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A new report in Nature involving ICTA-UAB demonstrates that this measure would allow the absorption of nearly half of the carbon built up in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

Diet of pre-Columbian Societies in the Brazilian Amazon Reconstructed

A new study shows that hunting and agroforestry management, and not fishing, were the foundations of subsistence economy for pre-Columbian societies in the Amazon coast of Brazil.

Wildlife conservation undermines the rights of indigenous people and local communities in India

A new EJAtlas map launched by the ICTA-UAB denounces that the current model puts growth and gains before human lives and the nature it is intended to protect.

Ocean Warming and Acidification Effects on Calcareous Phytoplankton Communities

A new study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) warns that the negative effects of rapid ocean warming on planktonic communities will be exacerbated by ocean acidification.

ICTA-UAB economist Joan Martínez Alier wins the Balzan Prize for Environmental Challenges

Economist Joan Martínez Alier from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology  of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the winners of the 2020 Balzan Prize in the category of "Environmental Challenges: Responses from the Social Sciences and Humanities".

Indigenous People Essential to Understanding Environmental Change

An international research involving ICTA-UAB scientists shows how local and indigenous knowledge can help manage ecosystems and wildlife.

New publication in the MAGIC project takes a critical look at circular economy

With the world’s attention focussed on COVID-19, issues that were in the forefront of public concern just a few months ago seem to have magically disappeared.

Economic Benefits of Protecting 30% of Planet’s Land and Ocean Outweigh the Costs at Least 5-to-1

First-of-its-kind report involving ICTA-UAB researcher shows the global economy is better off with more nature protected.

ICTA-UAB awarded the "María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been accredited a Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Proyecto experimental de agricultura urbana, local y tradicional en Sabadell

El ICTA-UAB y el Ayuntamiento de Sabadell constituyen la comunidad FoodE, que reúne a todos los actores implicados en el sistema de producción alimentaria de la ciudad y en esta iniciativa.

What do we breathe when in the forest?

For the first time, a study characterizes the forest chemistry of the air under the canopy of a Mediterranean holm oak forest and detects maximum concentrations in July and August.

Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

                                                                                                                                                                       .

Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

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A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
News
New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

Date: 2019-11-18



It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy. In many respects, Germany’s Energiewende personifies the poster child of that effort. Unfortunately, substantial investments in the Energiewende have not yet yielded significant reductions in GHG emissions and political disillusionment has emerged as an unwelcome result. Decarbonization efforts in other European countries risk making similar blunders unless the contemporary EU policy discourse is thoroughly cross-examined.

A new paper, published last week in Energy Research & Social Science, calls into question the credibility of electricity decarbonization narratives in Europe. The work, authored by researchers Ansel Renner and Mario Giampietro of ICTA-UAB in Barcelona, proposes a novel methodological approach for the study of complex issues such as electricity decarbonization.
“Quantitative story-telling,” explains Renner, “is a rejection of our shared Reductionist upbringings. It embraces the discipline of complex systems analysis and, in the context of European electricity decarbonization, brings to light a number of serious causes for concern.”

Defibrillating the socio-technical discourse
Renner and Giampietro’s paper identifies the Achilles’ heel of the EU decarbonization policy discourse to be the hyperfixation of that discourse on structural change. It is highly unlikely, the study finds, that the “EU’s heroic transition” will result successful unless that transition substantially increases its engagement with functional societal change.

Such a change implies moving from questioning what technologies are “made of” to questioning what technologies are “made for”. For example, it may not be wise to assume that advances in solar photovoltaic technologies—coupled with the highly anticipated advent of electric vehicles and smart grids—will suffice to realize radical decarbonization in the immediate future. Instead, it may be wise to spend equal effort on policies that motivate use changes, including, for example, reductions in long-distance travel as well as the sharing of cars and apartments.

“When I was an undergraduate,” remarks Giampietro, “universities had entire departments tasked with the study of energetics. Unfortunately for us, that field has since been systematically eliminated. Our study attempts to reinvigorate the contemporary discourse on decarbonization by identifying a number of ‘elephants in the room’ inspired by energetics.”

The paper is also part of a greater cause and mission statement—that of the EU Horizon 2020 project Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity (MAGIC). The MAGIC project has been working closely with European policymakers over the past three years, building a strong résumé of heterodox analysis informing the resource nexus. More information and studies on and about water-energy-food resource security in Europe are available on the project website. https://magic-nexus.eu/

Artículo Científico
Renner A., Giampietro M. (2019). Socio-technical discourses of European electricity decarbonization: Contesting narrative credibility and legitimacy with quantitative story-telling. Energy Research & Social Science. Available https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.101279.

 

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