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[en] The implementation of climate policies in the US and EU in light of uncertainties about future international climate policy has shifted attention to two interrelated concerns, namely competitiveness and carbon leakage. Although various policy measures are available to address these concerns, there has been much discussion about one such measure in particular: the use of offsetting measures at the border. This article compares policy discussions in the US and the EU on how to address competitiveness and carbon leakage concerns, with a focus on the role of import-related border adjustment measures. It analyses the kinds of measures that so far have been put forward with a view to addressing competitiveness and carbon leakage; compares the approaches to the problems in the US and the EU; and provides a preliminary discussion of international cooperation on border adjustment measures. It concludes that two kinds of cooperation are needed between the EU and the US - not only cooperation through formal international negotiations, but also cooperation through international learning processes, in which the EU and the US learn from each other about design and implementation issues as they develop their respective cap-and-trade systems.
[en] Energy intensity in Spain has increased since 1990, while the opposite has happened in the EU15. Decomposition analysis of primary energy intensity ratios has been used to identify which are the key sectors driving the Spanish evolution and those responsible for most of the differences with the EU15 energy intensity levels. It is also a useful tool to quantify which countries and economic sectors have had most influence in the EU15 evolution. The analysis shows that the Spanish economic structure is driving the divergence in energy intensity ratios with the EU15, mainly due to strong transport growth, but also because of the increase of activities linked to the construction boom, and the convergence to EU levels of household energy demand. The results can be used to pinpoint successful EU strategies for energy efficiency that could be used to improve the Spanish metric.
[en] Climate change, in particular rainfall variability, affects rain-dependent agriculture in Africa. The resulting food shortages, in combination with rising population and lack of access to electricity needed for development, require the governments and people of Africa to consider renewable energy sources. One example that has high potential in Africa is solar energy. Many African governments have begun discussions about renewable energy but tangible results have yet to materialize. This research contributes to the governmental efforts by presenting the solar electricity potentials for some African cities. Using photovoltaic geographical information system (PVGIS) data, it is clear that there is enough electricity for urban and rural dwellers if there is political will and if the solar panels are mounted at the suggested optimal angles ranging from 8-34 deg. The solar irradiation at all sites was higher than the typical daily domestic load requirement of 2324 Wh/m2 in urban and rural areas. We provide a strong rationale for political will, collaboration and transparent energy policies that will ensure that life is enhanced through the use of environmentally-friendly renewable energy technologies such as solar power.
[en] Recent research has shown that once CO2 has been emitted to the atmosphere, it will take centuries for natural removal. Clearly, the longer we delay deep reductions in CO2, the greater the risk that total greenhouse gas emissions will exceed prudent limits for avoiding dangerous anthropogenic change. We evaluate the three possible technical approaches for climate change mitigation: emission reduction methods, post-emission draw down of CO2 from the atmosphere, and geoengineering. We find that the first two approaches are unlikely to deliver the timely reductions in CO2 needed, while geoengineering methods either deliver too little or are too risky. Given the deep uncertainties in both future climate prediction and energy availability, it seems safest to actively plan for a much lower energy future. We propose a general 'shrink and share' approach to reductions in both fossil-fuel use and carbon emissions, with basic human needs satisfaction replacing economic growth as the focus for economic activity. Only with deep cuts in energy and carbon can we avoid burdening future generations with the high energy costs of air capture.
[en] Renewable energy can become the major energy supply option in low-carbon energy economies. Disruptive transformations in all energy systems are necessary for tapping widely available renewable energy resources. Organizing the energy transition from non-sustainable to renewable energy is often described as the major challenge of the first half of the 21st century. Technological innovation, the economy (costs and prices) and policies have to be aligned to achieve full renewable energy potentials, and barriers impeding that growth need to be removed. These issues are also covered by IPCC's special report on renewable energy and climate change to be completed in 2010. This article focuses on the interrelations among the drivers. It clarifies definitions of costs and prices, and of barriers. After reviewing how the third and fourth assessment reports of IPCC cover mitigation potentials and commenting on definitions of renewable energy potentials in the literature, we propose a consistent set of potentials of renewable energy supplies.
[en] In developing countries, providing all citizens an access to modern forms of energy is among the central energy policy objectives, as the linkages between modern energy services and human development are widely recognized. This paper presents in a scenario analysis of rural energy consumption, how energy services in different sectors of a village economy contribute to the achievement of the UNDP Millennium Development Goals. In a rural village in Lao People's Democratic Republic, household energy demand and energy uses were surveyed immediately prior to the electrification of the village. Based on the situation preceding electrification of the village, the development of village electrification was studied by simulating the village energy system, accounting for all village energy uses but transportation. To study the potential development of electricity demand in the village, three scenarios were constructed using the LEAP model: 'residential demand', 'income generation' and 'public services'. Energy demand in each scenario was analyzed with reference to the Millennium Development Goals.
[en] This paper investigates the relationship between economic growth and pollutant emissions for a small and open developing country, Tunisia, during the period 1961-2004. The investigation is made on the basis of the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis, using time series data and cointegration analysis. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are used as the environmental indicators, and GDP as the economic indicator. Our results show that there is a long-run cointegrating relationship between the per capita emissions of two pollutants and the per capita GDP. An inverted U relationship between SO2 emissions and GDP has been found, with income turning point approximately equals to $1200 (constant 2000 prices) or to $3700 (in PPP, constant 2000 prices). However, a monotonically increasing relationship with GDP is found more appropriate for CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the causality results show that the relationship between income and pollution in Tunisia is one of unidirectional causality with income causing environmental changes and not vice versa, both in the short-run and long-run. This implies that an emission reduction policies and more investment in pollution abatement expense will not hurt economic growth. It could be a feasible policy tool for Tunisia to achieve its sustainable growth in the long-run.
[en] While there is a large body of empirical studies on the relationship between crude oil price changes and stock market returns, they have failed to achieve a consensus on this subject. In this paper, we combine wavelet analysis and Markov Switching Vector Autoregressive (MS-VAR) approach to explore the impact of the crude oil (CO) shocks on the stock market returns for UK, France and Japan over the period from January 1989 to December 2007. Our procedure involves the estimation of the extended MS-VAR model in order to investigate the importance of the resultant wavelet filtering series (after removing random components) in determining the behavior of the stock market volatilities. We show that CO shocks do not affect the recession stock market phases (except for Japan). However, they significantly reduce moderate and/or expansion stock market phases temporarily. Moreover, this negative relationship appears to be more pronounced during the pre-1999 period. The empirical findings will prove extremely useful to investors who need to understand the exact effect of international oil changes on certain stocks prices as well as for policy managers who need a more thorough evaluation about the efficiency of hedging policies affected by oil price changes.
[en] China has set an ambitious target to increase its wind power capacity by 35 GW from 2007 to 2020. The country's hunger for clean power provides great opportunities for wind energy investors. However, risks from China's uncertain electricity market regulation and an uncertain energy policy framework, mainly due to uncertain Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) benefits, prevent foreign investors from investing in China's wind energy. The objectives of this paper are to: (1) quantify wind energy investment risk premiums in an uncertain international energy policy context and (2) evaluate the impact of uncertain CDM benefits on the net present values of wind power projects. With four scenarios, this study simulates possible prices of certified emissions reductions (CERs) from wind power projects. Project net present values (NPVs) have been calculated. The project risk premiums are drawn from different and uncertain CER prices. Our key findings show that uncertain CDM benefits will significantly affect the project NPVs. This paper concludes that the Chinese government needs revising its tariff incentives, most likely by introducing fixed feed-in tariffs (FITs), and re-examining its CDM-granting policy and its wind project tax rates, to facilitate wind power development and enable China to achieve its wind energy target.