Imperial College London

Dr Yiannis Kountouris

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Senior Lecturer
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 9316i.kountouris

 
 
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Location

 

106Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

32 results found

Croker AR, Ford AES, Kountouris Y, Mistry J, Muthiuru AC, Smith C, Praise E, Chiawo D, Muniu Vet al., 2024, Decolonising Fire Science by Reexamining Fire Management across Contested Landscapes: A Workshop Approach, Fire, Vol: 7, Pages: 94-94

<jats:p>In many landscapes worldwide, fire regimes and human–fire interactions were reorganised by colonialism and continue to be shaped by neo-colonial processes. The introduction of fire suppression policies and state-centric property-rights systems across conservation areas and the intentional erasure of Indigenous governance systems and knowledge have served to decouple Indigenous fire-dependent communities from culturally mediated fire regimes and fire-adapted landscapes. This has driven a decline in anthropogenic fires while simultaneously increasing wildfire risk where Indigenous people have been excluded, resulting in widespread social–ecological vulnerabilities. Much contemporary fire research also bears colonial legacies in its epistemological traditions, in the global geographical distribution of research institutions, and the accessibility of research outputs. We report on a two-day workshop titled ‘Fire Management Across Contested Landscapes’ convened concurrently in Nairobi, Kenya, and London, UK. The workshop formed part of a series of workshops on ‘Decolonising Fire Science’ held by the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, UK. The workshop in Nairobi invited diverse Kenyan stakeholders to engage in participatory activities that facilitate knowledge sharing, aiming to establish an inclusive working fire network. Activities included rich pictures, world café discussions, participatory art, and the co-development of a declaration to guide fire management in Kenya. Meanwhile, in London, Leverhulme Wildfires researchers explored participatory research methodologies including rich pictures and participatory video, and developed a declaration to guide more equitable research. There were opportunities throughout the workshop for participants in Nairobi and London to engage in dialogue with one another, sharing their experiences and understandings of complex fire challenges in Kenya and glo

Journal article

Hersaputri LD, Yeganyan R, Cannone C, Plazas-Niño F, Osei-Owusu S, Kountouris Y, Howells Met al., 2024, Reducing Fossil Fuel Dependence and Exploring Just Energy Transition Pathways in Indonesia Using OSeMOSYS (Open-Source Energy Modelling System), Climate, Vol: 12, Pages: 37-37

<jats:p>Indonesia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is not adequately reflected in the significant CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel-intensive energy sectors, despite the enormous potential of renewable energy sources in the country. The ongoing coal regime has led to electricity oversupply and air pollution problems. Despite the huge challenges for Indonesia, a just energy transition away from fossil fuel is crucial. This study aims to explore the ideal energy mix and key emission reduction pathway in Indonesia in achieving a just energy transition using the least-cost optimisation energy modelling tool OSeMOSYS. Six scenarios are modelled over the period 2015–2050 including coal phase-out, NDC, the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), and carbon tax implementation. The results highlight that solar power, geothermal power, and hydropower are the alternatives for coal decommissioning. Despite the large-scale investment in renewable energy under the NDC and JETP scenarios, emissions could be reduced by 55% and 52%, respectively, by 2050. Moreover, Indonesia’s current carbon tax rate will not lead to a significant emission reduction. Three recommended policies include (1) accelerating CFPP retirement; (2) imposing an aggressive carbon tax rate; (3) prioritising investment in solar technologies.</jats:p>

Journal article

Croker AR, Woods J, Kountouris Y, 2023, Changing fire regimes in East and Southern Africa’s savanna-protected areas: opportunities and challenges for indigenous-led savanna burning emissions abatement schemes, Fire Ecology, Vol: 19

Background: Late dry-season wildfires in sub-Saharan Africa’s savanna-protected areas are intensifying, increasing carbon emissions, and threatening ecosystem functioning. Addressing these challenges requires active local community engagement and support for wildfire policy. Savanna burning emissions abatement schemes first implemented in Northern Australia have been proposed as a community-based fire management strategy for East and Southern Africa’s protected areas to deliver win–win-win climate, social, and biodiversity benefits. Here, we review and critically examine the literature exploring the design and application of savanna burning emissions abatement schemes in this region, characterizing their contextual and implementation challenges. Results: We show that the application of Northern Australian savanna burning methodologies in East and Southern Africa tends to adopt centrally determined objectives and market-based approaches that prioritize carbon revenue generation at the national level. The exclusive prescription of early-dry season burns in African mesic savannas prone to woody thickening can compromise savanna burning objectives to mitigate late-dry season wildfires and their greenhouse gas emissions in the long-term, as well as present multiple biodiversity trade-offs in the absence of formal metrics monitoring species’ responses to changes in fire regime. These features restrict indigenous participation and leadership in fire management, creating uncertainties over the opportunities for local income generation through carbon trading. Findings suggest that future savanna burning applications will need to address asymmetries between formal institutions and local land governance systems, explicitly acknowledging colonial legacies in institutional arrangements across protected areas and hierarchies in agrarian politics that threaten processes of equitable decentralization in natural resource management. Conclusion: We argue that

Journal article

Croker AR, Woods J, Kountouris Y, 2023, Community‐based fire management in East and Southern African savanna‐protected areas: a review of the published evidence, Earth's Future, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-18, ISSN: 2328-4277

The introduction of fire suppression policies and expansion of exclusionary protected areas in East and Southern African savannas have engendered a wildfire paradox. Outside protected areas, livestock have replaced fire as the dominant fuel consumer. Inside their boundaries, wildfire intensity has increased due to accumulating flammable biomass. Community-Based Fire Management (CBFiM) is recognized as an alternative fire management strategy to address the wildfire paradox and promote equitable fire governance across conservation landscapes. Yet, there has been little investigation into the implementation and effectiveness of CBFiM across East and Southern Africa's savanna-protected areas. Here we employ a social-ecological systems framework to develop a systematic map of the published literature on the framing and features of CBFiM in this context. We characterize the challenges and opportunities for their design and implementation, focusing on the relationship between governance systems and community participation in fire management. We find that CBFiM projects are commonly governed by the state and international non-governmental organisations who retain decision-making power and determine access to savanna resources and fire use. Existing CBFiM projects are limited to communal rangelands and are developed within existing Community-Based Natural Resource Management programs prioritizing fire prevention and suppression. Planned CBFiM projects propose an exclusive early-dry season patch mosaic burning regime to incorporate indigenous fire knowledge into modern management frameworks, but evidence of indigenous and local peoples' involvement is scarce. To provide equitable fire management, CBFiM projects need to address inequalities embedded in protected area governance and centralized suppression policies, and account for changing state-society and intra-society relations across the region.

Journal article

Woods J, Croker AR, Kountouris I, 2023, Indigenous fire stewardship omitted from savanna burning emissions abatement schemes in East and Southern African savanna-protected areas, Fire Ecology, ISSN: 1933-9747

Journal article

Misal H, Varela E, Voulgarakis A, Rovithakis A, Grillakis M, Kountouris Yet al., 2023, Assessing public preferences for a wildfire mitigation policy in Crete, Greece, Forest Policy and Economics, Vol: 153, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 1389-9341

The increased frequency and severity of wildfires in the Mediterranean region generates significant damages in ecosystems and landscapes while harming human populations. Institutional complexities, along with socioeconomic and demographic changes encouraging development into the wildland-urban interface, rural abandonment, and focus on fire suppression, are increasing the vulnerability and flammability of Mediterranean ecosystems. Developing effective strategies for managing wildfire incidence and its aftermath requires understanding of the public preferences for wildfire policy characteristics. Here we elicit public preferences for wildfire mitigation policies employing a stated choice experiment applied in Crete, Greece. A region with typical Mediterranean landscape experiencing significant development and rural-to-urban migration that disrupts existing fire regimes. We estimate conditional logit, mixed logit and latent class models to study the general public's preferences and willingness to pay for limiting wildfire frequency and agricultural land burnt, maintaining landscape features, and managing post-wildfire recovery. Results of our study show that measures to manage post-wildfire damage are consistently valued as the most positive amongst the sampled respondents, achieving values that range between €25.92 in conditional logit model to €46 in one of the latent classes identified. Improving the landscape quality follows in importance, although it shows more heterogeneity in the responses. The latent class approach allowed to identify that those associated with either the agricultural or the tourism sector of the sampled individuals, displayed significantly different preferences for the proposed attributes. Overall, our findings indicate that there is a strong preference amongst the general public to shift current policies based on suppression towards more integrated approaches dealing both with prevention and post-fire management. The outcomes of th

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Remoundou K, 2023, Does higher education affect pro-environmental behavior? Evidence from household waste recycling in Greece, Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-21, ISSN: 1748-9326

We examine the effect of higher education attainment on pro-environmental behavior focusing on household waste recycling. To address the endogeneity of higher education attainment, we exploit a set of reforms that increased opportunities for university studies in Greece, affecting cohorts graduating from highschool in year 2000. We leverage the exogenous variation introduced by the school enrollment age cutoff and estimate the local average treatment effect of higher education employing a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, comparing educational attainment, and recycling behavior between households that were just, and just not exposed to the reforms. We find little evidence that higher education increases the probability of recycling, and no evidence that the share of household waste recycled responds to higher educational attainment. Our results suggest that human capital accumulation alone may not deliver green behavior returns.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Williams E, 2023, Do protests influence environmental attitudes? Evidence from Extinction Rebellion, ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2515-7620

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2022, The influence of local waste management culture on individual recycling behavior, Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 17, ISSN: 1748-9326

The transition towards sustainable consumption and production requires public engagement and support. In this context, understanding the determinants of individual pro-environmental behavior can assist in sustainability policy design, and contribute to explaining cross-country and regional differences in its implementation and effectiveness. This paper examines the influence of local waste management culture on individual recycling behavior. To isolate the impact of location-specific norms, habits and traditions comprising waste management culture from the confounding effect of contemporaneous local economic and social conditions, we use data from over 40,000 domestic immigrants in Greece. Estimating models relating individual recycling activity in the region of current residence to recycling practices in the region of origin, we find robust evidence that region of origin waste management practices have quantitatively and statistically significant influence on individual recycling behavior: a 10 percentage point increase in the prevalence of recycling in the region of origin, increases the probability a subject recycles by 0.9 percentage points. The results suggest that locally prevailing waste management norms and practices influence individual recycling behavior independently of local economic, social and environmental circumstances. Designing effective sustainability policy may need to account for regional variation in norms and preferences, and encourage investment in the development of sustainable waste management culture.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2022, Awareness days and environmental attitudes: the case of the “Earth Hour”, Ecological Economics, Vol: 195, ISSN: 0921-8009

Environmental awareness campaigns disseminate information about the state of the natural environment, aiming to affect public attitudes and encourage pro-environmental behavior. I test the influence of awareness days on the general public’s environmental and climate change attitudes and concern, focusing on the case of the Earth Hour, an international campaign organized annually by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The Earth Hour highlights environmental consequences of human activity and encouragessustainable behavior, culminating with a call to mass action. To assess the Earth Hour’s effect, I use longitudinal data from Germany and the UK, exploiting the orthogonality of the Earth Hour observance to the timing of data collection, to estimate models comparing individual attitudes and concern before and after the event. I find no evidence of an Earth Hour effect on environmental and climate change attitudes and concern. Results suggest that more research is needed to assess the influence of environmental advocacy campaigns and awareness days on the general public.

Journal article

Ford A, Harrison S, Kountouris I, Millington J, Mistry J, Perkins O, Rabin S, Rein G, Schreckenberg K, Smith C, Smith T, Yadav Ket al., 2021, Modelling human-fire interactions: combining alternative perspectives and approaches, Frontiers in Environmental Science, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-23, ISSN: 2296-665X

Although it has long been recognised that human activities affect fire regimes, the interactions between humans and fire are complex, imperfectly understood, constantly evolving, and lacking any kind of integrative global framework. Many different approaches are used to study human-fire interactions, but in general they have arisen in different disciplinary contexts to address highly specific questions. Models of human-fire interactions range from conceptual local models to numerical global models. However, given that each type of model is highly selective about which aspects of human-fire interactions to include, the insights gained from these models are often limited and contradictory, which can make them a poor basis for developing fire-related policy and management practices. Here, we first review different approaches to modelling human-fire interactions and then discuss ways in which these different approaches could be synthesised to provide a more holistic approach to understanding human fire interactions. We argue that the theory underpinning many types of models was developed using only limited amounts of data and that, in an increasingly data-rich world, it is important to re-examine model assumptions in a more systematic way. All of the models are designed to have practical outcomes but are necessarily simplifications of reality and as a result of differences in focus, scale and complexity, frequently yield radically different assessments of what might happen. We argue that it should be possible to combine the strengths and benefits of different types of model through enchaining the different models, for example from global down to local scales or vice versa. There are also opportunities for explicit coupling of different kinds of model, for example including agent-based representation of human actions in a global fire model. Finally, we stress the need for co-production of models to ensure that the resulting products serve the widest possible community.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2021, Do political systems have lasting effect on climate change concern? Evidence from Germany after reunification., Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1748-9326

Support for climate policy depends on the public's perception of climate change costs. Assessing the determinants of climate change attitudes contributes to explaining cross-country differences in climate policy implementation. In this paper, I examine the influence of experience with a political system on individuals' concern for the consequences of climate change. To address biases introduced by the endogeneity of the political system, I use the natural experiment created by the division and reunification of Germany. I find evidence suggesting that experience with the political system of East Germany has lasting negative effect on climate change concern that is discernible more than 20 years after reunification. Results suggest that the influence of political institutions on climate change attitudes and policy adoption can persist long after they have been replaced.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2021, An assessment of the relationship between daylight saving time, disruptions in sleep patterns and dwelling fires, Fire Technology, Vol: 57, Pages: 123-144, ISSN: 0015-2684

Residential fires pose threats to living environments, generating costs to health and property. Understanding the roles of human behavior and social organization in determining fire occurrence is important for developing strategies to manage fire risk. This paper tests the impact of daylight saving time (DST) transitions on dwelling fire occurrence. DST transitions affect sleep patterns, impairing human cognitive and motor performance, potentially influencing the incidence of dwelling fires. Employing a regression discontinuity design with time as the running variable and using data from over 260,000 primary dwelling fires that took place in the U.K. over 8 years we do not find evidence suggesting that DST transitions impact on dwelling fire occurrence. For both the start of DST and end of DST transitions, estimated effects is quantitatively small and statistically insignificant. Results suggest that disruptions in sleep patterns induced by DST are not a driver of dwelling fires in the U.K.

Journal article

Harris ZM, Kountouris Y, 2020, Vertical Farming as a Game Changer for BECCS Technology Deployment, SUSTAINABILITY, Vol: 12

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2020, Higher education and fertility: evidence from reforms in Greece., Economics of Education Review, ISSN: 0272-7757

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2020, Examining the Relationship between Elections and Wildfires, International Journal of Wildland Fire, ISSN: 1049-8001

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2020, Human activity, daylight saving time and wildfire occurrence, Science of The Total Environment, Vol: 727, ISSN: 0048-9697

Wildfires shape landscapes and ecosystems, affecting health and infrastructure. Understanding the complex interactions between social organization, human activity and the natural environment that drive wildfire occurrence is becoming increasingly important as changing global environmental conditions combined with the expanding human-wildland interface, are expected to increase wildfire frequency and severity. This paper examines the anthropogenic drivers of wildfire, and the relationship between the organization of human activity in time and wildfire occurrence focusing on the effects of transitions into and out of Daylight Saving Time (DST). DST transitions shift activity in relation to natural wildfire risk within a solar day, induce changes in the time allocated to wildfire-causing activities and disrupt sleep patterns. The paper estimates short and medium run effects of DST-induced changes in the temporal organization of human activity through a Regression Discontinuity Design with time as the running variable and Fixed Effects models, using data from over 1.88 million non-prescribed ignitions recorded in the contiguous US over 23 years. Estimates suggest that DST has a quantitatively and statistically significant immediate and medium-run effect on wildfire occurrence. Wildfire occurrence jumps by around 30% in the immediate aftermath of transitions into DST, adding about 98 human-caused wildfires across the contiguous US per year, while the transition's effect is detectable for 3 weeks. Transitions induce within-day temporal displacement of wildfires in a pattern compatible with the shifting of human activity mechanism, while the result cannot be attributed exclusively on disruptions in sleep patterns. Naturally arising lightning-strike wildfires do not respond to changes in civil time, while the results are robust to changes in assumptions. Results suggest that wildfire policy should account for the temporal organization of human activity.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, 2020, Ambient PM2.5 influences productive activities in public sector bureaucracies., Environmental Research Communications, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2515-7620

Fine particles (PM2.5) can penetrate buildings through ventilation and air conditioning systems, exposing indoors workers to pollution levels similar to those prevailing outdoors. This letter investigates the immediate influence of fine particle pollution on the productive activity of local government bureaucracies, linking novel data on the daily output of local governments in municipalities of the Athens metropolitan area, Greece, to PM2.5 levels recorded nearby. To address biases introduced by omitted variables and measurement error, I use the plausibly exogenous variation introduced by the basin's horizontal ventilation, instrumenting PM2.5 levels with local wind strength. Estimates suggest a statistically and quantitatively significant negative effect from PM2.5 on the output of public administrations. Increasing PM2.5 levels by 1% decreases the activity proxy by around 0.25%. Results point to the influence PM2.5 can have on activities that are mentally but not physically demanding and suggest that costs from PM2.5 will increase with the share of global income produced by office workers.

Journal article

Collins C, Vaskou P, Kountouris I, 2019, Insect food products in the Western world: assessing the potential of a new ‘green’ market, Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Vol: 112, Pages: 518-528, ISSN: 0013-8746

Although two billion people already eat insects in the world and the benefits of edible insects are well known, these ‘green’ sources of protein are neither treated as conventional food products nor widely incorporatedinto Western diets. Using a school-based investigation surveying 161 children, aged 6–15, and 114 of theirparents in London, and an online consumer survey with mainly British and French consumers (N = 1,020), this research provides insights into the potential of the insect market in the West. This work supports the idea that incorporating insect food into our diets makes not only environmental but also business sense.A nonnegligible segment of the population surveyed is willing to pay for mealworm minced meat and young children and pre-teens could represent a substantial market segment, as yet unexplored. This analysis points to multiple marketing strategies, such as early exposure, education, reducing the visibility of insect parts, celebrity endorsement, or peer-to-peer marketing, all of which could facilitate the adoption of insect food in the ‘mainstream’ arena, according to the consumer segment being targeted. Generalizations from these results are restricted to an educated and youthful subset of the potential consumer pool and further work remains to understand the patterns of Western consumer acceptance for the range of insect foods.

Journal article

Kountouris I, Remoundou K, 2016, Cultural Influence on Preferences and Attitudes for Environmental Quality, Kyklos, Vol: 69, Pages: 369-397, ISSN: 1467-6435

We investigate national culture's influence on preferences for and attitudes to environmental quality. We use the cultural diversity of immigrants in European countries to isolate the effect of culture from the confounding effect of the economic and institutional environment. Results suggest that culture is a significant determinant of migrants' individual environmental preferences and attitudes. Migrants from countries with higher levels of environmental preferences are more willing to trade off income for environmental quality when controlling for individual characteristics, country of residence, and country of origin macroeconomic and environmental conditions. Furthermore, culture significantly influences individual beliefs about limits to growth, the fragility of the balance of nature, and the likelihood of an ecological crisis. The result is robust to alternative definitions of the cultural proxy and points to the significance of accounting for cultural influences in the design of domestic and international environmental policy and the application of environmental valuation techniques.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Nakic Z, Sauer J, 2015, Political instability and non-market valuation: Evidence from Croatia, Resource and Energy Economics, Vol: 41, Pages: 19-39, ISSN: 1873-0221

We examine the effect of political instability on willingness to pay estimates (WTP) from nonmarket valuation, using data from a choice experiment implemented in Zagreb, Croatia to value groundwater quality and quantity. To evaluate the sensitivity of preferences for environmental quality to instability, we use the timing of a period of public protest that occurred in the city during the data collection and compare preferences before and during the protest. We find some evidence that WTP is lower in the period of political instability, but the result is sensitive to the specification used.

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Remoundou K, 2014, About time: Daylight Saving Time transition and individual well-being, ECONOMICS LETTERS, Vol: 122, Pages: 100-103, ISSN: 0165-1765

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Remoundou K, 2013, Is there a cultural component in tax morale? Evidence from immigrants in Europe, JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC BEHAVIOR & ORGANIZATION, Vol: 96, Pages: 104-119, ISSN: 0167-2681

Journal article

Remoundou K, Kountouris Y, Koundouri P, 2012, Is the value of an environmental public good sensitive to the providing institution?, Resource and Energy Economics

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Remoundou K, 2011, Valuing the Welfare Cost of Forest Fires: a Life Satisfaction Approach, Kyklos

Journal article

Kountouris Y, Remoundou K, 2011, Valuing the Welfare Cost of Forest Fires: a Life Satisfaction Approach, Kyklos, Vol: 64, Pages: 556-578

Journal article

Selassie GG, Kountouris Y, 2010, Fishing permit price and wetland conservation: A choice experiment on the value of improved environmental quality of lake awassa, Ethiopia, Choice Experiments in Developing Countries: Implementation, Challenges and Policy Implications, Pages: 50-66, ISBN: 9781848440036

Book chapter

Birol E, Koundouri P, Kountouris Y, 2010, Assessing the economic viability of alternative water resources in water-scarce regions: Combining economic valuation, cost-benefit analysis and discounting, Ecological Economics, Pages: 839-847

Journal article

Koundouri P, Kountouris Y, Remoundou K, 2009, Valuing a wind farm construction: A contingent valuation study in Greece, Energy Policy, Pages: 1939-1944

Journal article

Birol E, Hanley N, Koundouri P, Kountouris Yet al., 2009, Optimal management of wetlands: Quantifying trade-offs between flood risks, recreation, and biodiversity conservation, Water Resources Research

Journal article

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