Date: October 2020
Short description:

With climate change mainly originating from the extensive use of fossil fuels and having impacts on many aspects of life, changing the way energy is utilised constitutes a challenge that the world collectively must tackle. In this respect, all countries should implement a variety of measures focusing on energy efficiency and use of sustainable energy sources towards decarbonising their economies and achieving effective greenhouse gas emission reductions and sustainable development. Technological innovations, economic growth, societal compliance, and the regulatory and institutional frameworks constitute prominent factors that could promote, hinder or shape energy transitions as well as indicate the capacity of energy systems to be transformed. Therefore, investigating energy transitions and the extent to which countries are prepared to carry out such transitions requires the consideration of insights into multiple dimensions. This study outlines a multicriteria analysis framework to assess a country's sustainable energy transition readiness level, drawing from four pillars—social, political/regulatory, economic and technological—comprising a consistent set of eight evaluation criteria. The proposed decision analysis framework builds on the PROMETHEE II and AHP methods. Fourteen countries of different profile and level of progress towards sustainable development are evaluated and ranked, in an effort to highlight areas for improvement, and to support policymakers in designing appropriate pathways towards a greener economy.

Authors:
Hera Neofytou
Alexandros Nikas
Haris Doukas
Journal:
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Citation:
Neofytou, H., Nikas, A. & Doukas, H. (2020). Sustainable energy transition readiness: A multicriteria assessment index. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 131, 109988
Tags:
Sustainable Energy Transitions
Energy Policy
Index
MCDA
PROMETHEE
AHP
Date: July 2020
Short description:

Measures to mitigate the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) can vary substantially in terms of the energy required. Some proposed CO2 mitigation options involve energy-intensive processes that compromise their viability as routes to mitigation, especially if deployed at a global scale. Here we provide an assessment of different mitigation options in terms of their energy usage. We assess the relative effectiveness of several CO2 mitigation routes by calculating the energy cost of carbon abatement (kilowatt-hour spent per kilogram CO2-equivalent, or kWh kgCO2e–1) mitigated. We consider energy efficiency measures, decarbonizing electricity, heat, chemicals and fuels, and also capturing CO2 from air. Among the routes considered, switching to renewable energy technologies (0.05–0.53 kWh kgCO2e–1 mitigated) offer more energy-effective mitigation than carbon embedding or carbon removal approaches, which are more energy intensive (0.99–10.03 kWh kgCO2e–1 and 0.78–2.93 kWh kgCO2e–1 mitigated, respectively), whereas energy efficiency measures, such as improving building lighting, can offer the most energy-effective mitigation.

Authors:
Oytun Babacan
Sven De Causmaecker
Ajay Gambhir
Mathilde Fajardy
A. William Rutherford
Andrea Fantuzzi
Jenny Nelson
Journal:
Nature Energy
Citation:
Babacan, O., De Causmaecker, S., Gambhir, A., Fajardy, M., Rutherford, A.W., Fantuzzi, A. & Nelson, J. (2020). Assessing the feasibility of carbon dioxide mitigation options in terms of energy usage. Nature Energy
Tags:
Carbon Capture and Storage
Climate Change
Climate Change Mitigation
Energy Infrastructure
Energy science and technology
Date: June 2020
Short description:

Comparing emissions scenarios is an essential part of mitigation analysis, as climate targets can be met in various ways with different economic, energy system and co-benefit implications. Typically, a central ‘reference scenario’ acts as a point of comparison, and often this has been a no policy baseline with no explicit mitigative action taken. The use of such baselines is under increasing scrutiny, raising a wider question around the appropriate use of reference scenarios in mitigation analysis. In this Perspective, we assess three critical issues relevant to the use of reference scenarios, demonstrating how different policy contexts merit the use of different scenarios. We provide recommendations to the modelling community on best practice in the creation, use and communication of reference scenarios.

Authors:
Neil Grant
Adam Hawkes
Tamaryn Napp
Ajay Gambhir
Journal:
Nature Climate Change
Citation:
Grant, N., Hawkes, A., Napp, T., & Gambhir, A. (2020). The appropriate use of reference scenarios in mitigation analysis. Nature Climate Change, 1-6.
Tags:
Climate Change Mitigation
Climate Change Policy
Energy Economics
Energy Policy
Date: May 2020
Short description:

Lignite has long dominated Greece’s electricity system, boosting economic growth and energy security, given the abundant domestic resources. In line with its national and international commitments to climate action and sustainable development, the country is currently facing the urgent need to transform its energy system, overcome its technological lock-ins, and transition to a low-carbon economy.

Authors:
Alexandros Nikas
Hera Neofytou
Anastasios Karamaneas
Konstantinos Koasidis
John Psarras
Journal:
Energy Sources, Part B: Economics, Planning, and Policy
Citation:
Nikas, A., Neofytou, H., Karamaneas, A., Koasidis, K., & Psarras, J. (2020) Sustainable and socially just transition to a post-lignite era in Greece: a multi-level perspective, Energy Sources, Part B: Economics, Planning, and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/15567249.2020.1769773
Tags:
Greece
Multi-level perspective
Systems of innovation
Just transitions
Sustainable development
NECP
Date: May 2020
Short description:

Systems can be unstructured, uncertain and complex, and their optimisation often requires operational research techniques. In this study, we introduce AUGMECON-R, a robust variant of the augmented ε-constraint algorithm, for solving multi-objective linear programming problems, by drawing from the weaknesses of AUGMECON 2, one of the most widely used improvements of the ε-constraint method.

Authors:
Alexandros Nikas
Angelos Fountoulakis
Aikaterini Forouli
Haris Doukas
Journal:
Operational Research
Citation:
Nikas, A., Fountoulakis, A., Forouli, A., & Doukas, H. (2020) A robust augmented ε-constraint method (AUGMECON-R) for finding exact solutions of multi-objective linear programming problems. Operational Research (in press)
Tags:
Augmecon
ε-constraint
Multi-objective programming
Optimisation
Pareto
Date: May 2020
Short description:

Government policies during the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically altered patterns of energy demand around the world. Many international borders were closed and populations were confined to their homes, which reduced transport and changed consumption patterns. Here we compile government policies and activity data to estimate the decrease in CO2 emissions during forced confinements.

Authors:
Corinne Le Quéré
Robert B. Jackson
Matthew W. Jones
Adam J. P. Smith
Sam Abernethy
Robbie M. Andrew
Anthony J. De-Gol
David R. Willis
Yuli Shan
Josep G. Canadell
Pierre Friedlingstein
Felix Creutzig
Glen P. Peters
Journal:
Nature Climate Change
Citation:
Le Quéré, C., Jackson, R. B., Jones, M. W., Smith, A. J., Abernethy, S., Andrew, R. M., De-Gol, A., Willis, D. R., Shan, Y., Canadell, J. G., Friedlingstein, P., Creutzig, F., & Peters, G. (2020). Temporary reduction in daily global CO 2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement. Nature Climate Change, DOI:10.1038/s41558-020-0797-x
Tags:
Climate sciences
Energy and society
Energy science and technology
Environmental sciences
Date: May 2020
Short description:

Identifying the risks that could impact a low-carbon transition is a prerequisite to assessing and managing these risks. We systematically characterise risks associated with decarbonisation pathways in fifteen case studies conducted in twelve countries around the world. We find that stakeholders from business, government, NGOs, and others supplied some 40 % of these risk inputs, significantly widening the scope of risks considered by academics and experts.

Authors:
Oscar van Vliet
Susanne Hanger
Alexandros Nikas
Eise Spijker
Henrik Carlsen
Haris Doukas
Jenny Lieu
Journal:
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Citation:
van Vliet, O., Hanger, S., Nikas, A., Spijker, E., Carlsen, H., Doukas, H., & Lieu, J. (2020). The importance of stakeholders in scoping risk assessments—Lessons from low-carbon transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 35, 400-413.
Tags:
Stakeholders
Climate policy
Risk assessment
Low-carbon transitions
Modelling
Integrated assessment models
Date: January 2020
Short description:

More than a decade ago, climate scientists and energy modellers made a choice about how to describe the effects of emissions on Earth’s future climate. That choice has had unintended consequences which today are hotly debated. With the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) moving into its final stages in 2020, there is now a rare opportunity to reboot.

Authors:
Zeke Hausfather
Glen P. Peters
Journal:
Nature
Citation:
Hausfather, Z., & Peters, G. P. (2020). Emissions–the ‘business as usual’story is misleading. Nature 577, 618-620
Tags:
IPCC
Date: December 2019
Short description:

In July 2016, the European Commission presented its proposal for a regulation to reduce greenhouse gases emissions in sectors not covered by the emissions trading system with regard to post-2020 binding targets. The proposal extends the burden-sharing framework designed in 2008. This new burden-sharing, called by the European Commission as the Effort Sharing Regulation, is based on a GDP per capita rule and aims to reflect the economic capacity of each European Member State on the basis of its relative wealth.

Authors:
Marc Vielle
Journal:
Environmental Economics and Policy Studies
Citation:
Vielle, M. (2020). Navigating various flexibility mechanisms under European burden-sharing. Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 22(2), 267-313.
Tags:
Effort Sharing Regulation, European Union, Climate Policy, Computable general equilibrium model
Date: November 2019
Short description:

The recent IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5 °C emphasizes that rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is vital to achieving the climate mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement. The most-needed substantial upscaling of investments in GHG mitigation options in all sectors, and particularly in manufacturing sectors, can be an opportunity for a green economic development leap in developing countries.

Authors:
Camila Gramkow
Annela Anger-Kraavi
Journal:
Sustainability
Citation:
Gramkow, C., & Anger-Kraavi, A. (2019). Developing Green: A Case for the Brazilian Manufacturing Industry. Sustainability, 11(23), 6783.
Tags:
climate change macroeconomics
fiscal policy
sustainable economic development
Date: July 2019
Short description:

China's urbanisation has caused city populations to grow rapidly, boosting continuous development and scaling up the construction industry more intensely. The building sector is thus a key area to consider for climate change mitigation efforts. This study initially seeks to explore the development of a green transition pathway for the Chinese building sector, informed by national and local low-carbon policies and strategies, with specific references to Beijing and Shanghai. Acknowledging that the barriers and impacts of these policies have not been explored in depth and in consideration of the multiplicity of stakeholder views, we then set out to collect stakeholders’ perspectives of implementation and consequential risks associated with the envisaged transition and with the policies aiming to promote this transition. These concerns are evaluated in a multiple-criteria group decision making approach. By focusing on the resulting most critical implementation barriers, we then outline five plausible socioeconomic scenarios, against which we simulate the impacts of the considered policy strategies on the low-carbon transition of the Chinese built environment as well the extent of their key possible negative consequences, by means of fuzzy cognitive maps.

Authors:
Lei Song
Jenny Lieu
Alexandros Nikas
Apostolos Arsenopoulos
George Vasileiou
Haris Doukas
Journal:
Energy Research & Social Science
Citation:
Song, L., Lieu, J., Nikas, A., Arsenopoulos, A., Vasileiou, G., & Doukas, H. (2020). Contested energy futures, conflicted rewards? Examining low-carbon transition risks and governance dynamics in China's built environment. Energy Research & Social Science, 59, 101306.
Tags:
China
Date: July 2019
Short description:

Heavy reliance on traditional biomass for household energy in eastern Africa has significant negative health and environmental impacts. The African context for energy access is rather different from historical experiences elsewhere as challenges in achieving energy access have coincided with major climate ambitions. Policies focusing on household energy needs in eastern Africa contribute to at least three sustainable development goals (SDGs): climate action, good health, and improved energy access. This study uses an integrated assessment model to simulate the impact of land policies and technology subsidies, as well as the interaction of both, on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, exposure to air pollution and energy access in eastern Africa under a range of socioeconomic pathways. We find that land policies focusing on increasing the sustainable output of biomass resources can reduce GHG emissions in the region by about 10%, but also slightly delay progress in health and energy access goals. An optimised portfolio of energy technology subsidies consistent with a global Green Climate Funds budget of 30–35 billion dollar, can yield another 10% savings in GHG emissions, while decreasing mortality related to air pollution by 20%, and improving energy access by up to 15%. After 2030, both land and technology policies become less effective, and more dependent on the overall development path of the region. The analysis shows that support for biogas technology should be prioritised in both the short and long term, while financing liquefied petroleum gas and ethanol technologies also has synergetic climate, health and energy access benefits. Instead, financing PV technologies is mostly relevant for improving energy access, while charcoal and to a lesser extend fuelwood technologies are relevant for curbing GHG emissions if their finance is linked to land policies. We suggest that integrated policy analysis is needed in the African context for simultaneously reaching progress in multiple SDGs.

Authors:
Dirk-Jan Van de Ven
Jon Sampedro
Francis X Johnson
Rob Bailis
Aikaterini Forouli
Alexandros Nikas
Sha Yu
Guillermo Pardo
Silvestre García de Jalón
Marshall Wise
Haris Doukas
Journal:
Environmental Research Letters
Citation:
Van de Ven, D. J., Sampedro, J., Johnson, F. X., Bailis, R., Forouli, A., Nikas, A., ... & Doukas, H. (2019). Integrated policy assessment and optimisation over multiple sustainable development goals in Eastern Africa. Environmental Research Letters, 14(9), 094001.
Tags:
Africa
Eastern Africa
SDGs