Updates 2009 closed: see Activities 2010
December is a month of wrapping up lectures, tutorships, publications, with also a few public events. On Dec.10th, I participated in a hearing session in The Hagues organized by the Ministries of Finance and of Environment on Netherlands' future Energy & Climate Policy.
In November the run-up to Copenhagen got wider attention. Some colleagues at the UA took the initiative to organize a climate week with several events; I contributed with two lectures and as participant in a short exchange of views after the movie 'The age of the stupid' was projected. Further I responded to several requests of the media for interviews, opinion statements and providing background information.
In October there has been quite some activity related to the Belgian Cabinet decision to allow the atomic power plants (Doel 1, Doel 2, Tihange 1) exceed their operational life beyond 40 years. Because the depreciation of the plants has been paid by an extra charge on the tariffs of all electricity consumers in the past and given the higher fossil fuel prices these days, nuclear power creates significant rents in the short run (risks and long-term waste are sidelined). Whether part of these rents could be cashed by the treasury was the main media focus. I was interviewed several times by the press on this issue, and I tried to bring up some background analysis; see De ware energiefactuur (2008), and Renewable and nuclear power: A common future? (Energy Policy, 2008).
Some punctual activities that took place in 2009 are mentioned hereafter. After the loaded teaching and tutorship programme during the first semester of 2009, the focus of my activities has shifted to research and publishing in the second semester. Two main subjects are covered. First climate policy analysis and design: a triptych of articles is under way. The "Beyond Kyoto, Plan B: A climate policy master plan based on transparent metrics" is published in Ecological Economics 68 (October 2009). The supporting paper "Preparing Robust Climate Policy Architectures" is submitted to International Environmental Agreements for review. The third paper with working title "Emissions trading without mystery" is progressing slowly due to the many publications still to process; work has been interrupted since August 2009 due to other priorities (see lectures and work for IPCC)
The second area of research is on renewable energy policies. Four articles on renewable energy policies have been published in Energy Policy this year. The article with Volkmar Lauber (Salzburg University) in the December 2009 edition. This analysis requires further study because we have not yet addressed some important aspects of a common EU policy on renewable energy. Also a blueprint on integrating renewable electricity in established power grid sysytems was developed in December 2008, and may be taken up with some colleagues at other universities (work pending). But the focus shifted to the IPCC work: I presented a draft paper on "Renewable Energy Costs, Potentials, Barriers: Conceptual Issues" at the Oslo meeting of Lead Authors (September 2009). Given the wide interest we upgraded the paper to an article now online in Energy Policy (authors are: Aviel Verbruggen, Manfred Fischedick, William Moomaw, Tony Weir, Alain Nadai, Lars,J. Nilsson, John Nynoer, Jayant Sathaye). Our contribution (with Solome Fifita, Samoa) on barriers to renewable energy deployment (section 11.4 of the SRREN) is ready for the first order draft of the SRREN. In addition John Nyboer (Fraser University, Vancouver) and myself completed a short tutorial with spreadsheet for renewable energy project appraisal, mainly directed at our IPCC-SRREN colleagues (see latest downloads).
Finally, an article on 'The relevance of peak oil for climate policy' (with Mohamed Al MArchohi) is submitted for publication. The headlines of this article were presented at the IAEE meeting in Vienna, and recieved remarkable interest from the audience. The blueprint of optimal investment in passive housing is now turned into full construction by Bart Janssens and Mohamed Al Marchohi.
Activities in 2009 (listed by date):