Category Archives: [SDG09]

Inclusive Green Economy and Structural Transformation in Africa

Over the last decade, African economies recorded impressive economic growth rates. Economic growth remains vigorous and growth is forecasted to be 5.5% in 2013-2014 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, almost a third of the countries in the region are growing at 6% or more. African countries are now routinely among the fastest growing countries in the world (World Bank, 2013). Despite the remarkable economic performance, Africa has the world’s highest proportion of poor people and is off track to meeting key MDGs (ECA, 2014). It is also projected that the continent’s population will increase by approximately 800 million people by 2040, putting even more pressure on natural resources. The challenge confronting the region therefore is not only to maintain, but to translate the rapid economic growth into sustained and inclusive development, based on economic diversification that creates jobs, contributes to reduced inequality and poverty, and enhances access to basic services. This underlies the renewed calls by countries for a structural transformation that fosters sustained and inclusive economic growth (Lin, 2012). Rodrik(2013) notes that while East Asian countries grew rapidly and turned their farmers into manufacturing workers, diversified their economies, and exported a range of increasingly sophisticated goods, little of that is taking place in Africa today.

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Reframing Social Housing as an Infrastructure of Production and Consumption

In the classical triangular model of sustainability, the 3-Es (Economic development, Environmental protection, and social Equity), are given equal weight (Campbell 1996). However, in climate change research related to the built environment—the sector of the economy that contributes most to GHG emissions—social equity is rarely considered (Oden 2010). In the context of the built environment, equity is typically understood to mean the provision of housing for the poor by government, and is generally perceived as a social issue separate from the more technical problems of designing low-entropy buildings. In technical terms, equity is generally placed outside the system boundaries of sustainable building technology (Odum 1994 [1983]), creating a large gap between the science and social policy of climate change in the built environment.

Being thus marginalized by building science, housing the poor is viewed by society as an unfortunate, yet necessary, public entitlement required to keep the poor from becoming
further burdens (either through unemployment, ill-health or political unrest) to the more affluent citizens who pay taxes (Mueller 2013). Research demonstrates this to be a shortsighted and ideological way to understand the opportunities inherent in social equity generally, and social housing in particular (Benner et al 2013).

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Sustainability and economic de-growth

A major problem that permeates human development today are the limits that the Earth’s ecosystem imposes on efforts to persist in an increasing economic growth. With the end of the Cold War the
environmental issue gained relevance but the economic interests still speak louder. The pattern of development based on the model of the Industrial Revolution still remains and is structured as unsustainable. But this unbridled growth resulted in speculative bubbles and crises which further harm the ecosystem and do not cooperate in a sustainable and more equitable society. Michael Renner of World Watch Institute says: "In general, environmental governance was relegated to the sidelines in search of economic globalization driven by corporate interests – a process that has been marked by
deregulation and privatization and the relative weakening of political institutions national "(Renner, 2012).

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Pathways to Deep Decarbonization, a Problem Solving Approach for a 2°C Society

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)[IPCC, 2013 & 2014] underscores the dangers to human well-being of a business-as-usual scenario where average global temperatures rise by 4°C or more. Governments around the world have adopted the target of keeping the global rise in mean surface temperature below 2°C compared with the preindustrial average [UNFCCC,
2010]. This target translates into a limitation on global cumulative emissions of approximately 1,000 GtCO2 during the transition to a net-zero emission economy. Yet, current voluntary pledges – even if fully implemented – fall short of what is needed. According to the UNEP Emission Gap Report, existing commitments to reduce emissions are 8 to 10 GtCO2e below the minimum needed in 2020 to retain a 66% chance of staying within 2°C [UNEP, 2014].

As a benchmark for the transition to be implemented, global per capita emissions will need to fall to less than 2 tCO2e by 2050, where developed nations currently range from approximately 10 to 20 tCO2e per capita today [DDPP, 2014]. Realizing such a reduction in emissions requires unprecedented problem solving on all fronts: technological diffusion and innovation, infrastructure building, financing mechanisms, policy frameworks, institutional arrangements, business models, and consumer behavior. This problem solving is best organized around coherent visions of the required transformation, which take the form of deep decarbonization pathways (DDPs) to 2050.

To make a strong and convincing case for action at the national level, DDPs must be country-specific and developed by local experts. They need to fit within countries’ development strategies and align with their socioeconomic and environmental goals. They need to demonstrate that the short- and long-term challenges countries face, such as economic development, poverty eradication and job creation can be addressed in parallel to deep decarbonization. However, few countries have created such pathways. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) offers an approach to develop such analysis.

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Relación entre Sustentabilidad, Responsabilidad Social y Responsabilidad Extendida al Productor

Este resumen se respalda en el marco teórico del trabajo de tesis doctoral que se encuentra realizando la autora para la carrera de Doctorado en Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba-Argentina. El objetivo del presente es mostrar la relación existente entre los aspectos señalados teniendo como base los tres principios de la sustentabilidad: económico, social y ambiental.

Fabrication laboratories (FabLabs): Tools for sustainable development

FabLabs are open high-tech workshops where individuals have the opportunity to develop and produce custom-made things which are not accessible by conventional industrial scale technologies (Knips et al., 2014)

FabLabs are organized in a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access to tools for rapid digital fabrication (FabFoundation, 2013). Fab labs offer the possibility of digital fabrication and rapid prototyping (especially additive manufacturing) for projects in the fields of science, education
and sustainable development (ICTPScientificFabLab, 2014).

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Decoupling Growth from Resource Generation

Global economic and social development over the last two centuries has been largely achieved through intensive, inefficient and unsustainable use of the earth’s finite resources. Over the course of the 20th century global resource extraction and use increased by around a factor of 89. Global population grew around half as fast and GDP grew at a significantly higher rate (by a factor of 23). Given a world population that grows by 200,000 people each day and especially a rapidly growing global “middle class” associated with resource-intensive consumption patterns, the demand for natural resources will continue to increase. According to the Global Footprint Network, if current economic and production trends persist, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us by 2030.

The global challenge today is to lift one billion people out of absolute poverty and to set the pathway for meeting the needs of nine billion people in 2050 while keeping climate change, biodiversity loss and health threats within acceptable limits (“planetary boundaries”). For present and future well-being, there is a need to achieve sustainable resource management by decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from human well-being.

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How New Metrics for Sustainable Agriculture Can Align the Roles of Government and Business

In three decades the potential for the private sector to make a positive difference in development has garnered increasing credence and support (Schmidheiny 1992; Porter, Ketels,
& Delgado 2007). This aligns with increasing acceptance that being sustainability-oriented can also benefit a firm’s market performance (Eccles et al. 2011). It is clear that the private sector will have to be an important part of any effort to attain the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It has likewise become clear that for agricultural producers merely participating in markets or trade is not sufficient to ensure poverty reduction and increase sustainability (Hopkins 2007; Jaffee et al. 2011).

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Industrial Policy and Sustainable Development

Industrial Development can be driven by policies in countries of origin, countries of destination, corporations own initiatives and by international institutions. In this note we focus on the role of industrial agencies and policy within nations. The latter, particularly if implemented widely across nations, is the most direct pathway to sustainable industrial development.

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Industrial symbiosis: powerful mechanisms for sustainable use of environmental resources

Decoupling of resources use from economic growth is one of the central challenges of pathways towards a sustainable future. In this context, industrial symbiosis holds huge potential. While increased resource efficiency is one of its central aspects, industrial symbiosis links to broader agendas in the fields of green economy, innovation, material and energy security, climate change, as well as local, regional and national welfare.

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Estimations of the contribution of international shipping to greenhouse gas emissions

Maritime transport is the backbone of world trade and globalization. Twenty-four hours a day and all year round, ships carry cargoes to all corners of the globe. This role will continue to grow with the anticipated increase in world trade in the years to come as millions of people are expected to be lifted out of poverty through improved access to basic materials, goods and products. World trade and maritime transport are, therefore, fundamental to sustaining economic growth and spreading prosperity throughout the world, thereby fulfilling a critical social as well as an economic function.

Maritime transport will be indispensable in a sustainable future global economy, being the most energy efficient mode of mass cargo transport; in 2012 ships carried about 9.2 billion tonnes of cargo and over 2.1 billion passengers. Consequently, these environmental, social and economic dimensions of maritime transport are equally important and should be fully recognized in any strategy, policy, regulatory framework or action.

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Towards an energy efficient oil and gas sector

Hydrocarbons have played one of the most crucial roles in economic history by fuelling globalisation and industrialisation. Today, oil and natural gas form a key lifeline of the global economy, contributing to a 56.6% share in global energy consumption (BP, 2014). Further, in spite of the recent worldwide thrust provided to the renewable sector, International Energy Agency’s (IEA) (2014) World Economic Outlook for 2040 projects that oil and gas will remain the single largest energy source throughout the projection period (see Figure 1), as developing countries experience growth. In particular, transport, heating, and cooking energy requirements will largely continue to be powered by oil and natural gas. The continued dominance of hydrocarbons in the energy mix can be explained by the presence of a lock-in of fossil fuel energy systems. This carbon lock-in has occurred globally through the systemic co-evolution of technology and institutions, thus creating a Techno-Institutional Complex of high fossil fuel intensity (Unruh, 2000). Such a lock-in is among the biggest barriers to climate change mitigation and sustainability.

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Sustainable Development and World Trade: The Contribution of Internaitonal Environmental Regulations to Trade

“Sustainable Development and open trade go hand in hand and the multilateral trading system helps to create the enabling environment for countries to realise the sustainable development and green economy vision. (World Trade Organisation 2011). Sustainable Development manifests itself into
economic, social and environmental issues to be solved by the countries by the following international environmental regulations. Trade and Sustainable Development is interlinked. Rio+20 (2012) conference seeks to promote it through open and equitable rulebased multilateral trading system which is nondiscriminatory and predictable and benefits all countries in the pursuit of Sustainable Development.

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创新驱动石景山区转型发展的经验探索与思考 (Exploration and Reflection on experience, innovation-driven restructuring and development of the Shijingshan District)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
为探索大都市传统工业区向现代化新城区转型的可持续发展模式和路径,石景山区树立高端绿色发展理念,把握北京 建设全国“科技创新中心”契机,致力于以提高科技创新能力和转化应用水平为主线,着力强化科技研发转化中心、科技创新服务中 心、科技金融创新中心、高端人才创业中心四项功能,全面提高科技创新能力,不断增强科技创新对产业、园区、民生、文化、城市 建设的驱动作用,取得了可持续发展的喜人成效,对其他传统工业区具有借鉴意义。

建筑生命周期评价研究热点探析 (Life-cycle analysis of buildings)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
应用文献分析,综述了生命周期评价方法在建筑领域的应用。重点评述了建筑生命周期评价的近期研究热点,以期为 研究者选择评价方法和制定研究目标提供方向,推进建筑业可持续发展。研究认为应该结合案例的具体情况研究目的和生 命周期数据获取的难度选择合适的评价方法;建筑生命周期评价的未来应重点关注的领域:1)建筑拆除处理阶段,2)建筑 设计阶段,3)建筑的物化能及材料的循环和替代性,4)建筑的动态性。

Sustainable sea transport for the Pacific Islands: the obvious way forward

Sea transport is the lifeline of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and communities, moving the vast majority of people, goods and resources. It is crucial for trade and economic development and impacts upon virtually every development initiative (UNCTAD, 2014). Yet for many PICs, existing maritime transport services are increasingly unaffordable and unsustainable (AusAID, 2008; Nuttall et al 2014a).

Ships are often old, poorly maintained and inefficient (ADB, 2007), and there is a vicious cycle of old ships being replaced with old ships(Nuttall et al, 2014a). Fossil fuel is often the largest single operating cost for shipping operators. Combined with narrow reef passages and small loads, many routes are unviable and uneconomic.

Predicted increases in both fuel and compliance costs means that this scenario is likely to get worse over time, meaning that governments and donors will be increasingly called upon to subsidise or service these routes (Nuttall et al,2014a).

However, a fast developing body of research identifies an alternative future pathway involving a structured transition to low carbon shipping. This brief outlines the main features of this emerging field and identifies the policy choices that must be made to enable a more sustainable Pacific islands sea transport future.

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The centrality of electricity supply for global sustainable development

Humanity faces many challenges in the field of sustainable development. Regardless of how sustainability is defined one subject that is very much underrepresented is the importance of electricity at the point of consumption. Electricity is the lifeblood of all modern societies, yet its continual flow is taken for granted. It is only when there is a power cut that we start to appreciate and realise how dependent our daily living standards are on the continuity of its supply. There are many things that can cause an interruption in supply, which can be either caused by humans or nature. In the UK many interruptions of the supply are localised, of a very short duration, are looked at as a minor glitch, and of bearable consequence. But when there is a widespread blackout due to a major incident, then the media and policy makers become vocal and responses are initiated to make the system more robust….

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Rare earth elements: from mineral to magnet

In recent years there has been an increasing focus on rare earth elements (REEs) as highly valuable ingredients for innovation, especially regarding the development of sustainable energy technologies. Rare earth elements, also commonly referred to as rare earth metals, are defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) as a group of seventeen elements, consisting of the fifteen lanthanoids, along with scandium and yttrium. Related to the chemical structure and purpose REE can be divided in Light REEs (LREEs) and Heavy REEs (HREEs). Their relative chemical similarity makes them hard to separate during the mining process, but their different physical properties make different REEs valuable for a range of various technological applications. Several of these technologies support sustainable development, for instance through increased energy efficiency and renewable energy production. Examples include – but are not limited to – permanent magnets, batteries for e-mobility and energy-efficient lighting (for further applications see appendix). World-wide demand is expected to grow by 8 to 11% each year. The increase in demand is intertwined with environmental implications of production and existing supply risks due to an intricate and complex market. This has led to the identification of REEs as critical raw materials, which this science digest focus on.

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