268 research outputs found

    Optimal Coverage of Installations in a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

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    Trading schemes for emission allowances have become a panacea for nations aspiring to reduce their aggregate emissions of greenhouse gases from industry in a cost-effective manner. The contention of this paper is that an emissions trading scheme (ETS) should not be based on blanket coverage of installations on a downstream level, but should rather be designed to include some installations, and from some industrial sectors. In the case of an ETS there are high costs of administration, monitoring and transacting imposed on the installations covered. These costs are supposed to be more than offset by the cost savings realised through trading in the market for emission allowances. However, the paper shows that not all installations can fully offset administrative costs, and are therefore exposed to higher cost compared to a situation under an alternative instrument (e.g. standard). The paper formulates a conceptual framework for analysing overall cost and benefits from an ETS in the light of administration and transactions costs. It theoretically establishes a threshold point for optimal coverage of installations on a downstream level. The paper uses data from EU ETS to empirically determine optimal coverage for selected sectors. The results indicate that blanket coverage is more costly than the determined optimum coverage plan.Climate Change, Emissions Trading Scheme, European Union, Marginal Abatement Costs, Environmental Policy, Environmental Economics and Policy, International Relations/Trade,

    Climate change and Australia’s comparative advantage in broadacre agriculture

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    Australia has long been a major exporter of the products of broadacre agriculture, a production system well suited to the economic and climatic conditions of the country. According to the conventional wisdom, Australia holds a comparative advantage in these products, among which wheat and livestock products predominate. However, the future validity of this proposition is sensitive to the projected impacts of climate change. This paper develops a framework with which to quantify the future patterns of comparative advantage in broadacre agriculture given the projections of several global climate models. We find empirical support for the conventional wisdom, and note substantial resilience in Australia’s comparative advantage to adverse yield change.Comparative advantage, climate change, broadacre agriculture, Agricultural and Food Policy, Environmental Economics and Policy, Land Economics/Use, Livestock Production/Industries,

    Real options for adaptive decisions in primary industries

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    Abstract The long term sustainability of Australian crop and livestock farms is threatened with climate change and climate variability. In response, farmers may decide to (1) adjust practices and technologies, (2) change production systems, or (3) transform their industries, for example, by relocating to new geographical areas. Adjustments to existing practices are easy to make relative to changes to production systems or transformations of an industry. Switching between production regimes requires new investments and infrastructure and can leave assets stranded. These changes can be partially or wholly irreversible but hysteresis effects can make switching difficult and mistakes costly to reverse. ‘Real options’ is a framework to structure thinking and analysis of these difficult choices. Previous work has demonstrated how real options can be applied to adaptation, and extends traditional economic analyses of agricultural investment decisions based on net present values to better represent the uncertainty and risks of climate change. This project uses transects across space as analogues for future climate scenarios. We simulate yields from climate data and draw on data from actual farms to estimate a real options model referred to as ‘Real Options for Adaptive Decisions’ (ROADs). We present results for the transformation of wheat dominant cropping systems in South Australia, New South Wales, and Western Australia. We find that farmers’ decisions, as much as a changing climate, determine how agriculture will be transformed. Please cite this report as: Hertzler, G, Sanderson, T, Capon, T, Hayman, P, Kingwell, R, McClintock, A, Crean, J, Randall, A 2013 Will primary producers continue to adjust practices and technologies, change production systems or transform their industry – an application of real options,  National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, pp. 93. The long term sustainability of Australian crop and livestock farms is threatened with climate change and climate variability. In response, farmers may decide to (1) adjust practices and technologies, (2) change production systems, or (3) transform their industries, for example, by relocating to new geographical areas. Adjustments to existing practices are easy to make relative to changes to production systems or transformations of an industry. Switching between production regimes requires new investments and infrastructure and can leave assets stranded. These changes can be partially or wholly irreversible but hysteresis effects can make switching difficult and mistakes costly to reverse. ‘Real options’ is a framework to structure thinking and analysis of these difficult choices. Previous work has demonstrated how real options can be applied to adaptation, and extends traditional economic analyses of agricultural investment decisions based on net present values to better represent the uncertainty and risks of climate change. This project uses transects across space as analogues for future climate scenarios. We simulate yields from climate data and draw on data from actual farms to estimate a real options model referred to as ‘Real Options for Adaptive Decisions’ (ROADs). We present results for the transformation of wheat dominant cropping systems in South Australia, New South Wales, and Western Australia. We find that farmers’ decisions, as much as a changing climate, determine how agriculture will be transformed

    Climate change and Australia’s comparative advantage in wheat

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    Australia has long been a major exporter of wheat, a commodity well suited to the economic and climatic conditions of Australia. According to the conventional wisdom, Australia holds a comparative advantage in wheat. However, the future validity of this proposition is sensitive to the proposed impacts of climate change. This paper develops a framework with which to examine the future patterns of comparative advantage in wheat given the projections of several global climate models. We find support for the conventional wisdom, and identify the presence of substantial resilience in Australia’s comparative advantage to adverse yield change.International Relations/Trade,

    Feeding mechanisms in carp: crossflow filtration, palatal protrusions and flow reversals

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    It has been hypothesized that, when engulfing food mixed with inorganic particles during benthic feeding, cyprinid fish use protrusions of tissue from the palatal organ to retain the food particles while the inorganic particles are expelled from the opercular slits. In crossflow filtration, the particle suspension is pumped parallel to the filter surface as filtrate exits through the filter pores, causing the suspension to become more concentrated as it travels downstream along the filter. We used high-speed video endoscopy to determine whether carp Cyprinus carpio use crossflow filtration and/or palatal protrusions during benthic feeding. We found that carp use crossflow filtration to concentrate small food particles in the pharyngeal cavity while expelling small dense inorganic particles through the opercular slits and via spits. Our results suggest that, during feeding on small food particles, palatal protrusions serve a localized chemosensory function rather than a mechanical particle-sorting function. However, palatal protrusions did retain large food particles while large inorganic particles were spit anteriorly from the mouth. We also investigated whether flow is continuous and unidirectional during suspension feeding in carp. As reported previously for ventilation in hedgehog skates and for certain industrial crossflow filtration applications, we observed that flow is pulsatile and bidirectional during feeding. These results have implications for hydrodynamic models of crossflow filtration in suspension-feeding fishes

    Back to the future: A back and forth manufacturing process journey from monoclonal antibodies to viral vectors for cell and gene therapy

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    The advent of new gene and cell therapies brings high promises to meet unmet medical needs. But, this also raises questions about how to produce these therapies cost effectively at scale. More specifically, producing enough high quality viral vector is key. Many early production and purification processes relied on techniques that are challenging to scale up, or are not commercially available at larger scales and sometimes even not compliant with cGMP. Scalable production and purification techniques from process development to cGMP compliant commercial manufacturing are therefore required. This feels like travelling back in time when the same challenges arose for the development of monoclonal antibodies. So instead of re-inventing the wheel, can we leverage lessons learnt from this past experience? Considering that processes for both mAbs and viral vectors include similar steps in term of cell culture, harvest, purification and formulation, the technologies developed and optimized for mAb manufacturing should therefore be applicable to viral vector processes. Here we will discuss the process similarities and differences for mAbs on one hand and adeno-associated viruses and lentiviruses on the other hand, focusing on gaps identified in developing process platforms for the production and purification of viral vectors. We will show how even the most recent advances in continuous bioprocessing for mAbs can be implemented quickly for viral vectors and the subsequent benefits generated in term of process productivity and economics

    Binomial Sampling of Western Flower Thrips Infesting Flowering Greenhouse Crops Using Incidence-Mean Models

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    Accurate assessments of thrips density are important for effective thrips management programs. Complicating the development of sampling plans for western flower thrips (WFT) Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) in greenhouse crops are the facts that they are small, difficult to detect, and attack a variety of crops, which may be grown concurrently within the same greenhouse. Binomial sampling was evaluated as an alternative to sampling plans based on complete enumeration. This work included comparison of incidence-mean models across diverse plant species (impatiens, cucumber, and marigold) to determine the possibility of using a generic model for sampling WFT in mixed crops. Data from laboratory-processed flower samples revealed that infestation rates calculated using a tally threshold of three thrips per flower provided the best estimates of thrips population densities in each tested crop and in the combined crops (composite data set). Distributions of thrips populations were similar across the three plant species, indicating potential for development of a generic sampling plan for mixed floral crops. Practical sampling methods for simple and complex flowers tested in the greenhouse (in situ) were evaluated via construction of binomial count operating characteristic functions. In the case of simple flowers (impatiens), visual inspections provided adequate estimates of thrips infestation rates at a low tally threshold, which ultimately enabled accurate estimation of thrips densities. However, visual inspection and tap-sampling of complex flowers (marigold) provided unreliable results. These findings indicate that use of binomial sampling methods in mixed floral crops will require development of more accurate sampling technique

    The VET era: equipping Australia’s workforce for the future digital economy

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    The VET sector provides Australians with the skills they need to participate in the labour market and Australia’s industries with the workers they need to drive the national economy. However, as digital technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, business models and employment models are being disrupted and the capability of machines is increasing, enabling them to perform ever more complex tasks. These changes are already visible and will become more pervasive as digital technology continues to advance. The VET Era shows that the VET sector is already playing a critical role in delivering skills to the Australian economy, with current graduations correlating strongly with job vacancies. The research has also shown us that the sector is increasingly providing the ‘finish’ to post-secondary education as shown by increased enrolments by Bachelor Degree holders in VET, particularly with TAFEs. These are undoubtedly positive findings for the sector, however there is also a need for evolution and refocussing within the sector to ensure it keeps pace with current and future economic transitions and maintains Australia’s competitiveness globally

    XBP1 governs late events in plasma cell differentiation and is not required for antigen-specific memory B cell development

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    The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a stress response pathway that is driven by the increased load of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum of highly secretory cells such as plasma cells (PCs). X box binding protein 1 (XBP1) is a transcription factor that mediates one branch of the UPR and is crucial for the development of antibody-secreting PCs. PCs represent only one class of terminally differentiated B cells, however, and little is known about the role for XBP1 in the other class: memory B cells. We have developed an XBP1fl/fl CD19+/cre conditional knockout (XBP1CD19) mouse to build upon our current understanding of the function of XBP1 in PC differentiation as well as to explore the role of XBP1 in memory cell development. Using this model, we show that XBP1CD19 mice are protected from disease in an autoantibody-mediated mouse lupus model. We also identify a novel developmental stage at which B cells express the traditional PC marker CD138 (syndecan-1) but have yet to undergo XBP1-dependent functional and morphological differentiation into antibody-secreting cells. Finally, we show that memory B cells develop normally in XBP1CD19 mice, demonstrating that XBP1-mediated functions occur independently of any memory cell lineage commitment
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