Posts Tagged ‘developing countries’

EFP Brief No. 253: Egypt’s Desalination Technology Roadmap 2030

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

This project was an activity within the framework of Egypt’s Vision 2030 project carried out by the Center for Future Stud-ies in the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center, with the aim of identifying the future needs for desalination technology development, charting a series of research and development activities that will result in cost-effective, efficient revolutionary desalination technologies that can meet the national future needs, and providing short and long term action agenda to guide desalination research and investments in Egypt till the year 2030.

Investment to Meet National Needs

Water shortage is a worldwide problem, where 40% of the world population is suffering from water scarcity. In Egypt, the per capita water share was 771 CM/capita/year in 2005, which is below the international standards of “water poverty line” of 1000 CM/capita/year. Due to the long time horizon required to implement the Upper Nile development projects, directing efforts towards non-conventional water sources – such as; water recycling; reuse of drainage water; treated industrial and sewage effluents; rainfall harvesting; and desalination – provides a short term solution to the water shortage problem. Water desalination should top the agenda of developing non-conventional water resources, since desalination technologies have developed substantially over the last fifty years, especially with the development of “Reverse Osmosis” (RO) technology in the sixties leading to significant reductions in the cost of desalination. Therefore, due to the great advances which occurred in the field of desalination globally, and the noticeable increase in awareness of the importance of such a technology among decision-makers in Egypt, the Center for Future Studies (CFS) at the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) has taken the initiative to develop a desalination technology roadmap for Egypt in the year 2030. The desalination roadmap is a program-planning document that identifies the most appropriate desalination technologies and their related R&D projects that Egypt needs to invest in to meet the national needs.

Developing and R&D Agenda

The desalination roadmap is a program-planning document that identifies different desalination technology alternatives and their related R&D projects, and the milestones for meeting future national needs of water resources. Due to its role in investigating the future of Egypt in different areas, the Center for Future Studies (CFS) at the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) has taken the initiative to develop a desalination technology roadmap for Egypt. The project objectives are:

  1. To identify future needs for desalination technology development.
  2. To chart a series of R&D activities that will result in cost-effective, efficient revolutionary desalination technologies that can meet future national needs.
  3. To establish development activities that will accelerate the rate of improvement of current-generation desalination technologies, and therefore allowing these technologies to better meet the short-term national needs.
  4. To develop short-term and long-term action agendas for the required desalination R&D projects in Egypt till 2030.
  5. To improve communication within the R&D community and between this community and the end users.

Technology Roadmapping Methodology

The desalination technology roadmap project was divided into three main phases: roadmap initiation, technical needs assessment, and technical response development. The first phase was concerned with the preparation of the actual roadmapping process and involved agreement on the roadmap’s scope, leadership, participants and deliverables. This phase involved constituting the Desalination Steering Committee (DSC), validating the need to roadmap and clearly portraying this need in a clear vision statement.

The second phase was Technical Needs Assessment: which involved technical needs definition, by assessing current capabilities and identifying the capability gaps and associated R&D goals. This was carried out by the Steering Committee’s core research group who conducted research in the field of desalination, in general, and in Egypt, in particular to determine recent breakthroughs in desalination technologies and how far Egypt has reached in this field. This was followed by identifying and specifying the areas of technical risks/opportunities, and correspondent technical solutions that are either available, or currently under development through a series of brainstorming sessions to identify potential alternate solutions. This phase resulted in a number of critical objectives associated with each need highlighted in the vision statement, and which certain research projects are meant to fulfill. These targets aim at challenging the R&D community to pursue and achieve major technological breakthroughs to be used in future projects, and should only be developed if key projects are not scheduled to start for another 10 years or more.

The final phase of the project was the Technical Response Development, which involved identifying relevant technological areas and research projects (e.g thermal, membranes, alternative, reuse, and cross-cutting research areas) to meet the metrics of each critical objective, and involved brainstorming to identify all possible technical approaches which represent the mechanisms for achieving the critical objectives. This phase resulted in a Broad Strategic Action Agenda which serves as a guideline for the R&D projects required on the short and mid/long term by providing prioritized suggested R&D projects, their duration and an estimated budget.

Most activities associated with the roadmapping process were conducted through committees or workgroups, and a number of focus group meetings were sequenced and scheduled for all work groups to come together, share results, and reach consensus on the defined targets or critical objectives. In addition, a number of individual follow-up meetings took place.

The Desalination Roadmapping Team was composed of the Desalination Steering Committee (DSC) and the Desalination Working Group (DWG). The main responsibility of the DSC was to oversee the technology roadmapping process, and guide it in the direction of achieving the vision statement or the final goal. The DWG is a committee representing a group of experts in desalination technology, environmental engineering, water resources planning, and energy resources. Their main responsibilities were to brainstorm technology options responsive to the technology strategies provided by the DSC, as well as the costs, benefits and risks of the different options.

Good Water Quality Free of Charge

Upon identifying the steering committee, a meeting was held to highlight the main national needs facing Egypt’s water resources in the future till 2030. This meeting was held among a number of prominent experts in the field of water resources and desalination, and accordingly, the following broad vision for desalination was formulated and agreed-upon to cover the main national needs as below:

“Develop desalination technologies that aim to secure cost-effective, drinkable, fits for its uses and sustainable water for Egypt in 2030”.

National Needs and Critical Objectives to Meet National Needs

Following the extensive literature review carried out by the research team during the second phase of the roadmapping process, the technical needs of Egypt in the field of desalination were identified and were mainly focused on capitalizing on the availability of abundant renewable resources in Egypt, mainly solar and thermal energy. As determined by the agreed-upon vision, Egypt’s main national needs with respect to water can be categorized as:

  • Cost-effective water: In Egypt, as in many countries, there is no direct charge for water services provided for agriculture, while water provided for domestic and industrial uses is subsidized. Farmers receive water free of charges and are only responsible for pumping costs from the manual pump to the field. However, the provision of water free of charges to farmers began to pose an increasing burden on the government especially in the face of increasing costs for O&M and irrigation and drainage system rehabilitation, due to the increasing population and construction of mega projects. As with regards to the municipal and industrial sectors, it is estimated that government subsidies amount to 70% of water service in the industrial sector and 88% in the municipal sector. The rate for domestic water supply in Greater Cairo is about LE 0.13/m3, which is much lower than the cost of providing raw water (around 0.56/m3). Charging users for water and water services in Egypt is a sensitive issue, as it involves political, historical, social, and economic factors.
  • Drinkable water: Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is considered a basic human right, however providing this service and securing the required investments are a real challenge for the government. In Egypt, over 90% of Cairo’s drinking water is drawn from the Nile, which has provided high quality water during the 1970’s and 1980’s. However, the Nile’s water quality showed increasing deterioration in the 1990’s due to increased industrial and agricultural discharges, and also contamination from human sewage. In addition, water quality provision was increasingly threatened by the inefficient infrastructure and deteriorating distribution systems and water treatment plants.
  • Water fits for its uses: Given the worsening water situation in Egypt due to the massive and increasing demand by the agricultural sector, supplementary non-conventional sources including desalination of sea and brackish water, and reuse of waste water, represent very important sources to ensure maximum water allocation for its uses. In general, desalinated seawater costs about more than twice the price of freshwater used in irrigation and hence is considered too expensive for all types of agricultural production. However, desalination costs have decreased to nearly one-tenth of what it was 20 years ago, and are likely to continue falling due to continuous advances in the field. This declination in cost is likely to make the use of desalinated sea or brackish water feasible for wide use in both agricultural and industrial fields.
  • Sustainable water. Achieving the national need of providing sustainable water resources requires that policy makers widen their scope on the main users of water, to include the environment as well as the traditional industry, agriculture and household users. This measure is crucial in the future in order to overcome the unsustainable “hydrological” debt that Egypt faces today, as its future water flows are more or less fixed while consumption is increasing at an enormous rate leading to water depletion.
Quantifying the Objectives

These are the objectives for each national need that the different proposed desalination technologies are expected to fulfill. These objectives gained consensus by the experts who have participated in this study.

Near Term Critical Objectives (2015):

  • Reduce capital cost by 20%
  • Increase energy use by 10%
  • Decrease operating and maintenance cost by 20%
  • In-house manufacture of renewable energy (RE) units
  • Increase public awareness, education/training on the importance of desalination.
  • Water quality meets drinkable water standards identified by Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA)
  • Develop science related concentrate specific regulations
  • Microbial removal
  • Provide water for supplementary irrigation coupled with greenhouse irrigation
  • Water use in industry
  • Reduce cost of desalinated water by 20%
  • In-house manufacture of RE
  • Maintain stability of reclaimed water over time
  • Brine reuse for other purposes

 

Mid/Long Term Critical Objectives (2030):

  • Reduce capital cost by 50%
  • Increase energy efficiency by 50%
  • Reduce operating cost by 50%
  • In-house manufacture of multi stage flashing (MSF)/Multi Effect Distillation (MED) desalinating plants
  • Develop small desalination units for remote areas
  • Address cumulative issues related to concentrate and enhance regulations
  • Wider water for supplementary irrigation coupled with greenhouse irrigation
  • Wider water use in industry
  • Reduce cost of desalinated water between 60-80%
  • Development of new systems projects
  • Use of nuclear energy for large desalination plants using CANada DUterium Oxide Uranium (CANDU) technology.
Desalination Technologies to Address Critical Objectives: Research Areas with the Greatest Potential

The Roadmapping Team identified three main technology areas where R&D is needed in order to create the next-generation desalination technologies. These technologies and their associated research areas are:

  1. Solar/Thermal Technologies:
  • Design and manufacture of solar stills
  • Application of a reflection reduction solution to the glass of solar desalination units
  • continuous improvement in material enhancement for solar desalination unit
  • Multistage evacuated solar desalination system
  • Multiple effect humidification/ dehumidification at ambient temperature (solar)
  • Solar multistage condensation evaporation cycle
  • Enhancement of reverse engineering of national made (5000 m3/day) MSF (or MED) units (existing 5000 m3/day of Sidi Krir & Euon Mosa could be used for verification)
  • Solar PV-RO system
  • Develop solar ponds for energy and concentrate management
  1. Membrane Technologies
  • Enhancement of in- house manufacture of RO technology
  • Enhanced evaporation through Multistage Condensation Evaporation Cycle
  1. Other Technologies
  • Manufacturing of stand alone small desalination units (1.0 – 20 m3/day)
  • Integrated complex for water production (solar stills), electricity (wind, solar, bio mass), food (greenhouses self sufficient of irrigating water, rabbit, sheep and birds breeding), and salts (chemical salts, artemia & fish nutrients).
  • Ionization of salty water for irrigation
  • Secondary treatment of brine for salt production
  • Integrated complex for water production (solar stills), electricity (wind, solar, bio mass), food (greenhouses self sufficient of irrigating water, rabbit, sheep and birds breeding), and salts (chemical salts, artemia & fish nutrients )
  • The biology of salty water, including understanding of environmental impacts, using bacteria for beneficial treatment, etc.

Expectations of Impacts

Given that the critical objectives that are to be achieved by the roadmap are divided into short-term and mid/long term, it was seen as most suitable to divide the strategic plan for desalination into a strategic plan to achieve short term critical objectives and another strategic plan to achieve mid/long term critical objective

Mid/Long Term High Priority R&D Projects
  • Manufacturing of stand alone small desalination units (1.0 – 20 m3/day). Duration: 10 years, Expected Cost: L.E10 million.
  • Integrated complex for water production (solar stills), electricity (wind, solar, bio mass), food (greenhouses self sufficient of irrigating water, rabbit, sheep and birds breeding), and salts (chemical salts, artemia & fish nutrients). Duration: 5 – 10 years, Expected Cost: L.E 2.5 million.
  • Storage of brackish water aquifers all over the country. Duration: 10 years, Expected Cost: LE 5 million
  • Bio technology using Bacteria, micro, plants…etc, that reduce amount of salt in seawater (e.g. Man-Grove). Duration: 12 years, Expected Cost: 2 million.
  • Combined nuclear power & desalination plants. Duration: 20 years, Expected Cost: 50 million.
Authors: Dr. Abeer Farouk Shakweer

Reham Mohamed Yousef reham.yousef@gmail.com

Sponsors: Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC)
Type: National Technology Foresight Exercise based on desk research and expert opinion
Organizer: Center for Future Studies
Duration: 2006 – 2007
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2030
Date of Brief: June 2011

Download EFP Brief No. 253_Desalination Technology Roadmap 2030

Sources and References

Abou Zaid, Mahmoud, “Desalination in Egypt between the Past and Future Prospects”, The News Letter of The Middle East Desalination Research Center, Issue 9, March 2000.
El-Kady, M. and F. El-Shibini, “Desalination in Egypt and the Future Application in Supplementary Irrigation”, National Water Research Center, Ministry of Public Works and Water Resources, July 2000.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), “Raising Water Productivity”, Agriculture 21 Magazine, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, March 2003, http://www.fao.org/AG/magazine/0303sp2.htm

National Research Council “Review of the Desalination and Water Purification Technology Roadmap”, The National Academies Press, Washington DC, January 2003.

EFP Brief No. 246: Foresight and STI Strategy Development in an Emerging Economy: The Case of Vietnam

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

With the purpose of supporting the definition of the Science and Technology Strategy 2011 – 2020 by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam, a novel approach to policy and strategy development was introduced, combining foresight techniques alongside traditional strategy programming tools. This novel approach is considered useful for application in developing countries with strong planning traditions.

Challenges to STI Policy Definitions in a Developing Country

Vietnam has one of the fastest evolving economies among developing countries. GDP growth was around 7% in the last decade and should continue growing if the country moves beyond the current model based on low labour costs and intensive capital investment. In spite of advances, strengthening competitiveness and productivity presents a key challenge. In social terms, poverty decreased from 58% (1993) to 14% (2008), indicating the capacity of the country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. There remains, however, a large and increasing income gap. Advances in education and health have been important, but problems of coverage and quality associated to the services provided also remain as challenges.

Recognising the importance of science, technology and innovation (STI) as instruments of development, Vietnam has given them high priority and has defined and implemented corresponding policies and strategies for several years. The process followed an approach consistent with the country’s political context, i.e. based on a strong planning culture, a top-down policy approach and weak monitoring and evaluation systems.

The outcomes of this approach have been mixed. Demanding policies and strategies were defined but had a varying degree of success in terms of extent and quality of implementation and impact.

Recognising the challenges imposed by today’s accelerated technological change, the growing complexity of research and innovation, and obvious limitations of traditional approaches used in policy and strategy formulation, Vietnam requested support from UNIDO to formulate the 2011/2020 STI strategy and better meet its development goals.

The Novel Approach to Policy and Strategy Definition

Responding to the above request, the project developed and applied a novel approach to policy and strategy definition by using foresight as a focusing and policy informing tool, aiming to support, step by step, the preparation of a fully-fledged national STI strategy (UNIDO 2010a) and facilitate the institutional embedding of the foresight and strategy process. Very few cases of foresight exercises are known to focus explicitly on the future shaping of the whole STI system.

The application of the novel approach to shape the STI system requires its components and functions to be explicitly identified. On this basis, it is of crucial importance to ensure, first of all, an effective and efficient operation of the STI system in structural terms (“structural priorities”). More specific priorities can only be tackled if the main STI system functions operate properly.

A second element playing an important role in the context of the definition of policy and strategy are three types of thematic priorities on which to concentrate efforts beyond structural ones: key science domains, technology areas and application fields.

A third element concerns time. Any policy or strategy should target a given time frame, and the targets defined within this horizon should be both challenging and achievable while steps towards defining them need to be clearly defined.

Finally, foresight and STI policy strategy development should be embedded in a comprehensive framework of policy definition.

The approach combines thematically focused and systemic-structural foresight activities, on the one hand, and STI strategy propositions, on the other, implemented in a co-evolutionary manner:   

  • Foresight activities with the purpose of exploring the future development of the STI system at the national level and for specific key technologies, combining exploratory and normative approaches, and devising options and roadmaps for future action.
  • STI strategy propositions to “translate” the findings of foresight into position papers that can be easily fed into the development and formulation of the actual STI strategy. In turn, insights generated in the context of the STI strategy can be fed back into the foresight exercise.

In this approach, foresight activities and the development of the STI policy and strategy are closely intertwined, as shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: Proposed Methodological Approach

To ensure a timely transfer of the knowledge generated by the foresight activities into the STI strategy development process, interfaces between the two processes must be carefully designed. Cross-membership between the working groups in charge of foresight and strategy development respectively is an important transfer mechanism, as is the preparation of well-fitted and targeted input papers (position papers) to feed strategy development at key points in time. For the application of the novel methodology five phases can be foreseen, as follows:

Phase 1: Analysis, positioning and exploration of the STI system

In this phase, the relative performance of the STI system is analysed, a preliminary SWOT analysis constructed, and the main current policies and strategies assessed in order to capture the country’s present situation. This phase also explores trends related to contextual local and international developments and drivers that are likely to affect the country’s STI system in the coming years; from these trends and drivers, first exploratory scenarios can then be constructed.

 

On top of these exploratory scenarios, a so-called “success scenario” needs to be developed in order to obtain a first normative orientation and a set of criteria to determine what a desirable future for the country’s STI system might look like. The success scenario also provides the basis for specifying criteria for the selection of technology areas to be analysed in more depth later in the process.

The result of this phase is resumed into a first informing position paper”, which is then fed into the strategy team.

Phase 2: Deepening of the exploration of the STI system using Delphi methodology

The second phase deepens the exploration of the STI system by way of a Delphi enquiry, which is used as a means to interact extensively with the expert and stakeholder communities and to collect further inputs and feedback on three main aspects: a) the trends identified, b) the exploratory and success scenarios developed for the STI system together with their main structural characteristics and deficits, and c) main technology areas of importance to the country.

The Delphi can be implemented in four main blocks: a) scenario assessment and perspectives on success in STI, b) national and international context of the STI system, c) structural challenges in the STI system and d) potential technology areas. As Delphi surveys are difficult to carry out in many developing economies, other types of consultative foresight techniques may be used as alternative options.

The assessments from the Delphi can then be analysed and interpreted in the light of the currently envisaged objectives and targets of the national development plan and strategy in order to trigger a debate to what extent there is actually the systemic capacity in place to achieve what has been formulated as targets.

This phase serves as the basis for preparing a second position paper to provide a deepened SWOT analysis of the STI system, together with first views on possible technology areas to focus on in the next module.

Phase 3: Exploring key technology innovation systems

This phase takes a limited number (5-6) of promising technology areas as its starting point. Based on suggestions from the second position paper and close interaction with the STI strategy drafting team, these areas can be defined with a view to achieving important socio-economic development goals. Apart from identifying and assessing key technologies in these areas, this analysis aims at exploring the systemic requirements that the area-specific STI systems in which these key technologies are embedded have to meet in order to ensure their successful development and application.

The key technology (4 to 5 per area) analysis can be based mainly on panel work and possibly on interviews with additional key experts. Depending on a country’s specific situation, criteria for the selection of key technologies could be, for instance, their relevance to industrial application and to the positioning of the country in international production networks, the relative strength of the country in this key technology or the potential to become an autonomous leader in this key technology as contrasted with being dependent on critical imports.

A third position paper takes into account the findings of this phase and elaborates on the opportunities and requirements in a selected set of key technology innovation systems

Phase 4: Vision and roadmap for STI systems

This phase moves from the analytical and exploratory perspectives adopted in the previous phases towards a more normative perspective on what a desirable future of the STI system could look like, and what steps may be needed to get there.

The panels established in the previous step develop visionary outlooks for the key technology innovation systems they have been dealing with. Building on the insights on requirements for key technology innovation systems, they sketch how these systems should look like within a given time horizon. Similarly, a previously established crosscutting panel should work on a vision at the level of the STI system.

Some harmonisation of the different visions is achieved by a joint workshop of the different panels because the STI system visions should build on sector visions and the sector visions should be framed by the STI system vision. The different visions can finally be compiled in a single document.

A final and fourth position paper can then be prepared to feed the visionary and roadmap-related elements into the policy and strategy development process.

Phase 5: Future-oriented agreements and their implementation

The final phase of the process deals with the conclusion of concrete agreements between actors and stakeholders to undertake specific joint action in line with the STI policy and strategy developed. This phase is already about making first steps towards the implementation of the strategy.

Application of the Novel Approach to the 2011 – 2020 Vietnamese STI Strategy

The main results of the application of this novel approach to the Vietnamese case, between 2010 and 2011 can be resumed as follows:

Phase 1: A STI system and policy diagnosis was obtained (UNIDO 2010b), and a trend analysis and scenarios completed (UNIDO 2010c). A first position paper informed the strategy drafting team on the main results of this phase, emphasising the internal trends and challenges to Vietnam.

Phase 2: A Delphi inquiry was conducted by e-mail, which received little response and was not used for further analysis. This situation restricted the exploration of key technology areas and technology innovation systems to be undertaken in Phase 3, but did lead to their discussion in the strategy panels as reflected in the first draft of the strategy prepared by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam (MOST) in mid-2011.

Considering the above limitations, position paper 2 put its emphasis on exploring the possibility of realising a success scenario and provided guidelines on how to achieve it.

Further considering that a draft strategy had already been developed by this time, position paper 3 provided inputs that would allow to better embed it into the Five-year National Development Plan (NDP) (2011–2015) that was being prompted for approval.

Position paper 4 identified key STI inputs needed to advance prioritised economic and social sectors, based on a set of priorities put forward in the draft version of the STI strategy of September 2011. The main idea of this position paper was to ensure that the STI strategy would be embedded in the NDP, drawing on the “vision” that had been constructed as part of the latter.

MOST adopted the STI Strategy in April 2012 with some of the limitations that were characteristic of previous strategies, such as its still too general character and lack of more specifically targeted priorities. Nonetheless, the novel approach to policy and strategy definition introduced in the project did incorporate several elements of importance into the final version of the document.

Parallel Foresight and Policy Design Process Most Promising

The social and economic developments that have taken place in Vietnam in the past years have provided a facilitating framework for a novel approach to STI decision-making, combining foresight tools with traditional programming methods.

The rather strong cultural context for policy definitions in Vietnam has limited the full application of the adopted methodological approach, but the process served as a powerful learning technique in the institutions dealing with policy and strategy.

Because of the complexity in the definition of public policies in fostering and strengthening indigenous capabilities to use, adapt, modify or create technologies and scientific knowledge, a parallel foresight and policy design process seems to be one of the most promising approaches to improve decision-making processes in developing countries.

Authors: Carlos Aguirre-Bastos   csaguirreb@gmail.com

Matthias Weber            matthias.weber@ait.ac.at

Sponsors: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategic Studies, Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam
Type: National foresight exercise
Organizer: UNIDO and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
Duration: 2010 – 2011
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: December 2012

Download EPF Brief No. 246_Foresight and STI Strategy Development for Vietnam

Sources and References

UNIDO (2010 a) Inception Report – Doc. STI-WP0-MOD2-001-v7-010610; 01 June 2010 (prepared by Matthias Weber)

UNIDO (2010 b) The Science, Technology and Innovation System and Policy Analysis – Doc. STI-wp1-MOD3-001-V.4-020610; 02 June 2010 (prepared by Carlos Aguirre-Bastos)

UNIDO (2010c) Trend Analysis and Scenario Development of the Vietnamese STI System – Doc. STI-WP1-MOD5- 012-V.1 – 151210 (prepared by José Miguel Fernandez Güell)

EFP Brief No. 161: Roadmap Environmental Technologies 2020 Integrated Water Management

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

In the project “Roadmap 2020”, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, seven fields of environmental policy were investigated in order to explore to which extent research and development activities will be able to foster future environmental innovations. The purpose of the project was the identification of strategic options for research and development and their transfer into practice in the field of environmental technologies by 2020. The results were gained by literature and Internet research, an expert opinion survey and four workshops on different topics.

EFP Brief No. 161_Roadmap Environmental Technologies

EFP Brief No. 142: Foresighting Food, Rural and Agrifutures in Europe

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Through a renewed mandate in 2005 aimed at strengthening the coordination of research efforts in Europe, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) launched a foresight process to consider the prospects for agriculture in 2015 – 2020 and to help identify political answers to the challenges raised. In July 2006, the European Commission’s Directorate-General Research set up a Foresight Expert Group to support SCAR in identifying long-term research priorities to support a European knowledge-based biosociety. The group was given the remit to formulate possible scenarios for European agriculture in a 20-year perspective allowing for the identification of evidence required (for more robust policy approaches) and innovation needs in the medium to long-term.

Europe’s Agrifuture Challenges

Europe’s agri-food industries and broader rural economies are being rapidly reshaped, predominantly by global trends and policy developments, combined with a diverse range of nonmonetary issues, including food safety/security, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, biosafety and biosecurity, animal welfare, ethical foods, fair trade and the future viability of rural regions. European agri-futures are evolving within the context of the EU’s overarching policy drives (Lisbon and Gothenburg), which project Europe as

  • the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven (sustainable) economy, and
  • a responsible global player, particularly vis-à-vis developing countries.

The point of departure for addressing these policy drives is not to consider them as mutually irreconcilable, but to define the most appropriate and effective approaches for creating synchronous efforts thereby generating added value. The ‘agrienvironmental’ measures in Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have been promoting development that incorporates environmental issues and CAP in general is being reoriented towards a wider rural policy perspective integrating environmental issues and rural development perspectives.

Terms of Reference

The Foresight Expert Group, composed of a chair, rapporteur and eight domain experts1, was tasked to work in close collaboration with the EC services involved and the SCAR working group, under the co-ordination of the Commission’s foresight unit (DG RTD E-3), to review and analyse foresight information relating to European agriculture in relation to eight major driving forces (economy and trade, science and technology, rural economy and regional development, societal and demographic changes, climate change, non-food and energy, environment, health). This analysis was to lead to a working paper for each driving force. Based on this analysis, the group of experts would agree on a minimum of three futures scenarios (20-year horizon) for European agriculture and an analysis of the implications for evidence required (for more robust policies) and innovation needs in the medium to long-term. The work was to take into account foresight activities on a global, European and national level, including other ongoing EU projects in this area.

The main objective of the exercise was to set research priorities for the medium to long-term. The terms of reference included:

  • The gathering and analysis of foresight information on the eight major drivers.
  • Preparation of a foresight paper on each of the major driving forces for agriculture in Europe and perspectives for agricultural research.
  • Using the information produced during the first part of the study to conduct a foresight exercise to predict possible futures scenarios (20 year perspective) for European agriculture.
  • On the basis of identified scenarios, to assess the implications for research and innovation requirements of European agriculture over the medium to long term.
  • To present a draft report based on papers presented on the “major drivers” at a foresight conference in early 2007 and production of a final report.

A Creative Disruption Approach

The expert group opted for a disruption scenario approach with four scenarios developed through a simple method, whereby each expert identified four “disruption factors” emerging over the next 20 years. These factors were grouped into three blocks: “climate disruption” (the most significant); “energy disruption” and “socialquestions: health, safety, employment. The following “wild cards” emerged:  “intellectual property” disruption and “monetary disruption”. Four scenarios emerged and a baseline scenario was subsequently developed.

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Disruption Scenarios
  1. Climate Shock starts with climate change and the acceleration of related environmental impacts as the driving disruption factor. This scenario combines a primary business as usual scenario – with differing geographical climate impacts, no European-level action is taken, and a crisis situation ensues – with a success scenario built into it at the end, where positive action is taken on a national level. It underlines a fundamental challenge that Europe will increasingly face with the onset of climate change impacts on agriculture, namely how to coordinate European policy responses to the diverse regional and local impacts of climate change bearing in mind different regional contexts and framework conditions.
  2. Energy Crisis focuses on energy supply vulnerability of Europe as the key disruption factor and the acceleration of related economic and societal impacts as the key drivers. This scenario also combines a business as usual scenario, a crisis engineered by the energy global players, with a success scenario developing at the end as a result of Internet-based community empowerment and action. It implies
    a strategic research emphasis at the European level to support in the short-term the improved networking of farmers and researchers with a view to addressing urgent knowledge needs, instituting faster mutual learning processes and supporting communities of practice.
  3. We Are What We Eat focuses on food health and society as sources of disruption jointly determining a more community and consumer-oriented research agenda. This scenario combines an initial crisis situation with a success scenario approach with clear guidelines for an effective European research agenda. It highlights the advantages of a citizen-oriented research where science and technology are effectively harnessed to address the real needs and concerns of citizens. The main priorities relate to quality, safe and functional foods for a range of emerging lifestyles and technologies to produce primarily citizenoriented enabling environments for knowledge production and exchange together with socially-driven, environmentally effective products, processes and services.
  4. Cooperation with Nature focuses on society, science and technology as key joint drivers evolving in a beneficially symbiotic relationship. This primarily utopian scenario projects an ideal situation where science and technology have been effectively deployed to ensure sustainable development at all levels. The key to addressing these needs is the transition to local small-scale production and a shortening and transparency in the food supply chain, and Internet, open learning, and ambient systems creating more globally aware, sustainability conscious consumers.

 

Agro-Food Sector Bound to Change

In spite of the excellent performance of Europe’s agro-food system in recent decades, the European Union is now facing a major disruption period in terms of international competitiveness, climate change, energy supply food security and societal problems of health and unemployment. Disruption means fast change, resulting in both positive and negative impacts and thus the main challenge facing agro-food actors is the speed of adaptation and proactive responses to secure a European lead in this area. Systemic approaches show that decentralised systems adapt themselves faster to change than centralized ones. A careful assessment of agricultural research and innovation systems is needed to identify and modify the places where centralised decision-making generates rigidity, in research as in policy.

Decentralised Adaptation

Decentralised adaptation relies on a high performance information system allowing the decision makers, each operating at his level, to use in real time the best upgraded data necessary to implement their rationality. Technology now offers the operational tools to put upgraded data at the disposal of the farmers and decision makers of the food chain and to allow an exchange of experience between actors.

Early Warning System

Through satellite imaging and Internet diffusion technologies it is now possible to build an early warning, free access information system on climate change and its long-term consequences for ecosystems. This system has still to be developed and marketed and training provided to the end users. The Internet is emerging as a powerful tool for facilitating the development of worldwide networks linking growing communities of practice in a number of agriculture-related areas and themes. The Internet not only changes the research framework and conditions, but also the link between researchers and endusers of research results and has the potential to facilitate a more proactive engagement of rural communities, farmers and citizens in the design and implementation of ongoing research and knowledge exchange activity. In order to facilitate these interactions, eEurope strategies at the European and national levels need to cater for the extension of broadband access at affordable prices to rural communities, farmers, citizens and other stakeholders.

Overcoming the Barriers towards  a Knowledge-based Biosociety

One of the major hurdles facing Europe in making the transition to knowledge-based agri-futures is the need to address the growing challenge of knowledge failures. European agricultural research is currently not delivering the type of knowledge that is needed by end-users in rural communities as they embark on the transition to the rural knowledge-based biosociety. The problems are not exclusive to agricultural research but are felt more acutely in this sector where the role of traditional, indigenous knowledge is already being undermined as a result of the growing disconnection with ongoing research activity.

New System of Education  and Knowledge Diffusion

The social dimensions of the shift to the knowledge-based biosociety are rendered more complex by the demographic and mobility/migration factors. They call for new systems of education and knowledge diffusion and careful consideration of the implications for education as we enter a new system characterised by a shift from engineering, physical and mechanical sciences to converging technologies.
Knowledge exchange strategies and policies, already in place in the more advanced EU member states, need to be formalised and given a higher profile at the EU level, as stand-alone strategies and not merely as add-ons to research and innovation policies and good practices shared with other member states. Knowledge exchange policies differ from innovation policies per se, although they also inter-connect with them. The main emphasis of knowledge exchange policies is to ensure the relevance and accessibility of knowledge to communities, farmers, consumers, young people and educational institutions.

A Case for Action

  1. More coordinated EU, national and regional policy responses to a range of challenges that affect the world rural agri-economy and facilitate the shift to a knowledge-based biosociety are
  2. An overview of emerging global trends, policy developments, challenges and prospects for European agri-futures point to the need for a new strategic framework for theplanning and delivery of research is called for, addressing the following challenges:
  • Sustainability challenge: facing climate change in the knowledge-based biosociety
  • Security challenge: safeguarding European food, rural, energy, biodiversity and agri-futures
  • Knowledge challenge: user-oriented knowledge development and exchange strategies
  • Competitiveness challenge: positioning Europe in agrifood and other agricultural lead markets
  • Policy and institutional challenge: facing policy-makers in synchronising multi-level policies
  1. The complex, dynamic inter-connection of challenges, facing European agriculture research from a forward-looking, 20year perspective requires strategic European policy responses right now. This will entail re-designing the institutional framework for research and putting in place a two-track approach for agri-futures research:
  • a transition research agenda to address the more immediate sustainability and safety/security concerns and the radical transformation arising from the reform of the CAP, combined with
  • a more long-term high-tech research agenda to ensure that appropriate high-tech research investments are put in place so that Europe’s agri-food industries and rural economies retain their competitive position in global markets.
  1. To raise the capacity of rural regions to generate, participate in and translate research developments into economic growth, a regionally-focused, demand-driven approach to research and innovation needs to be developed. A basic requirement is a dedicated funding system designed (i) to capitalise on regions’ comparative advantage, by mobilising all resources available towards attainment of context dependent and demonstrably attainable goals, and (ii) to exploit good practices and models in the governance and delivery of research, technology implementation and innovation.
  2. The competitiveness challenge and demographic decline facing rural communities, combined with reduced global financial support to agriculture, may lead the EU to adopt, under emergency pressure, a temporary protectionist Long-term, strategic and institutional capacities in knowledge transfer, public early warning on ecosystems evolution and decentralised systems of agricultural research and approaches are of even more central importance in the transition from a subsidies-driven to a knowledge-driven biosociety.
  3. Continued, active engagement in foresight is critical for enhancing the strategic and institutional capacities of Europe’s agricultural policy-making and research and knowledgetransfer organisations.
Authors: Jennifer Cassingena Harper Jennifer.harper@gov.mt
Sponsors: FEU Directorate-General Research
Type: EU Foresight Exercise
Organizer: EU Directoral-General Research Mr Elie Faroult elie.faroult@ec.europa.eu
Duration: July 2006
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: April 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 142_ Agrifutures in Europe

Further Reading

Gaudin, Thierry et al. (2007), Foresighting food, rural and agri-futures.
http://ec.europa.eu/research/agriculture/scar/index_en.cfm?p=3_foresight
http://ec.europa.eu/research/agriculture/scar/pdf/foresighting_food_rural_and_agri_futures.pdf

EFP Brief No. 133: The Role of the EU in the World

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The purpose of the present brief is to explore how foresight studies perceive, interpret and handle the EU’s role in the world. The examination of its role can be interpreted in different ways, can include a wide range of perspectives, and can apply to various levels of reference (political, social, economic, technological, scientific etc.). We have focused on the concerns and challenges the European Commission has noted as of major importance in the coming years.

The Multi-faceted ‘Role  of the EU in the World’

The role of the EU in the world, in the view of the European Commission, is a multifaceted one. This is expressed in the documents Socioeconomic Sciences and Humanities Workprogramme 2007-2008 (p. 4, 23-26) and Reforming the Budget, Changing Europe. A Public Consultation Paper in view of the 2008/2009 Budget Review (sect. 2.1). The underlying reasoning in all of the documents analysed is that the EU has to increase its role and presence worldwide. This is considered a necessity, both to be able to protect its interests and values successfully as well as to contribute to world stability and development drawing upon its broad experience, strengths and unique characteristics.

Increasing the role of the EU is seen as imperative in response to the implications of and challenges brought by globalisation, the changing interactions between world regions and the rise of new global players. A second line of argumentation emphasizes the need to develop crosscutting policies to face global challenges that go beyond national borders like climate change and biodiversity, demographic change and migration, competitiveness, terrorism and organised crime, or sustainable energy. A third line of argumentation refers to the increasing role of the European dimension in boosting knowledge, mobility,competitiveness and innovation within a globalised environment of scientific and technological progress.

Text Analysis & Intelligent Reading

The methodology applied to identify and retrieve the information relevant to the subject matter involved ‘text analysis’ as well as ‘intelligent reading’ of relevant studies and reports.

The text analysis involved 160 studies from the EFMN database. These studies represent a variety of backgrounds, scopes, themes, horizons and scales. First, a small number of relevant studies with a title strongly related to our research topic was selected. Using the semantic data mining tool “Text analyst”, the texts were then analysed to identify the most relevant keywords and semantic relations between them. This list of keywords was then used to analyse the 160 selected studies.

Thus sentences including any of the keywords were identified. These were then read in the original context. If the section in which the sentence occurred was regarded as providing new or additional information, then it was also marked as relevant. The final result was a text file containing the relevant sentences and sections from the original studies with information related to the selected topic and a reference to the original document.

The EU’s role in the world being a very broad, general and international topic, we did not expect it to be treated as a core subject in relevant foresight studies. Foresight studies usually focus on more specific challenges and issues. They examine more generic challenges at the level of defining the background and setting the framework of analysis. Furthermore, most of the foresight studies have a national or regional, rather than a European or international scope.1 These factors limited the related information yielded by the text analysis even though a second round of text analysis was carried out including foresight studies of a trans-/international scope only. In consequence, additional documents considered relevant were also reviewed. These included EFMN publications and background documents as well as reviews of books dealing with the future of Europe.

EU as a Global Player

The role of the EU in relation to the changing interactions between world regions and the rise of new global players is examined in foresight studies from a whole range of perspectives (political, socio-economic, technological, scientific and cultural).

Towards European Democracy and Citizenship

The political aspect given to the EU’s role examines the internal challenges the EU has to face to further develop the definition of European citizenship as well as the degree to which the EU’s institutional architecture can be a model for new forms of governance.

In the study Democracy and Futures (Finnish Committee for the Future), R. Cinquegrani analyses different aspects of the concept of democracy within the context of the European Union. Several issues are addressed ranging from understanding and managing the connection between all the new and different social, economic and political positions inside the EU to defining a European democracy and citizenship or handling exclusivists’ conceptions of the state and the consequent implications for minority issues.

Governance Models for the Developing World

There are diverse views on the role that the EU can play as a model for the democratisation of the developing world. In the Democracy and Futures study, T. Murata examines the future of democracy in India and China and the degree to which these countries can be models for democracy in the developing world. He argues that many developing states needing better governance structures are likely to find a better match in the well established Indian model rather than the existing US model or the currently developing European one. India has a long tradition of liberal representative government and has been dealing relatively effectively with large language, ethnic, religious and communal divides.
Despite its recent economic growth, India remains part of the developing world due to its large poor and agrarian population, and large, poorly integrated territory. Thus, it is likely that its solutions are more applicable to the many developing states which are the same countries often referred to as “emerging democracies” in Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Indonesia and the Philippines.
Regarding China the author asserts that the conspicuous lack of a liberal, representative democracy and the communist regime are counterbalanced to a certain point by a passionate desire for political participation in China. In addition, its historical support for anti-colonial, pro-independence struggles allows China to enjoy respect and legitimacy in many parts of the developing world. Many also see a major possibility for the Chinese people to successfully “leapfrog” into a new political future having a fair chance of incorporating current technologies to better approximate true democracy than the currently dominant representative government. These considerations, along with the fact that many nonOECD nations consider standards of living and political systems of the First World to be unachievable, may lead the developing world to identify with and derive images of their future from major Third World powers.

The Soft (but Dominating) Power of the EU

However, the opposite view on the role of the EU as a governance model is also found in literature. M. Leonard, for example, in his book Why Europe Will Run The 21st Century (2005) argues that the basis for American power (the ability to wage war trans-continentally and the ubiquity of American popular culture) has reached its natural limits. Against this he compares the European method of influence, which relies heavily on so-called ‘soft power’. In contrast to the previous study, he considers the European method as the more influential with the developing ‘BRIC’ nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

The BRIC nations are more interested in the European model of capitalism delivering prosperity, security and greater levels of equality to its citizens. This contrasts to the US model where the winner takes all. The rising nations are encouraged by the way in which the EU has allowed tiny nations to leverage their influence. They can either join the EU or start their own regional association to overcome a ‘unipolar’ world. Eventually, the EU may be encouraged to develop a ‘Union of Unions’. It is in this way that Europe will run the 21st century.

Another example is J. Rifkin’s book about The European Dream (2004). In examining how the world will develop in the future, Rifkin, an enthusiastic advocate of the European model, notes that the market economy and the nation state are not designed for instant global communication and the networked world, which is already rapidly developing. Thus, he anticipates that the EU will develop decentralised and polycentric models of governance giving the EU the role of a rule-maker and gatekeeper rather than a governor and enforcer. The European model is being exported to other parts of the world replacing the crucible of US soft power as the ideal to which the world aspires. The European Dream expresses global connectivity without losing the sense of cultural identity and locality, freedom in relationships with others and the pursuit of quality of life, leading to the championing of human rights and the rights of nature.

The Role of the EU in Facing Global Challenges

The importance of the EU in the world is not seen only in political terms. Significant weight and responsibility is placed especially on facing global challenges and threats that go beyond national borders. Many foresight exercises point out the fact that future challenges (which are mostly not limited to a specific country) cannot – or at least not only – be addressed at a national level and, moreover, the supranational dimension and, in particular, the European dimension should be taken into account.

The FinnSight 2015 study states clearly that to implement Finland’s national vision as well as the positive impacts of scientific and technological development Finland needs to actively search for European and global partners. According to the French study Technologies-Clés 2010, it is not only necessary to take the European dimension into consideration, moreover the importance of national industry policies decreases in the globalised context.

Foresight exercises point out the following domains for which a common European answer to future challenges is necessary: ageing population; country differences in infrastructures; spatial and rural development/ environment and agriculture; competitiveness (for instance in the domain of information and communication technology it is only possible at the European level); energy (the successful promotion of wind energy for instance is only possible at the European level); security (nongovernmental and governmental action at a national as well as the international level has to be coordinated); social issues (challenges like social cohesion).

Safeguarding Socio-economic Growth

Interestingly, people see the success of the EU model of socioeconomic development as being both aspired to and threatened by the so-called global powers.

As the French FutuRIS study notes, the development of eastern and southern Asia will lead to major changes on the global geopolitical and economic map, which will modify the balance of power in the area of research and innovation. If Europe does not devote enough resources to this area, growth, which is already at risk of slowing down, will be compromised. This will leave Europe in a difficult position between Asia, with its dynamic growth, and the US, which is expected to continue to devote considerable resources to research and innovation. To provide a rough overview, world GERD is expected to rise from € 629 to € 1,320 billion over the next 20 years (on a constant euro basis), with the percentage claimed by the US down slightly from 36.6% to 33.0%, while Europe-15 will see its share fall from 22.3% to 17.5%. China will rise to 14.9% and industrial Asia to 24.1% (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia).

Other studies (Globalisation Trends, 2006) note the rapidly rising Chinese R&D intensity as well as the rapid development in sectors like motor vehicles. They warn that the complementarities (and thus less direct competition) that the EU now enjoys with China are fading away and that future trading conditions for European companies will be more demanding. On the other hand, they argue that Europe has no need to fear globalisation. Unlike the US and Japan, the EU has managed to maintain its dominant world market share position despite the emergence of countries such as China as major trading powers.

Referring to growth in the non-OECD economies the study Globalisation and Macroeconomic Policy (2007) argues that GDP growth will remain well above that in the OECD economies, reflecting higher productivity growth and more favourable demographic developments. Per capita output in the non-OECD economies is projected to rise by close to 5% per annum over the next two decades if globalisation continues at its current pace, compared with growth of 2% per annum in the OECD regions. Amongst the non-OECD countries, China and non-OECD Europe would enjoy the largest increases in per capita output.

EU to Lead International Cooperation

The scientific and technological aspect of the role of the EU is seen as of major importance for the future. Even more so international cooperation is highlighted. The SCOPE 2015 project, covering four regions of the world (countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS] excluding Russia, Latin America excluding Brazil, Maghreb and Mashreq, and Sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa), seeks to demonstrate the utility of foresight to EC policy makers and others concerned with cooperation with developing countries in research, technology and innovation.  The specific purpose of the project was to produce ten-year scenarios focused upon contextualised scientific and technological developments in selected regions of developing countries with a view to drawing implications for European research, technological development and innovation cooperation policy.

The study Emerging S+T Priorities in the Triadic Regions identifies scientific and technological developments and research priorities where Europe could take the lead in the years to come. Several strategies are proposed to prevent a decline of the European science and technology positioning in the eventuality of the Lisbon strategy failing, which are combined with the consolidation of current trends that emphasize economic factors for supporting research and innovation.

In addition, a number of foresight studies (like FISTERA or Transport and Mobility in an Enlarged Europe 2020) focus on examining the future of specific research fields and associated sectors on a European if not international scale.

Building the European Research Area

Another aspect of the role of the EU appearing in foresight studies is linked to the Lisbon and Barcelona objectives and the development of the European Research Area (ERA). For example, in the Ukrainian STI 2025 foresight exercise a clear orientation toward integration into the EU is deemed the best way for an effective modernization of the national science and technology system. The competitiveness imperative enshrined in the Lisbon Strategy is tackled in the exercise Imagineering Ireland – Future Scenarios for 2030: the future of Ireland is seen as being strongly linked with the future of the EU. A common integrated European policy in the maritime sector is the starting point of the exercise Malta Marine 2020. The foresight exercise East German Cross Border Regions, also considering cross-border regions in Poland and the Czech Republic, aims to initiate cross-border innovation strategies to further the development of the regional economy.
The analysis of the ERA dimension in the foresight exercises revealed that the Lisbon goals and raising the R&D intensity is a major concern in many foresight exercises. Due to the increasing R&D competition at the global scale, cooperation between research institutions – also beyond national borders – has become increasingly important.

Furthermore, several European scenarios have been developed as the basis for drawing up national or regional scenarios within foresight exercises. Yet, there are quite a few cases where the foresight exercise makes no connection to the European dimension and recommendations mainly focus on the local level of implementation.
This ‘myopia’ concerning the European dimension hardly comes unexpected given that national and sub-national
exercises are typically framed to address local settings. The social and cultural aspects of the EU’s role have rarely been a core feature examined in foresight studies. The social fabric of the EU states with their beliefs and needs has been of explicit concern to only a few exercises (Imagineering Ireland – Future Scenarios for 2030; Futur Radar 2030; Aufbruch Musik – German Music 2020). Though coming from different thematic backgrounds, they all broach the demise of traditional values,customs and beliefs and the need for developing new ones.

Conclusions

The interpretation of the challenge facing the EU in strengthening its importance worldwide includes a wide range of perspectives as expressed in the respective European Commission documents. From a first scan and analysis of relevant foresight studies it can be argued that this challenge is definitely not a core subject of discussion in foresight exercises. This is not surprising given their national, regional or local focus. However, upon close scrutiny, it can be claimed that the foresight studies do indeed cover all the different aspects and perspectives relevant to this challenge. Adopting a greater role worldwide is perceived as a necessity for the EU to successfully cope with the consequences associated with globalisation, the changing interactions between world regions and the rise of new global players. Accordingly, it is also seen as imperative for the EU to play a leading role in international cooperation to deal with global challenges. Some consider the European model as a suitable model of governance
for the developing world even though the success of the EU model of socio-economic development is being aspired to
and at the same time threatened by the so-called new rising global powers.

Authors: Effie Amanatidou amanatidou@atlantisresearch.gr
Type: Overview Brief
Date of Brief: February 2008

Sources and References

  • EFMN WP4 Team Report: Genesis of the EFMN issues short-list 2007, First Step: Analysis of EFMN Brief along ERA-related criteria.
  • European Commission, C(2007)2460 of 11 June 2007; SEC(2007) 1188 final, http://ec.europa.eu/budget/reform/issues/article_5958_en.htm.
  • Leonard, M. (2005), Why Europe Will Run The 21st Century,Fourth Estate (book review by Stephen Aguilar-
    Millan / European Futures Observatory:http://www.eufo.org/index_files/Page631.htm).
  • Popper, R., Keenan, M., Miles, I., Butter, M., Sainz, G. (2007),EFMN Mapping Global Foresight Outlook 2007 Report.
  • Rifkin, J. (2004), The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American
    Dream, Polity Press, (book review by Stephen Aguilar-Millan/ European Futures Observatory: http://www.eufo.org/index_files/Page349.htm).
  • Rijkers-Defrasne, S., Korte, S., Pechmann, A., Amanatidou,E., Psarra, F. (2007), EFMN Issue Analysis Final Report 2007 – Emerging Knowledge-based Economy and Society.

Selection of foresight studies analysed
Finnish Committee for the Future – Democracy and Futures (2006); Global Trade Integration and Outsourcing (2006); Globalisation and Macroeconomic Policy (2007); Globalisation Trends
(2006).
Austrian BMVIT Safety and Security Research 2011; Danish Teknologisk Fremsyn 2020; East German Cross Border Regions; Emerging S+T Priorities in the Triadic Regions; FinnSight 2015; FISTERA; Foresight for Rural Ireland 2025; Futur Radar 2030; FutuRIS; German Music 2020; Imagineering Ireland
– Future Scenarios for 2030; Malta Marine 2020; SCOPE 2015 Project; Technologies Clés 2010; Transport and Mobility in an Enlarged Europe 2020; Ukrainian STI 2025.

Download: EFMN Brief No. 133_EU_’s_Role

EFP Brief No. 132: Target 2020: a Quantitative Scenario on Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions for the EU 25

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

An integrated quantitative scenario analysis was conducted to elaborate, describe and evaluate strategies and paths for the European Union to achieve significant reductions in domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The objective of the foresight exercise was to support EU wide consensus formation, to assist in priority-setting, and to help raise awareness with regard to policy, industry or society as a whole.

How to Reach EU Targets on Green House Gas Emissions?

The EU has committed itself to limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C average temperature increase above preindustrial temperatures (Council 2005). According to most recent research, keeping within this threshold requires that global green house gas (GHG) emissions be cut approximately in half by 2050 (Hare & Meinshausen 2004). In fact, global emissions will have to peak and decline in the next one to two decades for temperatures to stay below the 2°C threshold. This consequently indicates that industrialized countries will have to reduce their GHG emissions by approximately 60-80% by 2050 in order to leave room for legitimate economic growth and ensuing higher emissions in developing countries (European Commission 2004). In addition, some developing countries will also need to commit to taking steps toward a less carbon intensive development strategy. To achieve this challenging goal, rapid action is needed. Future commitment periods under the Kyoto Protocol with a likely time horizon of 2013 to 2017 and 2018 to 2022 will thus need to see substantial reduction targets by developed countries. This will be a precursor of further action and commitments on part of developing countries. In January 2005, the European Parliament emphasized “the necessity of significantly enhanced reduction efforts by all developed countries in the medium term to be able to meet the long-term emission reduction challenge”, which it quantified for industrial countries “of the order of 30% by 2020” and “of 60-80% by 2050”. It also called on the EU “to adopt reduction targets at the 2005 Spring European Council which are in line” with these objectives (European Parliament 2005). The European Commission in its communication ”Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change” supported the necessity to limit temperature increases to a maximum of 2°C worldwide compared with pre-industrial levels and confirmed its will to take international leadership towards combating climate change (European Commission 2005). It also documented the relatively low economic costs to do so without even calculating the expected benefits from emissions reductions. Against this background, WWF commissioned the Wuppertal Institute to conduct an integrated scenario analysis of GHG emission reduction potentials of the EU 25 for the year 2020. For this purpose, the Wuppertal Institute developed a strategy scenario called the “policies and measures (P&M) scenario”.

This scenario relies on a baseline derived from the energy and transport projections for Europe (Mantzos et al. 2003). Its strategies and assumptions are based on evaluation and extrapolation of detailed analyses in all sectors, for many countries, and for important energy-using goods and appliances. The most relevant studies were selected for this purpose.

Integrated Scenario Analysis: Business as Usual vs. Active Energy Policy

An integrated scenario analysis of the EU 25 was carried out in order to determine whether and how a reduction of GHG emissions in the order of about 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 could be achieved. The analysis consisted of two scenarios:

The Business-as-usual (BAU) scenario assumed policies with no special emphasis on climate protection and energy issues, neither with regard to additional policies since 2003 specifically designed to meet the Kyoto Protocol targets nor to rising energy prices and increasing concern about limited resources. The BAU scenario is mainly based on the data and assumptions made in the most recent energy projections for Europe (Mantzos et al. 2003).

In the P&M scenario, existing cost-effective potential for increasing energy efficiency is exploited and ambitious targets for market penetration of renewable energies are actively pursued. In addition, a switch to less carbon-intensive fossil fuels, such as natural gas, and effective policies and measures to mitigate the exploding demand in the transport sector are assumed under the P&M scenario. The P&M scenario includes a moratorium on new nuclear power plants and compliance with the nuclear phase-out schemes in the respective countries concerned.

Quantification and combination of potential, strategies, policies and measures, and the calculation of scenarios were conducted using the Wuppertal scenario modelling approach.

  • The modelling technique uses a technology-oriented, sectoral bottom-up approach. Reflecting its relevance for GHG emissions, the energy sector is modelled in greatest detail, using appliance or end-use specific sub-models for each demand sector (households, tertiary, industry, transport) and a purpose-oriented model of the transformation sector (cp. Fischedick, Hanke and Lechtenböhmer 2002). GHG emissions in the energy sector are calculated based on the final and primary energy balance. CH4 and N2O emissions in the energy sector are calculated by subsector, using a simplified approach based on current sector-specific emission factors.
  • Other sectors and greenhouse gases are covered by specific sub-models, which are adapted to the currently limited information available for these sectors.
  • The modelling technique applies a heuristic (i.e. expertbased) approach in order to identify potential, to formulate strategies, and to estimate market penetration rates of new technologies, market shares of fuels, etc.

The Business as Usual Scenario

Although the BAU includes considerable energy-efficiency improvements in all energy-consuming sectors, increasing renewable energy shares and a decoupling of gross energy consumption growth (+0.7% p.a.) from GDP growth (+2.4% p.a.), no reduction of GHG emissions from energy use can be achieved by 2020 under BAU conditions. On the contrary, CO2 emissions from fuel combustion are expected to increase by 10% compared to 2000 levels.

These results highlight the fact that with the existing EU climate policies the Kyoto targets for the first commitment period (ranging from 2008 to 2012), which aim at a reducing emissions of six gases by 8 % compared to 1990 for the EU 15 and slightly lower reductions for the new member states, will not be met even if further greenhouse gas emission reductions in other sectors and gases are taken into account. Tougher long-term targets for the following periods up to 2020, which are crucial for mitigating climate change, seem to be even more out of reach with BAU policies.

The Policies & Measures Scenario

To explore how the BAU development could be redirected toward a more sustainable course, a sectorally disaggregated high efficiency scenario was developed for the EU 25. The P&M scenario includes policies and measures specifically geared toward enhancing emissions reductions. Supplementary to the high efficiency strategy, a renewable strategy is outlined which is based on the medium-term potential for renewable energy within the EC (European Commission 2004) and can be expected to produce substantial additional emissions reductions.

The P&M scenario describes an ambitious energy efficiency strategy, which covers all demand sectors and is projected to lead to final energy savings of about 22% versus BAU by 2020. This would mean stabilising final energy demand at about current levels.

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Combined with a similar strategy to boost the use of renewable energies, their share could be increased to 21 % of total primary energy supply and about 37 % of electricity production in the EU 25 until 2020 (BAU: 7.15 % / 7.32 %).

These two effects – stabilising energy consumption through energy efficiency at all levels and maintaining domestic production by increased production of renewable energies – will not only allow to reduce domestic GHG emissions by more than 30% but at the same time will enable to bring the trend toward increasing import dependency to a halt. Domestic energy production would be able to deliver about half of European energy consumption.

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This means that economic and ecological risk minimization can be achieved. As compared to BAU, the P&M scenario will reduce risks and potential costs of climate change as far as possible as well as other environmental damages incurred as external costs of energy supply.

Towards a Comprehensive Policy Package

In order to change the course from BAU trends, which lead to increased energy demand, greater dependency on foreign resources, and accumulating risks, towards a sustainable energy strategy, a comprehensive policy package is needed.

Combining the EU emission trading system with a comprehensive set of sector- and technology-specific policies and measures for energy end-use and supply efficiency, such as combined heat and power (CHP), and electricity generation from renewable energies has to play a leading role, as the emission trading scheme covers sectors that are expected to account for about 60 % of total emission reductions in our P&M scenario. Consequently, national caps have to be set to ensure an overall 2.8 % per year decrease in emissions. Strong policies and measures for transport, for energy efficiency, in support of thermal uses of renewable energies, CHP heating and housing renovation.

Making Active Climate  Protection Feasible

The study concludes that an integrated and active climate protection strategy for the EU is not only necessary in order to mitigate impending global climate change but is also feasible, as such a strategy would spur the EU economy to accelerate improvement of energy efficiency and to adapt power systems to renewable energy supply. Furthermore, it represents an approach suited for minimizing risks, not only of global warming but also of disruptions in energy supply and of increasing energy prices.

  • Our analyses show that there is huge and cost-effective potential for improved energy efficiency in all sectors to stabilise EU energy consumption at or below current levels (about 22 % below BAU) and that a share of more than 20 % of renewable energy supply can be achieved under an active strategy. Overall these results show that a 30 % target for 2020, as envisaged by the European Parliament on the on the 13th of January 2005 (European Parliament
    2005), is achievable when actively employing the available strategies.
  • This makes clear that the necessary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved by exploiting the potential for cost-efficient energy savings and expanded use of renewable energy sources.
  • Another important result is that an active climate protection strategy yields further benefits in form of massively reduced risks of energy shortages and energy price peaks. It relieves the European economy from the burden of high energy costs and also reduces other environmental strains. The results show that the strategy described by the P&M scenario is superior to a “muddling through”, business as usual development with regard to quite a number of important economic and ecological variables. EU policy makers are well advised to further intensify and accelerate their efforts to speed up energy efficiency improvements in all sectors, to support further expansion of CHP, and to prioritise renewable energy sources in the necessary replacement of a large proportion of the European power plant stock.

Translating Results into Policy

The study, published in summer 2005, was probably the first to draw a complete, though rough, scenario for the EU 25 in line with the target indicated by the European Parliament: a domestic reduction of GHG emissions by more than 30 % by 2020. In the P&M scenario, the study briefly sketched the general feasibility, the sectoral distribution, as well as the technology and the policy requirements for achieving more than 20% final energy savings versus BAU and expanding renewable energies to deliver more than 20% of EU primary energy supply.

In so doing, the study already anticipated the key targets of the “triple 20” climate policy package adopted by the EU Spring Council in 2007. Moreover, it also gives evidence for the fact that energy savings of 20% compared to BAU and a share of 20% renewable energies have the potential to reduce EU 25 GHG emissions by about 30%, which is substantially more than the 20% the EU has so far decided upon.

Authors: Stefan Lechtenböhmer stefan.lechtenboehmer@wupperinst.org
Sponsors: WWF European Policy Offices, Brussels WWF Germany, Berlin
Type: Single issue
Organizer: Wuppertal Institute for Climate Energy Environment, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103 Wuppertal, Germany; info@www.wupperinst.org
Duration: 2004-2005
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: February 2008

Sources and References

Council of the European Union (2005): European Council Brussels, 22 and 23 March 2005, Presidency Conclusions, 7619/05. Brussels: European Union.

http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/84 335.pdf.

European Commission (2004): Action on Climate Change Post 2012: A Stakeholder Consultation on the EU’s Contribution to Shaping the Future Global Climate Change Regime, available at:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/future_acti on.htm.

European Commission (2005): Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change. Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament etc. Brussels.

European Parliament (2005): European Parliament resolution on the outcome of the Buenos Aires Conference on Climate Change, P6_TA-PROV(2005)005.

Fischedick, M., Hanke, T. & Lechtenböhmer, S. (2002): Wuppertal Modellinstrumentarium, in: Forum für Energiemodelle und Energiewirtschaftliche Systemanalysen in Deutschland (Hrsg.): Energiemodelle zum Kernenergieausstieg in Deutschland, Heidelberg, p. 348 – 377.

Hare, B. & Meinshausen, M. (2004): How much warming are we committed to and how much can be avoided?, submitted to EU’s stakeholder consultation on Action on Climate Change Post 2012.

Lechtenböhmer, S., Grimm, V., Mitze, D., Wissner, M. (2005a), Energy efficiency as a key element of the EU’s post-Kyoto strategy: results of an integrated scenario analysis. In: Energy savings: what works & who delivers, ECEEE 2005 Summer Study Proceedings; volume 1. Stockholm: Europ. Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2005, p. 203-212.

Lechtenböhmer, S., Grimm, V., Mitze, D., Thomas, S., Wissner, M. (2005b) Target 2020, Policies and Measures to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, Scenario analysis on behalf of WWF-European Policy Office, Wuppertal, Brussels, 90p.

Mantzos, L. et al. (2003): European energy and transport trends to 2030, published by DG TREN, Brussels.

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