for low carbon transitions and policy.
[en] For a high probability of avoiding dangerous interference with the climate system, all sectors must decarbonise over coming decades. Although shipping is an energy efficient transport mode, its emissions continue to grow. Compounding this, the sector's complexity, exclusion from emission inventories and slow progress towards a mitigation strategy, limit drivers towards meaningful change. Whilst there remains a preference within the industry for global mitigation policies, the urgency of required emission cuts necessitates exploration of complimentary sub-global measures. The debate surrounding such measures tends to focus on apportioning global shipping emissions to nations. To explore the policy implications of apportionment, the UK is used in this paper to illustrate how available apportionment regimes produce a wide range of emission estimates. Moreover, in the absence of transparent fuel consumption and freight data, they have limited sensitivity, rendering them currently obsolete for monitoring purposes. Nations, regions and organisations influence shipping, particularly in relation to operations, yet debate surrounding apportionment has arguably delayed consideration of sub-global polices and indicators. This paper makes a case for putting the apportionment debate aside in the short-term to open out the full span of options, consider influence over aspects of the shipping system, and how to monitor success. - Highlights: ► Debate on sub-global CO2 policies for shipping focuses on emission apportionment. ► Data limitations prevent apportionment regimes from monitoring policy success. ► Nations, regions and organisations directly influence shipping at sub-global levels. ► Sub-global policies influence demand and operations in ports/waters. ► Policy should focus on what can be influenced and consider how to monitor progress.
[en] The integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation theoretically provides four co-benefits of interest to the Canadian energy sector: 1) reduced competition for resources, referring to capital savings resulting from improved project efficiencies; 2) reduced influence of scientific uncertainty for adaptations resulting from the shorter timelines and measurable outcomes of mitigation projects; 3) harmonization of implementation objectives resulting from synergies between mitigation and adaptation projects; and 4) improved social license of mitigation projects provided by accrual of local benefits derived from adaptation. Through the investigation of eleven case studies, our research demonstrates the presence of these co-benefits where integration is observed. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is used to link observed input variables to identified co-benefits. This research suggests that integration is an effective means of generating co-benefits that contribute positively to project outcomes. The research further concludes that effective leadership support, either through public-private partnership and energy policy, is one means of achieving such explicit integration. Energy policy, in the form of voluntary instruments and incentives, is recommended to build necessary public-private partnerships and support leadership. Such policy recommendations have applications far beyond the energy sector and the lessons learned here can likely be applied to cases outside of it. - Highlights: • Four co-benefits of integration were identified in a literature review and demonstrated in a case study context. • Based on eleven case studies these co-benefits are valued by the Canadian Energy Sector. • Integration is occurring in a weak policy environment that supports it. • Integration occurs through a combination of intent and leadership. • Benefits are accruing through integration but accrual can be improved.
[en] It seems generally accepted that change will occur in global energy systems. There also appears to be consensus on the kinds of changes that may possible for the future, even though there may be disagreement over the exact mix of technologies and policies needed to increase sustainability or mitigate climate change. The terms transition and transformation have both been used to denote the type of change needed in large socio-technical systems. However, the terms have been used both in contradiction of each other and synonymously by different authors. A comprehensive review of both theory and usage in scientific publications was conducted to determine if the terms have been used to denote fundamentally different concepts and if the concept of change is framed differently by usage so as to affect understanding. Despite two camps being readily identifiable, it was concluded that the terms generally refer to the same fundamental concept. At the same time, framing of the concept can be viewed as somewhat different, resulting in a potential for confusion on the part of the reader that may detract from achieving the outcome of change. It is suggested that change to physical forms and systems be denoted as transformations, and that changes to large socio-technical systems be denoted as transitions when the focus is on a higher order of change that highlights the ways that society motivates, facilitates, and benefits from change. - Highlights: • The terms transition and transformation are often used to describe change in energy systems. • Competing definitions and usage has arisen over time and across geographic locations. • Change in large socio-technical systems may better be described as transitions. • Change in physical aspects of energy systems may better be described as transformations. • Disagreement about these terms may detract attention from more important issues.
[en] After some two decades of inattention, the issue of energy security once again moved to the top of the policy agenda in Germany in the mid-2000s. After briefly achieving renewed prominence, however, it was eclipsed in German energy policy, at least temporarily, by heightened concerns about climate change. This paper explains the re-emergence of concerns about energy insecurity in recent years as well as the reasons for their subsequent overshadowing. It describes and explains the steps that have been taken during this period to promote German energy security and analyzes their adequacy. The paper identifies a number of reasons to be skeptical about how much the agreed policies will improve Germany's energy security, but it concludes that there are nevertheless good reasons to expect the issue to regain the attention of policy-makers in the future.
[en] Lithuania has developed several important climate change mitigation policy documents however there are no attempts in Lithuania to develop local climate change mitigation policies or to decentralize climate change mitigation policy. Seeking to achieve harmonization and decentralization of climate change mitigation and energy policies in Lithuania the framework for local climate change mitigation strategy need to be developed taking into account requirements, targets and measures set in national climate change mitigation and energy policy documents. The paper will describe how national climate change mitigation and energy policies can be implemented via local energy and climate change mitigation plans. The aim of the paper is to analyze the climate change mitigation policy and its relationship with policies promoting sustainable energy development in Lithuania and to present a framework for local approaches to climate change mitigation in Lithuania, in the context of the existing national and supra-national energy, climate change, and rural development policies. - Highlights: ► The framework for local energy action plans is offered. ► The structural support possibilities are assessed with respect to the Lithuanian legal base. ► The proposals are given for further promotion of sustainable energy at the local level.
[en] To point out the direction and focus of future international climate negotiations, this paper discusses how far developing country commitments can go in an immediate post-2012 climate regime. The paper argues that developing country commitments are most unlikely to go beyond the defined polices and measures in this timeframe. On this basis, the paper suggests that, rather than attempting the unrealistic goal, international climate negotiations may instead need to initially frame the post-2012 developing country participation in terms of certain policies and policies that I envisioned a decade ago. This conclusion does not change, as Barack Obama becomes the US President and the Democrats have regained control over both US House of Representatives and Senate. However, it should be emphasized that his stance on climate issues and how ambitious US commitments would be under his administration are going to be critical for developing countries to take bold steps themselves and to even agree to reflect those national commitments in a global deal. (author)
[en] This paper analyzes the long-term relationships between hydropower generation and climate factors (precipitation), hydropower generation capacity (installed capacity of hydropower station) to quantify the vulnerability of renewable energy production in China for the case of hydropower generation. Furthermore, this study applies Grey forecasting model to forecast precipitation in different provinces, and then sets up different scenarios for precipitation based on the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios and results from PRECIS (Providing Regional Climate projections for Impacts Studies) model. The most important result found in this research is the increasing hydropower vulnerability of the poorest regions and the main hydropower generation provinces of China to climate change. Other main empirical results reveal that the impacts of climate change on the supply of hydropower generation in China will be noteworthy for the society. Different scenarios have different effects on hydropower generation, of which A2 scenario (pessimistic, high emission) has the largest. Meanwhile, the impacts of climate change on hydropower generation of every province are distinctly different, of which the Southwest part has the higher vulnerability than the average level while the central part lower. - Highlights: • The hydropower vulnerability will be enlarged with the rapid increase of hydropower capacity. • Modeling the vulnerability of hydropower in different scenarios and different provinces. • The increasing hydropower vulnerability of the poorest regions to climate change. • The increasing hydropower vulnerability of the main hydropower generation provinces. • Rainfall pattern caused by climate change would be the reason for the increasing vulnerability
[en] Consequences in the distant future - such as those from climate change--have little value today when discounted using conventional rates. This result contradicts our 'gut feeling' about such problems and often leads to ad hoc application of lower rates for valuations over longer horizons - a step facilitated by confusion and disagreement over the correct rate even over short horizons. We review the theory and intuition behind the choice of discount rates now and, importantly, the impact of likely variation in rates in the future. Correlated changes in future rates imply that the distant future should be discounted at much lower rates than suggested by the current rate, thereby raising the value of future consequences - regardless of opinions concerning the current rate. Using historic data to quantity the likely changes and correlation in changes in future rates, we find that future valuations rise by a factor of many thousands at horizons of 300 years or more, almost doubling the expected present value of climate mitigation benefits relative to constant 4% discounting. Ironically, uncertainty about future rates reduces the ratio of valuations based on alternate choices of the current rate
[en] Standard models of uncertainty in economics imply that sharing information can reduce uncertainty and help identify welfare improving policies. In international relations, 'epistemic communities' of scientists are thought to help provide information for these purposes. However, conflicting preferences can frustrate the transmission of information and prevent effective information sharing. In addition, opportunities for information sharing can deepen distrust as actors observe each other's reaction to what to them is credible information. A model that assumes uncertainty both about the state of the world and the parties' motivations is applied to international climate change negotiations. (author)