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Kumar S.,Industry and Economics
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment | Year: 2013

Energy efficiency has the potential of enhancing energy security of countries in addition to delivering significant mitigation actions. However, markets for energy efficiency require explicit government interventions in forms of robust regulatory and policy framework, measures to reduce risks and overcome barriers, and reduced transaction costs, to name a few. Energy efficiency is usually an interdisciplinary subject and therefore requires the right packaging with due alignment of incentives of each stakeholder to attract private investments. The package must include a robust legal framework, policy and regulatory certainty, strong institutional structure, identification of sector-specific barriers and implementation of measures to overcome them, consultations with key stakeholders, enhanced awareness and information dissemination, and proactive approach to risk mitigation and reduced transaction costs. The implementation of the household efficient lighting program in India by leveraging Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) revenues is a successful example of attractively packaging the business model that ringfences risks and aligns the incentives of all stakeholders. Effective use Programme of Activities (PoA), an instrument of CDM, has stimulated private sector investment. PoA enabled bundling of projects and thereby reducing transaction costs. As of now about 25 million CFLs have been installed and an investment worth $60 million has been made during the last one year. The well-defined medium-term action plan announced by Bureau of Energy Efficiency in the backdrop of the robust legal, regulatory, and institutional structure has helped enhance investors comfort and thereby investment flows. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Graedel T.E.,Yale University | Allwood J.,University of Cambridge | Birat J.-P.,ArcelorMittal | Buchert M.,Oeko - Institute e.V. | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Industrial Ecology | Year: 2011

The recycling of metals is widely viewed as a fruitful sustainability strategy, but little information is available on the degree to which recycling is actually taking place. This article provides an overview on the current knowledge of recycling rates for 60 metals. We propose various recycling metrics, discuss relevant aspects of recycling processes, and present current estimates on global end-of-life recycling rates (EOL-RR; i.e., the percentage of a metal in discards that is actually recycled), recycled content (RC), and old scrap ratios (OSRs; i.e., the share of old scrap in the total scrap flow). Because of increases in metal use over time and long metal in-use lifetimes, many RC values are low and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Because of relatively low efficiencies in the collection and processing of most discarded products, inherent limitations in recycling processes, and the fact that primary material is often relatively abundant and low-cost (which thereby keeps down the price of scrap), many EOL-RRs are very low: Only for 18 metals (silver, aluminum, gold, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, niobium, nickel, lead, palladium, platinum, rhenium, rhodium, tin, titanium, and zinc) is the EOL-RR above 50% at present. Only for niobium, lead, and ruthenium is the RC above 50%, although 16 metals are in the 25% to 50% range. Thirteen metals have an OSR greater than 50%. These estimates may be used in considerations of whether recycling efficiencies can be improved; which metric could best encourage improved effectiveness in recycling; and an improved understanding of the dependence of recycling on economics, technology, and other factors. © 2011 by Yale University.

Nemecek T.,Institute for Sustainability science | Jungbluth N.,ESU services Ltd. | I Canals L.M.,Industry and Economics | Schenck R.,Institute for Environmental Research and Education
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2016

Purpose: This article introduces the special issue “LCA of nutrition and food consumption” and 14 papers selected from the Ninth LCA Food Conference in San Francisco in October 2014. Literature overview: The scientific literature in the field of food LCA has increased more than ten times during the last 15 years. Nutrition has a high contribution to the total environmental impacts of consumption. Agricultural production often dominates the impacts, but its importance depends on the type of product, its production mode, transport, and processing. Local or domestic products reduce transports, but this advantage can be lost if the impacts of the raw material production are substantially increased. Diets containing less meat tend to be more environmentally friendly. Several studies concluded that respecting the dietary recommendations for a healthy diet would reduce the overall environmental impacts in the developed countries, although this is not a universal conclusion. Contribution of this special issue: Eight papers analyze the environmental impacts of catering and in-house food consumption and impacts on sectoral and national levels; four papers presents tools and methods to better assess the impacts of nutrition and to implement the results in practical decision-making. Finally, two contributions analyze the impacts of food waste and reduction options. Challenges for the environmental assessment of nutrition: (i) Comprehensive assessment. Most studies only analyze climate impacts, although data, methods, and tools are readily available for a more comprehensive analysis. (ii) Assessment of sustainability. The social dimension remains the weakest pillar. (iii) Data availability is still an obstacle, but significant progress has been made in recent years. (iv) Lack of harmonization of methodologies makes comparisons among studies difficult. (v) Land use. Enhanced consideration of land use impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services is required in LCA. (vi) Defining the functional unit including nutritional aspects, food security, and health needs further work. (vii) Consumer behavior. Its impacts are still little assessed. (viii) Communication of the environmental impact assessment results to stakeholders including policy-makers and consumers needs additional efforts. Research needs and outlook: (i) Development of holistic approaches for the assessment of sustainable food systems, (ii) assessment of land use related impacts and inclusion of ecosystem services, (iii) exploration of LCA results for policy support and decision-making, (iv) investigation of food consumption patterns in developing and emerging countries, and (v) harmonization of databases. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Olz S.,Lighthouse Russia | Agbemabiese L.,Industry and Economics
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment | Year: 2012

As is the case in several other countries of the Middle East and North Africa region, fossil energy resources have long dominated Tunisia'ns energy sector. However, concerns about depleting fossil fuels, rising prices, and growing demand have driven interest in the country'ns substantial but largely untapped solar energy resources. In 2005, the Tunisian government, with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme, launched PROSOL, an innovative financing scheme to revitalize an anemic solar water heater (SWH) market. PROSOL has been a resounding success, which has spurred similar policy initiatives in neighboring countries. On the basis of in-depth reviews of project progress reports, external evaluations, and stakeholder interviews, we analyze Tunisia'ns experience with the PROSOL initiative with a view to extracting practical lessons that might inform replication in other developing countries. Drawing on the concept of a technological innovation system (TIS), we isolate and address key questions including: why and how public and private agents may either support or hamper a given technological innovation; and how, in the Tunisian case, new SWH interest groups and networks emerge around new technology initiatives such as PROSOL. Our findings highlight the central role of public policy in removing barriers to the market diffusion of proven renewable energy technologies. In the Tunisian case, the establishment by law of a substantial capital cost subsidy while exempting SWHs from value added tax and decreasing custom duties enabled SWH systems to compete effectively against conventional energy sources such as natural gas or liquid petroleum gas. The study also confirms the importance of capacity building, buttressed by an effective communication and outreach strategy, targeting key actors including government policy makers, the national utility, financial institutions, and SWH vendors. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Curran M.,ETH Zurich | De Baan L.,ETH Zurich | De Schryver A.M.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Van Zelm R.,Radboud University Nijmegen | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

Halting current rates of biodiversity loss will be a defining challenge of the 21st century. To assess the effectiveness of strategies to achieve this goal, indicators and tools are required that monitor the driving forces of biodiversity loss, the changing state of biodiversity, and evaluate the effectiveness of policy responses. Here, we review the use of indicators and approaches to model biodiversity loss in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a methodology used to evaluate the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of products. We find serious conceptual shortcomings in the way models are constructed, with scale considerations largely absent. Further, there is a disproportionate focus on indicators that reflect changes in compositional aspects of biodiversity, mainly changes in species richness. Functional and structural attributes of biodiversity are largely neglected. Taxonomic and geographic coverage remains problematic, with the majority of models restricted to one or a few taxonomic groups and geographic regions. On a more general level, three of the five drivers of biodiversity loss as identified by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are represented in current impact categories (habitat change, climate change and pollution), while two are missing (invasive species and overexploitation). However, methods across all drivers can be greatly improved. We discuss these issues and make recommendations for future research to better reflect biodiversity loss in LCA. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

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