91 results found
Gambhir A, Lempert R, 2023, From least cost to least risk: Producing climate change mitigation plans that are resilient to multiple risks, Frontiers in Climate, ISSN: 2624-9553
Gambhir A, 2023, Powering past coal is not enough, NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, ISSN: 1758-678X
Gambhir A, 2023, This really does change everything: attaining 1.5 degrees C needs all available mitigation levers, ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1748-9326
Moreno J, Van de Ven D-J, Sampedro J, et al., 2023, Assessing synergies and trade-offs of diverging Paris-compliant mitigation strategies with long-term SDG objectives, Global Environmental Change, Vol: 78, ISSN: 0959-3780
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement are the two transformative agendas, which set the benchmarks for nations to address urgent social, economic and environmental challenges. Aside from setting long-term goals, the pathways followed by nations will involve a series of synergies and trade-offs both between and within these agendas. Since it will not be possible to optimise across the 17 SDGs while simultaneously transitioning to low-carbon societies, it will be necessary to implement policies to address the most critical aspects of the agendas and understand the implications for the other dimensions. Here, we rely on a modelling exercise to analyse the long-term implications of a variety of Paris-compliant mitigation strategies suggested in the recent scientific literature on multiple dimensions of the SDG Agenda. The strategies included rely on technological solutions such as renewable energy deployment or carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions such as afforestation and behavioural changes in the demand side. Results for a selection of energy-environment SDGs suggest that some mitigation pathways could have negative implications on food and water prices, forest cover and increase pressure on water resources depending on the strategy followed, while renewable energy shares, household energy costs, ambient air pollution and yield impacts could be improved simultaneously while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, results indicate that promoting changes in the demand side could be beneficial to limit potential trade-offs.
Gambhir A, Xexakis G, Perdana S, et al., 2023, Expert perceptions of game-changing innovations towards net zero, Energy Strategy Reviews, Vol: 45, ISSN: 2211-467X
Current technological improvements are yet to put the world on track to net-zero, which will require the uptake of transformative low-carbon innovations to supplement mitigation efforts. However, the role of such innovations is not yet fully understood; some of these ‘miracles’ are considered indispensable to Paris Agreement-compliant mitigation, but their limitations, availability, and potential remain a source of debate. We evaluate such potentially game-changing innovations from the experts' perspective, aiming to support the design of realistic decarbonisation scenarios and better-informed net-zero policy strategies. In a worldwide survey, 260 climate and energy experts assessed transformative innovations against their mitigation potential, at-scale availability and/or widescale adoption, and risk of delayed diffusion. Hierarchical clustering and multi-criteria decision-making revealed differences in perceptions of core technological innovations, with next-generation energy storage, alternative building materials, iron-ore electrolysis, and hydrogen in steelmaking emerging as top priorities. Instead, technologies highly represented in well-below-2°C scenarios seemingly feature considerable and impactful delays, hinting at the need to re-evaluate their role in future pathways. Experts' assessments appear to converge more on the potential role of other disruptive innovations, including lifestyle shifts and alternative economic models, indicating the importance of scenarios including non-technological and demand-side innovations. To provide insights for expert elicitation processes, we finally note caveats related to the level of representativeness among the 260 engaged experts, the level of their expertise that may have varied across the examined innovations, and the potential for subjective interpretation to which the employed linguistic scales may be prone to.
Gambhir A, Ganguly G, Mittal S, 2022, Climate change mitigation scenario databases should incorporate more non-IAM pathways, JOULE, Vol: 6, Pages: 2663-2667, ISSN: 2542-4351
de Ven D-JV, Mittal S, Gambhir A, et al., 2022, A multi-model analysis of post-Glasgow climate action and feasibility gap
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>The COP26 Glasgow process resulted in many countries strengthening their 2030 emissions reduction targets and announcing net-zero pledges for 2050–2070. We use four diverse integrated assessment models (IAMs) to assess CO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub> emission trajectories in the near- and long-term based on national policies and pledges, combined with a non-CO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub> infilling model and a simple climate model to assess the temperature implications of such trajectories. Critically, we also consider the feasibility of national long-term pledges towards net-zero, to understand where the challenges to achieving them could lie. Whilst near-term pledges alone lead to warming above 2°C, the addition of long-term pledges leads to emissions trajectories compatible with a well-below 2°C future, across all four IAMs. However, whilst IAM heterogeneity translates to diverse decarbonisation pathways towards long-term targets, all modelled pathways indicate several feasibility concerns, relating to the cost of mitigation, as well as to rates and scales of deployed technologies and measures.</jats:p>
Arnell N, Jonsson G, Oliver T, et al., 2022, Climate Change, ecosystem impacts and systemic risk, Climate Change, ecosystem impacts and systemic risk
This report highlights some of the vital dependencies of human societies on ecosystems, the damages that can occur from them as a result of climate change, and the steps required to better understand and characterise the systemic risks to societies that result from such climate change-driven ecosystem damages.
Koasidis K, Nikas A, Van de Ven D-J, et al., 2022, Towards a green recovery in the EU: Aligning further emissions reductions with short- and long-term energy-sector employment gains, Energy Policy, Vol: 171, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 0301-4215
To tackle the negative socioeconomic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union (EU) introduced the Recovery and Resilience Facility, a financial instrument to help Member States recover, on the basis that minimum 37% of the recovery funds flow towards the green transition. This study contributes to the emerging modelling literature on assessing COVID-19 vis-à-vis decarbonisation efforts, with a particular focus on employment, by optimally allocating the green part of the EU recovery stimulus in selected low-carbon technologies and quantifying the trade-offs between resulting emissions reductions and employment gains in the energy sector. We couple an integrated assessment model with a multi-objective linear-programming model and an uncertainty analysis framework aiming to identify robust portfolio mixes. We find that it is possible to allocate recovery packages to align mitigation goals with both short- and long-term energy-sector employment, although over-emphasising the longer-term sustainability of new energy-sector jobs may be costlier and more vulnerable to uncertainties compared to prioritising environmental and near-term employment gains. Robust portfolios with balanced performance across objectives consistently feature small shares of offshore wind and nuclear investments, while the largest chunks are dominated by onshore wind and biofuels, two technologies with opposite impacts on near- and long-term employment gains.
Burke J, Gambhir A, 2022, Policy incentives for Greenhouse Gas Removal Techniques: the risks of premature inclusion in carbon markets and the need for a multi-pronged policy framework, Energy and Climate Change, Vol: 3, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2666-2787
Almost all modelled emissions scenarios consistent with the Paris Agreement's target of limiting global temperature increase to well below two degrees include the use of greenhouse gas removal (GGR) techniques. Despite the prevalence of GGR in Paris-consistent scenarios, and indeed the UK's own net-zero target, there is a paucity of regulatory support for emerging GGR techniques. However, the role of carbon pricing is one area that has experienced more attention than others, including discussion about the future inclusion of GGR in carbon markets.Here we identify three risks associated with using carbon markets as the sole, or main, policy lever to encourage the deployment of GGR techniques. Our categorisation of risks stems from discussions with policymakers in the UK and a review of the broader literature on carbon markets and GGR. We present a three-pronged risk assessment framework to highlight the dangers in doing so. First, treating emissions removals and emissions reductions as entirely fungible allows for undesirable substitution. Second, carbon markets may provide insufficient demand pull to drive currently more-costly GGR techniques to deployment at commercial scales. Third, opening up a carbon market for potentially lower-cost GGR (such as nature-based solutions) too early could exert downward pressure on the overall market-based price of carbon, in the absence of adjustments to emissions caps or other safeguards. We discuss how these risks could hamper overall efforts to deploy GGR, and instead suggest a multi-pronged and intertemporal policy and governance framework for GGR. This includes considering separate accounting targets for GGR and conventional emissions abatement, removing perfect fungibility between GGR permits and carbon market permits and promoting a a wide range of innovation and technology-specific mechanisms to drive currently expensive, yet highly scalable technological GGR down the cost curve. Such a framework would ensure that policyma
Grant N, Gambhir A, Mittal S, et al., 2022, Enhancing the realism of decarbonisation scenarios with practicable regional constraints on CO2 storage capacity, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GREENHOUSE GAS CONTROL, Vol: 120, ISSN: 1750-5836
- Author Web Link
- Citations: 1
van de Ven D-J, Nikas A, Koasidis K, et al., 2022, COVID-19 recovery packages can benefit climate targets and clean energy jobs, but scale of impacts and optimal investment portfolios differ among major economies, One Earth, Vol: 5, Pages: 1042-1054, ISSN: 2590-3322
To meet the Paris temperature targets and recover from the effects of the pandemic, many countries have launched economic recovery plans, including specific elements to promote clean energy technologies and green jobs. However, how to successfully manage investment portfolios of green recovery packages to optimize both climate mitigation and employment benefits remains unclear. Here, we use three energy-economic models, combined with a portfolio analysis approach, to find optimal low-carbon technology subsidy combinations in six major emitting regions: Canada, China, the European Union (EU), India, Japan, and the United States (US). We find that, although numerical estimates differ given different model structures, results consistently show that a >50% investment in solar photovoltaics is more likely to enable CO2 emissions reduction and green jobs, particularly in the EU and China. Our study illustrates the importance of strategically managing investment portfolios in recovery packages to enable optimal outcomes and foster a post-pandemic green economy.
Koasidis K, Nikas A, Karamaneas A, et al., 2022, Climate and sustainability co-governance in Kenya: A multi-criteria analysis of stakeholders' perceptions and consensus, Energy for Sustainable Development: the journal of the international energy initiative, Vol: 68, Pages: 457-471, ISSN: 0973-0826
The Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development embody highly intertwined targets to act for climate in conjunction with sustainable development. This, however, entails different meanings and challenges across the world. Kenya, in particular, needs to address serious sustainability threats, like poverty and lack of modern and affordable energy access. This study uses a multi-criteria group decision aid and consensus measuring framework, to integrate both agendas, and engages with Kenyan stakeholders to help inform future mitigation research and policy in the country. Results showed that stakeholders highlight topics largely underrepresented in model-based mitigation analysis, such as biodiversity preservation and demand-side transformations, while pointing to gaps in cross-sectoral policies in relation to access to modern energy, agriculture, life on land, and climate change mitigation. With numerous past and recent policies aiming at these issues, persistent stakeholder concerns over these topics hint at limited success. Sectoral and technological priorities only recently emphasised in Kenyan policy efforts are also correlated with stakeholders' concerns, highlighting that progress is not only a matter of legislation, but also of coordination, consistency of targets, and comprehensibility. Higher bias is found among the preferences of stakeholders coming from the country's private sector. Results from this exercise can inform national policymakers on effectively reshaping the future direction of the country, as well as modelling efforts aimed at underpinning Kenya's energy, climate and sustainable development policy.
Nikas A, Xexakis G, Koasidis K, et al., 2022, Coupling circularity performance and climate action: from disciplinary silos to transdisciplinary modelling science, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Vol: 30, Pages: 269-277, ISSN: 2352-5509
Technological breakthroughs and policy measures targeting energy efficiency and clean energy alone will not suffice to deliver Paris Agreement-compliant greenhouse gas emissions trajectories in the next decades. Strong cases have recently been made for acknowledging the decarbonisation potential lying in transforming linear economic models into closed-loop industrial ecosystems and in shifting lifestyle patterns towards this direction. This perspective highlights the research capacity needed to inform on the role and potential of the circular economy for climate change mitigation and to enhance the scientific capabilities to quantitatively explore their synergies and trade-offs. This begins with establishing conceptual and methodological bridges amongst the relevant and currently fragmented research communities, thereby allowing an interdisciplinary integration and assessment of circularity, decarbonisation, and sustainable development. Following similar calls for science in support of climate action, a transdisciplinary scientific agenda is needed to co-create the goals and scientific processes underpinning the transition pathways towards a circular, net-zero economy with representatives from policy, industry, and civil society. Here, it is argued that such integration of disciplines, methods, and communities can then lead to new and/or structurally enhanced quantitative systems models that better represent critical industrial value chains, consumption patterns, and mitigation technologies. This will be a crucial advancement towards assessing the material implications of, and the contribution of enhanced circularity performance to, mitigation pathways that are compatible with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and the transition to a circular economy.
Gambhir A, Green R, Grubb M, et al., 2021, How are future energy technology costs estimated? can we do better?, International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-48, ISSN: 1932-1465
Making informed estimates of future energy technology costs is central to understanding the cost of the low-carbon transition. A number of methods have been used to make such estimates: extrapolating empirically derived learning rates; use of expert elicitations; and engineering assessments which analyse future developments for technology components’ cost and performance parameters. In addition, there is a rich literature on different energy technology innovation systems analysis frameworks, which identify and analyse the many processes that drive technologies’ development, including those that make them increasingly cost-competitive and commercially ready. However, there is a surprising lack of linkage between the fields of technology cost projections and technology innovation systems analysis. There is a clear opportunity to better relate these two fields, such that the detailed processes included in technology innovation systems frameworks can be fully considered when estimating future energy technology costs.Here we demonstrate how this can be done. We identify that learning curve, expert elicitation and engineering assessment methods already either implicitly or explicitly incorporate some elements of technology innovation systems frameworks, most commonly those relating to R&D and deployment-related drivers. Yet they could more explicitly encompass a broader range of innovation processes. For example, future cost developments could be considered in light of the extent to which there is a well-functioning energy technological innovation system (TIS), including support for the direction of technology research, industry experimentation and development, market formation including by demand-pull policies and technology legitimation. We suggest that failure to fully encompass such processes may have contributed to overestimates of nuclear cost reductions and under-estimates of offshore wind cost reductions in the last decade.
Gambhir A, George M, McJeon H, et al., 2021, Near-term transition and longer-term physical climate risks of greenhouse gas emissions pathways, NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol: 12, Pages: 88-+, ISSN: 1758-678X
- Author Web Link
- Citations: 8
Stevenson S, Collins A, Jennings N, et al., 2021, Correction to: A hybrid approach to identifying and assessing interactions between climate action (SDG13) policies and a range of SDGs in a UK context, DISCOVER SUSTAINABILITY, Vol: 2
Koberle AC, Vandyck T, Guivarch C, et al., 2021, The cost of mitigation revisited (Nov, 10.1038/s41558-021-01203-6, 2021), NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol: 12, Pages: 298-298, ISSN: 1758-678X
Sognnaes I, Gambhir A, van de Ven D-J, et al., 2021, A multi-model analysis of long-term emissions and warming implications of current mitigation efforts, Nature Climate Change, Vol: 11, Pages: 1055-1062, ISSN: 1758-678X
Most of the integrated assessment modelling literature focuses on cost-effective pathways towards given temperature goals. Conversely, using seven diverse integrated assessment models, we project global energy CO2 emissions trajectories on the basis of near-term mitigation efforts and two assumptions on how these efforts continue post-2030. Despite finding a wide range of emissions by 2050, nearly all the scenarios have median warming of less than 3 °C in 2100. However, the most optimistic scenario is still insufficient to limit global warming to 2 °C. We furthermore highlight key modelling choices inherent to projecting where emissions are headed. First, emissions are more sensitive to the choice of integrated assessment model than to the assumed mitigation effort, highlighting the importance of heterogeneous model intercomparisons. Differences across models reflect diversity in baseline assumptions and impacts of near-term mitigation efforts. Second, the common practice of using economy-wide carbon prices to represent policy exaggerates carbon capture and storage use compared with explicitly modelling policies.
Koberle AC, Vandyck T, Guivarch C, et al., 2021, The cost of mitigation revisited, Nature Climate Change, Vol: 11, Pages: 1035-1045, ISSN: 1758-678X
Estimates of economic implications of climate policy are important inputs into policy-making. Despite care to contextualize quantitative assessments of mitigation costs, one strong view outside academic climate economics is that achieving Paris Agreement goals implies sizable macroeconomic losses. Here, we argue that this notion results from unwarranted simplification or omission of the complexities of quantifying mitigation costs, which generates ambiguity in communication and interpretation. We synthesize key factors influencing mitigation cost estimates to guide interpretation of estimates, for example from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and suggest ways to improve the underlying models. We propose alternatives for the scenario design framework, the framing of mitigation costs and the methods used to derive them, to better inform public debate and policy.
Grant N, Hawkes A, Napp T, et al., 2021, Cost reductions in renewables can substantially erode the value of carbon capture and storage in mitigation pathways, One Earth, Vol: 4, Pages: 1588-1601, ISSN: 2590-3322
Tackling climate change requires a rapid transition to net-zero energy systems. A variety of different technologies could contribute to this transition, and uncertainty remains over their relative role and value. A growing school of thought argues that rapid cost reductions in renewables reduce the need for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in mitigation pathways. Here we use an integrated assessment model to explore how the value of CCS is affected by cost reductions in solar photovoltaics, onshore, and offshore wind. Low-cost renewables could erode the value of CCS by 15%–96% across different energy sectors. Renewables directly compete with CCS, accelerate power sector decarbonization, and enable greater electrification of end-use sectors. CCS has greatest value and resilience to low-cost renewables in sustainable bioenergy/industrial applications, with limited value in hydrogen/electricity generation. This suggests that targeted, rather than blanket, CCS deployment represents the best strategy for achieving the Paris Agreement goals.
Pearce D, Pearce A, Gambhir A, et al., 2021, Research pathways for net-zero transport
The future is uncertain and there are many different pathways ahead for technology and society. Some, but not all, ofthese pathways will deliver the required amount of decarbonisation to comply with the Paris Agreement. Whilst wecannot know for certain which of these pathways will be chosen, research allows us both to identify the patterns andtrends that can help shape the pathways, and ultimately our future, and to develop the technologies and approachesthat can assist decarbonisation
Stevenson S, Collins A, Jennings N, et al., 2021, A hybrid approach to identifying and assessing interactions between climate action (SDG13) policies and a range of SDGs in a UK context, Discover Sustainability, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2662-9984
In 2015 the United Nations drafted the Paris Agreement and established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all nations. A question of increasing relevance is the extent to which the pursuit of climate action (SDG 13) interacts both positively and negatively with other SDGs. We tackle this question through a two-pronged approach: a novel, automated keyword search to identify linkages between SDGs and UK climate-relevant policies; and a detailed expert survey to evaluate these linkages through specific examples. We consider a particular subset of SDGs relating to health, economic growth, affordable and clean energy and sustainable cities and communities. Overall, we find that of the 89 UK climate-relevant policies assessed, most are particularly interlinked with the delivery of SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and that certain UK policies, like the Industrial Strategy and 25-Year Environment Plan, interlink with a wide range of SDGs. Focusing on these climate-relevant policies is therefore likely to deliver a wide range of synergies across SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 7, 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11, 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land). The expert survey demonstrates that in addition to the range of mostly synergistic interlinkages identified in the keyword search, there are also important potential trade-offs to consider. Our analysis provides an important new toolkit for the research and policy communities to consider interactions between SDGs, which can be employed across a range of national and international contexts.
Grant N, Hawkes A, Mittal S, et al., 2021, The policy implications of an uncertain carbon dioxide removal potential, Joule, Vol: 5, Pages: 2593-2605, ISSN: 2542-4351
Many low-carbon scenarios rely on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to meet decarbonization goals. The feasibility of large-scale CDR deployment is highly uncertain, and existing scenarios have been criticized for overreliance on CDR. We conduct an expert survey on the feasible potential for CDR via bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, direct air capture and afforestation. We use the survey results to represent uncertainty in future CDR availability and explore the implications in an integrated assessment model. Stochastic optimization demonstrates that uncertainty in future CDR availability provides a strong rationale to increase near-term rates of decarbonization. In scenarios with high CDR uncertainty, emissions are reduced by an additional 10 GtCO2e in 2030 compared with scenarios with no consideration of CDR uncertainty. This highlights the urgent need to increase ambition contained in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for 2030, to get the world on track to deliver 1.5°C and to hedge against an uncertain future CDR potential.
vandeVen D, Westphal M, GonzálezEguino M, et al., 2021, The impact of U.S. re‐engagement in climate on the Paris targets, Earth's Future, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 2328-4277
The Paris Agreement seeks to combine international efforts to keep global temperature increase to well-below 2°C. Whilst current ambitions in many signatories are insufficient to achieve this goal, optimism prevailed in the second half of 2020. Not only did several major emitters announce net-zero mitigation targets around mid-century, but the new Biden Administration immediately announced the U.S.’s re-entry into Paris and a net-zero goal for 2050. U.S. federal re-engagement in climate action could have a considerable impact on its national greenhouse gas emissions pathway, by significantly augmenting existing state-level actions. Combined with U.S. re-entry in the Paris Agreement, this could also serve as a stimulus to enhance ambitions in other countries. A critical question then becomes what such U.S. re-engagement, through both national and international channels, would have on the global picture. This commentary explores precisely this question, by using an integrated assessment model to assess U.S. national emissions, global emissions, and end-of-century temperatures in five scenarios combining different climate ambition levels in both the U.S. and the rest of the world. Our analyses finds that ambitious climate leadership by the Biden Administration on top of enhanced climate commitments by other the major economies could potentially be the trigger for the world to fulfill the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.
Giarola S, Mittal S, Vielle M, et al., 2021, Challenges in the harmonisation of global integrated assessment models: a comprehensive methodology to reduce model response heterogeneity, Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 783, ISSN: 0048-9697
Harmonisation sets the ground to a solid inter-comparison of integrated assessment models. A clear and transparent harmonisation process promotes a consistent interpretation of the modelling outcomes divergences and, reducing the model variance, is instrumental to the use of integrated assessment models to support policy decision-making. Despite its crucial role for climate economic policies, the definition of a comprehensive harmonisation methodology for integrated assessment modelling remains an open challenge for the scientific community.This paper proposes a framework for a harmonisation methodology with the definition of indispensable steps and recommendations to overcome stumbling blocks in order to reduce the variance of the outcomes which depends on controllable modelling assumptions. The harmonisation approach of the PARIS REINFORCE project is presented here to layout such a framework. A decomposition analysis of the harmonisation process is shown through 6 integrated assessment models (GCAM, ICES-XPS, MUSE, E3ME, GEMINI-E3, and TIAM). Results prove the potentials of the proposed framework to reduce the model variance and present a powerful diagnostic tool to feedback on the quality of the harmonisation itself.
Beath H, Hauser M, Sandwell P, et al., 2021, The cost and emissions advantages of incorporating anchor loads into solar mini-grids in India, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition, Vol: 1, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2667-095X
Renewables-based mini-grids have the potential to improve electricity access with lower emissions and better reliability than national grids. However, these systems have a challenging cost to revenue ratio, hindering their implementation. Combining residential loads with an anchor load, a relatively large non-domestic user, can help to improve mini-grid economics. Using measured electricity demand data from India and energy modelling, we assess the cost and emissions advantages of integrating health clinics as anchor loads within domestic solar mini-grids. For comparison, we also assess the ability of the national grid to meet our demand scenarios using monitored grid data. We apply a scenario-based approach, using separate domestic and anchor load demand profiles, and both in combination; we test meeting two levels of energy demand, 95% and 100%; and compare systems using PV and batteries, diesel, and hybrid generation. We find that the national grid has poor availability, at just over 50% at the most comparable monitoring site; and that it would meet a lower fraction of energy demand for our anchor load scenarios than the domestic only ones. For the off-grid systems, we find substantial cost and emissions reductions with anchor loads relative to demand scenarios without anchor loads. At 95% of demand met, we find PV and battery systems are 14-22% cheaper than diesel-only systems, with 10 times lower carbon intensity. Our findings illustrate the role off-grid systems can play in the provision of reliable low-carbon electricity and highlight the advantages of incorporating anchor loads like health centres into such systems.
Grant N, Hawkes A, Mittal S, et al., 2021, Confronting mitigation deterrence in low-carbon scenarios, Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1748-9326
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) features heavily in low-carbon scenarios, where it often substitutes for emission reductions in both the near-term and long-term, enabling temperature targets to be met at lower cost. There are major concerns around the scale of CDR deployment in many low-carbon scenarios, and the risk that anticipated future CDR could dilute incentives to reduce emissions now, a phenomenon known as mitigation deterrence. Here we conduct an in-depth analysis into the relationship between emissions reduction and emissions removal in a global integrated assessment model. We explore the impact of CDR on low-carbon scenarios, illustrating how the pathway for the 2020s is highly sensitive to assumptions around CDR availability. Using stochastic optimisation, we demonstrate that accounting for uncertainty in future CDR deployment provides a strong rationale to increase rates of mitigation in the 2020s. A 20% chance of CDR deployment failure requires additional emissions reduction in 2030 of 3–17 GtCO2. Finally, we introduce new scenarios which demonstrate the risks of mitigation deterrence and the benefits of formally separating CDR and emissions reduction as climate strategies. Continual mitigation deterrence across the time-horizon leads to the temperature goals being breached by 0.2–0.3 °C. If CDR is treated as additional to emissions reduction, up to an additional 700–800 GtCO2 can be removed from the atmosphere by 2100, reducing end-of-century warming by up to 0.5 °C. This could put sub-1.5 °C targets within reach but requires that CDR is additional to, rather than replaces, emission reductions.
Nikas A, Elia A, Boitier B, et al., 2021, Where is the EU headed given its current climate policy? A stakeholder-driven model inter-comparison., Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 793, Pages: 148549-148549, ISSN: 0048-9697
Recent calls to do climate policy research with, rather than for, stakeholders have been answered in non-modelling science. Notwithstanding progress in modelling literature, however, very little of the scenario space traces back to what stakeholders are ultimately concerned about. With a suite of eleven integrated assessment, energy system and sectoral models, we carry out a model inter-comparison for the EU, the scenario logic and research questions of which have been formulated based on stakeholders' concerns. The output of this process is a scenario framework exploring where the region is headed rather than how to achieve its goals, extrapolating its current policy efforts into the future. We find that Europe is currently on track to overperforming its pre-2020 40% target yet far from its newest ambition of 55% emissions cuts by 2030, as well as looking at a 1.0-2.35 GtCO2 emissions range in 2050. Aside from the importance of transport electrification, deployment levels of carbon capture and storage are found intertwined with deeper emissions cuts and with hydrogen diffusion, with most hydrogen produced post-2040 being blue. Finally, the multi-model exercise has highlighted benefits from deeper decarbonisation in terms of energy security and jobs, and moderate to high renewables-dominated investment needs.
Ortega-Arriaga P, Babacan O, Nelson J, et al., 2021, Grid versus off-grid electricity access options: A review on the economic and environmental impacts, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 143, Pages: 1-17, ISSN: 1364-0321
This research reviews the economic and environmental impacts of grid-extension and off-grid systems, to inform the appropriate electrification strategy for the current population without electricity access. The principal technologies reviewed are centralised conventional fossil-fuel grid-extension and off-grid systems mainly based on solar PV and batteries. It finds that relatively few studies explicitly compare grid-extension electricity costs against off-grid systems costs and that there is a lack of consistency in the methodologies used to determine the least-cost solution. Nevertheless, the studies reviewed show a range of around $0.2–1.4/kWh for off-grid electricity access, compared to a range of below $0.1/kWh to more than $8/kWh for grid access, pointing to a number of cases in which off-grid access may already be the more cost-effective option. Existing literature on the environmental impacts primarily focuses on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, with off-grid (solar PV and storage) systems’ emissions in the range of 50–130 gCO2-eq/kWh and grid generation from close to 0 gCO2-eq/kWh (for renewables and nuclear sources) to over 1,000 gCO2-eq/kWh (for coal). Emissions impacts stemming from transmission and distribution grids suggest a range of 0–30 gCO2-eq/kWh. Assessments of other environmental impacts such as water use, land use, biodiversity and e-waste are often absent in studies, whilst few studies explicitly compare the environmental impacts of grid versus off-grid systems. Further research should focus on comparing the costs of electricity access options using consistent metrics, expanding the scope of environmental impacts analysis, and integrating environmental and economic impacts into a comprehensive sustainability assessment of different options.
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