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Climate change, conflict and consumption: Corvinus PhD students presented in Maryland

2022-12-05 16:29:31

The impacts of the Ukraine-Russia war on the global energy-system and economy; the effect of sufficient consumption on environment and economy - these were the topics of presentations by PhD students Aron Hartvig and Bence Kiss-Dobronyi at the Integrated Assessment Modelling Consortium Annual conference in Maryland.

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Just last week, our PhD students, Aron Hartvig and Bence Kiss-Dobronyi have presented their most recent research, focusing on climate-, energy- and economic modelling at the Integrated Assessment Modelling Consortium (IAMC) annual meeting in Maryland, US.

The conference brought together a global community of energy, economy and climate modellers as well as policymakers from across the globe. Issues related to modelling of the impacts of climate change, various macroeconomic shocks and mitigation of global warming were discussed.

The conference were organized by the IAMC an organization that came to life supporting the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the organization that assess contemporary knowledge about climate change. It was founded and led by academics from Stanford, IIASA and Japan’s NIES, its meetings take place on a rotational basis, this is why University of Maryland in the US hosting this year’s event.

Aron was presenting about the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war on the global economy and the effect of raising energy prices on energy systems. In his presentation he pointed out that while sanctions and high natural gas prices have negative effects on the global economy, especially on Europe, they also trigger a faster transition towards renewable energy sources, this then reduces impacts. He also pointed out, however, that this predominantly happens in areas where we already have mature technologies. A contrasting exception is household heating, where the current, less developed, state of renewables (e.g. heat-pumps) means that switching from gas can happen towards biomass and fossil, rather than new technologies.

Meanwhile, Bence was presenting about modelling the effects of “sufficient” consumption. In his presentation he discussed how climate mitigation efforts increasingly focus on demand-side measures and lifestyle change, but – as he pointed out – economic consequences of these pathways are still less understood. This is the gap that the research tries to fill-in, using the demand-led E3ME model, the researchers have set up a framework assuming scaling down of consumption to “sufficient” levels over time. In his presentation he showcased a scenario, which assumes lower than baseline levels of road transport demand and investigate the outcomes. The research so far has found that rebound effects are much lower than possible savings in terms of emissions, but a lower demand might hinder innovation that can contribute to the climate mitigation effort.

Both researchers had used Cambridge Econometrics’ E3ME model for their analysis. Results are still preliminary, have not gone through peer-review, therefore, it shall not be cited or quoted yet. The research is expected to be published first as working papers next year.

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GEN.:2023.02.01. - 19:38:26