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ESPAS Report 2019 : Global Trends to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019
Abstract in English: 
For something as unknown as the future, it appears to have become surprisingly predictable. A Google search of ‘future 2030’ yields more than 97 million results, all more or less claiming similar things: that 2030 will see a more connected, yet fragmented world, with hazardous shifts in demography and energy, and dangerous changes in technology, environment, and politics.
The future, while overall negative, appears to be a rather certain place.
This illusion of definitiveness is created by two dynamics: first, the pessimistic tone that runs through the vast majority of foresight reports. This is a common feature when it comes to future thinking, with one study showing that all studies undertaken on the future over the last 70 years have one thing in common; pessimism. The reason for this is simple: although both optimism and pessimism are natural human dispositions, the latter is more prevalent by far. Humans are, genetically speaking, biased towards the negative – some studies even indicate that this is particularly the case for Europeans. Second, pessimism in foresight is encouraged by the grave air that surrounds it: in general, negative statements are given more attention than positive ones. That said, more pessimism in foresight does not equal greater accuracy, as one study shows.
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52
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Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060 - Economic Drivers and Environmental Consequences

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This report presents global projections of materials use and their environmental consequences, providing a quantitative outlook to 2060 at the global, sectoral and regional levels for 61 different materials (biomass resources, fossil fuels, metals and non-metallic minerals). It explains the economic drivers determining the decoupling of economic growth and materials use, and assesses how the projected shifts in sectoral and regional economic activity influence the use of different materials. The projections include both primary and secondary materials, which provides a deeper understanding of what drives the synergies and trade-offs between extraction and recycling.The report projects a doubling of global primary materials use between today and 2060. Population and converging per capita income growth drive the growth in materials use. However, structural change, especially in non-OECD countries, and technology improvements partially dampen that growth. Metals and non-metallic minerals are projected to grow more rapidly than other types of materials.
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214
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The Future of Shale

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Abstract in English: 
Over the last ten years, the United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas, going from energy import dependence to energy dominance. This shift is due to the ability to produce from shale plays, a story which started in Texas and grew to have global ramifications. In a new report, The Future of Shale: The US Story and Its Implications, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Ellen Scholl looks at the factors which enabled the rise of oil and gas production from shale deposits, focusing on the developments which have transpired in Texas.
This Global Energy Center report examines the Texas experience to draw lessons learned for countries hoping to utilize their shale resource potential and implications for global energy markets and geopolitics. The report concludes that the US case illustrates the challenges of operating in both a rural and an urban environment, underscores the unique advantages of the enabling ecosystem in the country, and demonstrates the importance of size and scale.
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24
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Europe's Southern Gas Corridor: The Italian (Dis)connection

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Abstract in English: 
In the issue brief "Europe's Southern Gas Corridor: The Italian (Dis)connection," Atlantic Council senior fellow John M. Roberts gives an update on where things stand in completing a crucial component of the Southern Gas Corridor, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The pipeline - which will bring Shah Deniz gas from Azerbaijan to Greece, Albania, Italy and other Western European markets - is officially scheduled to open in 2020.
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20
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Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Water

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Abstract in English: 
As part of the Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth series, this paper explores the opportunity for advanced technology to help address global water and sanitation challenges. The Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies have the potential to assemble more complete, current and accessible information on water supply and demand. Satellite imagery and other earth observation tools are delivering profound new insights on water supply in parts of the world where conventional ground-based methods to measure water supply are not feasible or practical.
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26
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Challenges to the Future of Gas: unburnable or unaffordable?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Modelling studies suggest that COP21 targets can be met with global gas demand peaking in the 2030s and declining slowly thereafter. This would qualify gas to be considered a `transition fuel’ to a low carbon economy. However, such an outcome is by no means a foregone conclusion. There are limited numbers of countries outside the OECD which can be expected to afford to pay wholesale (or import) prices of $6-8/MMbtu and above, which are needed to remunerate 2017 delivery costs of large volumes of gas from new pipeline gas or LNG projects. Prices towards the top of (and certainly above) this range are likely to make gas increasingly uncompetitive leading to progressive demand destruction even in OECD countries. The current debate in the gas community is when the `glut’ of LNG will dissipate, and the global supply/demand balance will tighten. The unspoken assumption is that when this happens – generally believed to be around the early/mid 2020s – prices will rise somewhere close to 2011-14 levels, allowing a return to profitability for projects which came on stream since the mid-2010s and allowing new projects to move forward. Should this assumption prove be correct, it will create major problems for the future of gas. The key to gas fulfilling its potential role as a transition fuel up to and beyond 2030, is that it must be delivered to high income markets below $8/MMbtu, and to low income markets below $6/MMbtu (and ideally closer to $5/MMbtu). The major challenge to the future of gas will be to ensure that it does not become (and in many low-income countries remain) unaffordable and/or uncompetitive, long before its emissions make it unburnable.
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53
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Let’s not exaggerate – Southern Gas Corridor prospects to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 30, 2018
Abstract in English: 
A new round of political activity to promote the Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian to Europe has begun. In February, European energy ministers and supplier nation officials met in Baku. In June, first gas entered the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey, and the first substantial source of supply for the Southern Corridor, the Shah Deniz II project in Azerbaijan, started producing. Shah Deniz II will ramp up to peak output of 16 bcm/year by 2021-22. Europe will then receive around 10 bcm, no more than 2 per cent of its overall demand, via the Southern Corridor, compared to the 10-20 per cent that had been envisaged in Brussels. While political leaders continue to paint the corridor’s prospects in very bright colours, the market dynamics – in the Caspian region itself, in the Caucasus and Turkey, and in Europe – are less promising. Commercial conditions for the Southern Corridor’s success have deteriorated as political support for it has grown. This paper argues that, up to 2030, the corridor will most likely remain an insubstantial contributor to Europe’s gas balance. At best, there may be sufficient gas for a second string of TANAP, but only at the end of the 2020s. The paper considers the potential sources of supply for the Southern Corridor (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and others including Iran, Kurdistan, and the East Mediterranean); demand and transport issues; and the conditions under which Southern Corridor gas will compete with other supply in the European market.
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30
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Energiewende: From Germany’s Past to Europe’s Future?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Germany’s historical experience explains how the energy transition (Energiewende) came about, and largely explains the resilience of the policies to abandon nuclear power and to scale-up renewables in the face of the challenges they have posed to Germany’s consumers, utilities, and international competitiveness. Whereas the success of the Energiewende to date has come from the way it takes a unifying approach to energy, environment, and labor policies, its success will require expanding the scope from a German to an EU-wide scale.
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12
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The America First Energy Plan: Renewing the Confidence of American Energy Producers

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Abstract in English: 
US energy policy is on the brink of a dramatic shift as President Donald Trump seeks to dismantle the Obama Administration’s environmentally-friendly energy initiatives, remove environmental and climate concerns from US energy policies, and reorient focus on producing low-cost energy and creating American jobs. To achieve the desired increase in domestic fossil fuel production and energy employment, President Trump, his administration, and his allies have promised to implement the America First Energy Plan, intended to reinvigorate the US coal industry, expand domestic fossil fuel production, cut regulations, open federal land for fossil fuel exploration, and reduce federal support for climate and environmental programs.
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12
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What A Waste 2.0 : A Global Snapshot on Solid Waste Management to 2050

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Abstract in English: 
By 2050, the world is expected to generate 3.40 billion tonnes of waste annually, increasing drastically from today’s 2.01 billion tonnes. What a Waste presents national and urban waste management data from around the world and highlights the need for urgent action. The publication provides a snapshot on how waste generation and management varies across income levels and regions, and shares good practices globally. Solid waste management is one of the most important urban services, yet it is complex and expensive, accounting for approximately 20% of municipal budgets in low-income countries and 10% of municipal budgets in high-income countries. Costly and complex waste operations must compete for funding with other priorities such as clean water and other utilities, education, and healthcare. Waste management is often managed by local authorities with limited resources and limited capacities in planning, contract management and operational monitoring. These factors make sustainable waste management a complicated proposition on the path of economic development and most low and middle-income countries and their cities are struggling to address the challenges. Waste management data is critical to creating policy and planning for the local context. Understanding how much waste is generated—especially with rapid urbanization and population growth—as well as the types of waste being generated allows for local governments to select appropriate management methods and plan for future demand. It allows governments to design a system with a suitable number of vehicles, establish efficient routes, set targets for diversion of waste, track progress, and adapt as consumption patterns change. With accurate data, governments can realistically allocate budget and land, assess relevant technologies, and consider strategic partners for service provision such as the private sector or non-governmental organizations. The publication strives to provide the latest and most realistic information available to empower citizens and governments around the world to take action and address the pressing global crisis of waste.
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