What the E2C2 is Reading – March 2013


The “The Quest” by Daniel Yergin. – Jesse Burton

It is the sequel to Yergin’s Pulitzer prize-winning The Prize, about the global oil industry (I have a soft copy if anyone is interested in the history of the industry). He is updating the book to cover the period from the late 1980s/1990 or so up until 2010/2011 – including the price spikes, what has been happening in the former USSR countries, Venezuelan oil politics etc. There is a great chapter on unconventional sources – resource estimates etc – and the latter part of the book (still haven’t gotten there yet) is on energy security, climate change and RE. Yergin is a complete free market ideologue but other than that, he has great anecdotes and has interviewed a phenomenal range of people in oil, including presidents, supermajor CEOs etc.

Future visioning of local climate change: A framework for community engagement and planning with scenarios and visualisation  – Harald Winkler

Written by Sheppard and a bunch of others, mainly from UBC. It’s a great article in that it seeks to integrate visual information on climate impacts, and both adaptation and mitigation – at the local level. But it tries to realise ‘thinking globally, acting locally’. Some highlights for me were on “bridging the gap between formalized analytical models and fuzzy social realities” and a set of “conceptual requirements of a scenario based process”. The want to show not only 4-D visuals of impacts, but also “the cumulative impacts of low-carbon development”. They are also refreshingly candid in saying that old IPCC scenarios, without action, are not good enough. Read this if you’re interested in: fair shares, adaptation-mitigation nexus,   scenario-based processes, visualisation, and local action!

The four day week – less is more. – Michael Boulle

We know about renewable energy and energy efficiency, but what about the four day week as a low-carbon initiative?

Short term thinking costs us the future. – Michael Boulle

Interesting article by one of the authors of the 1972 Limits to Growth on the failure of democratic governments to change the direction of societies, with a preference for making short-term decisions. Concerning that not much progress has been made since he co-authored the Limits to Growth over 40 years ago.

Monitoring, Reporting & Verification: A Primer on MRV for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions. (UNEP Riso, Dec 2012) – Anya Boyd

It touches upon various issues relating to MRV – particularly in the context of NAMA’s.  It raises the challenges of quantitative and qualitative indicators & data required for MRV systems – however sadly doesn’t add much thinking on the MRV of qualitative indicators.

There is an attempt to define some boundaries to ‘what is a NAMA’ and how it sits within national or broader LCDS programmes, as well as project level action. It attempts a distinction between Policy NAMAs that represent action (e.g. Tax credits)  vs. Policy NAMAs that require action (e.g. An energy efficient target).

Discussions move to institutional architecture, developing country capabilities, and concludes by reiterating the complexity of designing flexibly but standardised approaches to MRV. This ‘MRV Primer’ aims to be an inspirational piece to further the understanding of what in a future climate regime will need to be measured, reported and verified.

Adaptation Network. – Debbie Sparks

It is a nice site for general adaptation references as well as what’s happening from time to time.

Governance of Renewable Energy Incentives Across Varying Levels of Statehood (John Fay, 2012) – Anthony Dane

The risk profile of  a developing  country increases the cost of capital for renewable energy projects, which in turn  increases the required tariff and widens the price differential between electricity from renewable sources and fossil fuels. This results in greater challenges for designing effective market incentives in emerging and developing countries”

Reduced work hours as a means of slowing climate change (David Rosnik 2013) – Anthony Dane

Intuitively the results are entirely expected. I am not sure how valuable such analysis is- I can’t see countries implementing this policy… but then there is Gambia of course

Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your worldview (TED talk, 2006) – Anthony Dane

A little dated but still relevant: a great way of presenting data that forces us to rethink our reconceived notions development.

Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change (TED talk, 2006) – Britta Rennkamp

Interesting talk on how to stop desertification. It’s a Zimbabwean researcher explaining the phenomena of expanding deserts and how to “reforest” the grasslands, and all of this from a mitigation perspective. It also shows you that the distinction between mitigation and adaptation doesn’t always make much sense

End This Depression Now (Paul Krugman, 2012) – Britta Rennkamp

End this depression now, Paul Krugman’s take on Keynesian wisdom: why times of boom are time for austerity and governments need to spend in times of crisis