96 results found
Nikas A, Frilingou N, Heussaff C, et al., 2024, Three different directions in which the European Union could replace Russian natural gas, Energy, Vol: 290, ISSN: 0360-5442
Russia's invasion of Ukraine fuelled an energy crisis, which considerably impacted Europe given its heavy reliance on Russian natural gas imports. This study uses an ensemble of four global integrated assessment models, which are further soft-linked to two sectoral models, and explores the synergies and trade-offs among three approaches to living without Russian gas in Europe: (a) replacing with other gas imports, (b) boosting domestic energy production, and (c) reducing demand and accelerating energy efficiency. We find that substituting Russian gas from other trade partners would miss an opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation in end-use sectors while risking further fossil-fuel lock-ins, despite featuring the lowest gas price spikes and potentially reducing heating costs for end-users in the near term. Boosting domestic, primarily renewable, energy production on the other hand would instead require considerable investments, potentially burdening consumers. Energy demand reductions, however, could offer considerable space for further emissions cuts at the lowest power-sector investment costs; nonetheless, an energy efficiency-driven strategy would also risk relocation of energy-intensive industries, an aspect of increasing relevance to EU policymakers.
Boitier B, Nikas A, Gambhir A, et al., 2023, A multi-model analysis of the EU's path to net zero, Joule, Vol: 7, Pages: 2760-2782
The European Union (EU) recently ratcheted its climate ambition to net-zero emissions by 2050, with a milestone of 55% emissions cuts in 2030. This study carries out a model inter-comparison to assess the EU's path, from “Fit for 55” in 2030 to an intermediate milestone in 2040 and onto net zero in 2050, offering insights at sectoral and member-state levels. Our model results support the bloc's ambition for its Emissions Trading System and Effort Sharing Regulation sectors while pointing to the need for near-complete decarbonization of electricity by 2040, enabled by considerable deployment of renewables (45%–65% in 2030, to 60%–70% in 2040, and to 75%–90% in 2050 in electricity generation) and carbon capture and storage (0.5–2 GtCO2/year by 2050). We also highlight the trade-offs between supply-side and harder-to-abate sectors, assess the ambition of member states for net zero and timing of coal phaseout, and reflect on the economic implications of investment, technical, and policy needs.
Gambhir A, Mittal S, Lamboll R, et al., 2023, Adjusting 1.5 degree C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information, Nature Communications, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2041-1723
Understanding how 1.5oC pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5 o C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment, is critical for planning resilient pathways. We use an integrated assessment model to explore potential pathway adjustments starting in 2025 and 2030, following the arrival of new information. The 1.5 oC target remains achievable in the model, in light of some adverse information, provided a broad portfolio of technologies and measures is still available. If multiple pieces of adverse information arrive simultaneously, average annual emissions reductions near 3 GtCO 2/yr for the first five years followingthe pathway adjustment, compared to 2 GtCO 2 /yr in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Moreover, in these scenarios of multiple simultaneous adverse information, by 2050 mitigation costs are 4-5 times as high as a no adverse information scenario, highlighting the criticality of developing a wide range of mitigation options, including energy demand reduction options.
Gambhir A, Nikas A, 2023, Seven key principles for assessing emerging low-carbon technological opportunities for climate change mitigation action, PLOS Climate, Vol: 2, Pages: e0000235-e0000235
van de Ven D-J, Mittal S, Gambhir A, et al., 2023, A multimodel analysis of post-Glasgow climate targets and feasibility challenges, NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol: 13, Pages: 570-+, ISSN: 1758-678X
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, Vol: 5, Pages: 1-6, ISSN: 2624-9553
Our plans to tackle climate change could be thrown off-track by shocks such as the coronavirus pandemic, the energy supply crisis driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, financial crises and other such disruptions. We should therefore identify plans which are as resilient as possible to future risks, by systematically understanding the range of risks to which mitigation plans are vulnerable and how best to reduce such vulnerabilities. Here, we use electricity system decarbonization as a focus area, to highlight the different types of technological solutions, the different risks that may be associated with them, and the approaches, situated in a decision-making under deep uncertainty (DMDU) paradigm, that would allow the identification and enhanced resilience of mitigation pathways.
Beath H, Alonso JB, Mori R, et al., 2023, Maximising the benefits of renewable energy infrastructure in displacement settings: optimising the operation of a solar-hybrid mini-grid for institutional and business users in Mahama Refugee Camp, Rwanda, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 176, ISSN: 1364-0321
Humanitarian organisations typically rely on expensive, polluting diesel generators to provide power for services in refugee camps, whilst camp residents often have no access to electricity. Integrating solar and battery storage capacity into existing diesel-based systems can provide significant cost and emissions savings and offer an opportunity to provide power to displaced communities. By analysing monitored demand data and using computational energy system modelling, we assess the savings made possible by the integration of solar (18.4 kWp) and battery (78 kWh) capacity into the existing diesel-powered mini-grid in Mahama Refugee Camp, Rwanda. We find that the renewables infrastructure reduces fuel expenditure by $41,500 and emissions by 44 tCO2eq (both 74%) over five years under the generator’s current operational strategy. An alternative strategy, with deeper battery cycling, unlocks further savings of $4100 and 12.4 tCO2eq, using 33% of battery lifetime versus 15% under the original strategy. This reduces the cost of electricity by 33% versus diesel generation alone, whilst more aggressive cycling strategies could prove economical if moderate battery price decreases are realised. Extending the system to businesses in the camp marketplace can completely offset the system fuel costs if the mini-grid company charges customers the same tariff as the one it uses in the host community, but not the national grid tariff. Humanitarian organisations and the private sector should explore opportunities to integrate renewables into existing diesel-based infrastructure, and optimise its performance once installed, to reduce costs and emissions and provide meaningful livelihood opportunities to displaced communities.
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, Pages: 1-3, ISSN: 1748-9326
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.
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, 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
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 CO<sub>2</sub> storage capacity, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GREENHOUSE GAS CONTROL, Vol: 120, ISSN: 1750-5836
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.
Koberle AC, Vandyck T, Guivarch C, et al., 2022, The cost of mitigation revisited (Nov, 10.1038/s41558-021-01203-6, 2021), NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol: 12, Pages: 298-298, ISSN: 1758-678X
Gambhir A, George M, McJeon H, et al., 2022, Near-term transition and longer-term physical climate risks of greenhouse gas emissions pathways, NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, Vol: 12, Pages: 88-+, ISSN: 1758-678X
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.
George M, Gambhir A, McJeon H, et al., 2021, Assessing multi-sector near-term transition and longer-term physical climate risks of greenhouse gas emissions pathways
George M, Gambhir A, McJeon H, et al., 2021, Assessing multi-sector near-term transition and longer-term physical climate risks of greenhouse gas emissions pathways
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 (vol 2, 43, 2021), DISCOVER SUSTAINABILITY, Vol: 2
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.
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.
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.
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