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News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

What was once a hotspot for the leopards of Africa has experienced an alarming population decline, with new research finding that numbers of the large cats are plummeting due mostly to illegal hunting. If the trend isn't reversed, the animals could be gone in the region within three years, say the researchers. As with some other animals at risk of extinction, the threat to their livelihood is driven by conflict between their habitats and that of humans, with researchers saying education will be key to their survival. Researchers from England's Durham University set out to the study leopard population in South Africa's Soutpansberg Mountains over the long term. This particular, prey-rich region has been considered a stronghold for leopards – which are currently listed as vulnerable – providing enough food for them to live in large numbers. Earlier studies on the area have recorded the highest density of leopards outside state-protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers tracked the numbers in this hotbed for wild leopards by setting up 23 camera traps and having them run continuously between January 2012 and February 2016. Over this time, hundreds of photos were collected, and the scientists were able to track individual leopards thanks to their unique coat markings. This allowed them to compile the most detailed picture of leopards in the Soutpansberg Mountains so far. The work also involved fitting eight adults with GPS collars and following their movements over a year, a period in which six of them died. The researchers found that leopard density, that is the amount of leopards per 100 km sq (38 sq mi), had dropped by 44 percent between 2016. Between 2008 and 2016, it dropped by 66 percent. "If the current rate of decline is not slowed down then there will be no leopards left in the western Soutpansberg Mountains by 2020," said Dr Samual Williams, an Honorary Research Fellow at Durham's the Department of Anthropology. "This is especially alarming considering that in 2008 this area had one of the highest leopard population densities in Africa." The researchers claim that a primary reason for the death of so many leopards is illegal hunting by humans. This is apparently driven by the impression that the wild cats are killing livestock, with locals responding by shooting, snaring and poisoning them. "This was often in response to a perception that leopards were a threat to livestock," said Williams. "Clearly there is a need for conservation efforts to address these illegal killings. Educating communities and supporting them to adopt non-lethal techniques to help protect their livestock is essential." According to the team, these non-lethal methods can include stronger fences and guard dogs. There is a temporary ban on trophy hunting leopards in the region, and the team says in light of the new findings this should remain in place. "In areas such as this trophy hunting is a luxury that cannot be afforded," said Williams. "Large carnivores like leopards are hugely important to the ecosystem of an area and also carry significant economic and cultural importance. Their loss would impoverish both the ecology of the area and human culture, so it is vital that we understand the threats leopards face and act on this." The research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.


News Article | August 10, 2017
Site: phys.org

Discovered in a remote rainforest of Papua New Guinea, the bat's unusual features immediately saw it affectionately referred to as the 'Yoda bat'. However, after thorough research examining literature and some 3000 specimens in 18 museums around the world, a University of York researcher has now formally distinguished and registered the new species. Dr Nancy Irwin, an Honorary Research Fellow in York's Department of Biology, explains: "The species is very difficult to tell apart from other tube-nosed bat species. Bat species often look similar to each other, but differ significantly in behaviour, feeding and history. "Most of the morphological characteristics that separate this bat from other species are associated with a broader, rounder jaw which gives the appearance of a constant smile. "Since most remote Papuans have never seen Star Wars, I thought it fitting to use a local name: the Hamamas—meaning happy – tube-nosed fruit bat." The happy tube-nosed fruit bat's formal name, Nyctimene wrightae sp. nov., is named after the conservationist Dr Deb Wright, who devoted 20 years to building conservation programmes and long-term scientific capacity in Papua New Guinea. Nyctimeninae were one of the first species of bat described in records dating back to 1769, and later in 1860 Alfred Russel Wallace – British naturalist and one of the fathers of evolution—collected two further species. The bats' tube noses, bright colours, thick stripe on the back and spots have attracted attention for some 250 years, but researchers are still finding new hidden species in the group. Dr Irwin continues: "There were no illustrations of the cyclotis group of bats which made identifying bats really difficult. So difficult was it that Papua New Guinea produced stamps illustrating the bats but could not allocate a species name. "Now, with photographs, illustrations and a key of the other species in the group, it makes it possible to distinguish between three species of the group. "Taxonomy is often the forgotten science but until a species is recognised and has a name, it becomes difficult to recognize the riches of biodiversity and devise management. Fruit bats are crucial to rainforest health, pollinating and dispersing many tree species, therefore it is essential we know what is there and how we can protect it, for our own benefit." Explore further: The good news and bad news about the rare birds of Papua New Guinea More information: Nancy Irwin. A new tube-nosed fruit bat from New Guinea, Nyctimene wrightae sp. nov., a re-diagnosis of N. certans and N. cyclotis (Pteropodidae: Chiroptera), and a review of their conservation status, Records of the Australian Museum (2017). DOI: 10.3853/j.2201-4349.69.2017.1654


News Article | August 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

An unusual breed of fruit bat -- previously nicknamed 'Yoda' due to its resemblance to the Star Wars Jedi Master -- has now officially been registered as a new species and renamed the happy (Hamamas) tube-nosed fruit bat An unusual breed of fruit bat -- previously nicknamed 'Yoda' due to its resemblance to the Star Wars Jedi Master -- has now officially been registered as a new species and renamed the happy (Hamamas) tube-nosed fruit bat. Discovered in a remote rainforest of Papua New Guinea, the bat's unusual features immediately saw it affectionately referred to as the 'Yoda bat'. However, after thorough research examining literature and some 3000 specimens in 18 museums around the world, a University of York researcher has now formally distinguished and registered the new species. Dr Nancy Irwin, an Honorary Research Fellow in York's Department of Biology, explains: "The species is very difficult to tell apart from other tube-nosed bat species. Bat species often look similar to each other, but differ significantly in behaviour, feeding and history. "Most of the morphological characteristics that separate this bat from other species are associated with a broader, rounder jaw which gives the appearance of a constant smile. "Since most remote Papuans have never seen Star Wars, I thought it fitting to use a local name: the Hamamas -- meaning happy -- tube-nosed fruit bat." The happy tube-nosed fruit bat's formal name, Nyctimene wrightae sp. nov., is named after the conservationist Dr Deb Wright, who devoted 20 years to building conservation programmes and long-term scientific capacity in Papua New Guinea. Nyctimeninae were one of the first species of bat described in records dating back to 1769, and later in 1860 Alfred Russel Wallace -- British naturalist and one of the fathers of evolution -- collected two further species. The bats' tube noses, bright colours, thick stripe on the back and spots have attracted attention for some 250 years, but researchers are still finding new hidden species in the group. Dr Irwin continues: "There were no illustrations of the cyclotis group of bats which made identifying bats really difficult. So difficult was it that Papua New Guinea produced stamps illustrating the bats but could not allocate a species name. "Now, with photographs, illustrations and a key of the other species in the group, it makes it possible to distinguish between three species of the group. "Taxonomy is often the forgotten science but until a species is recognised and has a name, it becomes difficult to recognize the riches of biodiversity and devise management. Fruit bats are crucial to rainforest health, pollinating and dispersing many tree species, therefore it is essential we know what is there and how we can protect it, for our own benefit."


'A trade in people' with learning disabilities and/or autism has been uncovered by a partnership of activists, families and Lancaster University academics. 'A trade in people' with learning disabilities and/or autism has been uncovered by a partnership of activists, families and Lancaster University academics. The new report from the University's Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) found that last year £477 million was forecast to be spent on keeping just 2,500 people with learning disabilities and/or autism in hospital and that 52% of those beds were provided by the independent sector. It flags up that, on average a person who has been in an Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU) for five years, will generate £950,000 in income, and a substantial profit, for an independent sector organisation. The report, entitled 'A Trade in People: The inpatient healthcare economy for people with learning disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder', also states: The report says there is little control over where units are located and highlights the 'pull effect' of having large independent providers of in-patient provision. It cites examples, such as Northampton, where large quantities of inpatient units locally result in them being 'net importers' of people with learning disabilities from other areas. This often means these areas become the 'home authority' responsible for the cost of intensive packages of services and support needed on discharge, placing significant strain on the person living far from home, and on community services in those areas. Families of a person put into an inpatient unit often face long and difficult journeys for infrequent hour-long visits, making it difficult to maintain family support and sometimes reducing the likelihood of a discharge. The report captures moving evidence, from families, of the 'struggle' and impact on both the inpatient and the family. The report shows that while many areas are expected to achieve significant reductions in the number of inpatients, most areas have not been selected by NHS England to receive funding to support them in achieving the targets. "Time will tell how realistic an expectation this proves to be and it is that kind of ambiguity that underpins the reason for carrying out this work," says the report. Economic factors, such as the cost of housing, may be important in shaping where inpatient services are located, it adds. For example, independent sector healthcare entrepreneurs may be more likely to establish new units in areas of relatively low infrastructure costs, including housing prices. "This is important because it means decisions about patterns of inpatient provision are being driven by economic factors rather than clinical need," says the report. It adds: "It is clear to us that the way in which the healthcare economy has been encouraged to develop by recent governments turns people into commodities and liabilities. "The uneven spread of provision has led to the development of what is effectively a 'market' of people with a learning disability which the growth of the independent sector has intensified." In England there are 270 Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs), inpatient units for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Of those, 96 are run by the independent sector to provide 1,290 beds. All are registered with Companies House but only 10% are dual registered with the Charity Commission as non-profit making. The report estimates that in 2015-16 the value of these inpatient services to the independent sector was in the region of £284 million. Most of that provision operated on a 'for profit' basis with 'sons and daughters' as its currency. One author of the report, Professor Chris Hatton, from Lancaster University, said: "A laissez-faire attitude towards the independent sector will not achieve the big reduction in inpatient services that government has been aiming for in the six years since Winterbourne View." The report team studied all existing Transforming Care Plans, which aim to improve services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, and made a Freedom of Information request to NHS England for the financial appendices to the plans. They also used data from a range of other sources including the care regulator Care Quality Commission and UK House Price Index data published by the Land Registry. The paper is written by activist Mark Brown, Lancaster University Honorary Research Fellow Elaine James and Professor Hatton. It is edited by Hannah Morgan, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Lancaster University. The briefing paper is produced as part of the Seven Days of Action Campaign, set up by activists to raise awareness, through regular campaigns, on the plight of disabled people held against their wishes in ATUs.


LIVINGSTON, NJ--(Marketwired - September 20, 2017) - Milestone Scientific Inc. ( : MLSS) a leading medical R&D company that designs, patents, incubates and commercializes a growing portfolio of innovative injection technologies, today announced that an abstract featuring the CompuFlo® epidural instrument was presented on September 13, 2017 at the 36th Annual European Society of Regional Anaesthesia & Pain Therapy (ESRA) Congress 2017, in Lugano, Switzerland. The European Society of Regional Anesthesia & Pain Therapy has a current membership of over 3,500 of the leading anesthesiologists in Europe. The Abstract, entitled, "Safe Localization of the Epidural Space with the CompuFlo® After Accidental Dural Puncture During Labor Neuraxial Analgesia, A Case Report," was presented at the ESRA Academy by Dr. Vittorio Limatola, a medical doctor from the University of Naples - Italy (2003), with a specialization in anesthesia at the University of Pisa - Italy (2008). Dr. Limatola was an Honorary Research Fellow at the Imperial College of London - UK (2006) and has worked at the Obstetric Unit at A.O.U. Careggi of Florence, Italy, since 2009. Daniel Goldberger, Chief Executive Officer of Milestone Scientific, stated, "We are pleased to have our technology featured by a leading anesthesiologist at one of the premier industry conferences in Europe. This case report demonstrates the value and effectiveness of CompuFlo® in identifying and locating the epidural space, especially in complicated cases, such as the one in this case report. In this particular case, the standard loss of resistance technique not only failed to locate the epidural space, but also led to a complication, known as accidental dural puncture, which caused the patient a severe headache that required a subsequent intervention. As a result, an epidural blood patch was successfully performed using the CompuFlo® instrument to repair the dural defect. This is clear illustration of the mounting clinical experience with CompuFlo, as it continues to meet new challenges in difficult patients, demonstrating its value as an everyday epidural confirmation solution for all patients." Milestone Scientific Inc. (MLSS) is a leading medical research and development company that designs and patents innovative injection technologies. Milestone's computer-controlled systems are designed to make injections precise, efficient, and virtually painless. For more information please visit our website: www.milestonescientific.com. This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the timing and financial impact of Milestone's ability to implement its business plan, expected revenues, timing of regulatory approvals and future success. These statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are based on assumptions involving judgments with respect to future economic, competitive and market conditions, future business decisions and regulatory developments, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond Milestone's control. Some of the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements are general economic conditions, failure to achieve expected revenue growth, changes in our operating expenses, adverse patent rulings, FDA or legal developments, competitive pressures, changes in customer and market requirements and standards, and the risk factors detailed from time to time in Milestone's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including without limitation, Milestone's Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2016. The forward looking statements in this press release are based upon management's reasonable belief as of the date hereof. Milestone undertakes no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason.


A southern population of the Rusty Monitor (Varanus semiremex) is known to occur at Wild Cattle Creek, Tannum Sands, Queensland. Thorough field observations conducted on foot revealed that individuals are frequently observed active between late September and April. Five distinct adults were identified over a 300 metre length of tidal mangrove habitat. Two confirmed females had a set home range and were recorded active within the same areas during a 29-month period. Both females became gravid and laid eggs between October and December. Hollows in mangrove trees were used as refuge sites and may be occupied over time by several individuals. Crabs were the only prey items observed, in contrast to literature reports of a more varied diet. The monitors were not active swimmers, preferring to forage between tides, but using the water in-transit where necessary. Daily activity commenced early in the summer months but was delayed during autumn and spring. Activity was observed at temperatures as low as 25.5ºC. © The State of Queensland, Queensland Museum 2017.


One new genus and two new species of camaenid are described from geographically remote lithorefugial habitats in Queensland. The two habitats have contrasting environments characterised by radically different geology, climate and vegetation. Lorelliana gen. nov. is introduced to accommodate L. hoskini sp. nov. from the high rainfall, rainforest peppered, granitic lithorefugia of Cape Melville, Cape York Peninsula. Quistrachia nevbrownlowi sp. nov. is described from the quartzic limestone refugia of the low rainfall, often drought affected, spinifex grassland of Mt Unbunmaroo (= Black Mountain), south-western Queensland. The survival of each species is discussed in relation to the significance of lithorefugia as habitat for land snails in otherwise snail-hostile environments. © The State of Queensland, Queensland Museum 2016.


News Article | December 17, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

Originally published on EnergyPost by Jan Rosenow and Edith Bayer The European Commission’s recently released Clean Energy Package, has a 2030 target of 30% energy savings. An important policy instrument to deliver these are Energy Efficiency Obligation (EEO) schemes. According to new research from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), not only are EEOs a highly cost-effective way to deliver energy efficiency, over the long term they can deliver consumer savings worth more than 4 times the costs of meeting the EEOs. But this only becomes apparent when a full evaluation is made. Most impact assessments carried out in Europe fail to take the full picture into account, thereby sending misleading messages. 2017 will be a big year for European energy policy, as the legislative proposals in the European Commission’s recently released ‘Winter Package’ are negotiated in the European Council and Parliament and shape the policy framework post-2020. Included in the package is the review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) (2012/27/EU), which was introduced in 2012 to deliver a cut of 20 percent of energy consumption by 2020. The Winter Package now proposes a 30 percent energy savings target by 2030, instead of the 27% initially discussed. Key to meeting this target will be the effective use of policy instruments: according to a report commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, released in May 2016, EEOs (Energy Efficiency Obligation schemes) are expected to deliver 34 percent of all energy savings to 2020. This even though only 3 percent of all adopted policy measures across the EU Member States are EEOs. This makes EEOs the most important instrument in terms of energy savings. Energy Efficiency Obligations (EEOs) are set out in Article 7 of the EED, which stipulates that Member States must require energy companies to save 1.5% of their energy sales per year through energy efficiency measures delivered. Alternatively, they can deliver savings through other policy measures, as long as they meet the same target. There are now 16 countries in Europe that have implemented or are planning to establish EEO schemes. The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) has been closely advising the European Commission and helping Member States to implement EEOs with our Toolkit for Energy Efficiency Obligations. In a new report Costs and benefits of Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes, based on research on EEOs in five Member States, we conclude that EEOs are delivering value for money in terms of energy savings, but that evaluation methodologies are not yet accounting for the full range of benefits that come with improved efficiency. The figure below shows the cost of EEOs to the public in Eurocent/kWh and compares those costs to the typical cost of supplied energy. All five EEOs analysed clearly show that the cost of “negawatt” hours is much lower than of megawatt hours. In other words, it is much cheaper to save one unit of energy than it is to supply one unit of energy. Data for alternative energy efficiency measures such as loans, tax rebates and grants shows that the costs of those measures are similar, although somewhat higher. On average, saving 1 kWh through those measures has a public cost of 1.4 Eurocent/kWh, compared to the range of approximately 0.4 to 1.1 Eurocent per kWh of energy saved through the EEOs reviewed in this study. As well as delivering efficiency at low cost, there is now good evidence that EEOs have contributed to significant reductions in energy consumption. For example, the UK has delivered a series of energy efficiency schemes beginning in 1994, and as such, is one of the longest existing EEO in Europe. Total household energy use in the UK decreased by 19% between 2000 and 2014, despite a 12% increase in the number of households and a 9.7% increase in population. The Centre for Economics and Business Research[1] estimate that energy efficiency measures provided the greatest contribution to the reduction in gas consumption. As the majority of these measures were subsidised by the supplier obligations, it appears likely that the latter were the primary driver of energy savings over this period.[2] Further analysis by Odyssee-MURE, a pan-European research project, confirms that EEOSs are the most important factor in delivering energy efficiency in the UK. In evaluating the impact of EEOs and other energy efficiency measures, there is an emerging body of evidence on the benefits to the energy system as a whole. System benefits include avoided or deferred investments in generation, transmission, and distribution capacity. They also include reduced reserve requirements, and avoided CO2 permit costs for power generating facilities that are within a carbon tax or cap-and-trade regime. Analysis of data from Vermont shows that the energy system benefits on their own can justify aggressive investment through EEOs—the levelized costs of the EEO to consumers are $39/MWh compared to more than $100/MWh of energy system benefits. Thus, the impact of EEOSs on bills can be roughly divided into two categories: the direct impact on bills of participating consumers, and the indirect impact on bills across all consumers – savings that result from avoided investments in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. Our research found that these net-benefits to bill payers can be modelled over time. Initially the total energy bill will increase due to the cost of EEOs and higher unit prices. However, over time consumers’ bills are reduced resulting from the energy savings generating net-benefits after a few years. For a fictitious case this effect is illustrated in the graph below. The data are based on typical characteristics of EEOs in Europe, and therefore are a realistic reflection of the cost savings to expect over time. After five years, the modelled EEOs generate net-benefits as indicated in the graph. Over 20 years, the benefits exceed the cost by more than a factor of 4. Assuming a succession of EEOSs over 30 years, the long-term benefits are significant with total bill savings of close to 4,000 Euro over the 30-year period and a reduction of the average annual energy bill of 17%. Additionally, the societal, or non-energy, benefits delivered by EEOs and other energy efficiency measures are substantial. In 2011, the International Energy Agency began its work on identifying and evaluating the non-energy benefits of energy efficiency, which include better health through reduced pollution, increased comfort, economic stimulus, employment creation, cost savings in transmission and distribution, avoided CO2 allowance costs, and air quality improvements. Data from the UK suggests that the non-energy benefits alone (including health, comfort, air quality, and carbon mitigation) exceed €4 for every €1 spent through the EEO. Despite this diversity of benefits, most evaluations that are currently carried out in Europe focus on one benefit only—bill savings. A more comprehensive analysis would need to incorporate and monetise a much wider suite of benefits. In particular, the methods for carrying out impact assessments and evaluations of EEOs (and other efficiency policies) need to be adjusted to allow for accounting for the multiple benefits of energy efficiency both at EU and national level. The current practice of largely ignoring those multiple benefits in cost-benefit analyses underestimates the true value of efficiency and sends potentially misleading messages. This requires changes in the guidance on conducting impact assessments and an explicit consideration of all multiple benefits rather than just a selected few. EU policy makers need to use a methodology that allows broad-brush assessments of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency by, for example, estimating typical benefits for each kWh saved. At a national level, Member States can modify their methodologies for conducting policy assessments and evaluations to better reflect the full range of benefits beyond the mere bill savings. Where data collection is burdensome and complex, the use of rough estimates (e.g., jobs created per million euros invested in energy efficiency) and/or adders (e.g., five-percent increase of the benefits to account for health improvements) is a simple option to include multiple benefits. Our research evidences what international experience has demonstrated for a long time: if designed properly, EEOs are an effective policy mechanism and can deliver large energy savings and multiple benefits at low cost. EU Member States need to act through improving their existing and implementing additional EEOs. They also need to systematically consider the multiple benefits of EEOs, and energy efficiency more generally, when making decisions about future policies. Ultimately, this will be one of the cornerstones of Europe’s much needed clean energy transition. Dr Jan Rosenow is a Senior Associate at the Regulatory Assistance Project, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, SPRU and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, Environmental Change Institute. Edith Bayer is an Associate with the Regulatory Assistance Project, based in Brussels. The report can be downloaded from the RAP website. [1] Centre for Economic and Business Research (2011), British Gas Home Energy Report 2011: An assessment of the drivers of domestic natural gas consumption, London. [2] The figures provided by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency on the delivery rates more or less match the figures of cavity walls installed with CERT funding. There are no data for other types of energy efficiency available but anecdotal evidence suggests that most of the market was dependent on CERT which is also evident from the drop of the installation rates of loft insulation after CERT ended. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

The European Commission’s recently released Clean Energy Package, has a 2030 target of 30% energy savings. An important policy instrument to deliver these are Energy Efficiency Obligation (EEO) schemes. According to new research from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), not only are EEOs a highly cost-effective way to deliver energy efficiency, over the long term they can deliver consumer savings worth more than 4 times the costs of meeting the EEOs. But this only becomes apparent when a full evaluation is made. Most impact assessments carried out in Europe fail to take the full picture into account, thereby sending misleading messages. 2017 will be a big year for European energy policy, as the legislative proposals in the European Commission’s recently released ‘Winter Package’ are negotiated in the European Council and Parliament and shape the policy framework post-2020. Included in the package is the review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) (2012/27/EU), which was introduced in 2012 to deliver a cut of 20 percent of energy consumption by 2020. The Winter Package now proposes a 30 percent energy savings target by 2030, instead of the 27% initially discussed. Key to meeting this target will be the effective use of policy instruments: according to a report commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, released in May 2016, EEOs (Energy Efficiency Obligation schemes) are expected to deliver 34 percent of all energy savings to 2020. This even though only 3 percent of all adopted policy measures across the EU Member States are EEOs. This makes EEOs the most important instrument in terms of energy savings. Energy Efficiency Obligations (EEOs) are set out in Article 7 of the EED, which stipulates that Member States must require energy companies to save 1.5% of their energy sales per year through energy efficiency measures delivered. Alternatively, they can deliver savings through other policy measures, as long as they meet the same target. There are now 16 countries in Europe that have implemented or are planning to establish EEO schemes. The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) has been closely advising the European Commission and helping Member States to implement EEOs with our Toolkit for Energy Efficiency Obligations. In a new report Costs and benefits of Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes, based on research on EEOs in five Member States, we conclude that EEOs are delivering value for money in terms of energy savings, but that evaluation methodologies are not yet accounting for the full range of benefits that come with improved efficiency. The figure below shows the cost of EEOs to the public in Eurocent/kWh and compares those costs to the typical cost of supplied energy. All five EEOs analysed clearly show that the cost of “negawatt” hours is much lower than of megawatt hours. In other words, it is much cheaper to save one unit of energy than it is to supply one unit of energy. Data for alternative energy efficiency measures such as loans, tax rebates and grants shows that the costs of those measures are similar, although somewhat higher. On average, saving 1 kWh through those measures has a public cost of 1.4 Eurocent/kWh, compared to the range of approximately 0.4 to 1.1 Eurocent per kWh of energy saved through the EEOs reviewed in this study. As well as delivering efficiency at low cost, there is now good evidence that EEOs have contributed to significant reductions in energy consumption. For example, the UK has delivered a series of energy efficiency schemes beginning in 1994, and as such, is one of the longest existing EEO in Europe. Total household energy use in the UK decreased by 19% between 2000 and 2014, despite a 12% increase in the number of households and a 9.7% increase in population. The Centre for Economics and Business Research[1] estimate that energy efficiency measures provided the greatest contribution to the reduction in gas consumption. As the majority of these measures were subsidised by the supplier obligations, it appears likely that the latter were the primary driver of energy savings over this period.[2] Further analysis by Odyssee-MURE, a pan-European research project, confirms that EEOSs are the most important factor in delivering energy efficiency in the UK. In evaluating the impact of EEOs and other energy efficiency measures, there is an emerging body of evidence on the benefits to the energy system as a whole. System benefits include avoided or deferred investments in generation, transmission, and distribution capacity. They also include reduced reserve requirements, and avoided CO2 permit costs for power generating facilities that are within a carbon tax or cap-and-trade regime. Analysis of data from Vermont shows that the energy system benefits on their own can justify aggressive investment through EEOs—the levelized costs of the EEO to consumers are $39/MWh compared to more than $100/MWh of energy system benefits. Thus, the impact of EEOSs on bills can be roughly divided into two categories: the direct impact on bills of participating consumers, and the indirect impact on bills across all consumers – savings that result from avoided investments in generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. Our research found that these net-benefits to bill payers can be modelled over time. Initially the total energy bill will increase due to the cost of EEOs and higher unit prices. However, over time consumers’ bills are reduced resulting from the energy savings generating net-benefits after a few years. For a fictitious case this effect is illustrated in the graph below. The data are based on typical characteristics of EEOs in Europe, and therefore are a realistic reflection of the cost savings to expect over time. After five years, the modelled EEOs generate net-benefits as indicated in the graph. Over 20 years, the benefits exceed the cost by more than a factor of 4. Assuming a succession of EEOSs over 30 years, the long-term benefits are significant with total bill savings of close to 4,000 Euro over the 30-year period and a reduction of the average annual energy bill of 17%. Additionally, the societal, or non-energy, benefits delivered by EEOs and other energy efficiency measures are substantial. In 2011, the International Energy Agency began its work on identifying and evaluating the non-energy benefits of energy efficiency, which include better health through reduced pollution, increased comfort, economic stimulus, employment creation, cost savings in transmission and distribution, avoided CO2 allowance costs, and air quality improvements. Data from the UK suggests that the non-energy benefits alone (including health, comfort, air quality, and carbon mitigation) exceed €4 for every €1 spent through the EEO. Despite this diversity of benefits, most evaluations that are currently carried out in Europe focus on one benefit only—bill savings. A more comprehensive analysis would need to incorporate and monetise a much wider suite of benefits. In particular, the methods for carrying out impact assessments and evaluations of EEOs (and other efficiency policies) need to be adjusted to allow for accounting for the multiple benefits of energy efficiency both at EU and national level. The current practice of largely ignoring those multiple benefits in cost-benefit analyses underestimates the true value of efficiency and sends potentially misleading messages. This requires changes in the guidance on conducting impact assessments and an explicit consideration of all multiple benefits rather than just a selected few. EU policy makers need to use a methodology that allows broad-brush assessments of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency by, for example, estimating typical benefits for each kWh saved. At a national level, Member States can modify their methodologies for conducting policy assessments and evaluations to better reflect the full range of benefits beyond the mere bill savings. Where data collection is burdensome and complex, the use of rough estimates (e.g., jobs created per million euros invested in energy efficiency) and/or adders (e.g., five-percent increase of the benefits to account for health improvements) is a simple option to include multiple benefits. Our research evidences what international experience has demonstrated for a long time: if designed properly, EEOs are an effective policy mechanism and can deliver large energy savings and multiple benefits at low cost. EU Member States need to act through improving their existing and implementing additional EEOs. They also need to systematically consider the multiple benefits of EEOs, and energy efficiency more generally, when making decisions about future policies. Ultimately, this will be one of the cornerstones of Europe’s much needed clean energy transition. Dr Jan Rosenow is a Senior Associate at the Regulatory Assistance Project, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, SPRU and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, Environmental Change Institute. Edith Bayer is an Associate with the Regulatory Assistance Project, based in Brussels. The report can be downloaded from the RAP website. [1] Centre for Economic and Business Research (2011), British Gas Home Energy Report 2011: An assessment of the drivers of domestic natural gas consumption, London. [2] The figures provided by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency on the delivery rates more or less match the figures of cavity walls installed with CERT funding. There are no data for other types of energy efficiency available but anecdotal evidence suggests that most of the market was dependent on CERT which is also evident from the drop of the installation rates of loft insulation after CERT ended.


Prance G.T.,Honorary Research Fellow
Kew Bulletin | Year: 2010

Summary: When Princess Augusta and Lord Bute, followed by Sir Joseph Banks and King George III, started gathering plants at Kew, conservation on the site can be said to have begun. Although the primary motive then was to assist the expansion of the British Empire and trade, rare plants were gathered and some became rare or extinct in the wild as their habitats were destroyed. The primary motive in the nineteenth century was not conservation, but the history of conservation at the Royal Gardens at Kew dates back to its very origins. Subsequent regimes at Kew maintained and added to the collections thereby adding to their conservation value. Many early collections are of species now listed within the IUCN categories of endangerment. Environmental awareness and concern had begun by the time that Professor Jack Heslop-Harrison became director and he was the first director actively to initiate specific conservation programmes such as seed banking and work on red data books. From then on conservation became an integral part of the work programme of Kew and the focus on conservation has increased with each subsequent director. This eventually led to the transformation of the embryonic seed banking activities into the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest and most important bank in the world for the conservation of the seeds of wild species. It currently holds just over ten percent of all seed plant species. Conservation at Kew over the past three decades has very much been a balance between ex situ work and in situ activities to help conservation in the overseas areas where Kew scientists have experience. Throughout the history of the gardens there has been a vital interest in economic botany that has developed from moving plants around the empire to much work on the sustainable use of plants and ecosystems thereby better equipping the institution to subsequently work on in situ conservation. Significant conservation activity at Kew has been possible because it is being supported by a solid research programme that includes such areas as systematics and molecular genetics and laboratories, a large herbarium and a large library. Kew has played an important role in stimulating conservation work elsewhere and such units as the Threatened Plants Unit of IUCN and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) have their roots in Kew. Among other important conservation initiatives have been the creation of a unit to work with the implementation of the CITES treaty on the trade of endangered plants and a legal unit to work on issues of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). There is no doubt that the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is at the forefront of plant conservation. © 2010 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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