RECENT SYMPOSIA RESEARCH RESULTS CURRENT PROJECTS PUBLICATIONS UPCOMING EVENTS

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N 9 March NEWSLETTER RECENT SYMPOSIA RESEARCH RESULTS CURRENT PROJECTS PUBLICATIONS UPCOMING EVENTS INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DECISIONS IED - NEWSLETTER
N 9 March NEWSLETTER RECENT SYMPOSIA RESEARCH RESULTS CURRENT PROJECTS PUBLICATIONS UPCOMING EVENTS INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DECISIONS IED - NEWSLETTER March 2011 IED Public Lectures: Cooperation in Environmental Problem-Solving The topic of this term s IED Public Lecture Series is Cooperation in Environmental Problem-Solving. Among the speakers are Prof. Professor Martin Jänicke, Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie Universität Berlin, Dr. Hans Jöhr, Corporate Head of Agriculture at Nestlé, Dr. Charles Efferson, Department of Economics, University of Zurich, and Dr. Devesh Rustagi, Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED), ETH Zurich. IED Project News ClimPol at Work A Transdisciplinary Case Study in Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Switzerland After the big success of the Transdisciplinary Case Study (TdCS) in 2009, the 2010 case study was organised in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden again. 18 students analyzed the feasibility of the canton s energy concept from the perspective of households, energy utility companies and business and industry. High Security and Biosafety Costs for Field Trials with GM Crops in Switzerland For every Euro spent on research, an additional 1.26 Euros were used for security, biosafety and governmental regulatory supervision. With these findings, the study of Thomas Bernauer s group concludes that without major cost reductions, further field experiments with GM plants in Switzerland are unlikely. Research Highlights AFEE: Agricultural Nitrogen Emissions A Challenge! Swiss agriculture shows progress in reducing environmentally harmful nitrogen emissions. Nevertheless, the potential of cheap and well-applicable mitigation practices is limited. Therefore, it will remain a challenge for research, policy and praxis to achieve the official long-term emission goals stated by law. PEPE: Does Adaptation to Climate Change Provide Food Security? Empirical Evidence from Ethiopia The main driving forces behind farm households decisions to adapt to climate change are access to credit, information on climate change, and extension services. Climate change adaptation, that is the implementation of a set of strategies in response to long run changes in temperature and rainfall, increases farm households food productivity. These findings are particularly important for designing agriculture policies to provide food security in Ethiopia. Studies ETH PhD Academy on Sustainability and Technology 2011 Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: An Organizational Science Perspective Vom 16. bis 21. Januar 2011 fand im Monte Verità Kongresszentrum in Ascona die vierte ETH PhD Academy on Sustainability and Technology statt. Unter Anleitung dreier führender Wissenschaftler aus dem Bereich der Managementwissenschaften diskutierten 15 Doktorierende aus aller Welt ihre aktuellen Forschungsvorhaben aus dem Bereich wirtschaftswissenschaftlicher Forschung zum Klimawandel. CCES Winter School Sustainability Science Meets Practice 2011 The Competence Centre Environment and Sustainability CCES ran for the first time a Winter School on Sustainability Science Meets Practice in January and February Among the lecturers were Pius Krütli, Christian Pohl und Michael Stauffacher from the Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED). Events Reports Externalitäten des Waldes und der Forstwirtschaft in der Schweiz An einem der traditionellen ETH-Montagskolloquien standen am 24. Januar 2011 die Umweltleistungen des Waldes im Mittelpunkt. Das IED an der Klimaausstellung in Basel Prof. Renate Schubert, Prof. Volker Hofmann und Prof. Gertrude Hirsch Hadorn nahmen an Podiumsdiskussionen zu Themen des Klimawandels im Rahmen der Austellung «2 Das Wetter, der Mensch und sein Klima» in Basel teil. Das IED am 20. Basler Gesprächsforum Prof. Renate Schubert und Prof. Roland W. Scholz diskutierten am 20. Basler Gesprächsforum mit mehr als 400 Gästen das Thema «Energiezukunft: Vom Wissen zum Handeln kommen». Das IED an der Natur 2011 Immer mehr Firmen fördern nachhaltiges Verhalten von Mitarbeitenden auch im Privaten. Während des Workshops des Instituts für Umweltentscheidungen (IED) in Zusammenarbeit mit Gammarus GmbH an der Natur 2011 wurden Lösungen erarbeitet wie dieses Potenzial genutzt werden kann. IED Publications News In this issue, we would like to draw your attention to new IED Working Papers, the new WBGU report World in Transition A Social Contract for Sustainability and Prof. R. Schubert s book review of Global, aber gerecht Klimawandel bekämpfen, Entwicklung ermöglichen by O. Edenhofer, J. Wallacher, M. Reder und H. Lotze-Campen. IED - NEWSLETTER March Spring Semester IED Public Lectures: Cooperation in Environmental Problem-Solving Solving today s major environmental problems requires the cooperation of many. Why do individuals, firms, countries sometimes cooperate for the common good and sometimes not? How can we foster so-called collective action for the benefit of the larger society? This semester s IED lectures will provide insights on these issues. Public Lectures held in English at the Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED) Location: ETH Zurich, CHN E42, Universitaetsstrasse 16, Zurich Monday, March 28 th 5:15 6:30 p.m. (with subsequent Apéro) Evolution of Human Cooperation: Empirical Evidence and Application in Public Policy Dr. Charles Efferson Department of Economics, University of Zurich Dr. Devesh Rustagi Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED), ETH Zurich Monday, April 18 th 5:15 6:15 p.m. (with subsequent Apéro) Cooperation of Firms as Alternative Instrument to Solve Environmental Problems Dr. Hans Jöhr Corporate Head of Agriculture at Nestlé Wednesday, May 25 th 5:15 6:15 p.m. (with subsequent Apéro) Climate Policy in Terms of Industrial Policy Professor Martin Jänicke Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie Universität Berlin»» IED Projekt News ClimPol at Work A Transdisciplinary Case Study in Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Switzerland Catharina Bening & Michael Stauffacher After the big success of the Transdisciplinary Case Study (TdCS) within the CCES project ClimPol in Spring 2009, a next case study was organised in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden (AR). This time the geographical focus was on the Appenzeller Mittelland, more precisely the communities of Trogen, Speicher and Bühler. Starting point of the 2010 TdCS was the canton s energy concept which envisions the 2000-Watt-Society for AR until Concretely, fossil energy use should be reduced by 10% until 2015 for buildings and electricity consumption as a whole should not increase by more than 5%. The 2010 TdCS, led by Roland Scholz (NSSI) and Hans Bruderer (Head of the cantonal energy and environmental department), was supported by three professorships from three different departments sending each one PhD student who worked as a tutor on one specific research topic with a group of 5 7 students each: Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), D-UWIS (Prof. Scholz), PhD student Yann Blumer; Ecological Systems Design, D-BAUG (Prof. Hellweg), PhD student Dominik Saner; Group for Sustainability and Technology (SusTec), D-MTEC (Prof. Hoffmann), PhD student Jörn Hoppmann, in collaboration with Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies, University of St. Gallen (Prof. Wüstenhagen), PhD student Elmar Friedrich. The overarching research questions that each of the three groups then translated into their specific field of study were the following: What are the energy-relevant framework conditions the canton AR is exposed to in the next 5 10 years? How do these conditions affect households, industry and energy utilities in AR? How robust are different strategies of these sectors with respect to those conditions? IED - NEWSLETTER March 2011 Old buildings play a key role The canton s long-term goal of a 2000-Watt-Society will only be possible if houses in the region eventually reach a state where their only required energy input will be sunlight. Given this objective the large number of old and energy intensive buildings in the region poses a considerable challenge. To understand what the main energy flows in these houses are, a first group of students developed a typology of different houses. The seven types found represent 70% of the buildings in the three communities. The results show for all house categories considerable potential in increasing the energy efficiency and also options to utilize so far unused renewable energies. Yet, in addition to the type of the house, differences among the respective owners and inhabitants need to be taken into consideration: average income and also environmental awareness between people living in these seven house types were uncovered. These in turn are critical factors which affect people s decision to implement renovations or not. The results show that successful policies targeting energetic renovations must not just be limited to analyzing technical aspects but the social characteristics of the houses inhabitants should also be considered. Based on these results 10 policy options were devised that could aid the canton in achieving its goal. Strategies for the energy utilities of AR Another key player with regard to the energy concept are energy utilities supplying heat, electricity and auxiliary services to the communities of AR. The second group sketched possible future states of the AR energy system and proposed actions which could be taken by the utilities to secure their own future viability within the context of changing external conditions such as the electricity market liberalization. Mainly two groups of players are on the AR energy supply market: a large number of heterogeneous small utilities and the much bigger St. Gallisch-Appenzellische Kraftwerke AG (SAK). These groups naturally face different future challenges. In a changing market, the first group will be under constant financial and due to upcoming efficiency reviews, legal pressure while the SAK will have to elaborate on new business strategies and the question where to invest in renewable energy production. Overall, the goals formulated in the energy concept were assessed as being unrealistic for the whole market of AR utilities but could be a valuable information source for the public in the canton. Preferences of business and industry The third group of students elaborated on energy decisions and policies in AR from the perspective of the business and industry sector, analyzing companies preferences towards strategies and actions, which the cantonal authorities could take to support the contribution of the sector for the achievement of the energy concept goals. Their results show that on the one hand, companies in the canton AR are on their way to introduce measures to reduce their fossil fuel and electricity consumption and increase the energy efficiency, but on the other hand, a sector specific concept could help to define the expectations more clearly. So far, companies are willing to implement energy measures but fail due to economic efficiency. The sector is aware of the energy issue and implements the measures that are economically worthwhile. Increased financial incentives would help to expand the number and effect of measures implemented. Outlook This year s TdCS 2011 is organized within the Swiss National Research Programme 61 Sustainable Water Management. The study region is the region of the Mönchaltorfer Aa and the Greifensee. For this area, the TdCS 2011 will look into local actor networks in an Integrated Watershed Management plan, the robustness and acceptance of different water infrastructure alternatives under different future scenarios; and the impact of water use in agriculture in the time of climate change. Again different chairs of IED are involved: the TdCS 2011 is headed by Prof. Engel (PEPE) and Dr. Stauffacher (NSSI); further PhD students from the groups of Prof. Lehmann (AFEE), again Prof. Hellweg (ESD) and Acroscope Reckenholz (ART) are involved. Last not least, cooperations were established with the EAWAG (Dr. Maurer, Dr. Lienert, Prof. Morgenroth).»» For further information see the NSSI Case Study Website IED - NEWSLETTER March 2011 High Security and Biosafety Costs for Field Trials with GM Crops in Switzerland International Relations For every Euro spent on research, an additional 1.26 Euros were used for security, biosafety and governmental regulatory supervision. With these findings, the study of Thomas Bernauer s group concludes that without major cost reductions, further field experiments with GM plants in Switzerland are unlikely. In 2005, Swiss citizens voted for a moratorium on gene technology. The majority of voters were in favour of the moratorium and, as a result, the commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops was prohibited until This moratorium was extended until However, it excludes scientific research with field experiments clarifying the benefits and risks of GM crops. The research programme NRP 59 Benefits and Risks of Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants ( ) was set up to gain a solid knowledge base for making decisions after the moratorium ends. NRP 59 consists of field trials with GM wheat in Reckenholz (Canton of Zurich) and Pully (Canton of Vaud) focusing on whether the resistance of the plants to the fungal disease mildew detected in the laboratory also exists in the field and on the interaction of GM wheat lines with the environment. Figure: : Total spending for research, security, biosafety, and regulatory supervision Notes Spending on security has served to protect the field trials from acts of vandalism, the key threat emanating from public opposition. Biosafety expenses are largely due to government regulation. Costs for regulatory supervision are estimates of what the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) spent for dealing with the field trial applications and supervising the implementation of the trials. Barriers for field trials with GM crops in Switzerland Thomas Bernauer s group has estimated the additional costs arising from government regulations and public opposition to field trials with GM crops to provide a reasonably good answer under which specific social and political or regulatory conditions such as field trails can be carried out. The NRP 59 field trials with GM crops in Switzerland have cost more than twice what they would have cost without government regulations and public opposition. In total, additional spending was 1.26 Euros for every Euro spent for research: 78 cents were spent on security, 31 cents on biosafety, and 17 cents on government regulatory supervision. The most important additional cost item was security expenses. The budget for security measures had to be doubled since the beginning of the research programme. For example, initial security measures had to be upgraded after an attack by radical GMO opponents in June So far, 1.4 million Euros have been spent for security at the sites at Reckenholz and Pully. The study by Thomas Bernauer s group offers a quantative assessment of the implications of existing regulations and public opposition for field trials with GM plants. However, the key issues in this context are whether Swiss funding agencies will be willing in the future to pay additional costs in the same order of magnitude as in NRP 59, and whether Swiss scientists will be willing to engage in field trials under such conditions or carry out such work in other countries with lower regulation constraints. For the approval of future field trials with GM plants in Switzerland, measures to reduce the additional costs would be required; for example, the establishment of protected sites that are open to all research groups conducting publicly funded field trials. Otherwise, it appears unlikely that further field trials with GM plants will take place in Switzerland without major cost reductions. Scientists are currently developing GM plants with a wide range of potential attributes as well as plants produced by other novel genetic and other technologies. The implications of not being able to independently field test these new plants in Switzerland need to be carefully considered by policy makers. Publication Bernauer, T., Tribaldos, T., Luginbühl, C. & Winzeler, M. (2011). Government regulation and public opposition create high additional costs for field trials with GM crops in Switzerland. Transgenic Res DOI /s x See also ETH life»» IED - NEWSLETTER March 2011 Research Highlights AFEE: Agricultural Nitrogen Emissions A Challenge! Simon Peter Swiss agriculture shows progress in reducing environmentally harmful nitrogen emissions. Nevertheless, the potential of cheap and well-applicable mitigation practices is limited. Therefore, it will remain a challenge for research, policy and praxis to achieve the official long-term emission goals stated by law. Agriculture is the main emitter of three reactive nitrogen (N) compounds (ammonia, nitrate and nitrous oxide). Even if some progress in reducing nitrogen emissions has been observed in the past, the primary sector is still in charge of reducing environmentally harmful nitrogen emissions in order to avoid damages in sensitive ecosystems such as forests or moorland. Further efforts are required, because considerable gaps can be observed between the current level of agricultural emissions and the stated long-term emission goals. For example, ammonia emissions should nearly be halved from actually 48 kt N to 25 kt N in order to reach the focused longterm goal. In a recent project, we analyzed ways and costs for achieving different emission targets in the year 2020 by applying an economic land use and food supply model. Assuming economically rational behavior, the model simultaneously estimates agricultural production as well as its impact on nitrogen emissions and greenhouse gas compounds. In order to assess i) the mitigation potential and ii) the corresponding abatement costs of an agricultural nitrogen reduction we additionally implemented a set of mitigation practices into the model. This set consists of approved and well-applicable mitigation practices from which a main impact can be expected unto 2020 (e.g. ideal manure distributor, nitrogen-reduced feedstuff or covering manure stores). Given the current agricultural policy regime in Switzerland and the considered mitigation measures, model runs show that nitrogen emissions will decrease at most by 10% until Regarding ammonia, 75% of that reduction can be achieved through mitigation measures, while the other 25% are the result of a livestock reduction. With respect to nitrate the whole reduction results from changes in the land-use pattern (less arable land, more grassland), since mitigation techniques in this area are quite rare and hardly practicable from a technological point of view. Without any additional mitigation measures, such as reducing the rumen-degradable protein surplus for example, emission reductions of more than 10% seem only to be achievable via a decline in agricultural production. But this would go along with strong impacts on agricultural income. The latter is illustrated in figure 1, showing the sectoral marginal abatement cost curves of an ammonia and nitrate reduction from 0% to 40%. Compared with the estimated baseline emissions in 2020, emission reductions until 10% can be achieved with rather small marginal abatement costs from 3 12 CHF/kg N. In this area, ammonia can be reduced at lower costs than nitrate, because the implemented ammonia measures are quite cheap (initially 3 CHF/kg N). Reduction in nitrate emissions requires changes in land use pattern which are more expensive at the beginning (initially 10 CHF/kg N). But once the mitigation potential of the selected ammonia measures are exploited (+/- 10% reduction), marginal costs strongly increase up to 80 CHF/kg N for a 40% reduction. This increase occurs, because high value-added livestock activities must be abandoned if ammonia
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