Environment
Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Considerations for On-road Transport in Asia PDF Print
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Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Department for International Development (DFID). 2006.

Rapid urbanization in Asia has brought tremendous opportunities and benefits in areas such as education, health care, and social services. But it has also brought significant challenges as cities work to absorb higher populations. One of those challenges is how to deal with increased mobility and number of  vehicles on the road, particularly harmful vehicle emissions. Besides the serious consequences of these pollutants on people’s health and quality of life, motorized  vehicles are now the leading contributor in Asia to the greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions.

 
Towards a Sustainable Transport System PDF Print
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London Department of Transport. October 2007

Firstly, the document describes how the Government is responding to the recommendations made in the Eddington study to improve transport’s contribution to economic growth and productivity, and how it is ensuring that transport will play its part in delivering the overall level of reductions in carbon emissions recommended by the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change.Secondly, it sets out the Department for Transport’s ambitious policy and investment plans for the period to 2013-14. And finally, it proposes a new approach to longerterm transport strategy, building on the model recommended by Sir Rod Eddington, and explains how we will engage with passengers, users, the transport industry and other stakeholders as we develop and implement that process.

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Download this file (pdfsustaintranssystem.pdf)pdfsustaintranssystem.pdf[ ]1291 Kb
 
What is driving travel demand? Managing Travel's Climate Impacts PDF Print
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IATA. Brian Pearce, Chief Economist. From "The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report", World Economic Forum 2008.

The focus of existing policy aimed toward reducing CO2 emissions from air travel, with measures such as the United Kingdom’s recent doubling of air passenger duty, has been on trying to manage air travel demand by raising the cost of travel for passengers. Even the recent debate on emissions trading in Europe has focused on the costs it will impose on airlines and their passengers.This paper presents new research that shows that policies aiming to reduce emissions by managing demand by raising the cost of air travel are likely to fail.Tourists are shown to be very sensitive to prices for air travel on competing airlines or to alternative destinations. However, at the national or pan-national level, these choices cancel each other out; the overall market is much less sensitive to the cost of air travel. It is economic growth and incomes that are found to be the key drivers of air travel demand, and those drivers are expected to remain particularly strong in the developing markets of Asia. Decoupling emissions from travel growth needs to focus not on demand management but on mechanisms to bring about emission reduction measures from technology, infrastructure, and operations.

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OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction PDF Print
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OECD, 2012

The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 asks “What will the next four decades bring?” Based on joint modelling by the OECD and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), it looks forward to the year 2050 to find out what demographic and economic trends might mean for the environment if the world does not adopt more ambitious green policies. It also looks at what policies could change that picture for the better.

Go to OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 website

 
Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2007 and inventory report 2009 PDF Print
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European Environment Agency, 2009

The EC GHG inventory comprises the direct sum of the national inventories compiled by the EC Member States making up the EU-15 and the EU-27. Energy data from Eurostat are used for the reference approach for CO2 emissions from fossil fuels developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main institutions involved in the compilation of the EC GHG inventory are the Member States, the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment (DG ENV), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC/ACC), Eurostat, and the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

 
People, the economy and our planet. Sustainable development insights from socio-economic sciences and humanities PDF Print
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Directorate-General for Research
European Commissiion
A socio-economic perspective from the conference
Sustainable development: A challenge for European research
Brussels, 26-28 May 2009.

This publication draws upon presentations and discussion from the conference on ‘Sustainable development: A challenge for European research’ that was held in Brussels in May 2009. This paper focuses on the role of socio-economic sciences and humanities within the European research effort directed at sustainable development. It follows and takes stock of recent reflections in this field like the European Commission Conference ‘Towards a post-carbon society’ of 2007 and the EU French Presidency Conference on ‘Humanity and society faced with Climate Change: an agenda for Europe’ of 2008.

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Download this file (People_economy_planet.pdf)People_economy_planet.pdf[ ]1916 Kb
 
Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability PDF Print
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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up jointly by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to provide an authoritative international statement of scientific understanding of climate change. The IPCC’s periodic assessments of the causes, impacts and possible response strategies to climate change are the most comprehensive and up-to-date reports available on the subject, and form the standard reference for all concerned with climate change in academia, government and industry worldwide. Through three working groups, many hundreds of international experts assess climate change in this Fourth Assessment Report.

Climate Change 2007 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change, the vulnerability of natural and human environments, and the potential for response through adaptation. The report evaluates evidence that recent observed changes in climate have already affected a variety of physical and biological systems and concludes that these effects can be attributed to global warming; makes a detailed assessment of the impacts of future climate change and sea-level rise on ecosystems, water resources, agriculture and food security, human health, coastal and low-lying regions and industry and settlements; provides a complete new assessment of the impacts of climate change on major regions of the world (Africa,Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, North America, polar regions and small islands); considers responses through adaptation; explores the synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation; evaluates the key vulnerabilities to climate change, and assesses aggregate damage levels and the role of multiple stresses.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

 
Living Planet Report 2008 PDF Print
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WWF International, 2008.

The Living Planet Report 2008 tells us that we are consuming the resources that underpin those services much too fast – faster than they can be replenished. Just as reckless spending is causing recession, so reckless consumption is depleting the world’s natural capital to a point where we are endangering our future prosperity. The Living Planet Index shows that over the past 35 years alone the Earth’s wildlife populations have declined by a third.

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Download this file (Living_Planet_Report_2008.pdf)Living Planet Report 2008[ ]4451 Kb
 
The Ecological Footprint Atlas 2009 PDF Print
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Global Footprint Network, 2009.

The Atlas presents Ecological Footprint and biocapacity results for more than 100 nations. It also explains the purpose behind Ecological Footprint Analysis, the research question it addresses, basic concepts and science underlying the Accounts, and the method used for calculating the results. It also describes ways Ecological Footprint Analysis is currently being applied in a variety of domains. For the technical reader, the Atlas includes more detailed notes about calculation of the results, explains recent advances to enhance the consistency, reliability and resolution of the National Footprint Accounts, and reviews the evolution of the National Footprint Accounts methodology.

 
From Waste to Resource. An abstract of “2006 World Waste Survey”, PDF Print
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Veolia Environmental Services, 2006.

This brief overview clearly highlights the complexity of the world of waste at internationa level. It is no coincidence that there is no reliable and coherent analysis of the planet. This study is the first of its kind on the subject.

 
Trends in Solid Waste Management: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities PDF Print
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United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
International Environmental Technology Centre
Presentation for the International Consultative Meeting on Expanding Waste
Management Services in Developing Countries,Tokyo, Japan, March 2010.

This presentation describes three key issues about the trends in solid waste management: the trends in waste volume, the trends in waste recycling and the trends in waste disposal.

 
Sustainability Report for Spain 2009 PDF Print
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Spanish Observatory for Sustainability (OSE), 2009.

This document describes the trends in land use in the Protected Natural Areas of Spain. The applied indicator shows the habitat dynamics through linear simulation  models.

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Download this file (Informe_OSE_Usos_del_Suelo.pdf)Sustainability Report for Spain 2009[ ]14315 Kb
 
Opportunities for European low-carbon growth PDF Print
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European Climate Foundation, 2008

The European Climate Foundation (ECF), Europe’s leading philanthropic organisation focused on climate, commends the Commission on its draft “EU 2020” strategy consultation and welcomes the opportunity to contribute. By the ECF, a fully decarbonised power sector is necessary to reach the EU’s 80‐95% GHG emissions reduction targets for 2050; this requires a 40% decarbonised power sector by 2020.

 
Stern Review PDF Print
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HM Treasury, 2006

The scientific evidence is now averwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent response.

This Review has assessed a wide range of evidence on the impacts of climate change and on the economic costs, and has used a number of different techniques to assess costs and risks. From all of these perspectives the evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.

Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world - access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms.

Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don't act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.

In contrast, the cost of action - reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change - can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.

Stern-Review

 
Energy and Climate Change. Facts and trends to 2050. PDF Print
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World Business Councilor Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2004.

This publication provides an overview of key facts and societal challenges related to economic development, future energy demand and the impact that demand could have on the climate system. It forms part of the work program of the WBCSD’s Energy and Climate Council Project and provides a platform for future discussion. This will help further elaborate a business response to the challenges identified in this paper, which will require additional research and consultation.

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Mobility2030 PDF Print
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World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). July  2004

Mobility 2030 sets out a vision of sustainable mobility and ways to achieve it. The report has developed a framework to connect a diverse set of economic, social and environmental strands; and in identifying the key issues and choices we face it has developed a set of goals to provide focus for future action, and charted a number of pathways as a basis for this.

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Carbon Capture and Storage: Assessing the Economics PDF Print
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McKinsey&Company, 2008

Fossil fuels are forecasted to continue to play a major part of the energy mix to at least 2050. One of the solutions being discussed to reduce GHG emissions from fossil fuel energy generation is CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS). CCS is a group of technologies for capturing the CO2 emitted from power plants and industrial sites; compressing this CO2; and transporting it to suitable permanent storage sites, such as deep underground. CCS could also provide the main means of curbing emissions from heavy industrial sectors such as steel, cement and refineries, which together account for around 10-15 percent of Europe’s CO2 emissions.

Previous reports have estimated the potential impact of CCS in 2030 at between 1.5 and 4 Gt/year of abatement globally. The McKinsey/Vattenfall cost curve 1.03 estimated the global potential at 3.6 Gt/year, and in Europe at 0.4 Gt/year – around 20 percent of the total European abatement potential in 2030.

For the reference case (defined for new coal power installations, which is the basis for the cost calculations) of new coal power installations, CCS costs could come down to around € 30-45 per tonne of CO2 abated in 2030 – which is in line with expected carbon prices in that period. Early demonstration projects will typically have a significantly higher cost of € 60-90 per tonne.

Storage is a key uncertainty that will determine the shape of the CCS roll-out. Experts believe there is sufficient storage potential in Europe for at least several decades. Depleted oil and gas fields, one key option, are well known and lie mostly in the North Sea, while deep saline aquifers, the other key option, are more widespread but also less researched and understood. In an ideal case, deep saline aquifers will be available locally for main emission clusters, but it is possible that longer transport and offshore storage may be required for some areas.

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The World in 2050. Can rapid global growth be reconciled with moving to a low carbon economy? PDF Print

By PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008

BAU Scenario

BAU scenario assumes, firstly, that improvements in energy intensity (measured in terms of the rate of decline in the ratio of primary energy consumption to GDP) average around 1.5% per annum globally, but with some variations by country and over time to reflect recent trends. This BAU assumption is in line with average global energy intensity improvements in 1980-2005 and can be used to generate projections for primary energy consumption to 2050 both at national and global level.BAU scenario shows that, while global GDP is projected to grow by around 325% cumulatively between 2006 and 2050 (3.4% per annum on average), primary energy consumption is projected to grow by only around 140% cumulatively over this period (2.0% per annum on average) due to energy efficiency improvements.BAU scenario further assumes that: the fuel mix between gas, coal, oil and others is constant in each country; and there is no use of carbon capture and storage (CCS).Given these assumptions, carbon emissions from energy use grow broadly in line with primary energy consumption, increasing by around 140% cumulatively between 2006 and 2050, or by around 2% per annum on average.The power generation and transport sectors see the most rapid growth rates in emissions in this scenario, reflecting the expected patterns of development in the major emerging economies and the rise in car ownership in these countries. But all sectors of the global economy see significant cumulative growth in emissions in this scenario, which reinforces the need for an economy-wide approach to moving to a low carbon world, rather than a strategy focused on a few key sectors.The implication of this BAU scenario is a projected rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere from around 385 parts per million (ppm) now to around 600ppm by 2050, with an accelerating upward trend being evident at that date.Since the latest scientific analysis detailed in the 2007 IPCC reports suggests aiming for global CO2 stabilisation at around 400-475 ppm (or around 450-550ppm for CO2 equivalent totals of all greenhouse gases), this outcome would seem clearly unsustainable in terms of implied rates of global warming and the associated risks of severe adverse effects on health, the economy, agriculture (and so global food supply) and the natural world.

Greener Growth Scenario

Green Growth + CCS’ scenario seem that time to be sufficient to put global carbon emissions on a path consistent with long-term stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at what was judged then to be an acceptable level of around 450ppm.In the next 15-20 years energy efficiency improvements for vehicles, power plants, factories and buildings would play the most important role in this scenario, but renewables and CCS would also become increasingly important in delivering the required reductions in carbon emissions beyond around 2025 once these technologies became more mature and their unit costs reduced accordingly.This scenario has the following enhanced features: the rate of reduction in energy intensity is set at 1.5% per annum and the share of renewable and nuclear power in total primary energy consumption is assumed to rise to around 50% by 2050.The reductions would encompass all major economies, but with the G7 economies being required to reduce emissions by 2050 by around 80% compared to 2006, whereas the E7 emerging economies (led by China and India) might aim initially to restrain the growth of emissions up to around 2020 and only later start to reduce them at an accelerating rate.The transport sector may prove particularly challenging here, given the rapid expected growth in car ownership in emerging economies and the difficulties at present in finding economically viable and technically feasible alternatives to oil-based fuels for motor vehicles (and indeed also for air transport). However, over such a long time period, it seems likely that some kind of technical breakthroughs might be achieved in this field and indeed these advances may well come in large part from the emerging economies like China or India, who are facing the greatest environmental challenges from increased car ownership, rather than from the OECD countries.Basic features of this policy framework will need to be:Early global political agreement on long-term targets for carbon emission reductions that allow for fair burden sharing between developed and less developed economies;Some global inter-linked mechanisms for putting a price on carbon, whether this be through trading, taxation or possibly some combination of the two; andOther supporting policies including support for development and early stage implementation of new technologies such as CCS, green technology transfer to less developed economies, direct regulation in areas where economic instruments may be less effective (e.g. energy efficiency standards for buildings and household appliances), and action to reduce and eventually reverse deforestation and promote conservation tillage in agricultural sectors.

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Biochar Application to Soils: A Critical Scientific Review of Effects on Soil Properties, Processes and Functions PDF Print
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F. Verheijen, S. Jeffery, A.C. Bastos, M. van der Velde, I. Diafas, 2010

Biochar is defined as “charcoal" (biomass that has been pyrolysed in a zero or low oxygen  environment) for which, owing to its inherent properties, scientific consensus exists that application to soil at a specific site is expected to sustainably sequester carbon and concurrently improve soil functions (under current and future management), while avoiding short- and long-term detrimental effects to the wider environment as well as human and animal health."

Biochar is a stable carbon (C) compound created when biomass (feedstock) is heated to temperatures between 300 and 1000ºC, under low (preferably zero) oxygen concentrations. The objective of the biochar concept is to abate the enhanced greenhouse effect by sequestering C in soils, while concurrently improving soil quality. The proposed concept through which biochar application to soils would lead to C sequestration is relatively straightforward. Carbondioxide from the  atmosphere is fixed in vegetation through photosynthesis. Biochar is subsequently created through pyrolysis of the plant material thereby potentially increasing  its recalcitrance with respect to the original plant material.

The estimated residence time of biochar-carbon is in the range of hundreds to thousands of years while the residence time of carbon in plant material is in the range of decades. Consequently, this would reduce the CO2 release back to the atmosphere if the carbon is indeed persistently stored in the soil. The carbon storage potential of biochar is widely hypothesised, although it is still largely unquantified, particularly when also considering the effects on other greenhouse gasses, and the secondary effects of large-scale biochar deployment.

Concomitant with carbon sequestration, biochar is intended to improve soil properties and soil functioning relevant to agronomic and environmental performance. Hypothesised mechanisms that have been suggested for potential improvement are mainly improved water  and nutrient retention (as well as improved soil structure, drainage).

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Scenarios for 2035 PDF Print

By National Oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA), 2009

The scenarios conveyed in this document are derived from different combinations of outcomes at the extreme ends of three axes of uncertainty:  the nature and mix of economic activity; governance and decision-making processes; and the interaction between society and the physical environment. The scenarios also include a range of forces that are fairly certain to occur and consequently appear nearly identically in each scenario, although their impacts may vary substantially.

Too little, too late?

Despite smart economic growth based on alternative energy and sustainable production, and despite collaboration on environmental policy at all levels of government, it may be too late to stop abrupt climate change and its social, economic, and environmental impacts.  Key drivers: Smart economic growth is implemented, and government institutions collaborate in policy making and implementation, but the global environment doesn’t appear to be responding.  Hallmarks:  Strong economic growth is fueled by alternative energy;  investments and global trade; a growing knowledge and information about environmental threats, and new observation and analysis capabilities; there is strong international cooperation on climate change; government creates new markets and facilitates the transition of society; demand for fossil fuels remains high and the environment appears too sick to respond;  turbulent and massive shifts in weather and the earth’s ecosystems are occurring; experts disagree over a policy shift from mitigation to adaptation.

Green Chaos

Environmental policy at all levels of government is fragmented and disorganized, but a growing market for alternative energy and other sustainable products leads to smart economic growth and an increasingly harmonious relationship between humans and nature supported by the forces of supply and demand.  Key drivers: Smart growth policies are adopted and successfully implemented, the interaction between the environment and society becomes harmonious, and government institutions act according to self-interests in a fragmented fashion.  Hallmarks: markets deal effectively with environmental uncertainties; multinationals, venture capital firms, and state-owned enterprises in developing countries invest aggressively in green and sustainable development solutions; carbon taxes in the United States, and an uneven patchwork of regional and local government policies exist; government policy makers are overwhelmed by the environmental and economic uncertainties; and any of the feared economic consequences from externality pricing and heavily regulating resource usage were hype.

Carbon Junkies

Environmental policy at all levels of government is collaborative, particularly in developing advanced environmental science and technology, but business-as-usual practices in industry and the public’s focus on traditional metrics of economic success lead, ultimately, to extensive environmental degradation. Key Drivers: Governments develop innovative policies and collaborative mechanisms, but business-as-usual forces are powerful and continue to prevail. The environment starts to change significantly while the U.S. economy and the rest of the world appear unable to respond. Hallmarks: in developed and developing countries, the old economic systems continue to exploit cheap, fossil energy in stimulating economic growth; what many scientists (and Al Gore) long predicted has been confirmed: The world is running out of time in its use of carbon; in the United States, productive agricultural land shrinks significantly; Arctic ice in summer months disappears in the wake of the dramatically warming climate; Scientists agree that large-scale change in the climate system is taking place and the change cannot be reversed, even with major mitigation efforts worldwide, for decades.

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