Tag Archives: energy

Recommendation to consider the crucial impacts of trends in smaller household size on sustainable development goals

The Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on sustainable consumption and production, and the Rio+20 Declaration have consistently emphasized the essentiality of promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production to realize objectives of and requirements for sustainable development. To support these goals, this brief makes a recommendation to consider the crucial impacts of trends in smaller household size.

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Sustainable Biomass in the Context of Climate Change and Rising Demand

The Rio+20 sustainable development conference launched a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and put the ambitious agreement on the global political agenda to strive for a
development that works for the people and the planet (UN GA 2012).

This brief presents key scientific findings about the sustainability challenges of biomass production and use. On this basis, it argues that issues of natural resource governance deserve greater recognition in the SDG negotiations – as they are at the heart of the joint Rio+20 commitment “to ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations” (UN GA 2012, 1).

Land-based biomass, derived from plants, is used for food, feed, fuel, and industrial purposes. Its sustainable production and consumption is the prerequisite to continuously meeting basic human needs while safeguarding the environment. Therefore, the issue of sustainable biomass plays an important role in achieving key objectives of the Post-2015 development agenda, such as food security, energy security, biodiversity, and/or climate stability.

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Strengthening the international regulation of offshore oil and gas activities

Recent decades have seen a marked increase in the development of offshore oil and gas activities. Due to increasing energy demand and technological innovations, drilling activities extended and moved into deep and ultra-deep water areas (Dragani and Kotonev, 2013). As of today, almost a third of the oil and a quarter of the natural gas consumed in the world come from underwater areas. This rush to offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation is not about to end: forecasts show a continuing growth of production in traditional offshore regions (e.g. Western Africa, Gulf of Mexico) (PCF Energy, 2011) and significant development in new areas (Pike, 2013), such as Eastern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Drilling more and deeper means increased threats to the environment, depletion of natural resources, and potential negative consequences for the human activities dependent upon these ecosystems. Recent accidents on offshore platforms have demonstrated that the environmental risks of offshore drilling activities concern all regions of the world and all types of companies. These transboundary nature of the impacts from these accidents have reinvigorated discussions regarding the suitability of the current international regulatory framework for offshore oil and gas activities (Rochette et al., 2014). In this regard, it is clear that there are regulatory gaps, both in terms of safety of offshore drilling activities and liability and compensation in case of accidents.

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Integrated resource policies for energy and water resources, with case studies of China and the UK

Because of economic development, increasing global population, and increased levels of affluence, future global demands for food, energy and water resources are expected to increase by 50%, 50% and
30% respectively (Beddington, 2009). However, with the world’s food, energy and water resources already experiencing shortfalls and stresses (Bizikova et al., 2013), there is an urgent need for nexus-oriented approaches to address unsustainable patterns of growth. The importance of these three resources has been highlighted in many publications, and they have been included in the Sustainable Development goals, which are to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy, and the achievement of food security and sustainable agriculture.

Water, energy and land resources are all interconnected and should not be viewed in isolation. Agriculture and industry (including energy) account for 70% and 22% of global water withdrawals respectively (Howells et al., 2013); 7% of all energy is used for water supply; and 4% of energy is directly used in agriculture (Bazilian et al., 2011). The need for integrated resource planning for
energy, water and land is becoming increasingly recognised by international institutions, national governments and businesses (Hoff, 2001). A policy that affects one resource can result in unexpected
consequences for another. There is a need for policy makers, institutions and businesses to understand better the connections between these resources and to integrate them in future plans for a sustainable future. To be able to achieve this, the UN and other institutions should promote holistic analysis of the interconnections between resources.

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Towards a Universal Energy Access: a multistakeholder path for a global change

Universal Access to Energy, after a troubled path that started with the identification of the Missing Millennium Development Goal during the Rio+20 Conference and the launch of the Sustainable Energy For All initiative (SE4ALL) by the UN, will finally be included among the new Goals for sustainable development, expected in September 2015.

Energy is a key condition to guarantee access to clean water, sanitation, schooling and business in developing countries, and represents a key factor for growth and development.

Currently, about 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity, some 18% of the world population, geographically concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia, and to a lesser extent in East Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The worst conditions are observable in Sub – Saharan Africa, where only 290 out of 915 million people have access to electricity and the total number without access is rising (IEA 2014).

At the same time, more than 2.6 billion people – 38% of the world population – rely on traditional cooking methods based on the use of biomass which generates negative impacts on social and health households’ conditions: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels and more than 50% of premature deaths among children under 5 are due to pneumonia caused by particulate matter inhaled from household air pollution (WHO 2012).

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Achieving Sustainable Energy Consumption in Tanzania

The synthesis report of the Secretary-General on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda states that “innovation and investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, cities and settlements, industrialization, small and medium-sized enterprises, energy and technology can both generate employment and remedy negative environmental trends” (§ 73). The reform of Tanzania’s science, technology, and innovation (STI) system that got underway in 2008 under UNESCO leadership places this country in an excellent position to strengthen the energy and technology system as part of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

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Design and diffusion of smart energy monitors for sustainable household consumption

The synthesis report of the Secretary-General on the post- 2015 sustainable development agenda acknowledges that “new technologies can open up more sustainable approaches and more efficient practices” (§ 31). Contemporary research and development efforts have led to the emergence of energy measurement technologies for residential use. However, the deployment of smart energy feedback systems has been limited thus far to just a handful of countries. The following summary of “lessons learned” from energy monitoring studies provides a basis for global expansion of smart energy feedback systems.

The supply consequences of unbridled energy use on the environment have long attracted the attention of planners and policymakers whose decisions ultimately thrust consumers into a central role through household-based sustainable energy consumption policies (OECD, 2008). These policy strategies may be said to have three parts: the design of user-centered energy monitoring tools to inform household decisions; attention to social and cultural factors that influence household energy practices even with the availability of smart energy monitors; and the expansion of household-level collection of energy use patterns within the system of national accounts to permit within-country and international comparisons for sustainable consumption.

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Strategically engaging women in clean energy solutions for sustainable development and health

There are three billion people, or 40% of the world, that still relies on biomass for cooking, lighting, and heating (WHO, 2014). This has led to a significant burden for the planet and for those living on it. Unsustainable biomass collection depletes forests, contributes to soil erosion and loss of watersheds, placing additional pressure on agricultural productivity and food security. Searching for and using solid biomass fuels places women and children’s safety at risk and jeopardizes human health and household and community air quality through toxic smoke emissions. In regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where the lack of access to clean energy solutions and electrification is particularly significant, nearly a third of the urban population and the majority of the rural poor are using biomass for cooking and heating in traditional open fires (GACC, 2014).

Like nearly all global environmental problems, the consequences of reliance on biomass for cooking and lighting impacts women significantly more than men (ICRW 2010). Women and children, usually girls, spend several hours per day gathering fuel, increasing their daily drudgery and increasing their vulnerability to sexual violence. As forests are degraded, the energy burden increases and women are forced to walk even further to collect fuel or use more toxic fuels, such as dung or trash. Risks for displaced and refugee women are even more alarming as 75% – 90% of the rapes reported occur when women leave camps for cooking fuel (WRC, 2011). The health risks of household air pollution are substantial. As the primary managers of household energy, women are disproportionately at risk for harmful emissions exposure every day. Recent global health estimates show that household air pollution leads to over 4 million deaths annually, while millions more suffer from cancer, pneumonia, heart and lung disease, blindness, and burns (Lancet 2013). Approximately 300,000 of the deaths, 88% of which are women, are attributed to burns resulting from traditional cooking fires (Lancet, 2013).

While women and girls bear the brunt of clean energy poverty, their central and pivotal role in sustainable development is becoming increasingly clear (WB, 2014; UN Women 2014). The strategic engagement of women in the clean energy sector is directly in line with the landmark 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development which states, “sustainable development is economic, social and environmental development that ensures human well-being and dignity, ecological integrity, gender equality and social justice, now and in the future.” Building upon the synergies between gender equality, environment, economics and health are critical as we move forward on the path towards sustainable development.

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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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燃煤电厂细粒子排放特征研究 (Emission Characteristics of fine particles from coal- fired power plants)

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.

当前我国区域灰霾污染突出,燃煤电厂因排放大量的细粒子而备受关注。本文从粒径分布、无机组分和有机组分等方 面,系统研究和总结了燃煤电厂细粒子排放特征。结果表明,我国燃煤电厂除尘和脱硫设施除去烟尘颗粒物中大部分粗粒子,但对细 粒子的脱除能力则很弱;As、Pb 和 Zn 等无机组分,以及 OC 和 PAHs 等有机组分易在细颗粒上的富集;与电力行业大气污染控制发展 相比,排放特征研究明显滞后,迫切需要开展工作。


能源与气候治理研究进展综述 (Review of research on energy and climate governance)

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
在变化的政治、经济、社会环境条件下,人们在探索“资源、环境、人口、发展”相协调的实践历程中不断总结出公 共资源与环境管理的基本规律和运行机制,以实现可持续发展。近年来,学术界在能源与气候变化治理的理论方面取得了显 著的成果和进展;与此同时,我国在能源管理与应对气候变化的实践领域中也开展了积极的探索和尝试,有力的促进了经 济、社会、环境的协调发展。本文梳理总结了近年我国能源与气候变化治理领域的研究进展。


西南山区农村生物质能有效利用模式及其效益分析——以户用沼气生态庭院模式为例 (Effective use of bio-energy and its benefits in mountainous rural areas in SouthwesternChina : the case of the Biogas Courtyard Model)

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
农村生物质能比较分散、廉价和易得性等特点,决定了其在广大农村地区发展的现实可能性。有效利用生物质能是提 高农民收入、改善农村家庭生产生活条件的重要决策。武隆县生物质资源丰富,以薪材、秸秆服辅以煤炭为主要生活能源,能源利用 效率仅为 8%。为了提高能源利用效率、改善农民生活条件,武隆县启动了户用沼气“一池三改”生态庭院工程,沼气池建设与改厨、 改厕、改圈同步实施。本文通过对武隆县农户的调查和走访,从经济、生态和社会三方面分析户用沼气生态庭院模式对有效利用生物 质能的特点和功能。沼气厌氧发酵池作为整个模式中生物质回归补偿的重要环节,实现了物质能量流从传统生物质利用模式单向线性 向闭合循环的转变。研究结果显示,户用沼气生态庭院模式的内部收益率为 24.8%,大于基础利率 10%,经济效益明显;年平均产沼 量可以替代 3.55t 薪材、4.07t 秸秆和 3.02t 煤炭,由此可以分别消减 4.26t、4.21t、1.77t CO2排放量,对应分别减少 22.28kg、 21.49kg、7.54kg 氮的损失。与传统生物质能利用模式相比,户用沼气生态庭院模式降低了家庭妇女的劳动机会成本。因此,可以得 出结论,武隆县户实现生物质能有效利用的户用沼气生态庭院模式,调整了农村能源利用的形式,缓解其对生物质资源的压力,并且 改善环境经济条件和健康水平。


基于 TIMES-Water 模型的能源与水资源分析(TIMES-Water model for analysis of energy and water resources)

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
能源与水资源密切相关。能源的开发和利用受到水资源的各种制约。本文基于 TIMES-Water 模型,耦合了能源系统与 水资源系统,评估了中国未来水资源需求,并分析了征收水费对电力部门的影响。结果表明:(1)中国未来的水资源需求将会逐年 增加,并在 2030 年左右达峰,峰值为 6880 亿立方米;(2)征收水费会降低电力部门用水,尤其是 2020 年以后的火电和核电的用水 量;(3)征收水费会影响发电结构,降低高耗水发电技术(火电与核电)的份额。


浅谈安山岩纤维与可持续能源 (Andesite Fiber and Sustainable Energy)

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
近年来,可持续发展已成为全人类共同追求的目标,作为四大材料之一的无机非金属材料也在发生着一场 “绿色革 命”。 然而目前高耗能、高污染的现象还普遍存在于这个行业,本文结合可持续发展中的能源可持续,列举分析了目前常 用的纤维材料及其发展的限制性,并介绍了一种新的符合可持续发展目标的无机非金属纤维-安山岩纤维在其生产、使用及 经济上的绿色特性。安山岩纤维及其复合材料的出现代表着高技术纤维材料市场的一个重要发展方向,为工业制造提供了一 种全新的无机非金属高技术材料选择。


低碳经济下城市能源需求与碳排放情景分析 以河南省济源市为例 ( Scenario analysis of urban energy demand and carbon emission in the context of lowcarbon economy: the case of Jiyuan in Henan province)

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.

以低碳经济为背景,探讨城市在能源和碳排放约束条件下未来的可能发展路径,将河南省济源市作为研究开展的案例城 市,基于情景分析法和“脱钩”概念,展示了济源市的低碳发展图景。认为:第一,济源市的能源需求若保持现有高速增长趋势是不 可取的,低碳情景下和强化低碳情景下能源需求总量和增速有明显改善;第二,尽管在最严格的情景下,济源市的人均能耗预测值仍 然高于国际国内其他城市的预测,但由于其资源禀赋特征等问题,还是存在着一定挑战;第三,济源市的经济增长依靠工业生产拉 动,对于工业占比为绝对主导的这类城市而言,发展低碳经济的着力点和潜力释放应在传统产业格局的升级改造上。


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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Blue energy: salinity gradient power in practice

The global total primary energy supply and demand has doubled between 1971 and 2012, mainly relying on fossil fuels. This affects the world’s environment in aspects such as climate change and other long term effects mainly caused by the increase in quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions. Moreover, the present constant use of combustion fuels such as oil and natural gas will result in an expected depletion in 2050 onwards. Therefore, the need of renewable
energy sources has increased during the last years in order to meet the world energy demand and progressively divert fossil energy sources. One of these new renewable energy sources is the so-called ‘Blue Energy’ or ‘Salinity Gradient Power’ (SGP). In broad terms it is energy obtained by the controlled mixing of a stream of saltwater (e.g. seas) and a stream of less saline water, treated wastewater or fresh river water.

The most well-known and most investigated techniques to generate energy from SGP are Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) and Reversed Electrodialysis (RED), herein respectively transport of water or ions through semi-permeable membranes takes place (for a technical summary see Appendix II).4,5 Both PRO and RED have a large potential for producing energy for the coming years and they could be used for different applications as well.

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Sustainable rural electrification

It is estimated that 85 percent of the 1.2 billion people in the world living without access to electricity reside in rural areas, which is attributable to the marginalization of the poor as well as their long distance from established electrical grids. In order to address this lack of access to electricity and to prevent a growing dependence on fossil fuel, researchers have argued for the use of small-scale renewable energy production. This brief will focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as a region in great need of rural electrification since it only has 14.2% rural electrification, which makes it the most energy poor rural area in the world.

By the year 2012, of the USD 41 billion, which is annually needed in the power sector in Africa in order to achieve universal energy access by 2030, the continent invested approximately USD 11.6 billion. This brief will focus on analyzing finance mechanisms that can contribute to fill this substantial gap. It will also concentrate on solar-powered electrification systems that are one of the most common small-scale electrification system types of the region. In fact, solar energy in particular is a great opportunity for pro-poor energy access in Africa because it is naturally ubiquitous, accessible in large quantities, progressively low cost, non-vulnerable to supply or price fluctuation (contrarily to fossil fuel), and compatible with the global consensus to increase low-carbon energy generation.

This brief’s main objective was to inventory innovative and efficient mechanisms for financing rural populations access to sustainable energy -specifically photovoltaic systems (PV)- and to identify critical indicators for evaluating their efficiency. For this purpose, case studies and models of finance mechanisms were analyzed and assessed by weighting their weaknesses and strengths, and assessing their feasibility and adaptability within remote areas in SSA in order to the three best-fitting finance mechanisms determined by our metrics analysis.

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Towards eco-efficient and enjoyable lighting

Light pollution is a novel environmental issue widely affecting ecosystems, human cultures, societies, and health and well-being of individuals. Rapidly increasing use of new lighting technologies – in particular Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – may either increase or reduce disturbing and ecologically harmful outdoor night-time light pollution. Public attention and policy measures aimed to reduce light pollution helps to avoid energy wastage and to create efficiently illuminated and enjoyable outdoor spaces.

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