Vol. 4, No. 1, March 2020

Emerging Issues in Energy, Climate Change and Sustainability Management

Editor-in-chief: Prof. Johannes Platje

Co-Editor: Prof Ali Emrouznejad, Aston University, United Kingdom

Editors: Margot Hurlbert, Mac Osazuwa-Peters

Vol. 4, No. 1, 7-12, March 2020

Emerging issues in energy, climate change and sustainability management

University of Regina, Regina, Canada

Aim: This editorial article provides a general introduction into the topic of this special issue on emerging issues in energy, climate change and sustainability management.

Design/Research methods: This article is based on a comprehensive review of this special edition journal and a comparison of the findings in the individual articles.

Findings: Barriers to sustainability include cost, regulatory architecture and perceptions of sustainability. Synergies of growing biomass, expanding biomass with carbon capture and sequestration to mitigate climate change have tradeoffs with food security.

Originality/value of the article: The main value of this introductory article of the special issue is that it provides an overview of the articles identifying barriers of regulatory architecture and perceptions to sustainability and synergies and tradeoffs highlighted in the articles.

Keywords: sustainability management, climate change synergies and tradeoffs, carbon capture and sequestration.

JEL: O13, Q01, Q4, Q5, Q54

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.873

Vol. 4, No.1, 13-26, March 2020

The Impact of Climate Change on the Value of Growing Maize as a Biofuel

Authors: Sally OLASOGBA, Les DUCKERS
Coventry University, UK

Aim: According to COP23 Climate Change threatens the stability of the planet’s ecosystems, with a tipping point believed to be at only +2°C. With the burning of fossil fuels, held responsible for the release of much of the greenhouse gases, a sensible world- wide strategy is to replace fossil fuel energy sources with renewable ones. The renewable resources such as wind, hydro, geothermal, wave and tidal energies are found in particular geographical locations whereas almost every country is potentially able to exploit PV and biomass. This paper examines the role that changing climate could have on the growing and processing of biomass. The primary concern is that future climates could adversely affect the yield of crops, and hence the potential contribution of biomass to the strategy to combat climate change. Maize, a C4 crop, was selected for the study because it can be processed into biogas or other biofuels. Four different Nigerian agricultural zones (AEZ) growing maize were chosen for the study. Long-term weather data was available for the four sites and this permitted the modelling of future climates.

Design / Research methods: The results of this study come from modelling future climates and applying this to crop models. This unique work, which has integrated climate change and crop modelling to forecast yield and carbon emissions, reveals how maize responds to the predicted increased temperature, change in rainfall, and the variation in weather patterns. In order to fully assess a biomass crop, the full energy cycle and carbon emissions were estimated based on energy and materials inputs involved in farm management: fertilizer application, and tillage type. For maize to support the replacement strategy mentioned above it is essential that the ratio of energy output to energy input (the Net Energy, NE) exceeds 1, but of course it should be as large as possible.

Conclusions / findings: Results demonstrate that the influence of climate change is important and in many scenarios, acts to reduce yield, but that the negative effects can be partially mitigated by careful selection of farm management practices. Yield and carbon footprint are particularly sensitive to the application rate of fertilizer across all locations whilst climate change is the causal driver for the increase in net energy and carbon footprint at most locations. Nonetheless, in order to ensure a successful strategic move towards a low carbon future, and sustainable implementation of biofuel policies, this study provides valuable information for the Nigerian government and policy makers on potential AEZs to cultivate maize under climate change. Further research on the carbon footprint of alternative bioenergy feedstock to assess their environmental carbon footprint and net energy is strongly suggested.Originality / value of the article: Unlike most studies, which focus only on farm energy use and historical climate change impact, this paper uses a fully integrated framework for the assessment of the impact of climate change on growing biofuels under various farm management practices. Thus it provides calculations of the net energy available from growing biofuel crops under future climates.

Keywords: Climate change, energy efficiency, life cycle analysis (LCA), climate models, Agricultural ecological zones (AEZs), carbon footprint (CF).

JEL: Q4, Q13, Q54

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.838

Vol. 4, No. 1, 27-52, March 2020

Islands in the energy stream: regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean tourism sector

Authors: Roy SMITH, Rachel WELTON
Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Aim: This article considers the need to move away from a dependency on fossil fuels towards more sustainable renewable sources of energy production. The focus is on the tourism sector in two Indian Ocean destinations, Mauritius and the Seychelles. The broader aim, however, is to highlight the interconnectedness between public and private stakeholders and how lessons learned from these case studies could have broader applicability elsewhere.

Design/research methods: A case study approach has been taken drawing on data supplied by both the private tourism sector in the destinations under consideration and relevant government and regional reports.

Conclusions/findings: Progress has been made in the shift towards decarbonisation policies and practices in these destinations. This has been achieved via a cooperative approach between public and private stakeholders, extending the development of renewable energy infrastructure and supply to include sustainable education policies supported by both governments’ education departments and vocational programmes implemented by the larger hotels in these destinations.

Originality/value of the article: Although there have been other studies conducted on the promotion of renewable energy in small island states, there is a paucity of such research looking specifically at the tourism sector and the role of public/private partnerships in developing broader education for sustainable development programmes.

Implications: The case studies focus on highlighting how governments and tourism businesses can work towards shared goals, in this case decarbonisation and education for sustainability. The implication is that such a model could be applied elsewhere with equally positive results.

Keywords: Sustainable development, tourism, energy security


doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.831

Vol. 4, No. 1, 53-69, March 2020

Evaluating the use of renewable energy and communal governance systems for climate change adaptation

Debora LEY
Latinoamerica Renovable, Guatemala

Oregon Institute of Technology, United States

Sabine FUSS
Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Chandni SINGH
Indian Institute for Human Settlements, India

Aim: Renewable energy (RE) systems can be effective tools for rural communities for meeting goals for development and climate change mitigation and adaptation. RE systems provide small amounts of electricity fostering community development through improved energy access, livelihood opportunities, and improved quality of life. Communities in rural Guatemala are increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts, due to increasingly extreme weather events. Distributed RE systems can be more effective than connection to national electric grids in providing power if community members have the agency and skill (technical and in governance) to maintain them. The goals of this study are to evaluate the performance of RE systems used in a rural Guatemalan community and the governance system created around, contribute to the literature on RE systems as a means for climate change adaptation, and identify further challenges in operation, monitoring, and evaluation of these projects.

Design/Research methods: The specific RE systems were evaluated eight years ago; they had performed well especially after Hurricane Stan. Recommendations were made for further performance improvement. This study evaluates the subsequent performance given more intense rains, and the current state of related community governance on the basis of semi-structured interviews.  The results of this study are compared to the ones obtained in the first evaluation carried out in 2009.

Conclusions/findings: This research highlights the need for enhanced and continuous monitoring and evaluation methods for both energy projects and their supporting institutional structures. Accountability, mediation mechanisms and transparency tools within these institutions can allow more open communication and equitable treatment with agents of power.  The RE systems ultimately failed because of the arrival of the electrical grid and the failure of the governance system.  Although users now enjoy more appliances, they indicate a desire to have the RE systems back as they are more reliable.

Originality/value of the article: The article provides original insights for project implementation and policy information. Strong trust bonds are necessary for community resilience in emergencies, and in the well-being and development of the community, independent of energy sources.

Keywords: renewable energy, adaptation, climate, resilience, institutions, governance, Guatemala

JEL: O10, Q20, Q42

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.850

Vol. 4, No. 1, 71-105, March 2020

Governance and decentralized energy transitions: a comparative case study of three medium sized cities in Sweden, Canada, and the United States

Author: Martin BOUCHER
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Aim: This study aims to compare the sociotechnical conditions that contribute to innovative DE projects across five governance dimensions: (1) utility market structure, (2) multi-sector collaboration, (3) decision-making capacity and autonomy, (4) multilevel governance, and (5) public perceptions of climate change. Knowledge of how particular jurisdictions and their governance arrangements influence these transitions can help strengthen and contextualize divergent trajectories of decentralized energy transitions and – most importantly – reveal the role of geographical context in policy change. In particular, this study aims to draw from international comparisons of urban energy transitions.

Design/Research methods: This paper compares the uptake of decentralized energy transitions in three cities in three different countries – Luleå (Sweden), Saskatoon (Canada), and Anchorage (United States). The jurisdictions in each city has unique governance contexts pertaining to electric utilities, regulations, public policy, and public acceptance. By comparing these transitions, this study highlights the governance considerations for decentralized energy transitions and asks how does governance impact the acceleration of decentralized energy transitions in cities? To answer this question, a total of 60 interviews were conducted with actors involved in decentralized energy projects (government, non-for-project, business, utility, academic, and environmental activism). Interview were thematically analyzed with the five governance dimensions.

Conclusion: The conclusions reveal that interactions between the five governance dimensions can partially explain the divergent trajectories of accelerated decentralized energy transitions. In addition to providing a more contextual understanding of these patterns of transitions in cities, the results show that multi-sector collaboration, broad public acceptance for climate change, state or national support for local projects, and local capacity serve as drivers for accelerating decentralized energy in cities. The results also suggest that regulated utility market structures, unstable political cycles, siloed integration of sectors, and decision-making autonomy serve a limited driving role.

Originality: Much of the literature on decentralized energy and cities has focused on project and sectoral level analysis and hasn’t considered the holistic nature of the energy system transition. A particular gap that would help inform a broader understanding is the jurisdictional governance impacts of decentralization energy transitions.

Implications of the research: In practical terms, the results could be used to inform interjurisdictional comparisons of decentralization energy projects. From a theoretical perspective, the results from this research suggest that there should be an elevated importance from the impacts of the interactions of the five governance dimensions.

Limitations of the research: Given that there were three case studies, it is not possible to make generalizable claims from the results.

Keywords: Sustainability transitions, comparative method, urban energy systems, decentralized energy, multilevel governance, energy transitions.

JEL: O13, )16, Q01, R00

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.846

Vol. 4, No. 1, 107 – 148, March 2020

Analyzing regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology development: A case study approach

University of Regina, Canada

Aim: This article provides insight into the portfolio of regulations advancing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) deployment. Using a taxonomy of policy portfolio tools adapted for regulations specific to CCS, this research identifies regulatory gaps as well as supports for CCS projects.

Design / Research methods: Through a case study approach, this article analyzes the regulatory provisions in six jurisdictions (Texas, North Dakota, the U.S, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Canada) which have a successful CCS facility. Analyzing the provisions and content of regulations in these jurisdictions, this article highlights regulatory supports or areas of gaps for CCS projects in each jurisdiction.

Conclusions / findings: There is no uniform definition or categorization of CO2 as a hazard, waste, pollutant or commodity across jurisdictions. This has serious impact on CO2 transport, especially across jurisdictions. It also impacts the administration of storage systems for CCS facilities. Regulations focusing primarily on technical aspects of CCS including capture, transport, and liability predominate while there are less regulatory provisions for the financial aspects of CCS technology as well as public engagement and support. While capital grants and emission and tax credits are the predominant financial issues covered in regulations, contract for differences, streamliningemission trading across borders and enhancing cooperation and multilevel engagement in CCS warrant more attention.Originality / value of the article: Many scenarios to maintain global warming below 2 degrees Celsius require combinations of new technology including CCS. The focus on CCS cost as a barrier to deployment overshadows the needs for regulatory support as a means of reducing uncertainties and de-risking CCS investments.

Keywords: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), policy portfolio, regulatory framework, public engagement

JEL: L59,Q52, R52

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.834

Vol. 4, No. 1, 149-162, March 2020

COVID-19 – Reflections on the Surprise of both an Expected and Unexpected Event

Johannes (Joost) PLATJE
WSB University in Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland
Jeffrey A. HARVEY
Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands, and
Vrije University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
University of Winchester Business School, Winchester, UK

Aim: This paper reflects on the COVID-19 epidemic from the perspective of small probabilities and the difficulty of predicting similar events. Against the background of basic economic principles, the importance of the precautionary principle for crisis management is discussed, as well as potential consequences of this epidemic.

Findings: The authors argue that whilst the epidemic as such was unexpected, in future countries should be prepared for such stochastic events to happen. This requires a precautionary approach. When society is not prepared for such a calamity, or waits too long to implement measures to deal with it, the social and economic costs may be very high – much higher than ‘hedging bets’ and losing. The article reflects on different issues which are meant for further discussion on unpredictable future threats. One important issue is the uncertainty created by this event. This increases the likeliness that something unexpected can appear in the near future, creating the need for research and discussion on public and government responses to these events. Being aware of such challenges increases the likeliness of society and people to be prepared for such developments. It is concluded that the current crisis brings forward the question whether the current political-economic system and globalization makes future pandemics more likely, and whether a radical change towards a more locally oriented economy provides solutions that minimize the likelihood or frequency of future pandemics.

Keywords: Black Swans Management, precautionary principle, non-linearity, crisis management, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

JEL: F69, H12, Q56

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.29015/cerem.874