N°11 | SPRING 2014
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Urban Ecology | India 2050 | Germany’s Bioenergy
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N°11 | SPRING 2014 Special Guest Editorial Diego J. Rodriguez Senior Economist, Water Unit The World Bank www.worldbank.org/thirstyenergy
Introducing Thirsty Energy Water and energy are inextricably linked. Water is fundamental to nearly all energy processes, while energy is required to treat, transport and extract water. Despite their interdependency and critical role in our lives and sustainable development, countries and governments worldwide continue to struggle to integrate energy and water into planning and investment decisions. Two thirds of California is experiencing an extreme drought and nearly 99% of its territory is considered abnormally dry. This is worrying power operators throughout the state as they strive to meet demand, allocate water to urban areas and other competing uses, such as agriculture. countries and governments toGlobally, in 2013 alone, water shortages worldwide continue to struggle to shut down thermal power plants in India, integrate energy and water into decreased energy production in power plants in the United States and threatened hydroplanning and investment decisions power generation in many countries, including Sri Lanka, China and Brazil. In 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) dedicated a chapter in its World Energy Outlook to water and energy, recognizing the importance of this resource to the energy sector. Many companies already recognize the magnitude of water and energy challenges: The CDP’s Global Water Report 2013 found that over 80% of energy companies and more than 70% of power utility companies indicate that water is a substantive risk to business operations. Almost 60% of energy companies and over 60% of power utility companies indicate that they have already experienced water-related business impacts in the past five years. While these recognitions are important, action on the ground in many countries to address these issues has been slow to materialize.
Image: Electric power station near Tunis, Tunisia. Source: Dana Smillie / World Bank.
Part of the challenge for the energy sector is the competing demand for water – mainly for food production and urban uses. This demand will only grow as the world’s population edges upward towards 9 billion expected by 2050. This increase will require a 50% increase in agricultural production and a 15% increase in already-strained water
withdrawals. With two-thirds of the world’s population – or 5 billion people – expected to live in urban areas by 2030, cities in developing countries will be under tremendous pressure to meet rapidly increasing demand for food, energy, and water services. Yet today, some 780 million people lack access to improved water and 2.5 billion, more than one-third of the world's people, do not have basic sanitation; 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity. These problems are expected only to be exacerbated as climate change, population growth, and increasing demand further complicate resource management. The energy-water challenge is too large for any country or organization to tackle alone. Therefore, the World Bank launched its Thirsty Energy initiative at the 2014 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi to assist developing countries in incorporating water constraints into their energy development plans. Thirsty Energy is working to support governments in preparing for an uncertain energy-water future by: (1) identifying synergies and quantifying tradeoffs between energy development plans and water use; (2) piloting cross-sectoral planning to ensure sustainability of
energy and water investments; and (3) designing assessment tools and management frameworks to help governments coordinate decision-making. With the energy sector as the primary entry point and primary client, Thirsty Energy’s demand-driven work has already begun in South Africa, and dialogue has been initiated in China, Morocco, and Brazil. The World Bank is ready to assist client countries which seek to find and identify appropriate integrated approaches in order to anticipate water constraints in energy investments, and prevent risks to energy projects and their long-term energy planning. Thirsty Energy has also established a Private Sector Reference Group (PSRG) to share experience, to provide technical and policy advice, and to scale-up outreach efforts. Abengoa, Alstom, Veolia and EDF are partners of the initiative as members of the PSRG. The World Bank hopes that together with these partners, and others who come on board, the efforts of Thirsty Energy can be magnified and both energy and water resources will be better managed for a more sustainable future.
CONTRIBUTORS Alexander Knebel David O’Leary Diego Rodriguez Gregoire Clerfayt Isidor Wallimann Mathieu Bayot RamGopal Agarwala Todd McLellan Timon McPhearson
“I am a pessimist of the intellect and an optimist of the will. I do think you have to analyse the things that are in front of you and try to understand how they really are and not how you would like them to be. And then try to find out what the possibilities are for change and work with those. Yes, that is my strategy.” Antonio Gramsci
Alexandre Prévot Andrés Romanos Christos Loufopoulos Dana Smillie Dennis Jarvis Georges De Kinder Jan Smith Martin Wright Nagarjun Kandukuru Nikolas Giakoumidis Paul Langrock Pierre Carreau Scott McLeod Sunghwan Yoon Timon McPhearson Todd McLellan Yvan Glavie GRAPHIC DESIGN Filipa Rosa ENERGY ASSISTANT Edoardo De Silva ASSISTANT | RESEARCHER Marcello Cappellazzi COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANTS Maria-Teresa Buco Yasmin Galbraith INDIA/ASIA: REGIONAL MANAGER Rajnish Ahuja INDIA/ASIA: COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT Aakriti Chaudhari FOUNDING EDITOR Stuart Reigeluth
REVOLVE MAGAZINE (ISSN 2033-2912) is registered in Belgium, BE 0828.676.740.
SUSTAINABILITY 10 | A New Paradigm Isidor Walliman wants to introduce sustainability as a cross-discipline and over-arching policy in academia.
BUSINESS 16 | Providing Energy Services Mathieu Bayot, CEO of Soltis, is banking on the sun for the expansion of their business model, plus heat pumps and insulation.
CITIES 18 | Urban Ecology As people move in unprecedented numbers to urban areas, turning our cities into sustainable ecosystems is the answer for Timon McPhearson.
Printed with vegetable-based ink on chlorine-free paper, REVOLVE uses FSC approved paper (for more on how REVOLVE is a sustainable magazine see p.82). www.revolve-magazine.com Cover image: Protesting high school students hurled rocks and bottles during a rally to mark the third anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager in central Athens. Thessaloniki, Greece, December 6, 2011. Source: Nikolas Giakoumidis.
“With the sophisticated mental apparatus we have used to build world eminence as a species, we have created an environment so complex, fast-paced, and informationladen that we must increasingly deal with it in the fashion of the animals we long ago transcended.” -
Robert Cialdini, Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion, HarperCollins, 1984, reprint 2007, p.275.
FOCUS 26 | Brussels Buildings The capital of Belgium – and of Europe – is making its buildings more energy efficient with inspiring projects and ambitious targets.
VIEWS 35 | AquaViva French photographer Pierre Carreau stops the motion of waves in exquisite stills to show the raw power of water. 26
ENERGY 52 | Biofuels Alexander Knebel describes how power, heat and fuels from biomass are the pillars of Germany’s energy transition.
60 | Europe’s Future Europe is in dire straits and with elections approaching the outlooks are bleak: is the system broken? Will the new leaders deliver? + Q&A with Costas Douzinas about the European crisis and civil resistance.
68 | INDIA 2050 68
RawGopal Agarwala provides an overview of the main challenges to growth confronting the Indian subcontinent. Coming in 2014: Revolve INDIA Report!
CULTURE 76 | Things Come Apart 76
Presenting a beautiful book of photography by Todd McLellan displaying disassembled day-to-day objects.
Brussels - Summer 2014 Following the success of the Visualizing Energy photo exhibition launched during the 2013 EU Sustainable Energy Week and seen by over 120,000 people throughout the summer in Brussels, Revolve is proud to present the 2014 sequel: The Rise of Renewables.
Showing the human dimension of renewables to encourage investments in clean energy and green growth, Revolve invites you to join the energy transition and to participate in The Rise of Renewables.
For more information on how to participate: E: email@example.com T: +32 2 353 05 84
Join us and start revolving!
Expanding coverage to include renewable energy projects from around Europe and beyond, The Rise of Renewables highlights innovative regional and national initiatives, bringing together the industries, companies and people that are shaping a more sustainable future.
The Great Sustainability Challenge
Writer: Isidor Wallimann, Ph.D., is visiting research professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in New York.
The balance between society and nature is askew. The age of industrialization and the subsequent era of consumerism are large culprits for pollution and the degradation of the environment. Human activity on Earth has undeniably affected the planet and has contributed colossal levels of carbon emissions that are pushing global temperatures to keep rising. Significant ecological risks to human survival may result from not taking more pressing action. Governments have a role to play in moving more rapidly and effectively towards more sustainable practices â€“ â€œhow to be more sustainable?â€? is a question that must be integrated in all decision-making processes.
While agrarian modes of production also faced sustainability challenges, the magnitude is immensely greater for contemporary industrial models. A society’s interaction with nature must be balanced in all modes of production – not to preserve the often romanticized notions of wilderness or conservation, but rather because significant imbalances are bound to result in severe social problems. The reverse is equally true: imbalances in terms of social justice often lead to imbalances in the society-nature exchange that feed back onto society in the form of social problems. As a result, social and environmental policies for managing current problems and addressing future hurdles are intricately intertwined.
All production involves the use of natural resources that are transformed into products that are needed or wanted by humans. Never before in history has this transformation and distribution of products been so vast. Never before has this process been organized in such complexity drawing upon a multitude of sciences. The systemic complexity of production processes and societal consumerism has become a risk to sustainability. Significant social upheavals could result from discontinuities, shocks and bottlenecks within the system – popular revolts are on the rise; environmental disasters are increasing; drastic changes are underway that require a more sustainable approach.
Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa have emerged as the regions projected to reach the highest share of renewable energy over 50% in 2030.
The Society-Nature Nexus The lack of a sustainable system has created a sense of urgency to bring the society-nature exchange into balance and to make the complex production and social system of industrialized society more resilient. To optimize resilience, populations could – wherever possible – meet their own needs with resources from their region. This would translate into emphasizing the importance of “the local” over “the global”: local self-sufficiency vs. global dependency; local production and exchange patterns based on tight circularity in exchange; local alternative currencies for reinforcing local economic circularity; local and urban agriculture for food sovereignty; local conservation of resources; and local autarchy in energy and other pertinent resources. To balance our society-nature exchange, the volume of resources flowing into the production process must be drastically reduced and those resources and products will have to be used more often before they are returned to nature through
various modes of recycling. This means consuming fewer resources and consuming them more efficiently. Reducing the volume of emissions back into nature alone will not suffice. Qualitative decisions will also need to be made as to what kind of emissions will be produced. Some emissions (gases, chemical products, nuclear substances, nanotech materials, genetically modified goods) can be better appropriated by nature, thus allowing for more balance in the society-nature exchange and for less negative impacts on society and the environment. Envisioning a production system that uses fewer resources has caused some new and not so new discourses to emerge. New is the discourse around “decroissance” (or “degrowth”) whereby the production system shrinks at a given rate while also being transformed. Somewhat less new is the discourse around “zero growth” which also assumes that the production system must be adjusted. Since the capitalist money accumulation strat-
egy is built around positive growth it would not be able to “survive” in zero or negative growth environments and would in turn also need a transformation. The call for qualitative measures of “growth” and “well-being” such as the Human Development Index (HDI) is now being revived and implemented by NGOs and policy-makers. The application of the polluter pays principle could foster more solidarity than the shared burden approach in dealing with environmental and social problems. The polluter pays principle is anchored in an ethic of responsibility that permits no one to inflict
harm or pass costs onto others. Actors are expected to behave in a responsible manner and be held accountable if they do not. The polluter pays principle runs counter to capitalist market economies within which profits and capital accumulation often represent gains made at the expense of others due to socio-environmental negative impacts. At present, social and environmental policy relies too heavily on the shared burden approach in mitigating the burdens imposed by negative externalities. Unfortunately, this outdated â€œwelfare stateâ€? notion frees irresponsible, unethical actors of assuming responsibility while depleting public funds.
Image (p.10-11): Applying post-emergence Stomp pesticide in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. Source: Chafer Machinery/Flickr. Image (this page): Canola cultivation, Binalong, New South Wales, Australia. Source: Jan Smith/Flickr.
A Sustainability Policy A serious transition towards social and ecological sustainability will require much more proactive policies and an overall policy paradigm shift. Social problems are generally dealt within one policy corner and environmental problems in another. The tendency
to separate these very significant and large policy fields must be corrected. Environmental policy can (and should) be thought of and practiced as social policy â€“ and vice versa. Tremendous benefits are to be expected if sustainability is the goal.
Conversely, any separation comes at the cost of policy efficiency and positive impact. One policy domain may explicitly or implicitly counteract – or even outright “sabotage” the other. Under these circumstances, sustainability – an often and highly acclaimed goal – becomes simply rhetoric. For instance, funds to deal with social problems are often derivatives of economic growth. More quantitative economic growth leads to more available funds. But this mechanism may counteract efforts by environmental policy to contain the environmental damage caused by quantitative economic growth. The need to regulate human interaction with nature through environmental policy is in many instances directly connected to social risks, human survival, and to social
and economic change, all of which are vital to social policy. Many more examples show how social and environmental policies are intricately interwoven in both specific issues and the macro policy frameworks. Yet few efforts are under way to discern the social policy implications of environmental policy and to think and practice the two policies jointly in one integrated field of sustainability policy. Other policy fields could greatly benefit from interacting in a trans-disciplinary manner. Most academic fields and disciplines should ask how “their” knowledge relates to issues of social and environmental sustainability. Understanding that sustainability cannot be attained without coordinating environmental and social
policy will certainly lead to more holistic approaches in politics and policies. This new vision will inevitably lead to new ideas for how the two policy fields can be merged into one. This calls for a paradigm shift. Reliance on techniques like Environmental or Social Impact Assessments is no longer adequate, since they tend to focus uniquely on local or regional cases without applying social and environmental criteria. The new sustainability policy paradigm suggests that environmental and social policy be synthetically combined and that this transdisciplinary act be complemented by other academic disciplines asking: “How can we contribute our knowledge to a more sustainable society?” “What knowledge inhibits or obstructs a more sustainable society?”
China’s per capita energy use is just 1/8 of the United States and ¼ of the European Union, but could double or triple in the next decades.
Cross-Sector Practices Sustainability is defined as a societal pattern of interaction with nature that assures a very long-term output and distribution mode sufficient for all to live in dignity and in accord with the average longevity of human life. It is evident that many academic disciplines are strongly intertwined once sustainability becomes their focus. Sustainability can thus only be discussed, researched, planned and implemented under a trans-disciplinary perspective and practice. All academic disciplines and curricula need to be examined for their relevance in terms of sustainability. Do their research and teaching tend to magnify sustainability problems or help mitigate them? How do they contribute to transitioning society to sustainability? Sustainability would become a cross sectional perspective similar to the notion of gender. There, too, the need to reflect on dimensions of gender in all we think and do has been seen as a necessary component in transforming gender relation patterns.
Science and technology are deeply embedded in our capitalist system and in its pursuits of production and consumption. They serve as the knowledge-base for transforming nature into products and services. Thanks in part to this knowledge-base, the global economic process has been able to attain its complexity and highly out-sourced and intricate division of labor, characterized by horizontal and vertical dependencies based on inequality and exploitation. Energy consumption would have to be cut to between one fourth and one tenth of the energy consumed today, back to roughly the levels of the 1950s. Most energy reduction efforts would have to come from the core of the industrialized world, about one billion people, as well as another billion in industrially-emerging countries. The remaining 5 billion of the world’s population already consumes energy at sustainable levels, and their per capita energy consumption could even be somewhat increased.
Since the output of the industrial production system is a function of energy, about 5 billion of the world’s population is far removed from industrial societies though they may contribute natural resources or agricultural products to others who live in full or emerging industrial societies. The 5 billion live in needs-based production systems – the back-bone for any form of sustainable future given present and projected world population figures. To implement the energy transition to better practices, we need a scientific knowledgebase that is applied in social and environmental policy and includes sustainability as an overarching cross-sectional policy. Roughly 5 billion people on this planet living mostly in need-based economic systems are moving towards more sustainable ways of living, even after accounting for the negative spill-over burden emanating from wantsbased societies of industrialization and consumerism. A paradigm shift is underway and sustainability is at the very epicenter of the emerging model for cleaner economies.
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1990 2050 greenhouse gas greenhouse gas emissions
The Climate Change Act of 2008 has committed the UK to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050.
The current power generation sector contributes 27% towards all UK carbon emissions
11% Fuel Poor
Increase In December 2013 Citizens Advice projected the big six suppliers will have increased their prices by 37% since October 2010
Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, September 2013
Rising energy costs mean that in 2011, approximately 11% of all English households were classed as ‘fuel poor’ £32 billion per year is spent on heating in the UK
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Going Green in Belgium
governing in Wallonia and Brussels, thus green energy was endorsed more than in Flanders.
Profile Mathieu Bayot is the founder and CEO of Soltis â€“ the first CO2 neutral company in the Belgian renewable energy industry. Soltis is a creative and entrepreneurial industry leader that successfully combines environmental, social and economic considerations. As a bioengineer by training, Mathieu Bayotâ€™s strong analytical and scientific skills helped contribute to developing effective, innovative and sustainable solutions in the biggest agricultural French research center. He enjoys working in multi-cultural teams with international perspectives and has very excellent skills in structuring and implementing innovative projects.
For more info: www.soltis.be Soltis | Heat Pumps www.soltis.be/pac
How does Soltis work? Soltis is based in Brussels and offers photovoltaic solutions for private customer (B2C) and companies (B2B). We indentify customer needs, their investment expectations (the best financial option, the biggest electrical capacity, and the lowest environmental impact) and try to match it with technical constraints. We ensure all solar installation aspects and support all the administrative requirements imposed by the public administration. In Belgium, support of green energy is decided at the regional levels and fluctuates accordingly between Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia. Initially in 2008, Soltis worked all over Belgium. We quickly realized that it was smarter to focus on the French-speaking part of the country (Brussels and Wallonia) where we mastered the commercial and administrative sides of the business. The Green Party was also
We expect great results in 2014 especially in Wallonia with our third party investor (TPI) solution that is designed for B2B companies with wide-roof surfaces but with little to no investment capacities. The companies provide their roof (surface rights) to an investor who becomes the owner of the installed photovoltaic system for 10 years and makes use of the financial public support. The company (roof-owner) can use the electricity produced and acquires the solar installation for free after 10 years. How big is the solar market in Belgium? The Belgian solar market grew until 2012 with 2.5 GW installed; 75% of the power was installed in Flanders, the rest in Wallonia (less than 1% in Brussels). Since 2013, the market is much more stable as government subsidies stopped in Flanders and the Walloon policy has been nebulous from April to December. In Flanders, there is no support anymore for B2C and B2B photovoltaic projects. The majority of our Flemish competitors moved to southern Holland and northern Wallonia. In Wallonia, the government launched a new plan of support for the B2C photovoltaic market (Qualiwatt) in 2014 (target: ROI of 8 years and 5% interest on the investment).
Concerning the B2B market, there is still great support in Brussels (0.2 â‚Ź/kWh) and Wallonia (0.3 â‚Ź/kWh). Wallonia has great potential since most of the B2B market has not been exploited (most solar installations have been made for B2C customers). Do you provide other renewable or energy efficient solutions? In 2013, we proposed heat pumps to B2C customers: heat pumps are perfectly complementary with photovoltaic systems that can feed the pumps with green electricity from solar panels. In 2014, we installed our first large-scale heat pump in a collective building. We plan to expand our range of products for different types of technologies or needs of customers (hot water, heating, cooling). Since 2013, we also ensure a service for roof insulation and our technical sales now offer a global solution. What are the largest challenges you confront? The main challenge we face is instabil-
ity with official green policies. Our public authorities lack long-term vision and modify the support for the green economy regularly without any notice. Companies constantly have to adapt their structures and strategies in order to deliver high quality services. The image of solar has also been dramatically tarnished these last months due to bad government communication. The government announced they were planning to modify the support they initially promised to the first photovoltaic investors. Despite the fact that this retroactivity is legally forbidden, potential investors now hesitate to engage because they fear that the government will try again to modify the subsidies promised. Due to these developments, customers now also think that investing in photovoltaics is not profitable. The government did start the Qualiwatt Plan in January 2014 but very few are aware of this new support plan. Again, we have to meet customers and inform them that solar is still good for the environment and their finances.
What are the prospects for green energy in Belgium and Europe? Prospects for photovoltaic electricity are good for any person or company having a wide roof surface oriented to the south and with as few shadows as possible. Photovoltaic investments are profitable everywhere in Europe (except maybe in Scandinavia). Many studies show that the grid parity (a grey kWh is as expensive as a green kWh) has been reached in southern Europe and is expected for 2016 in our regions. By then, government subsidies will not be needed anymore to ensure the economical viability of photovoltaic electricity. In Germany, they have invested a lot in solar projects and great efforts have been made for solar projects. In other countries, the energy transition is slower and in these times of economic difficulties, the environment does not seem to be a main priority for our leaders.
Urban Ecology An Approach to “The Future We Want”
Writer: Dr. Timon McPhearson is Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology at The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center (TEDC) in New York City where he directs the Urban Ecology Lab. Dr. McPhearson currently coordinates a global study to understand the economic value of urban ecosystems with The Natural Capital Project and the Stockholm Resilience Center. He is a founding member of the ICLEI Urban Biosphere (URBIS) Initiative, a contributing author to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s Cities Biodiversity Outlook, writes regularly for The Nature of Cities blog, and is a member of DIVERSITAS, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and the NSF Research Coordination Network on Urban Sustainability. In 2014, he will be a Visiting Research Scholar at the Stockholm Resilience Center in Stockholm, Sweden. Image: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden System in Jean Nouvel’s Musée du Quai Branly, Paris. Source: Christos Loufopoulos/Flickr.
How can cities and urban areas confronted with climate change, urbanization and population growth create more sustainable futures? Planning and developing sustainable cities is a high priority around the world and a crucial component of global sustainability given rapidly increasing numbers of urbanites. Leaders and decision-makers are faced with difficult choices on how to simultaneously make cities more resilient and more sustainable in fast-changing social, environmental, and economic climates. To make matters more difficult, cities are not simple to govern. Cities are truly complex systems with so many interacting components that it is difficult to know how any decision about one neighborhood in the city will impact other neighborhoods, or the city as a whole. How can we be sure that the right decisions are being made so that our cities as a whole become healthier, more livable, and more equitable places for humans to thrive? 19
Urban sustainability has always been an uphill battle because cities have to import vast quantities of materials and resources in order to survive. The Living Planet Report (WWF) calculates that cities and urban areas consume 75% of the world’s natural resources and discharges an equal amount of waste, creating huge ecological footprints. Yet, energy efficiency, technological innovation, and decreased environmental impact can all be maximized in dense urban developments and provide evidence that though complete sustainability is perhaps a utopian goal, improving sustainability is very achievable, especially in cities.
absorption, climate regulation, and more. Scientists are finding that all of these so called “ecosystem services” affect our
Many resources and processes that cities need cannot be imported and must be provided for inside city boundaries, including in many cases drinking water, local food production, flood mitigation, storm water
quality of life and demonstrate the important role of urban biodiversity and ecosystems. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity just published the first global assessment on urban biodiversity and
ecosystem services, the Cities Biodiversity Outlook, which emphasizes the importance of local urban ecosystems to human health and well-being in cities. Creating sustainable ecosystems in cities is critical to achieving global sustainability. In some cases, it is only in cities where we see the necessary level of environmental leadership that allows innovation and truly sustainable practices that remain intractable at the global level. Climate change is perhaps the easiest example to illustrate with cities clearly leading the way in climate change adaptation and mitigation, while global governance continues to stall. Here too ecosystems in cities have a role to play in absorbing the impacts of climate change and providing adaptive capacity for making neighborhoods and whole cities more resilient to climate and other urban stressors.
Cities are truly complex systems that are made of a whole host of interacting parts... including ecological, social, economic and technological infrastructures.
10 ≤ x < 11 9 ≤ x < 10 8≤x<9 7≤x<8 6≤x<7 5≤x<6 4≤x<5 3≤x<4 2≤x<3 1≤x<2 0≤x<1 no data
x : ecological footprint (global hectares per capita)
Image: World map of countries shaded according to their ecological footprint in 2007 (published on 13 October 2010 by the Global Footprint Network). It is measured by the amount of global hectares that are affected by humans per capita of the country. Lighter shades denote countries with a lower ecological footprint per capita and darker shades correspond to countries with a higher ecological footprint per capita. The total ecological footprint (global hectares affected by humans) is measured as a total of six factors: cropland footprint, grazing footprint, forest footprint, fishing ground footprint, carbon footprint and built-up land. Source: Wikimedia.
A Social-Ecological System Science Ecologists have been thinking in systems at least since Arthur Tansley first used the term “ecosystem” in 1935. The Odum brothers (Eugene and Howard) pioneered systems approaches in ecology in the 1950s and 1960s. More recently the emerging field of urban ecology, which explicitly includes humans as fundamental components of systems, has taken a socio-ecological systems approach to the study of cities. Cities – like New York – are the classic example of a complex socioecological system and a perfect place to test the urban ecology idea that cities are ecosystems – simply ecosystems with humans in them.
affected by urban development. Urban ecology in the United States took off a bit later when the urban-rural gradient study of the New York Metro area was initiated by Mark McDonnell and Steward Pickett in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Insights from this work demonstrated, like the early studies in Berlin, that urban ecosystems are like ecosystems anywhere else, though they do have different characteristics, processing rates, temperatures, and organisms. Since then the field has evolved rapidly
into a scientific discipline that links social and ecological approaches with a goal to achieve livable, sustainable, and just cities where both human and non-human species can thrive. This field is beginning to demonstrate a novel capacity to make sense of the multiple intersecting kinds of information flows, from human social patterns and ecology dynamics to urban form and climate data, which together influence the patterns and processes of urban systems affecting so many aspects of our lives.
Image (left): Hurricane Sandy Response Imagery. Richmond County Yacht Club.
Though urban ecology has older roots in China and other places around the world, the modern version emerged in post-WWII Berlin when ecologists began examining how vegetation patterns in the city were
Source: Image taken by NOAA and provided via Mapbox. Image: Part of the Sustainable Urban Masterplan for Shanghai, this image shows the central market place surrounded by four multi-program agricultural towers, otherwise known as vertical farms. These farms supply sustainable energy, fresh water and food to 50,000 people in a range of one kilometer around their center. The open lower floors of the tower in the middle serves as a community garden, where residents can grow their own spices and specialty crops. Source: Except Integrated Sustainability
Ecology In and Of Cities Ecology in Cities was the first and still very important translation of 150 years of ecological science into urban contexts. At the same time that Jane Jacobs and others were writing about the need to rethink urban spaces in ways that were more ecological and more just, ecologists were beginning to ask how urban climates and city form influenced ecological patterns and processes in cities. This ecology in the city forms the foundation of urban ecology and remains one
of the fundamental sources of urban ecological understanding important to building a theory and a science of cities. In 1997, urban ecology was given a significant and needed boost when the U.S. National Science Foundation extended its successful Long-term Ecology Research (LTER) program to the first ever urban sites in Phoenix and Baltimore. Ecologists were also going beyond ecology in cities to begin developing
a theory and new conceptual approaches to an ecology of cities. Ecology of the city starts with the premise that urban areas are fundamentally ecosystems and they can be understood as we would study any ecosystem. And yet, urban ecosystems are studied differently than other kinds of ecosystems in that an ecology of the city approach explicitly includes humans as fundamental components and drivers of change in the urban system. Ecology of cities studies have dynamically interacting socio-ecological compo-
nents (with social being broadly defined to include social processes, institutions, and structures as well as technological and built infrastructures), that together create the urban patterns and processes we observe in cities. Since the launch of the LTER sites, new urban ecological methods and approaches have been pioneered across the globe that link ecology explicitly to planning, management, and urban design, and incorporate theoretical breakthroughs in complexity, resilience, socio-ecological systems, and sustainability science.
â€Śurban ecosystems provide important water purification, local food production, stormwater absorption, urban heat island regulation, flood protectionâ€Ś Images (this spread): Ecology IN Cities: Field ecology in Marine Park and Pelham Bary Park afforestation sites. Source: The New School and Timon McPhearson.
A Theory of Cities Though we are still far from a robust theory of cities, research on complex systems pioneered at the Sante Fe Institute has begun to shed light on some of the fundamental patterns of urban systems and how, for example, population size relates to urban growth, rates of innovation, and the pace of life in cities. Still, a robust theory of cities will have to go further and provide methods and tools that provide predictive capacity
with decision support tools that urban leaders can use to plan more sustainable development trajectories for their cities. Linking urban ecological approaches with urban planning and design is critical to more fully connect the social and ecological aspects of city systems with the power of complexity science. Bridging the multiple intersecting lines of research on how urban
systems are structured, how they function, and respond to disturbances can create new possibilities for scientists to work together to solve difficult urban problems. The goal here is to create a science of cities that can provide the necessary scientific input on how to design and build cities across the globe to be resilient to current and future effects of climate change, as well as other urban stressors.
Creating sustainable cities is critical to achieving global sustainability.
Urban Ecosystems Ecosystems will play a crucial component of resilient and sustainable urban life. In fact, we are discovering that ecosystems play a larger role in the city than previously acknowledged. Since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report in 2005, ecologists have been hard at work assessing, mapping, and valuing the services that ecosystems provide to humans. Though monetary value estimates are difficult to make, a study in the journal Ecosystem Services concluded that monetary ben-
efits can range from $500 to $350,000/ hectare per year (depending on the biome) with global totals in the trillions. And yet, we have only recently started to assess the benefits city residents receive annually from urban ecosystems. Still, urban ecologists and related scientists have identified that urban ecosystems provide important water purification, local food production, stormwater absorption, urban heat island regulation, flood protec-
tion, enhance real estate value, improve human mental and physical health, and serve as important areas for recreation, contemplation, and relaxation. Research in this area is providing real advances in understanding the spatial mismatches in supply and demand for urban ecosystem services, equity in access to these services, and developing new tools and methods for assessing, mapping, and valuing the services ecosystems provide to cities.
Building Resilience Ecology has yet to provide a complete theory and science of cities that can guide decision-making at the scale at which it is needed, and in a way that can deliver resilience to climate change and improved sustainability over the long-term. However, we have made significant progress in the last 30 years of this young field of study. Urban ecology is clearly emerging as a discipline that can bring planning, design, ecology, social science, and complexity
science under a more unified research framework to create new tools and knowledge to support urban governance, policy, and planning. The more we recognize the complexity inherent in urban systems the more we realize that we are not going to get lucky by creating great urban designs and plans around single features of the city, or to meet individual goals. For cities to be resilient and for resilience
to help improve sustainability, we need to develop our cities in ways that can leverage complexity and the interactive nature of urban systems across the globe. Ultimately, creating sustainable cities is critical to achieving any measure of global sustainability. It simply will not happen without cities leading the way, and this requires accepting the challenges we face head-on and by harnessing systems and ecological approaches to meet those challenges.
Tackling the Energy Challenge
Writer: GrĂŠgoire Clerfayt is the Head of the Energy Directorate at Bruxelles Environnement (IBGE), the Administration for Environment and Energy of the Brussels-Capital Region.
In less than ten years, the Region of Brussels-Capital has undergone fast and positive developments, achieving impressive results, particularly in the energy sector. Between 2004 and 2011, there was a 25% reduction of energy consumption and 25% less greenhouse gas emissions per capita, mainly due to energy efficiency measures. Brussels is a densely-populated city with significant population growth and an economic sector oriented towards tertiary functions. The capital of Belgium (and of Europe) does not have a territory permitting the mass exploitation of renewable energy sources. The optimal solution is to follow an ambitious policy aimed at improving the energy performance of buildings.
Image: Midi-SuĂ¨de residential housing units by Gare du Midi. Source: Yvan Glavie
From Exemplary Buildings…
Grégoire Clerfayt Source: Yvan Glavie
In 2004, practices in Brussels in terms of construction and renovation were characterized by a lack of ambition regarding energy, due to a largely unfocused regional policy. A two-year period of research and awareness-raising actions led to the development of an initial energy-climate culture. In 2007, the Region of Brussels-Capital launched a major stimulation program for the construction and renovation of “Exemplary Buildings” to decrease the environmental impact of edifices and to increase their energy efficiency. The call for projects was aimed at all contracting authorities building or renovating in Brussels: private individuals, public bodies, semi-state bodies, private enterprises (property development companies, nonprofit organizations). The buildings eligible have to be located in the Region of Brussels-Capital and have to be used for one of the following purposes: single-family or collective housing, collective facility (school,
Image: From the cover of the book, Exemplary Buildings: Success Stories (from Brussels), by Bernard Deprez, Jean Cech. See: www.racine.be/fr/exemplary-buildingssuccess-stories-brussels
hospital, nursery), offices, commercial or industrial facilities. The project may include a new building, full renovation or a combination of both. Since all designated purposes are possible, small (approx. 120 m²) to large buildings (approx. 55.000 m² or more) are eligible. From 2007 to 2013, six calls for projects were launched, with 372 applicants and 243 projects being selected for a total amount of subsidies worth €33 million (max. €100/m²). These projects represent a total area of 621,000 m² of which 350,000 m² are “passive” buildings. Some of them have already achieved the Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standard. Numerous renovation projects have also shown that it is possible to achieve the “passive” standard. The calls for “Exemplary Buildings” confirmed that the passive standard is fully accessible and does not lead to a significant increase in cost in residential buildings, schools or offices, in new constructions or even renovations. These calls for projects had a major ratchet effect on the real estate market and led numerous public and private contracting authorities to enter the market, even outside the “Exemplary Buildings” parameters.
A passive building consumes ten times less than a standard building!
High Energy Performance of Buildings Definitions (for housing)
Primary Energy Consumption
≤ 60 kWh/m 2.year
≤ 150 kWh/m 2.year
Very low energy
≤ 30 kWh/m 2.year
≤ 95 kWh/m 2.year
≤ 15 kWh/m 2.year
≤ 45 kWh/m 2.year
(Nearly) Zero energy
≤ 15 kWh/m 2.year
(Nearly) 0 kWh/m 2.year
In Brussels, 70% of energy consumption is related to buildings, which offers tremendous potential for the energy economy: a passive building consumes ten times less than a standard building! If passive and zero energy options are available for new buildings, then for renovation it is possible to move towards lower and very low energy consumption. This is the principle behind the High Energy Performance of Buildings (HPEB) in Brussels: set an ambitious goal while analyzing the possibilities of the building.
A Selection of Passive Batex Buildings Source: Brucity
Not all Brussels Exemplary Buildings are passive, but more and more of them are. Here are some examples of “Passive Batex” buildings:
EMILE BOCKSTAEL SCHOOL High-efficiency for new school The new Emile Bockstael School has 3 floors around an atrium. The goal was to reach the passive standard of using less than 15 kWh/m².year on energy for heating. The solar thermal and photovoltaic panels contribute to achieving this goal and offer a quality environment for the school children.
AEROPOLIS II Never too hot, never too cold Over-heating is the biggest enemy of office buildings. Thanks to the “passive” concept, this office building was able to avoid active air-conditioning: the 7,000 m² of office space reduced heating needs to 9 kWh/m².year; the transition implied a minimal extra cost compared to traditional buildings. “We tried to avoid the ‘one-shot’ solution by aiming rather for an architectural project that could be a replicable model on the European market in terms of comfort, flexibility and cost.”
Source: Georges De Kinder
- Sabine Leribaux, architect Aeropolis II
RUE DE LA BRASSERIE Quality and urban integration Source: Yvan Glavie
The 12 housing units break down into 9 units in a main building overlooking the street, where the large south-facing balconies are freely inspired by the neighouring Art nouveau, and 3 homes on the site of former workshops behind the street. The project combines a concrete frame with insulated timber caissons, finished with a brick fronting.
Passive Batex Buildings
MIDI-SUÈDE Creativity in action
Source: Yvan Glavie
The spirit of going “passive” can lead to some very creative solutions. This building of 30 passive apartments has reintegrated the classical bow-window concept to add-value for energy as well as for architectural design: by creating these outgrowths, the buildings have reoriented to the south, thus increasing the solar energy capacity.
“Building a passive home is like buying better lightbulbs: it costs more at first but since they consume less, we amortize faster! That doesn’t mean that because we live in a passive building we should not be careful of our energy consumption!”
Source: Yvan Glavie
- Mustapha, member of L’Espoir
L'ESPOIR Passive for everyone
Source: Yvan Glavie
At first, going passive was not for them, not within their means, but this project – Espoir (“Hope”) – permitted 14 low-income multi-cultural families to come together and to own the building. Thanks to becoming passive, they no longer have to pay so many conventional energy charges.
GLOBE Moving to zero energy This 16-apartment project shows that energy, comfort, and audacity are compatible. Thirteen of these apartments are passive, almost zero energy, thanks to energy efficient household appliances and use of renewable energies via solar panels and rapeseed oil cogeneration.
Image: L'Espoir. Source: Yvan Glavie
Brussels-Capital has shown that what was considered a utopia can be a reality when the necessary means are implemented and used.
…to affordable passive buildings Due to the positive "Exemplary Buildings" experience, the Region of Brussels-Capital has been able to establish standards for all future construction and public renovation projects since 2010. Also due to this experience, as of January 1, 2015, the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region has already been programming the application of the passive building standard for the construction af all new housing, offices and schols in its region. The objective is to give developers, architects and design firms a clear signal regarding buildings whose application for planning permission are submitted after December 31, 2014. Brussels-Capital has shown that what was considered a utopia can be a reality when the necessary means are implemented and used.
Today, this new ambition in construction has gone beyond the “Exemplary Buildings” call for projects. The last inventory, realized in November 2013 for the Administration for Environment and Energy of the Brussels-Capital Region (IBGE) has identified 800.000 m² of passive buildings, already built, being built or planned to be built in Brussels. At the forefront of implementing the passive standard in 2015 (five years before the European requirement), the Region of BrusselsCapital is involved in PassREg, Passive House Regions with Renewable Energies, and an Intelligent Energy-Europe project that aims to trigger the successful implementation of NZEBs throughout the European Union, using renewable energy sources as the foundation for such energy efficient developments.
In this program, the Region of BrusselsCapital stands alongside the German City of Hannover and the Austrian Region of Tyrol as the leaders of the advanced category beyond the beginner and intermediate categories. The policy orientation and efforts of Brussels-Capital towards passive and NZEBs were recognized by the European Commission in the framework of the 2012 EU Sustainable Energy Week Awards, in which the Region of Brussels-Capital won Best Living Category.
Websites of interest for more info:
www.bruxellesenvironnement.be www.sustainablecity.be www.bruxellespassif.be www.bepassive.be
New Administrative Headquarters Bruxelles Environnement (IBGE) must also be exemplary. To this end, IBGE is moving to a new headquarters that is an entirely passive building, symbolic of the capital region’s renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, and situated strategically by the central canal of Brussels next to Tour & Taxis. This is not just about moving into a remarkable building in terms of architectural design, integrating solar panels, increasing energy efficiency and decreasing environmental impacts; it’s about repositioning the role of the administration for environment and energy in the Region of Brussels-Capital to reorient its way of working more closely with the public towards living in a more sustainable city. Image by: Architect CEPEZED, BIPV Issol Company
Materials The shell of the building comprises of glass and metal; other recycled and recyclable materials will also be used as much as possible with greatest durability and longevity possible too.
Renewable Energies Over 500 m² of solar photovoltaic panels produces between 60,000 and 70,000 kWh/year.
Total Gross Surface Area Off-Ground 16,250 m² of which 2,500 m² are for the Eco-Center that includes a hall for permanent and temporary exhibits, a public contact area, an auditorium and a café-restaurant.
Energy for Heating and Cooling 15 kWh/mÂ˛/year, or 10 times less than the previous headquarters.
Building Airtightness Air renewal rate: 0,6 h -1. This corresponds to the passive building standard.
Water Rain water will be recuperated from the inclined roof for non-potable usage in the building.
Handicap Accessibility Handicap ramps and parking make the entire building fully and easily accessible.
Bike Parking There is a capacity for 210 bicycles.
Working Capacity 550 operational posts are available in the overall 13,750 mÂ˛ of office space.
Photo: Jimmy Kets
Fri 25â€“Sun 27 April 2014 Brussels Expo www.artbrussels.com
AquaViva Photographer: Pierre Carreau
For more images depicting the power of water, visit:
Comprising a series of similar shots of water in motion, AquaViva is all the more remarkable when we consider that nature presents this vibrant energy daily wherever the ocean meets the land. We cannot capture these fleeting moments with our own eyes for the movement is too swift and the tumultuous action of the breaking waves too distracting in its kinetic form. In the infinite iterations and unpredictable qualities of water, Carreau captures and offers an appreciation of the fundamental and essential role it plays on the planet and in our existence.
To read the full interview with Pierre Carreau, visit:
Born in 1972 near Paris, Pierre Carreau grew up surrounded by artistic influences in a family that included a photographer, sculptors and painters. Perhaps in reaction to this subtle pressure, he chose initially to pursue a different path and graduated from university with a degree in business. Yet the soul of the artist would not be repressed, and after a number of years working in the IT industry, Carreau returned to his roots and became a professional photographer. Since 2004, he lives on the Caribbean Island of St. BarthĂŠlemy with his wife and children.
"Water has no color, but through reflection and refraction it can possess all of them, the entire spectrum of light." â€“ Pierre Carreau
hidroenergia 2014 21-23 May 2014 Istanbul, Turkey
The International Congress and Trade Fair on Small Hydropower
Participate and advance your business! Check out all benefits and offers on our website. www.2014.hidroenergia.eu Organisers European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA) Renewable Energy House Rue dâ€™Arlon 63â€“67 1040 Brussels, BELGIUM Telephone: +32 2 546 19 45
Congress Secretariat AIM Group International (Brussels Office) Tel.: +32 2 722 82 30 Fax: +32 2 722 82 40 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bioenergy Writer: Alexander Knebel works at the German Renewable Energies Agency.
Bioenergy is often the scapegoat for shortcomings in environmental policy. Alexander Knebel describes how power, heat and fuels from biomass are the pillars of Germany’s energy turnaround, and how local projects in the federal regions testify to bioenergy success stories.
Fermented Residual Materials are used as fertilizer or are composted. This substantially reduces the use of mineral fertilizer in agriculture.
1 ha energy crops: maize, grain, reeds
Energy Crops of Biowastes
Digestion Residue Storage When the biomass has been fermented in the digester, it is first placed in the digestion residue storage facility from where it can be removed later and used as high-quality fertilizer.
Livestock Farming Pit Collection tank for biomass
Karl Volkert Meyer is into crops. The soil on his 300 hectare-farm on the Nordstrand Peninsula in Schleswig-Holstein on the north-western fringes of Germany is so good that he does not just grow grain and potatoes for food and feed use: he also grows barley and potatoes for the seed industry to reproduce valuable varieties. Meyer also discovered a way to enrich his land even further: by producing biogas and growing unusual, almost forgotten plants. Together with two of his neighbors, Meyer built a biogas plant on his farm in 2011. In a region where yields per hectare count among the highest in Germany, arable farming generally focuses on relatively few high performing species such as wheat, barley, corn or rapeseed. The production of power from renewable sources has enabled Meyer to add more crops to his portfolio. Apart from standard energy crops such as corn,
the biogas plant also runs on oats and beans that are planted side-by-side. “I use the sun’s energy stored in the crops to generate electricity and heat”, he explains. The biogas operation, the Nordstrand Island Energy, now supplies some 1,200 households with electricity and more than 100 homes with heat. To keep the biogas production running, Meyer is also supplied with manure from nearby cattle operations. Sheep
dung from the mayor’s herd, Werner-Peter Paulsen goes into the digester too. “I use a mix of energy crops and residues to produce renewable energy,” Meyer points out. Biogas is part-and-parcel of Germany’s socalled Energiewende – the transition from a nuclear and fossil-fuel based energy system to a renewable energy portfolio that relies on wind, solar and biomass, and also on hydro and geothermal power.
Gas treatment plant The methane content and the quality of the biogas are increased to make it like conventional natural gas.
Biogas Gas Storage The resulting biogas is stored in the top («hood») of the fermenter, directly above the fermenting biomass.
Natural gas network The treated biogas can be fed directly into existing natural gas networks... Combined heat and power station (CHP) In the CHP the biogas is incinerated to produce electricity and heat.
Biogas petrol station ...or can be used as fuel
Electricity Digester In this tank, with light and oxygen excluded, the biomass is digested by anaerobic micro-organisms. This digestion process produces methane and carbon dioxide — the biogas.
Process Heat Heats the fermenter Process Heat is fed into the local heat supply network
Biogas System Slurry and solid biomass are suitable for biogas production. A cow weighing 500 kg can be used to achieve a gas yield of maximum 1.5 cubic meter per day. In energy terms, this equates to around 1 litre heating oil. Regrowable raw materials supply between 6,000 cubic meter (meadow grass) and 12,000 cubic meter (silo maize/ fodder beet) biogas per hectare arable land annually.
Guaranteed Electricity Revenue Plus Heat... Across Germany, more than 7,500 biogas plants have been built. Most operators profit from Germany’s feed-in-tariffs (FITs) for renewable energy, which are enshrined in Germany's renewable energy law for the electricity sector, the EEG. Those FITs grant technology specific electricity prices.
In the past, those FITs permitted for a profitable operation of the biogas plant without a viable concept for using heat. This has changed however in recent years as new legislation has squeezed margins. Selling heat from biogas plants has become more attractive. By building a district heat grid of some 8 kilometers to which more than a 100
homes are connected, farmer Meyer and his partners have grasped that opportunity and found new customers. André Wilckerling, owner of Hotel England in Nordstrand is one of the happy customers of Meyer’s biogas plant. “I started getting supplied with biogas heat from
Nordstrand Island Energy in late January and the changeover has been very smooth. I am glad I could get rid of my old oil heating in that way,” says Wilckerling. The hotel, as well as his restaurant and his own home now get bio-heat. Wilckerling decided to get connected to the local biogas heat grid in order to continually use clean energy from his neighborhood. Some two hours north of Hamburg, the peninsula near the Danish border appeals to tourists during the summer months as well as in spring and on windy autumn weekends. Mr. Wilckerling and his holiday-makers now get supplied with clean energy that has grown in the salty North Sea air.
Image (top): Karl Volkert Meyer. Image (bottom): Werner-Peter Paulsen. Source: Renewable Energies Agency / Paul Langrock
… and Stabilizing the Grid When Wind and Solar Supply is Low Meyer and his partners benefit from selling their heat on top of the electricity for which they receive a guaranteed FIT. For a medium-sized biogas plant of the kind Meyer and his neighbors operate, an FIT of some 20 Eurocents/kWh is typically due. By comparison, thousands of windmills located in Schleswig-Holstein usually receive roughly half that tariff, some 10 Eurocents/kWh. The difference in FITs between relatively pricy biogas and
cheaper wind power is due to investment and operating costs. Biogas farmers have to feed their plants with biomass or residues – while wind can be harvested for free once the rotor-blades are moving. So what do Germans and their Energiewende need biogas for? Despite relatively high FITs, biogas does have important advantages:
“Bioenergy plants can take over the task of stabilizing power grids and producing electricity when wind and solar power are not available”, says Daniel Hölder, head of energy policy at Clean Energy Sourcing, a major trader in renewable electricity. “Flexible bioenergy plants will have to step in to fill the gaps in electricity production when supply from solar and wind supply is scarce,” he says. Even on the North Sea shore this happens often enough.
Biogas: A Versatile Energy Source Apart from delivering power and heat, biogas can also be upgraded to natural gas quality and used as fuel for cars. This versatility has made biogas investments attractive to farmers and big investors alike. In 2013, biogas already contributed more than 25,000 Gwh to Germany’s energy supply, which equaled more than 4% of German electricity consumption. Germany’s energy transition is often referred to in terms of the switch to wind and solar power. These are expected to become the dominant force on electricity markets in the future. Wind and photovoltaics (PV) contributed 8 and 5% respectively to Germany’s power supply in 2013. Their
influence on power markets has become big enough to substantially lower electricity prices on the stock exchange – and electricity suppliers have yet to hand down this trend to their customers. Measured against the share in final energy consumption, biomass claims some two thirds of renewables’ contribution to Germany’s energy mix – compared to a 16% share of wind energy and 10% for solar power (PV and solar thermal). This is because bioenergy is not just biogas and the energy crops and manure needed for its generation. Wood and its residues used for heating stoves in family homes as well as combined heat and power plants in rural
areas and cities also number amongst bioenergy’s assets. On fuel markets, energy crops such as rapeseed and sugarbeets used for biodiesel and ethanol are the only current available alternatives to fossil fuels. Thanks to the use of bioenergy, greenhouse gas emission of 66 million tons CO2 equivalents were avoided in 2012 in Germany. Around 130,000 people now earn their living from working in the bioenergy sector. Turnover from operating bioenergy plants in the biofuel, bio-heat and bio-power sector by far exceeded the €10 billion in 2012. And the export share of the biogas industry is estimated to stand at some 44%.
“I started getting supplied with biogas heat from Nordstrand Island Energy in late January and the changeover has been very smooth. I am glad I could get rid of my old oil heating in that way.” André Wilckerling, owner of Hotel England in Nordstrand and customer of Meyer’s biogas plant.
A Controversial Reputation Bioenergy thus has a major role in offering clean energy solutions to transform Germany’s energy system into a sustainable one. But bioenergy has not always had a good reputation. Initiatives in sowing innovative crops the way Meyer has invested in with oats and beans are still not that well-known. Local protests in some areas have turned against the widespread use of corn in biogas plants. Some conservationists are critical of corn’s effects on the soil. In many areas where biogas plants are located, corn only has a small part to play in arable farming. Besides, feed use of corn dominates its use. Public perception often associates corn with biogas, no matter the end use. On top of that, ethics have blurred the rosy picture of bioenergy’s part
in the Energiewende. Should arable crops really be used as an energy source?
sector. Only a very small amount of palm oil production goes into the biofuels sector.
The biofuels sector has been confronted with that question in Germany and in other Western countries. Biofuels have also been made the scapegoat for environmental shortcomings in the agricultural and timber sectors. While European rapeseed is by far the dominant source for German biodiesel producers, critics who oppose bioenergy on principle point to rainforest destruction in South-East Asia and bioenergy’s alleged role there. It is true that demand for palm oil has greatly increased in the past and so has production in Indonesia and Malaysia, the two dominant suppliers. However, this demand has been mostly driven by the food
On a global scale, demand for agricultural commodities is constantly growing. The most important drivers of this trend are the rising world population as well as an increasing consumption of meat in large developing countries and in emerging economies. Against the backdrop of these two factors – more meat consumption on the one hand, population growth on the other – the impact of stronger demand for the bioenergy sector on the need for a larger supply of agricultural commodities is relatively limited. Just 6% of global grain production is used for biofuels which has remained stable in recent years.
Image (left): Interior of biodiesel plant in Magdeburg, Germany. Image (right): Laboratory technician at biodiesel plant in Magdeburg, Germany. Source: Renewable Energies Agency.
Food Stocks Are Ample On global grain markets, demand and consumption increases have kept pace since the turn of the century. According to the most recent estimate by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from February 2014, global grain production in the 2013/14 marketing year will reach 2.44 billion tons. This is an 8% increase on the previous year, when production had dipped. The long-term trend of global grain production is clearly on the up. After a series of poor grain and oilseed harvests in a number of important producer countries earlier in the decade, stocks have now been replenished. At the
same time, even before droughts in some Western countries hit in 2012/13, stocks of rice as Asia’s most important staple food had been rebuilt. Debates over the claims of bioenergy on biomass availability have to be put into perspective. In recent years, huge surplus stocks of rice have piled up. Rice is an important grain and staple crop in Asia. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) expects global rice production to reach 494 million tons in 2013/14. According to the FAO, India will remain the world’s biggest exporter of rice in 2014, a position it has taken
over from Thailand. This shows that the subcontinent produces enough food for feeding its own people. However, according to UN estimates, some 217 million people in India suffered from hunger in the 2010/12 period, which equals 18% of the country’s population. The development of global rice stocks shows that the causes of hunger are a wealth distribution issue. India has also become an important exporter of dairy products. Such trade developments show that hunger around the world is a poverty issue that needs to be tackled by fighting inequality and unfair distribution of wealth, not by fighting the rise of bioenergy.
“Bioenergy plants can take over the task of stabilizing power grids and producing electricity when wind and solar power are not available” Daniel Hölder, head of energy policy at Clean Energy Sourcing.
Sustainability Criteria in Force In Europe, sustainability standards for biofuels have been in place for several years now. They are to ensure that biofuels, and the raw materials imported into Europe to produce biofuels, do not originate from former rainforest areas that were destroyed for agricultural uses. With the EU sustainability criteria, which are mandatory for all imports used for biofuel production, binding minimum standards for government were introduced for the first time in global agricultural trade. Since 2011, a net contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases, the protection of ecologically valuable areas and transparency in the production chain must be guaranteed.
Environmental and development policy organizations should actually be interested in strengthening these minimum standards and extending them to food and animal feed production. After all, the cultivation of energy crops claims only a small part of global agricultural area. Now that the European directive governing those sustainability criteria – the Renewable Energy Directive 28/2009 – has been implemented, fears about possible indirect land use changes (iLUC) have made the round. At the core of the iLUC-allegations, European biofuel production from home grown crops is to be held responsible for
alleged destructions of the rainforest in the South. While it is true that the European biofuel industry imports substantial amounts of raw materials, the European Union would have abundant area for agriculture to meet its political targets. The EU wants to cover 10% of its energy needs in the transport sector with renewables. According to estimates, meeting this objective would require a net area in the range of 8.3-14.5 million hectares. The EU’s area available for biofuels is meanwhile estimated to range from 17 to 21.7 million hectares in 2020.
Huge Untapped Potential In Germany, bioenergy currently claims some 2 million hectares out of a total agricultural area of some 17 million hectares. The country’s bioenergy area could well be expanded to 4 million hectares without endangering conservation, food and feed production. Indeed, Germany’s grain surplus has increased. According to data from the Federal Statistics Office, this grain export surplus rose to 1.6 million tons in 2012, up from 1 million in 2011. For oilseeds, it is a different story. Imports have increased as the soy demand of animal farmers rose – stimulated by strong demand for German meat from abroad.
tion of rising meat consumption in emerging economies. Signals of this overarching trend in world agricultural abound – just look at China that has become the most important destination for U.S. soybeans. Such trends in food patterns are relevant to the bioenergy sector because they point to an issue quite separate from the concerns about the fight against hunger: will farmers worldwide really be able to feed a growing world population that is increas-
ingly adopting Western style diets? Productivity gains in agriculture are encouraging. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), global output of total crop and livestock commodities expanded by 2.5% per year in the decade from 2001-2010. Over the last five decades, the primary source of global agricultural growth changed from input-based growth to growth that was due to getting more output from existing inputs.
Renewable Energies in Germany Overtake Nuclear Power Gross electricity generation from renewable energies and nuclear power in billion killowatt hours.
When it comes to biofuels from Europe, it is often forgotten that vegetable oil from rapeseed is only the minor part of oilseeds. Some 60 % of the product – so called rapeseed meal is used as feed for cattle or pigs. German oil mills now produce some 2.3 million tons of feed as byproducts that would otherwise add up to Germany’s already hefty import bill of more than 5 million tons of soy feed which is needed for its seemingly evergrowing pig herds. In Germany’s slaughterhouses, some 59 million pigs were killed in 2013, compared to some 50 million just eight years ago. The boom is export driven and is an indica-
Source: AG Energiebilanzen, preliminary results. 12/2013.
Diversifying Crops on a Biogas Farm Thanks to better seeds, like barley and potato seeds, that Karl-Volkert Meyer grows on Nordstrand next to his biogas plant, agriculture keeps feeding more people and also answers demands for clean energy solutions. “For our biogas plant, I started off with corn as an energy crop. Over time, I then got into other crops such as oats and summer grain with undersown crops which help to maintain and create a healthy soil,” Meyer explains. As far as electricity generation is concerned, Meyer’s biogas plant has become more sophisticated too. He sells the green biogas power to a cooperative that specializes in marketing electricity from renewable energy when it is most advantageous. These advan-
tages occur when wind power is low in his windy region of Schleswig-Holstein. For the operators of Nordstrand Island Energy, this distribution channel for biogas electricity offers an attractive alternative to the FITs and their guaranteed prices. “We can store the gas for a time when the sun has set and the wind does not blow strongly,” explains Thorben Holsteiner who planned the erection of biogas plant on Meyer’s farmyard. An ever increasing number of such projects to make biogas plants more flexible are now in the planning phase all over Germany.
The federal government has put forward proposals that would reign in the further expansion of biogas. In the future, biogas operators and their representatives in Berlin will be busy convincing politicians of the value of their type of renewable energy. If the real costs and damages inflicted by fossil fuels were taken into account, biogas with its assets such as storage capabilities is already competitive today. In the long-run the combination with wind and other renewables should make bioenergy viable for years to come. For more details, visit:
Biogas is still the cheapest way to provide much needed storage for electricity markets.
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LIBERALS DEMOCRATS for Europe
ON YOUR SIDE
Moment of Truth Writer: David O’Leary is a Director in the Government Relations team at Burson-Marsteller, a leading public affairs and communications agencies in Brussels. He is project leader of Europe Decides – an initiative tracking the institutional changes in the EU in 2014. He writes here in a personal capacity.
The ‘old continent’ is in the midst of an economic, social and political crisis: a sluggish economy, high unemployment, and dysfunctional and distrusted institutions. And on the horizon come the European Parliament elections. Too often ignored by political parties and voters alike, these elections could be the European Union’s moment of truth. Extremist, anti-establishment and anti-EU parties are likely to make gains in the first European polls since the euro crisis took hold in Greece and elsewhere. Could the very existence of the European Union as we know it be under threat? In May, 390 million Europeans will have the right to choose 751 Members of the European Parliament. Previous experience suggests that around half of this number will not exercise their right, and that many of those who do vote will use the poll to send a signal of discontent or open hostility towards the European Union. 60
Fringe Benefits This will be nothing new: European elections have always been a lightning rod for discontent with the European project – discontent that is buried, in national elections, under domestic financial and political considerations. The UK Independence Party has held seats in the European Parliament since 1999, while never coming close to winning a seat at Westminster. The French National Front has been represented in Brussels and Strasbourg since the mid1980s but never got a firm foothold in the National Assembly. Various fringe groups on the political right and left have MEPs, but no MPs. However, this time may be different. Many of these groups are polling far higher than ever before. Some groups – ranging from
the politically eclectic Five Star Movement (M5S) in Italy, to the neo-fascist Golden Dawn and Jobbik in Greece and Hungary respectively – have significant representation in national parliaments, and are set to make a larger impression in the European Parliament. Some predictions suggest these fringe groups could take 25 and 30 % of the vote. All these groups are playing on the unprecedented economic, social and political crisis facing Europe and its nations. Indeed, no elections to the European Parliament have taken place against a backdrop of such crisis, pessimism and Euroscepticism. Low growth, high unemployment and distrust of political institutions are the fertile ground in which extremist, anti-establishment and anti-EU parties have taken root. Their growth threatens to stymie the work of the European Parliament after 2014 and, by extension, that of the European Union. The Assembly – once seen as parttalking-shop, part-kindergarten for aspiring politicians, part-retire-
ment home for has-beens – now has real power, making laws on equal terms with national governments, sitting in the Council of the European Union. It is feasible that the extreme right will have enough members to form a transnational political group – a key step that gives access to speaking time, funding and roles in the Parliament’s decision-making bodies. Some predict that left-wing groups – such as Greece’s Syriza and Spain’s United Left – could make even bigger gains. And maverick movements, such as Beppe Grillo’s M5S, further complicate the picture. The EU establishment will be squeezed. The European People’s Party – whose leading lights include national leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, Spain’s Mariano Rajoy and Poland’s Donald Tusk – is set to lose seats (partly the price of incumbency). The center-left Socialists may make gains, but seem unlikely to profit significantly from dissatisfaction with Europe’s center-right leaders. The Liberals could lose up to half their current representation.
GUE/NGL – Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left – (Currently 35 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 13 EU Member States)
S&D – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats – (Currently 195 MEPs from all 28 EU countries) Greens/EFA – Greens/European Free Alliance – (Currently 58 MEPs from 15 EU Member States)
ALDE – Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – (Currently 85 MEPs from 21 EU Member States)
EPP – European People’s Party – (Currently 273 from 27 EU Member States)
ECR – European Conservatives and Reformists – (Currently 57 MEPs from 11 EU Member States) EFD – Europe of Freedom & Democracy Group – (Currently 31 MEPs from 12 EU Member States)
NI – Non-attached Members – (Currently 32 MEPs from 11 EU Member States)
Making Europe Work Again The European Parliament and the European Union will face some significant challenges in this new political landscape. First, the institutions and the established parties need to wake up a little: the support for fringe groups does reflect some legitimate political concerns, whether they be about the economy (the use of the uncompromising bludgeon of austerity), immigration and integration (between Europe and the world, and between European countries), or a lack of democratic power (the perceived ‘imposition’ by the EU of leaders in Italy and Greece, for example). Perception counts for a lot,
even if extreme groups – naturally – take these issues to extreme positions. Second, the European Union probably needs to become more ‘political’ and democratic. It may be difficult to avoid a right-left ‘grand coalition’ in the European Parliament if fringe parties perform very well, but such a scenario could well feed into an existing perception of the political establishment closing ranks and ignoring the voice of the electorate.
[...] no elections to the European Parliament have taken place against a backdrop of such crisis, pessimism and Euroscepticism. Image (left): Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Source: Alexandre Prévot /Flickr.
However, one innovation of this election may help. The leading European par-
Image (right): Act. React. Impact. European Elections 2014 campaign poster. Source: European Parliament.
ties are choosing ‘lead candidates’ who would, in theory be their pick to be the next President of the European Commission (which proposes and implements EU law). This move may help counter the view that the EU – and the Commission in particular – is undemocratic. The former Luxembourg prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, will be the EPP candidate; the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, will lead the Party of European Socialists’ campaign; and Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, is the Liberals’ choice to be Commission president (although he will co-lead the campaign with Olli Rehn, the EU’s Commissioner
for Economic and Monetary Affairs). The hope is that the visibility of these candidates will help increase the legitimacy of their nomination (by EU heads of government) and subsequent election by the European Parliament, even if the main three parties’ candidates have been criticized as ‘yesterday’s men’ by some commentators. But danger lies in the complicated system used for picking a new Commission president. National leaders, sitting in the European Council, only have to ‘take into account’ the results of the elections before making a nomination to the European Parliament, which must decide whether to elect the candidate by an absolute majority of all
MEPs (a task made much harder if there is a significant rump of anti-Europeans). There are fears that some European leaders – including Angela Merkel and the outgoing President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy – may try to circumvent the process in the event of a close result, picking someone from outside the current crop of candidates. It may suit national governments to do things in this old-style way (and they may be able to bully the Parliament into accepting the candidate) but such a move would surely be seized on by critics as another example of Europe ignoring the people. Short-term happiness for EU leaders may lead to a long and painful hangover.
BECAUSE IT MATTERS. WWW.EUROPARL.EU #EP2014
Third, the EU needs to be more decisive and active in tackling the crisis and its causes. Again, national leaders are one of the stumbling blocks – witness the dozens of summits before effective action was taken on the euro crisis. A more dynamic and forceful Commission president, with a parliamentary majority, may help the EU to be bolder, more relevant and more effective. If the EU is to (re-)connect with the people(s) of Europe, it also needs to focus more on the impact of its work on
improving each citizen’s job prospects and standard of life, and communicating this work in comprehensible language. Finally, there probably needs to be a reassessment of what the EU does and how it looks to the outside world. Most of the candidates for the Commission presidency certainly agree on this, as do many EU leaders (although few want to re-open the treaties as British premier David Cameron – who has promised a referendum on UK membership
in 2017 based on a renegotiation of powers – seems to wish). Much can be done without reopening the treaties, certainly in terms of perception: the in-vogue phrase is for Europe to be “big on big things, small on small things”, cutting down on the type of overly-precise regulation for which the EU has – sometimes rightly – been criticized. Structures could also change, such as reducing the number of European Commission departments and agencies.
A New EU Energy Agenda
Endgame? Despite all its problems, the European Union is still relevant and necessary. National leaders grumble about the EU – even when fault invariably lays closer to home – but still back membership (and, crucially, the single currency), as do most of Europe’s citizens, when push comes to shove. We should remember that while current members grumble, others are clamouring to join the Union (such as in Ukraine, or countries in the Balkans) and many independence movements, such as in Scotland, Catalonia and Flanders, also want to be part of the EU. The results of the European Parliament elections are likely to give the leadership of the European Union a jolt. Extremists will have a stake in how the EU functions. There will be much hand-wringing, blame and dire predictions for the future. However, with the right mix of democratic reform, citizen-focused policy, better communication and strong leadership, the European Union can show that reports of its demise have been very much exaggerated.
Learn more about Europe Decides:
The European Union and its environmental targets are often blamed by national governments for high electricity prices that are putting household budgets under strain in many European countries. The high cost of energy for consumers and businesses means that the issue of shale gas – and the controversial ‘fracking’ technique used to extract the gas – could feature high on the agenda in this year’s European Parliament elections. Shale gas is seen as one of the solutions to high prices by its proponents, such as Poland and the United Kingdom, but it is an issue that deeply divides the EU, with France among those Member States that are opposed. The Commission’s solution – such as it can be called a solution – was simply to recommend minimum standards for fracking; a cautious, Member State-led policy that is not untypical of Europe’s activity in this field. However, energy policy can, with the right leadership, be an issue that the European Union can use to demonstrate its value: if national leaders could agree, the breaking down of barriers between national markets and a common approach to buying energy from outside the European Union could bring down prices. Greater investment in green technology could help Europe reduce emissions and provide an economic boost, helping to show other regions of the world – which pollute far more than Europe does – that sustainable growth is possible. Unfortunately, it is the political will and leadership – both at European and national level – that is lacking. In January, the Commission, under pressure from Member States proposed European targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The European Parliament responded by backing more challenging, binding national targets. The battle for Europe’s energy future will continue.
ENERGY CITIES' ANNUAL RENDEZVOUS 23–25 April 2014 Riga, Latvia
Co-organised with the City of Riga, European Capital of Culture 2014
RS E D A E L L LOCA BLE A N I A T S U FOR S ENERGY
BRIDGING PEOPLE IDEAS and REGIONS
On the Crisis and Resistance Excerpts from an interview by Slovenian journalist, Boštjan Videmšek, about the European crisis and popular resistance, with Greek philosopher, Costas Douzinas, professor of Law at Birkbeck University of London, director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, and author of the influential book: Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe (Polity, 2013). [...] The ‘structural adjustment’ of Africa and the ‘Washington consensus’ of Latin America have been imported into the heart of Europe. The need of the periphery to unite is important. Those who now suffer the most can lead Europe in a new direction which will benefit the whole Union. This is the central plank of the Syriza agenda which finds resonance all over southern Europe. Only recently, the Italian journalist and author, Barbara Spinelli, suggested that the Italian Left should unite under Tsipras and run in the European elections with a program of refounding Europe. If Europe does not go back to its founding ideas, it will wither away or become just a small club of the rich North seen by everyone else as a new holy alliance against the interests of the working people in the rest of Europe. The EU has become a highly bureaucratic institution defined geographically rather
than through its guiding ideas and principles. There is a geographical place called Europe but it does no longer embody the ‘idea’ of Europe as dreamt by Hegel, Husserl or Derrida. A key component of that ideal was redistribution from the rich to the poor, a modicum of ‘transfer union’, which would close the gap between North and South. The social democratic leadership of the 1970s and 1980s achieved some convergence and integration and promoted anti-discrimination legislation and minimum social and economic rights. Thatcher’s great victory was to undermine the project of political integration and social convergence by continuously expanding the membership and turning the EU into just a free market. She prepared the ground for the neo-liberal turn for which the common currency means just fiscal stability. This is more important than social cohesion and, as a result, the common currency has become the means
of transferring resources from the poor to the rich. This is the madness of the current situation. All transfers are from the South to the North either through imports of German cars and goods or through the repayment of loans given to the South so that the Northern banks can get their earlier loans back. Did you expect the rise of neo-Nazism? We could see it coming, even though many turned a blind eye hoping that it was just a bad dream: it was the murder of the rapper, Pavlos Fyssas, in September 2013 that aroused the historical memory of the Greek people. But why wasn’t there the same response when the far Right was attacking migrants and small traders or when they were committing all kinds of crimes against immigrants, Roma, gays, and leftists? All States use two types of violence. The first is legal, covered by law and giving the State the “monopoly of violence”. The second is formally illegal and uses parastate methods which operate secretly underground. There is evidence in Greece, of the spread of the formally illegal type of violence. When State legitimacy – encapsulated in the phrase ‘the State is doing its job well’ – disappears, then the State resorts to these ancillary methods of legitimation, increasing violence use both openly and in secret. I think it is at this stage that we find ourselves now. Golden Dawn is a symptom of a wider malaise of the ruling classes and the state system that was built to guarantee their permanent dominance. […]
What's the future of resistance? Let me answer by means of three theses that I have developed as a result of my participation in various resistances and my theoretical work:
Communism that leads to resistance but the sense of injustice, the bodily reaction to hurt, hunger, despair. The idea of justice and equality are maintained or lost as a result of the existence and extent of resistance.
1. Resistance is a process or experience of subjectivization. We become new subjects when we realize a split in identity, because my particular existence has failed and my identity is split and cannot be completed. The failure of our daily routine identity opens the road to the universality of resistance; it involves risk and perseverance; resistance is the courage of freedom.
3. Local and regional resistances can become political and succeed in radically changing the balance of forces if they turn collective and condense, temporarily or permanently, a number of causes, a multiplicity of struggles and local and regional grievances bringing them all together in a common central place and time. At this point, resistance becomes a hegemonic force. [...]
2. Resistance is first a fact not an obligation. It is not the idea or the theory of justice or
Resistance is the courage of freedom Image: Protesting high school students hurled rocks and bottles during a rally to mark the third anniversary of the fatal police shooting of a teenager in central Athens. Thessaloniki, Greece, December 6, 2011. Source: Nikolas Giakoumidis.
Do you believe that Syriza can change things? Throughout history, revolutions succeed when a power system has run its course and has become obsolete and harmful. This is the case in Greece. Historical necessity can be recognized only retrospectively of course; we no longer believe in the inevitable march of progress. Three elements are required to turn contingency
into necessity: 1) strong popular desire, 2) a political agent prepared to take power, and 3) a catalyst which combines the other elements into a combustible whole. All three elements have converged in Greece: popular will in civil resistance, Syriza as political agent, and austerity as the catalyst that will lead to the first radical Left government in Europe. [...] Critics of Syriza say that the biggest problem of the party is a lack of a sustainable economical program? This is wrong. The Syriza economists are some of the best economists in Greece and Europe with wide international recognition. You will hear many criticisms such as “they don’t have developed policies” or “they don’t have an economic program.” From the Left, these criticisms are typical examples of what Walter Benjamin called the ‘Left melancholy’: the commitment to defeat and its introspection which refuses or even attacks all prospects of victory. [...] Read the full interview:
Dr. RamGopal Agarwala explains where India as a nation stands today, and explores what has to change in order to achieve a state of sustainable prosperity by the time of its centennial anniversary in 2050. Writer: Dr. RamGopal Agarwala is a Distinguished Fellow at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries.
The 20th century was replete with political liberation movements, but it also intensified growing income differences. Many perceive income apartheid between North and South as an unnatural hangover from the European colonial era because if all nations are endowed with similar abilities and given equal opportunities, there would be income convergence rather than divergence. At the turn of the 21st century, there is a distinct tendency towards income convergence, which is both desirable and plausible. Among developing countries, China seems particularly well placed to catch up with developed countries by 2050. Indiaâ€™s growth performance over the last 60 years has been mixed and a course correction is needed to restore its high growth trajectory and become a high-income country by 2050.
A New Paradigm for Prolonged Prosperity A better India is possible provided that the Washington-inspired neo-liberalism be abandoned. The more salient features of a new paradigm include the following: Focus on achieving sustainable prosperity instead of poverty alleviation. Prosperity is defined as achieving the per capita income of developed countries today which will also help address mass deprivation and poverty. Four dimensions stand out to move in that direction: I. Economical sustainability will require a globally competitive production structure with innovation as a major driver. II. Financial sustainability will require avoiding large internal and external imbalances and controlling speculative finance/casino capitalism with tight regulations.
III. Social sustainability will require opportunities for upward social mobility and employment for all, as well as avoiding crony capitalism with transparent and accountable governance. IV. Ecological sustainability will require remaining within globally responsible levels of carbon emissions by adopting low-carbon systems of consumption and production. With regards to growth drivers, the new paradigm would mean a switch from the tradeoriented goods sector to trade-oriented service sector. While goods (both agriculture and manufacturing) will remain an important part of the economy, most incremental growth and employment will come from the service sector, including construction, communication, business services, health, tourism, education, research and technology.
Indiaâ€™s growth will come largely from the service sector that will require a basic transformation of the education system. India has a comparative advantage in knowledge-creation and knowledge marketing, but this advantage has not been materialized, mainly due to three unfortunate characteristics of Indiaâ€™s education system: it is imitative rather than creative; protectionist rather than competitive; and elitist rather than universal. In the new strategy, these three characteristics have to be changed. Education systems must forego the colonial hang-over and design curricula and training systems in line with Indiaâ€™s conditions and requirements. They must open competition to a global level where foreign providers of education will compete with local ones within a clear regulatory framework. India must not allow any bright mind to go uncultivated, irrespective of income, caste, community or gender.
Leading Low-Carbon Lifestyles India has several important ways of reducing carbon-intensity: (1) the service sector has lower carbon intensity of GDP than the goods-producing sectors and since India’s growth trajectory would be service sector oriented, its carbon-intensity of growth would be lower. (2) In the service sector, income generation is largely building-oriented and there are now many techniques of low-energy (even negative energy) buildings which will contribute to India’s low carbon economy. (3) The agricultural sector in developed countries accounts for about 6% of carbon emissions while accounting for only about 2% of GDP. India with its traditional lowmeat diet can reduce carbon-intensity of
Carbon constraints will force us to adopt low-carbon lifestyles, which will improve our energy security. its agricultural sector by a considerable margin while making its diets healthier. (4) Western countries have developed a private automobile-oriented lifestyle, which is both unhealthy and wasteful in terms of carbon emission and land space. India has an opportunity to follow a wiser policy (similar to Singapore’s) by keeping private automobile ownership low (about 150 per thousand persons) and facilitating public transport, taxi-services, non-motorized vehicles and walking. Despite significant efforts to reduce and save energy, the energy needs of a prosperous India will remain substantial. Our analysis shows that the only way India
Image (pp. 68-69): The Taj Mahal. Agra, India. 2007. Source: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr. Image (right): Air India building & the Trident Hotel at Marine Drive, Mumbai, India. 2011 Source: Andrés Romanos / Flickr Image (top): Solar panels powering a rural cultural and drama center, near Auroville, Puducherry. Source: Martin Wright / Ashden
can achieve energy security along with prosperity is by a massive expansion of solar power, similar on a per capita basis, to what the EU is trying to achieve in its energy roadmap to 2050. In view of the centrality of solar power for achieving greater sustainable prosperity, we recom-
mend setting up a Solar Energy Commission in India with a high profile and liberal funding, comparable to what was done for atomic energy in India in the 1950s. A prosperous India will be largely citycentric with cities accounting for more than 80% of income, employment and human resource development. Effective mechanisms will have to be created to facilitate the large-scale transfer of labor from rural to urban areas and for converting a small percentage of land from rural use to urban use. Cities have to be highly competitive to attract the best knowledge workers who would have a global market and they will have to be “green cities” in order to address India’s ecological con-
straints. India’s present cities are largely a mess: neither globally competitive in terms of living conditions nor ecologically sound. The efforts of the Government for urban renewal have had limited success and they need to be redesigned for better results. Fortunately, most of India’s urbanization lies in the future and there is a great opportunity to start smarter urban development projects based on the principle of “new cities, new rules”. The development process of new knowledge hubs will require conversion of about 5% of agricultural land to urban usage. There is no way rural incomes can be increased substantially while keeping the majority of our workers in agricultural
occupations. More than 80% of Indian farmers will have to be re-settled in nonagricultural occupations, largely in cities. Such massive conversion is now taking place in an unplanned manner often benefiting the speculators and creating dangerous bubbles in property prices. If unchecked, these property bubbles can deal a big blow to India’s growth trajectory just as they did to Japan in the 1990s. A planned system of land conversion is needed to develop knowledge corridors in the Indian economy. We propose a system of compensation and resettlement of landowners which we believe will be a win-win solution for both the farmers and public authorities trying to develop new urban hubs.
India at a Crossroads The new paradigm needs to incorporate the provision of public goods: the government needs to be a major part of the solution for development. Within a framework of publicprivate partnerships, the public sector will be the senior partner. Departing from the socialist era of the 1950-80s and from the neo-liberal era since the 1980s, the new paradigm can follow a middle path close to the systems adopted by Germany and Nordic countries. While learning from the best in the world, India can devise its development rooted in tradition. India should be able to achieve GDP growth rate of 7% per year during 2010-2050.
The Government will have to play a dominant role in creating the foundations of the knowledge economy. Post-secondary education including vocational training must be integrated closely with companies dealing with the marketing of knowledge products. ICT must be deployed fully to share online lectures from high-quality teachers and to keep the costs of higher education manageable. India cannot achieve prosperity unless a high percentage of its work force acquires the skills needed in a knowledge economy that are not possible unless access to quality education is universal. Inclusiveness in education is a precondition for Indiaâ€™s prosperity.
The current Government of India is clearly incapable of doing its duty. Image (left): Mumbai, India. 2007. Source: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr Image (right/top): Mumbai, India. 2010. Source: Sunghwan Yoon / Flickr Image (right/bottom): Mumbai, India. 2010. Source: Scott McLeod / Ashden
sion and what is needed now is their effective implementation. The quality of administrative services will depend on the quality and motivations of their political masters. A sharp deterioration has taken place in India: the political system has become vitiated by money and muscle power and winners of elections often openly look to their positions of power as instruments of earning decent rates of return on the election expenses incurred by them and/or their election financiers. Here again the United States with its system of lobbies and election funding is a bad role model for India. India can learn from European practices of giving constitutional status to political parties and developing a system of state financing of elections. Image: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. 2012. Source: Nagarjun Kandukuru / Flickr
The vision of sustainable prosperity will require a very pro-active government.
The vision of prolonged growth presented will require a pro-active government. The neo-liberal adage “get the government off your back” has to be replaced by “get the government to do its duty of providing public goods.” The current Government of India is clearly incapable of doing its duty. This is evident from both international and national reports on the quality of governance in the country. One major facilitating factor is the development of ICT and e-governance. There are now vast opportunities for improving service delivery, better communications within government, and between government, businesses and the public, as well as greater transparency and better accountability. With India’s widely-acknowledged ICT prowess, e-governance should certainly be a major instrument for improving governance in India. According to UN reports, India scores relatively low. India can learn from high performers in this area such as South Korea and Singapore.
Performance of e-governance can only be as good as the administrative system allows. India’s administration services are largely still in colonial mode. During the era of national liberation, leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru were convinced of the need to change the colonial system of administration to free India. However, after Independence, the system was left largely intact which helped India maintain stability that eluded so many other post-colonial countries. After 60 years of independence, it is now imperative to change the ethos and functioning of the administrative system which needs to grow out of “rule” mode and into “service” mode; the personnel has to acquire some domain knowledge of the functions they perform and they need to be given some stability of tenure to deliver on their duties. Their security of tenure and promotion should also be based on performance and their appointments should be open to competition from outsiders. Similar and many other useful recommendations have been made by the Second Administrative Reform Commis-
Even with such reforms, the Government can do its duty only if the public does its duty in terms for paying taxes and other charges required by the state and following the rules of public behavior as enacted by the state. Beyond their fundamental rights, society and the State must focus more on their duties: a National Duties Commission could be set up to complement the Human Rights Commission. The list for positive change is long and given India’s recent performance, one may wonder if they could ever be delivered. But there are cases in India, such as in Gujarat, where good governance and sustained growth are being achieved, despite India’s current conditions. If India follows its present path, inspired largely by neo-liberalism, then it will end up in a middle-income trap with widespread deprivation, severe internal social tensions and possible loss of sovereignty. If it can design a new paradigm based upon its own realities and traditions while learning from European and Asian countries, then it can achieve prosperity which is sustainable in economic, financial, social and ecological terms. India can be a high income country with a strong GDP by 2050 and can contribute constructively to sustainable global development standards as a leading civilization of the world.
Visit the website of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries:
Things Come Apart Digging into the Material Essence of Things
Todd McLellan is a Toronto-based photographer who grew up using his camera as a means of exploring the world around us. His fascination for how things work compelled him to take apart everyday objects to display all the materials used. This process resulted in the â€œDisassembly Seriesâ€? which was expanded and led to the publication of his book: Things Come Apart (Thames & Hudson, 2013). 76
Todd McLellan talks to Revolve about the creative process of meticulously disassembling objects and carefully reorganizing their myriad parts to then film or photograph them on display or tossed into the air. His goal is to influence the way we think about disposable materialism and consumerism culture.
For more on Todd McLellan:
How did the Disassembly Series come about and evolve? I started collecting objects that I had found on curbs or thrift shops years before I did the photographs. They were just an odd collection of working objects that I wanted to document in some way. I looked
at the standard still life â€“ the portrait of the object â€“ but it was rather mundane. I thought it would be great to show an assembly diagram where the object is seen in drawings with lines pointing to the different parts, but that required too much post production to
get to the point and a lot of pieces were lost behind others. So I just laid the pieces down on a blank background; it solved what I was trying to show. Everything was out in the open for everyone to see. The phone was the first project. I wasn't sure how this process was
going to correlate to the rest of the objects. I was part of the whole process, from acquiring the objects, to disassembling and photographing. This allowed me to understand the object and create a plan for laying it out. The falling image was just the opposite. I made
sure that some of the main components were visually in the correct space but the rest was chaos. I took the love of image-making and my hands-on abilities and put them together. It satisfied my curios-
ity of finding out what was inside objects and how things work, while creating a thought process for understanding the objects in the world around us.
Portraying the material essence of daily and retro objects, Todd McLellan challenges our culture of consumerism and highlights the many things we throw away:
“I hope people think a little more about the things they use […] Not that people should have feelings for objects, but instead think about reuse and recycling, not just use and discard.”
Choice of Paper & Printing Printing: Artoos A sustainable production chain: all offset presses use VOC-free inks based on vegetable oils. -50% CO2 emissions since 2008 ! 53520-1312-1007
Features: Printed on 90grs RePrint paper.
Paper Distribution: Antalis All paper used is 100% recycled FSC-approved and from ISO 14001 or EMAS certifed suppliers. 44
Cover: Printed on 170grs Cocoon Silk paper with matte laminate.
Views: Printed on 115grs Cocoon Silk.
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Published on Mar 31, 2014