41 research outputs found

    Closing the gap between research and projects in climate change innovation in Europe

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    Innovation is a key component to equip our society with tools to adapt to new climatic conditions. The development of research-action interfaces shifts useful ideas into operationalized knowledge allowing innovation to flourish. In this paper we quantify the existing gap between climate research and innovation action in Europe using a novel framework that combines artificial intelligence (AI) methods and network science. We compute the distance between key topics of research interest from peer review publications and core issues tackled by innovation projects funded by the most recent European framework programmes. Our findings reveal significant differences exist between and within the two layers. Economic incentives, agricultural and industrial processes are differently connected to adaptation and mitigation priorities. We also find a loose research-action connection in bioproducts, biotechnologies and risk assessment practices, where applications are still too few compared to the research insights. Our analysis supports policy-makers to measure and track how research funding result in innovation action, and to adjust decisions if stated priorities are not achieved

    Closing the gap between research and projects in climate change innovation in Europe

    Get PDF
    Innovation is a key component to equip our society with tools to adapt to new climatic conditions. The development of research-action interfaces shifts useful ideas into operationalized knowledge allowing innovation to flourish. In this paper we quantify the existing gap between climate research and innovation action in Europe using a novel framework that combines artificial intelligence (AI) methods and network science. We compute the distance between key topics of research interest from peer review publications and core issues tackled by innovation projects funded by the most recent European framework programmes. Our findings reveal significant differences exist between and within the two layers. Economic incentives, agricultural and industrial processes are differently connected to adaptation and mitigation priorities. We also find a loose research-action connection in bioproducts, biotechnologies and risk assessment practices, where applications are still too few compared to the research insights. Our analysis supports policy-makers to measure and track how research funding result in innovation action, and to adjust decisions if stated priorities are not achieved

    Regional uptake of direct reduction iron production using hydrogen under climate policy

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    The need to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 has meant an increasing focus on high emitting industrial sectors such as steel. However, significant uncertainties remain as to the rate of technology diffusion across steel production pathways in different regions, and how this might impact on climate ambition. Informed by empirical analysis of historical transitions, this paper presents modelling on the regional deployment of Direction Reduction Iron using hydrogen (DRI-H2). We find that DRI-H2 can play a leading role in the decarbonisation of the sector, leading to near-zero emissions by 2070. Regional spillovers from early to late adopting regions can speed up the rate of deployment of DRI-H2, leading to lower cumulative emissions and system costs. Without such effects, cumulative emissions are 13% higher than if spillovers are assumed and approximately 15% and 20% higher in China and India respectively. Given the estimates of DRI-H2 cost-effectiveness relative to other primary production technologies, we also find that costs increase in the absence of regional spillovers. However, other factors can also have impacts on deployment, emission reductions, and costs, including the composition of the early adopter group, material efficiency improvements and scrap recycling rates. For the sector to achieve decarbonisation, key regions will need to continue to invest in low carbon steel projects, recognising their broader global benefit, and look to develop and strengthen policy coordination on technologies such as DRI-H2

    The circular economy in China: Achievements, challenges and potential implications for decarbonisation

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    China's wide-ranging circular economy (CE) efforts have been studied multiple times from a range of perspectives. Synthesizing the relevant literature, this paper provides a critical reflection on the transition to a CE in China. Key factors for China's success in shifting towards a CE are seen in multi-level indicators and upscaling niches. This paper makes a novel contribution on limitations to progress, based on emerging evidence on CE projects that fail to sustain. Enriched by experts feedback, this paper critically addresses future challenges to a deep transition resulting from implementation gaps between early majorities and mass markets and coordination challenges arising through regional and sectoral differences. In light of China's commitments to climate neutrality by 2060, such challenges are considered serious. Based on feasible policy learning, the paper however proposes synergies between the CE and decarbonisation driven by efficiency improvements, comprehensive core indicators, upscaling and urban policies as trigger for deeper transformations. Finally the paper undertakes broader reflections and an outlook on evidence-orientated policy learning for a CE and decarbonisation in China

    Closing the loop on plastics in Europe: The role of data, information and knowledge

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    Concerns over plastic waste and support for a plastic circular economy have been growing in recent years. Specific needs to promote re-circulation of plastics in terms of data, information and knowledge are poorly understood. Based on the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, this paper aims to understand how information and knowledge issues may inhibit or foster the development of secondary plastics markets in Europe. Results highlight that key barriers associated with data-information-knowledge map across, and interact with, policies and standards, market and technology, socio-cultural norms, networks and business models. The packaging sector has drawn more policy attention, and institutions to support information sharing such as labelling and certification are more mature. The automotive and EEE sectors have illustrated knowledge diffusion through supply chain collaboration, while the construction sector appears to have slower practical progress on industry-level knowledge diffusion. This paper contributes to the multi-level perspective on transition studies by focusing the empirical work on a new area of plastic circular economy. The cases playing out across the whole value chain and four different application areas provide insights that are potentially more widely applicable to the circular economy transition processes in Europe

    The circular economy in China: achievements, challenges and potential implications for decarbonisation

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    China's wide-ranging circular economy (CE) efforts have been studied multiple times from a range of perspectives. Synthesizing the relevant literature, this paper provides a critical reflection on the transition to a CE in China. Key factors for China's success in shifting towards a CE are seen in multi-level indicators and upscaling niches. This paper makes a novel contribution on limitations to progress, based on emerging evidence on CE projects that fail to sustain. Enriched by experts feedback, this paper critically addresses future challenges to a deep transition resulting from implementation gaps between early majorities and mass markets and coordination challenges arising through regional and sectoral differences. In light of China's commitments to climate neutrality by 2060, such challenges are considered serious. Based on feasible policy learning, the paper however proposes synergies between the CE and decarbonisation driven by efficiency improvements, comprehensive core indicators, upscaling and urban policies as trigger for deeper transformations. Finally the paper undertakes broader reflections and an outlook on evidence-orientated policy learning for a CE and decarbonisation in China

    The political economy of actively phasing out harmful industries: Lessons from resource-based sectors beyond fossil fuels

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    The growing urgency of reducing fossil fuel consumption has spurred interest in the political economy dimensions of policies that aim to phase out existing industries. Much of this growing literature has focused on previous energy transitions and phase-outs. In this perspective article, I highlight the value of looking at cases beyond energy and fossil fuels to understand the dynamics of industry phase-out. To illustrate the point, I provide three short empirical case studies of industries in which policymakers have taken active steps to phase out or reduce specific industries. The cases are asbestos mining, tobacco cultivation, and cod fisheries in the UK's Humber region. The cases highlight the potential for economic diversification policies to both soften the blow faced by communities that are dependent on industries at the heart of phase-out policies, and to undermine the advocacy coalitions opposing phase-out policy. All three also suggest that cultural identity issues can play an important role in the politics of industry decline. The paper concludes by highlighting four avenues for future research into the political economy of actively phasing out harmful industries

    Challenges and opportunities for energy system modelling to foster multi-level governance of energy transitions

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    Achieving the swift energy transition necessary to meet global climate ambitions requires concerted action across governance scales, from municipal authorities to national governments. Decision-making is often closely informed by energy system modelling, making energy models a crucial tool to foster a multi-level governance system that is based on mutual understanding and coordination across scales. Here, we review 186 energy modelling studies and identify challenges and opportunities for the energy modelling community to take into account and facilitate multi-level governance systems. We show that current energy modelling practices typically focus on and aim to support a single scale, largely overlooking the multi-level nature of energy governance. Embedding multi-level governance throughout the energy modelling process entails significant obstacles but is crucial for ensuring such approaches continue to provide timely and salient decision-support

    Exploring the possibility space: taking stock of the diverse capabilities and gaps in integrated assessment models

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    Abstract Integrated assessment models (IAMs) have emerged as key tools for building and assessing long term climate mitigation scenarios. Due to their central role in the recent IPCC assessments, and international climate policy analyses more generally, and the high uncertainties related to future projections, IAMs have been critically assessed by scholars from different fields receiving various critiques ranging from adequacy of their methods to how their results are used and communicated. Although IAMs are conceptually diverse and evolved in very different directions, they tend to be criticised under the umbrella of ‚ÄėIAMs‚Äô. Here we first briefly summarise the IAM landscape and how models differ from each other. We then proceed to discuss six prominent critiques emerging from the recent literature, reflect and respond to them in the light of IAM diversity and ongoing work and suggest ways forward. The six critiques relate to (a) representation of heterogeneous actors in the models, (b) modelling of technology diffusion and dynamics, (c) representation of capital markets, (d) energy-economy feedbacks, (e) policy scenarios, and (f) interpretation and use of model results.</jats:p

    Induced innovation in energy technologies and systems: a review of evidence and potential implications for CO 2 mitigation

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    Abstract: We conduct a systematic and interdisciplinary review of empirical literature assessing evidence on induced innovation in energy and related technologies. We explore links between demand-drivers (both market-wide and targeted); indicators of innovation (principally, patents); and outcomes (cost reduction, efficiency, and multi-sector/macro consequences). We build on existing reviews in different fields and assess over 200 papers containing original data analysis. Papers linking drivers to patents, and indicators of cumulative capacity to cost reductions (experience curves), dominate the literature. The former does not directly link patents to outcomes; the latter does not directly test for the causal impact of on cost reductions. Diverse other literatures provide additional evidence concerning the links between deployment, innovation activities, and outcomes. We derive three main conclusions. (a) Demand-pull forces enhance patenting; econometric studies find positive impacts in industry, electricity and transport sectors in all but a few specific cases. This applies to all drivers‚ÄĒgeneral energy prices, carbon prices, and targeted interventions that build markets. (b) Technology costs decline with cumulative investment for almost every technology studied across all time periods, when controlled for other factors. Numerous lines of evidence point to dominant causality from at-scale deployment (prior to self-sustaining diffusion) to cost reduction in this relationship. (c) Overall innovation is cumulative, multi-faceted, and self-reinforcing in its direction (path-dependent). We conclude with brief observations on implications for modelling and policy. In interpreting these results, we suggest distinguishing the economics of active deployment, from more passive diffusion processes, and draw the following implications. There is a role for policy diversity and experimentation, with evaluation of potential gains from innovation in the broadest sense. Consequently, endogenising innovation in large-scale models is important for deriving policy-relevant conclusions. Finally, seeking to relate quantitative economic evaluation to the qualitative socio-technical transitions literatures could be a fruitful area for future research
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