New Article: “Public Attitudes to Climate Change and Carbon Mitigation – Implications for Energy-Associated Behaviours”

Von Borgstede, C. (2013). Public Attitudes to Climate Change and Carbon Mitigation – Implications for Energy-Associated Behaviours. Energy Policy. 1-12.

Abstract: This work explores public opinions regarding climate change and mitigation options and examines how psychological factors, such as attitudes, norms, and willingness to pay, determine self-reported energy-efficient behaviour. The aim is to create knowledge for the design and implementation of policy measures. The results of an opinion poll conducted in 2005 and 2010 are compared. The number of respondents favouring new technologies as a way to reduce emissions was substantially lower in 2010 than in 2005, whereas there was an increase in the number of people who acknowledged that lifestyle changes are necessary to counteract climate changes. This indicates an increased awareness among the public of the need for lifestyle changes, which could facilitate implementation of policies promoting environmental behaviour. Renewable energy and energy saving measures were ranked as the top two measures for mitigating climate change in both polls. In determining which energy behaviours of the public are determined by psychological factors, an analysis of the 2010 survey revealed that respondents with pro-environmental attitudes towards global warming favour significantly increased use of renewable energy technologies and greater engagement in energy-efficient behaviours.

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New Paper: ‘White Paper on Energy 2050: What Does It Take for Reality to Meet Aspirations?’

Description:  This white paper on energy 2050 raises 10 questions that must be addressed in the development of new energy architecture. Today there is a large disconnect between how people hope to live in 2050 and what the energy system is on track to deliver to help them get there. The white paper combines insights about potential visions for that future, with a focus on the types of solutions that are required to achieve change on the scale that is needed.

The energy 2050 paper emphasises the need to address the most relevant issues – those relating to the enjoyment of energy by people living in non OECD countries, both to fuel growth in living standards and also to ensure basic access to energy for billions of people. Solutions must be affordable and achievable in those countries.

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New Article: ‘Marginalization of end-use technologies in energy innovation for climate protection’

Abstract: Mitigating climate change requires directed innovation efforts to develop and deploy energy technologies. Innovation activities are directed towards the outcome of climate protection by public institutions, policies and resources that in turn shape market behaviour. We analyse diverse indicators of activity throughout the innovation system to assess these efforts. We find efficient end-use technologies contribute large potential emission reductions and provide higher social returns on investment than energy-supply technologies. Yet public institutions, policies and financial resources pervasively privilege energy-supply technologies. Directed innovation efforts are strikingly misaligned with the needs of an emissions-constrained world. Significantly greater effort is needed to develop the full potential of efficient end-use technologies.

Full Citation: Wilson, C. et al. (2012). Marginalization of end-use technologies in energy innovation for climate protection. Nature Climate Change, 2: 780-788 (Available for download at: 

Table of Contents Alert: Energy Policy 51 (1)

See below for some of the articles published in Energy Policy 51 (1) : Special Section: Renewable Energy in China 

China’s strategy for energy development and climate change mitigation
He Jiankuna, Yu Zhiwei, Zhang Da
Abstract: In recent years, China has made great efforts in energy saving and carbon emission reduction by pushing forward domestic sustainable development along with global climate change mitigation. The efforts have paid off with a dramatic decrease in carbon intensity. Nevertheless, China is still confronted with tough challenges in emission control due to the fast pace of industrialization, large total historical emission and high growth rate of emissions. Therefore, China should give priority to energy saving by improving energy efficiency and sectoral structure adjustment and upgrade, and develop sustainable and renewable energy to optimize energy mix and its carbon content. China should continue to regard significant reduction of energy intensity and carbon intensity as the main objective in the near future, strive to achieve peak emissions around 2030, and realize a relatively sharp emissions reduction by 2050 in order to address climate change to meet the goal of making the warming less than 2°. Continue reading

New Report – ‘Green Jobs: An Estimate of the Direct Employment Potential of a Greening South African Economy’

The greening of the South African economy has the potential to create more than 460 000 new direct jobs by 2025, according to the Green Jobs report released earlier today by the IDC, DBSA and TIPS.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, emphasised the green economy’s importance as a lever to grow local industrial capacity and create sustainable jobs. The greening of an economy can present substantial opportunities for the creation of sustainable employment through the introduction of new activities in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. “The experience of several advanced and emerging countries that have been adopting green initiatives point toward an extraordinary opportunity for South Africa as it pursues a job-rich new growth path.”

“As a considerable emitter of greenhouse gases, South Africa faces the challenge of transitioning to a less carbon-intensive growth trajectory without delay. In short, our challenge is to use less carbons and more people in our economic growth. This is what we mean by a new growth path,” remarked Patel.

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‘Upscaling renewables beyond IRP allocations will drive green jobs – report’

Engineering News, 25 November 2011 

A new ‘Green Jobs’ report estimates that some 130 023 direct jobs could be created by South Africa’s renewable energy sector by 2025, but only if the renewables allocation outlined in the current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030 is materially expanded.

The IRP for electricity, which was released earlier this year, envisages that independent power producers (IPPs) and State utility Eskom will build a combined renewables base of 17 800 MW by 2030, or about 42% of the new generation capacity to be added by that date.

But a new report, produced jointly by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), argues that the potential for concentrated solar power (CSP) is larger than that envisaged in the current version of the IRP, as is the case for a number of other technologies not currently covered by the generation plan.


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“World Energy Outlook 2011 Special Excerpt on Energy for All: Financing Access for the Poor’

It is an alarming fact that today – in the 21st century – billions of people lack access to the most basic energy services: 1.3 billion people are denied access to electricity around the world and 2.7 billion people rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking. Lack of access to modern energy services is a serious hindrance to economic and social development and must be overcome if the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be achieved.

The World Energy Outlook has devoted attention to the topic of energy and development for many years, developing databases and analyses. In order to inform the debate about how to overcome energy poverty, the WEO has provided energy-poverty data, quantitative analysis and projections for energy use in developing countries. The WEO evaluates energy poverty in the global energy context to inform OECD governments, industry, the private sector and financial institutions.

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‘Global warming holds risks and opportunities for hydropower prospects’

Engineering News, 7 October 2011 

Climate change may provide more water for future hydropower projects, as a higher temperatures will result in a higher evaporation rates, says Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education department of water engineering storage and hydropower associate professor Miroslav Marence.

Global temperature is expected to increase between 1.4 °C and 5 °C, while precipitation should increase between 5% and 20% because of climate change, he explains.

However, while there may be more water available, variability brings about uncertainty and risks of flooding, and drought can impact on hydropower stations. Extreme events can also increase soil erosion and sedimentation, which can impact negatively on hydropower technology.

Marence has conducted a study on hydropower potential and development possibilities in Uganda’s Kagera basin, which takes the effects of climate change into account. The study was conducted in collaboration with Michael KizzaMax Kigobe and Helen Nagawa, of Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda.

Three possible hydropower sites, namely Giteranyi, Rusumo and Kikugate, have been identified in the Karega basin. The total area of the basin is 60 000 km2, with 17 404 km2 covered by lakes and swamps, while it is shared by Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.

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‘Competing discourses of energy development: The implications of the Medupi coal-fired power plant in South Africa’

Abstract: This study explores the discursive dynamics behind the controversy to build the US$17.8 billion 4800 MW Medupi coal-fired power plant in South Africa, the seventh largest in the world. It begins by viewing climate change and energy security not as objective fact driven concepts, but constantly negotiated discourses. Based on a sampling of project documents, reports, testimony, and popular articles, the study then maps the discursive justifications behind the project as well as those against it. More specifically, it isolates themes of economic development, environmental sustainability, and energy security that converge into a discursive ensemble of inevitability supporting complete electrification for all of South Africa. The study also documents themes at the heart of the campaign against Medupi: maldevelopment and secrecy, local and global environmental degradation, and energy poverty which coalesce into a grand narrative of democracy. Tracing the intricacies of the Medupi controversy provides rich insight into energy policy and planning in South Africa. It also emphasizes how struggles to expand access to energy services can exacerbate degradation of the environment, and shows how climate and environmental discourses can become institutionalized.

Full Citation: Rafey, W. & Sovacool, B.K. (2011). Competing discourses of energy development: The implication of the Medupi coal-fired power plant in South Africa, Global Environmental Change, 21 (3): 1141-1151 (Available with subscription from:

‘ Networking for climate change: Agency in the context of renewable energy governance in India’

Abstract: Climate change has disastrous impacts in the developing world and confronts countries like India with immense challenges. The dilemma of addressing these challenges encourages the appearance of new modes of agency. However, the extent to which new agents are able to address these challenges depends on several factors. The aim of this article is to examine these factors and how they affect the ways in which climate change-related challenges to development are tackled in the case of the Indian wind energy sector. By firstly examining the attributes and capabilities of the different actors and secondly applying a stakeholder network analysis, the article identifies different characteristics that support the effective and efficient deployment of wind energy in one Indian state and hinder it in another.

Full Citation: Benecke, E. (2011). Networking for climate change: Agency in the context of renewable energy governance in India, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 11 (1): 23-42 (Available with subscription from  


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