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Vergragt P.,Tellus Institute | Akenji L.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies | Dewick P.,University of Manchester
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2014

In June 2012 at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development ("Rio + 20"), the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption (GRF-SPaC) was launched, bringing together organizations and individuals from various regions of the world engaged in research and its applications in the transition to sustainable production and consumption (SPaC) systems. Conceptualizing and researching transitions to a sustainable production and consumption system is a very challenging task; the research field is not yet very well structured, its boundaries are still fluid; it is often not clear where research ends and social practices and policies begin. This introduction to a Journal of Cleaner Production Special Volume maps the emerging field of SPaC research and illustrates the multiple perspectives on how to analyze the present production and consumption system and how to conceptualize (systemic) change. We discuss how research over the last 20 years has revealed a lot of the mechanisms and lock-ins of unsustainable consumerist lifestyles and production patterns, and the barriers to systemic change. But many questions - trans-scientific in nature - remain unanswered. What is clear is that we need not only much more research into all the details of SPaC research arena but we also need bold thinking that addresses these trans-scientific questions. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Kuramochi T.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

An up-to-date techno-economic assessment was conducted on CO2 emissions reduction potential in the Japanese iron and steel industry for 2030. The following mitigation measures were investigated: (i) maximized installation of best available technologies (BAT scenario), (ii) increased use of coke substitutes in blast furnaces, and (iii) increased use of obsolete steel scrap. For measure (iii), this study assessed the obsolete scrap use in the integrated steelmaking (BF-BOF) route, rather than increasing steel production from the electric arc furnace (EAF) route. CO2 capture and storage (CCS) was not considered due to large deployment uncertainty.The results showed that 20Mt-CO2 of emissions reductions, equivalent to 12% of the industry's total emissions in 2010, can be achieved in 2030 compared with a frozen technology scenario. More than 9Mt-CO2 reduction was attributable to the enhanced use of obsolete scrap in the BF-BOF route. Consequently, the industry's emissions reduce by about 7Mt-CO2 or 4% below 2010 levels. Almost all domestically recovered obsolete scrap can be fully consumed solely by increasing the scrap use in basic oxygen furnaces (BOF). Moreover, the increase in average copper concentration in the BF-BOF steel due to the increased obsolete scrap use was found unlikely to limit the production of high-quality steel products.In comparison with a scenario that only considered measure (i) and assuming a 15% real interest rate, CO2 mitigation cost curves for 2030 showed that the CO2 mitigation costs were below US$2010 20/t-CO2 for measure (ii) and around US$2010 110/t-CO2 for measure (iii). Compared to the marginal abatement costs calculated for 2030 to reduce Japan's GHG emissions by 20%-25% from 1990 levels (about US$2010 67-640/t-CO2) reported in the literature, all three measures may become economically viable.The increased use of obsolete scrap in the BF-BOF route can become an interesting option for Japanese steelmakers to stimulate the steel scrap market and achieve economical global CO2 emissions reductions while maintaining international competitiveness in the midterm future. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Kumar S.,TERI University | Managi S.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

The US Clean Air Act Amendments introduce an emissions trading system to regulate SO2 emissions. This study finds that changes in SO2 emissions prices are related to innovations induced by these amendments. We find that electricity-generating plants are able to increase electricity output and reduce emissions of SO2 and NOx from 1995 to 2007 due to the introduction of the allowance trading system. However, compared to the approximate 8% per year of exogenous technological progress, the induced effect is relatively small, and the contribution of the induced effect to overall technological progress is about 1-2%. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bhattacharya A.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES | Kojima S.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Energy Policy | Year: 2012

The conventional pricing mechanism used for electricity systematically hides huge investment risks which are embedded in the overall cost of production. Although consumers are often unaware of these risks, they present a large financial burden on the economy. This study applies the portfolio optimization concepts from the field of finance to demonstrate the scope of greater utilization of renewable energies (RE) while reducing the embedded investment risk in the conventional electricity sector and its related financial burden. This study demonstrates that RE investment can compensate for the risks associated with the total input costs; such costs being external volatilities of fossil fuel prices, capital costs, operating and maintenance costs and the carbon costs. By means of example, this case study shows that Japan could in theory obtain up to 9% of its electricity supply from green sources, as compared to the present 1.37%, based on the utilization of a portfolio risk-analysis evaluation. Explicit comparison of the monetary values of the investment risks of conventional and renewable energy sources shows that renewable energies have high market competitiveness. The study concludes with a recommendation that, as a business objective, investors would benefit by focusing on electricity supply portfolio risk minimization instead of cost. This could also inherently increase the supply of renewable energy in the market. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Tsydenova O.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies | Bengtsson M.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Waste Management | Year: 2011

This review paper summarizes the existing knowledge on the chemical hazards associated with recycling and other end-of-life treatment options of waste electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste). The hazards arise from the presence of heavy metals (e.g., mercury, cadmium, lead, etc.), flame retardants (e.g., pentabromophenol, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), etc.) and other potentially harmful substances in e-waste. If improperly managed, the substances may pose significant human and environmental health risks. The review describes the potentially hazardous content of e-waste, examines the existing e-waste management practices and presents scientific data on human exposure to chemicals, workplace and environmental pollution associated with the three major e-waste management options, i.e., recycling, incineration and landfilling. The existing e-waste management practices and associated hazards are reviewed separately for developed and developing countries. Finally, based on this review, the paper identifies gaps in the existing knowledge and makes some recommendations for future research. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Johnson B.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies | Xie Z.,Florida Atlantic University
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing | Year: 2013

In this study, a multi-scale approach was used for classifying land cover in a high resolution image of an urban area. Pixels and image segments were assigned the spectral, texture, size, and shape information of their super-objects (i.e. the segments that they are located within) from coarser segmentations of the same scene, and this set of super-object information was used as additional input data for image classification. The accuracies of classifications that included super-object variables were compared with the classification accuracies of image segmentations that did not include super-object information. The highest overall accuracy and kappa coefficient achieved without super-object information was 78.11% and 0.727%, respectively. When single pixels or fine-scale image segments were assigned the statistics of their super-objects prior to classification, overall accuracy increased to 84.42% and the kappa coefficient increased to 0.804. © 2013 International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Inc. (ISPRS).

National and global land use/land cover (LULC)/LULC change (LULCC) data sets often have different strengths and weaknesses for monitoring forest change over time. For example, a national-level map may be very detailed in terms of number and type of forest-related LULC classes, but infrequently updated compared to a global map with fewer LULC classes (e.g. percent tree cover maps or forest/non-forest maps). So, additional useful information might be gained by integrating national and global LULC data sets. As a demonstration, in this study a national forest type map of Thailand from the year 2000 was combined with annual global tree cover maps for the years 2000-2012 to obtain multi-temporal information on forest change in Thailand and to create a baseline estimate of forest change to 2020 (i.e. with no new policy interventions). Results showed that all forest types experienced declines in area from 2000 to 2012, with the greatest area losses for Mixed Deciduous Forests (-137,765ha) and the greatest percentage losses for Swamp Forests (-5.8%). Annual forest losses, in general, increased at a near-linear rate from 2000 to 2012, and are projected to increase from 39,290ha/year in 2012 to 51,775ha/year by the end of 2015 (an increase of 31.8%) and 66,945ha/year by 2020 (an increase of 70.4%) based on linear extrapolation of the historical trend. For comparison, net forest loss is currently around 5,211,000ha/year at the global level and 677,000ha/year at the South and Southeast Asia regional level (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2010b). The methods presented here provide a computationally-simple approach to annually update existing forest maps and estimate future forest change using free global tree cover data. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

This project will focus on developing the capacity to expose and visualize GLOBE data collected by citizen scientists and students in the geoscience mobile app Flyover Country (FC). This application for mobile devices displays Earth data and geologic maps drawn from public databases, and caches this information on the mobile device for offline use. The user can then access a wealth of curated geoscience content while in flight, on a road trip, or on a hike. In addition to presenting GLOBE data alongside with other data, the project will develop associated visualization and interactivity functions for FC. These functions include a mission or call to action for the user to collect GLOBE observations if his or her driving FC path intersects a region that is underrepresented with respect to GLOBE data; a time slider to visualize changes in data point values over time (i.e., the past 20 years of GLOBE data collection); and an application programming interface to improve access to GLOBE data. These functions will be of great utility not only to the GLOBE user cases, but also to all users of FC and potential users/analysts of GLOBE data. GLOBE data in FC will also benefit from novel cartographic visualization strategies being developed.

It is expected that GLOBE data will accessible to the 100,000 users of FC. In addition, there is the possibility of developing new exercises for use in classrooms where computers may be limited, but access to mobile devices may be more within reach. The investigators will assess the use of FC-with-GLOBE in the classes at a community college, and use the same assessments with other groups, including diverse undergraduate students conducting research, Native American students in K-12 science camps, and students in attending universities and field camps. The results will be shared in one or more publications. The promotion of the GLOBE Program to the academic research community, through the incipient development of FC as a research application, will raise awareness of the program as a highly desirable partner for developing meaningful broader impacts activities.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING | Award Amount: 38.18K | Year: 2016


The most recent occurrence of a mosquito borne disease moving into the US is the Zika virus. This project will make a significant contribution in developing and accessing optical recognition software for mosquito larvae of Aedes aegypti, the carrier of Zika virus. The project, focuses on optical recognition software from photos of mosquito larvae taken by citizen scientists. The successful application of identifying Aedes aegypti larvae will be useful for public health professionals and others assessing the spread of the mosquito in the southern United States.

The primary goal of this work is to develop optical recognition software that identifies mosquito larvae in images submitted by citizen scientists participating in the GLOBE Observer. Citizen scientists will use an app available on smartphones or tablets through which they will submit larvae imagery and other environmental data. After reduction, the image will be processed on a server. If the query shows high accuracy, the result is sent to the GLOBE database. If inconclusive, the application will request the mobile device to send the original image for human identification through crowdsourcing or expert validation. Since the amount of data might require excessive computation and storage, the project will use Big Data tools and algorithms, e.g., MapReduce, to analyze the data. A secondary goal is to jumpstart a national campaign using citizen science to collect baseline data on the spread of Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus, the two species that transmit Zika, which may not otherwise be collected by public health agencies. Additionally, this project will serve as a responsive development laboratory to inform the ongoing development of GLOBE?s capabilities as a national, adult-focused citizen science program, while testing and refining mobile apps, map interfaces, and citizen science engagement and retention strategies in two pilot regions, the Gulf Coast and New York City, both identified by the Center for Disease Control as at high risk for Zika transmission and outbreaks in summer 2016. THE CROWD & THE CLOUD (C&C), an NSF-supported DRL/AISL project, will document the process of the work on film, and share videos and social media posts throughout the pilot phase. C&C will also include a video segment in its national public television premiere in Spring 2017.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION | Award Amount: 32.88K | Year: 2012

This grant is providing logistical support for the 2012 Tri-Agency Climate Change Education Principal Investigators Meeting, held April 17-20,2012 at the Sheraton National Hotel. The meeting is attended by representatives of more than 120 separate projects funded by NSF, NASA, and NOAA climate education-related programs. Grant funds are being used to develop the meeting registration web site and rent audio-visual equipment and other materials as required by the meeting agenda. The conference has a strong focus on integration of research in the climate sciences and the learning sciences, in order to strengthen educational practices in formal and informal learning environments, as well as improve the acquisition of knowledge about the complex, interdisciplinary topic of climate by learners of all ages. A major goal of this jointly sponsored conference is to improve coordination, cohesion, and synergy among the grantees, in order to foster greater efficiency and impact. Development of a common framework for program evaluation related to climate change education, which directly addresses priorities articulated in the 2012 NSTC Co-STEM report Coordinating Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Investments: Progress Report, is another goal of the conference.

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