RAEL has partnered with both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a number of other groups worldwide that are engaging the Vatican and interested partners to utilize the dialog around The Encyclical to promote equity, sustainable development and climate protection.
Events in this initiative include:
RAEL and Vatican publications such as:
November 2, 2016 roundtable:
Actualizing the Vision of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home
Kammen, D. M., Alstone, P. and Gershenson, D. (2014) “Energy for sustainable and equitable development,” Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Extra Series 41, Vatican City 2014 Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Acta 20, Vatican City 2014
Climate Change, Consumerism, and the Pope
David Mozersky is the Founding Director of the Program on Conflict, Climate Change and Green Development. An expert on Sudan and South Sudan, he has been involved in conflict prevention efforts in Africa since 2001, with a specific interest in mediation, negotiation and peace processes. He has worked with the International Crisis Group, the African Union High-Level Panel on the Sudans, and Humanity United, among others. He has written extensively about the conflicts and peacemaking efforts in the Horn of Africa, and has testified or presented before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Canadian Parliament, and South Sudanese Parliament. David has authored and co-authored more than two dozen International Crisis Group reports and briefing papers, and his writing has appeared in the Harvard International Review, International Herald-Tribune, Financial Times-Europe, and other publications.
Recent forecasts suggest that African countries must triple their current electricity generation by 2030. Our multicriteria assessment of wind and solar potential for large regions of Africa shows how economically competitive and low-environmental–impact renewable resources can significantly contribute to meeting this demand. We created the Multicriteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy (MapRE) framework to map and characterize solar and wind energy zones in 21 countries in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and find that potential is several times greater than demand in many countries. Significant fractions of demand can be quickly served with “no-regrets” options—or zones that are low-cost, low-environmental impact, and highly accessible. Because no-regrets options are spatially heterogeneous, international interconnections are necessary to help achieve low-carbon development for the region as a whole, and interconnections that support the best renewable options may differ from those planned for hydropower expansion. Additionally, interconnections and selecting wind sites to match demand reduce the need for SAPP-wide conventional generation capacity by 9.5% in a high-wind scenario, resulting in a 6–20% cost savings, depending on the avoided conventional technology. Strategic selection of low-impact and accessible zones is more cost effective with interconnections compared with solutions without interconnections. Overall results are robust to multiple load growth scenarios. Together, results show that multicriteria site selection and deliberate planning of interconnections may significantly increase the economic and environmental competitiveness of renewable alternatives relative to conventional generation.
Brooke’s undergraduate career was profiled in the CNR Newsletter.
The Platform for Energy Access Knowledge (PEAK) is a project partnership between RAEL and Power for All, a global campaign to accelerate the market-based growth of decentralized renewables as the key to achieving universal energy access. The campaign, established in 2014, serves as a collective voice for businesses and civil society focused on off-grid renewable solutions. The research products of this partnership will provide critical evidence needed to support widespread adoption of distributed technologies.
PEAK is an interactive information exchange platform designed to help aggregate and repackage the best research and information on energy access into compelling data-driven stories for a range of target audiences to ensure maximum visibility, usability and discoverability of that information by individuals, organizations and communities working to make energy services accessible to all.
The Power for All Campaign is directed by Kristina Skierka. PEAK research is directed by Dr. Rebekah Shirley, current Postdoctoral Researcher at RAEL.
See PEAK’s Launch Press Release, March 2016
See PEAK products here and look out for our web portal soon to come.
Recently, PEAK conducted a quantitative analysis that examines the policies of five high-growth markets striving to achieve universal energy access — India and Bangladesh in Asia, and Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in Africa — and highlights areas for policy prioritization in Low Energy Access countries. Our research is currently under peer-review. See an unpublished, draft/working version of our manuscript and look out for more information soon.
Isa Ferrall is a MS/Ph.D. student in the Energy and Resources Group and Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. She is interested in the impact of renewable energy on rural electrification, global development, and the domestic energy sector. Previously, Isa gained experience on both the technical and applied sides of renewable energy. She researched innovative energy materials at Duke University as a National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholar and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a Department of Energy Intern. She also has analyzed system data for Off-Grid Electric, a solar home system company operating in east Africa. Isa graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in 2015 with distinction in Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Energy and the Environment.
For the Human Needs Project full website, click on:
Professor Kammen, serves as the CTO of the Human Needs Project, highlighted how the Kibera Town Center Project provides basic services (water, toilets, showers, laundry) and empowerment services (business skills training, micro-credit, WiFi cafe, health kiosk, green marketplace) to over 800 people per day. These integrated services provide a holistic solution to the challenges of living in a slum. Together, they can help people with a road map to creating a better life.
Kammen demonstrated how clean, local energy can empower vibrant and sustainable community centers. Actress and Human Needs Project Founder and President Connie Nielsen said, “Our vision is to develop a network of community empowerment centers themselves powered by clean energy, which is the most reliable form of power”
Nkiruka Avila is a graduate student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated with Summa cum Laude honors in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various sectors of the energy industry, from engineering design and production to end-use distribution and marketing. Her current research interests include renewable energy integration, sustainable energy development and rural electrification.
For a video summarizing the program, click here.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt across Africa, leading to greater natural resource scarcity, which has contributed to violent conflict in Darfur (Sudan), Mali, and Somalia, among others. This trend is likely to continue, as Africa is projected to be among geographies most severely impacted by climate change. Though the pathway from climate change to greater natural resource scarcity to violence is not a direct one, the risks of conflict will increase as livelihoods are threatened due to greater scarcity of food, water or arable land. With lower government capacities and limited funding to adapt to climate change impacts, and a relatively weak conflict prevention/resolution architecture in place, climate change is likely to have an increasingly important impact on future conflicts in Africa.
This assessment necessitates new policy planning and development thinking. Despite the threats, the broader global interest in climate change also presents significant opportunities to mobilize new interest and momentum for promoting green development in Africa. This can contribute to an effective conflict prevention strategy, and can also drive increased investment and more diversified economies, improved governance and development outcomes, and greater political stability. This project aims to build the theoretical and practical case for a new model for green development, which can provide both political and economic returns, while delivering both climate sensitive and conflict sensitive development.
Our 3–5 year goal is to seed and support a successful “green” pilot in a still to be selected geography in Africa. A successful pilot will require political buy-in and local political champions, as well as new external investment to support green development projects. This can serve as a model that helps demonstrate the political and economic potential of a green approach, the economic potential of a green framework to external investors, as well as effective conflict prevention. It is our hope that the model, once proven, will be scalable in other geographies.