Impact Assessment for a Sustainable Energy Future Jean Hugé, Tom Waas & Gilbert Eggermont Stockholm Spring Talks ‘Societal...
This presentation <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Outline </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable development </li></ul><ul><...
1. Introduction <ul><li>Energy issues are complex </li></ul><ul><li>Current energy pathway is unsustainable (IEA, 2009) </...
2. Outline <ul><li>Design and application of IA in support of sustainable energy policy requires a: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...
3. Sustainable development <ul><li>Numerous authors and documents suggest SD principles (a.o. WCED Rio 1992; Gasparatos, 2...
4. Sustainable energy  <ul><li>Tangible sub-definitions of SD </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of -conscious- reductionism & re-shap...
5. SD as a decision-making strategy <ul><li>Translating SD discourse into action </li></ul><ul><li>How can SD be operation...
6. IA: theory <ul><li>IA has various functions in decision-making: perspectives or discourses </li></ul><ul><li>The inform...
6. IA: practice <ul><li>EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) </li></ul><ul><li>SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) <...
7. Sustainability assessment for energy policy Characteristics of an ideal SA approach in support of energy policy Institu...
7. Sustainability assessment for energy policy  (cont’d) <ul><li>Generic framework, inspired by: </li></ul><ul><li>Own res...
8. Case: IA on nuclear waste management in Belgium <ul><li>Case description   </li></ul><ul><li>NIRAS Agency commissioned ...
8. Case study appreciation on SA charachteristics 1 Institutional context 1 Adequate scope & proportionality 0-1 Continuou...
8. Case study: reflections <ul><li>Any SA is  performed within a particular context </li></ul><ul><li>Management of radio-...
9. Nuclear energy & sustainability  <ul><li>Good process design (cf. Bellagio principles for assessment) can tackle inform...
9. Nuclear energy & sustainability (2) <ul><li>Trade offs (Adamantiades & Kessides, 2009): avoided GHG emissions yet quid ...
9. Nuclear energy & sustainability (3) <ul><li>Normativity pervades the interpretation of SD </li></ul><ul><li>This does n...
10. Conclusion (1) <ul><li>Impact assessment can turn sustainable development from a general concept into a decision-guidi...
10. Conclusion (2) <ul><li>Yet the interpretational challenge should not be avoided and needs to be dealt with transparent...
11. References <ul><li>Adamantiades, A. & Kessides, I. 2009. Nuclear power for sustainable development: current status and...
12. Contact <ul><li>Jean Hugé </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Waas </li></ul><ul><li>Prof. Gilbert Eggermont </li></ul><ul><li>Polic...
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Presentation at the SKB Stockholm Spring Talks 2011 \'Societal Approaches to Nuclear Waste Management\'

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Presentation at the SKB Stockholm Spring Talks 2011 \'Societal Approaches to Nuclear Waste Management\'

  1. 1. Impact Assessment for a Sustainable Energy Future Jean Hugé, Tom Waas & Gilbert Eggermont Stockholm Spring Talks ‘Societal Approaches to Nuclear Waste Management’, May 3, 2011
  2. 2. This presentation <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Outline </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable development </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Energy </li></ul><ul><li>SD as a decision-making strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Impact assessment: theory & practice </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability assessment for energy policy </li></ul><ul><li>Case study </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear energy & sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1. Introduction <ul><li>Energy issues are complex </li></ul><ul><li>Current energy pathway is unsustainable (IEA, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Decision-makers need guidance </li></ul><ul><li>Implementation challenge? </li></ul><ul><li>-> What’s the potential of impact assessment for sustainable development? </li></ul><ul><li>Impact assessment (IA): the process of identifying future consequences of a current or proposed action </li></ul>
  4. 4. 2. Outline <ul><li>Design and application of IA in support of sustainable energy policy requires a: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptualisation of sustainable development (SD); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptualisation of sustainable energy; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptualisation of impact assessment for SD; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practical application of IA in energy issues; </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. 3. Sustainable development <ul><li>Numerous authors and documents suggest SD principles (a.o. WCED Rio 1992; Gasparatos, 2005; Gibson, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Belgian Federal Planning Bureau’s SD principles -common ground </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Precaution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To be useful, SD must be a strategy to achieve a desired future </li></ul><ul><li>Principles are guiding rules of action to achieve that future </li></ul><ul><li>While IA supports decision-makers in implementing these principles </li></ul>
  6. 6. 4. Sustainable energy <ul><li>Tangible sub-definitions of SD </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of -conscious- reductionism & re-shaping discourse </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of definitions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IEA 2010: balance between energy security, economic development & environmental protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EU Green Paper on Energy 2006: sustainability, competitiveness & security of supply </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Verbruggen 1997: conservation; priority to renewables; reduction of environmental impacts; low vulnerability; no threats to international security; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Midilli et al. 2006: low environmental impacts, reliable supply of renewables; decentralization & local solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rosen, 2009: social component </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Yet general principles (slide 3) set interpretational limits </li></ul>
  7. 7. 5. SD as a decision-making strategy <ul><li>Translating SD discourse into action </li></ul><ul><li>How can SD be operationalized? </li></ul><ul><li>How can knowledge be structured? </li></ul><ul><li>How can SD exert an impact on decision-making? </li></ul><ul><li> Three challenges: </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Information-structuring challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Influence challenge </li></ul>
  8. 8. 6. IA: theory <ul><li>IA has various functions in decision-making: perspectives or discourses </li></ul><ul><li>The information discourse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IA as a tool / process to generate information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The deliberative discourse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IA as forum for debate & deliberation, creating new perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The attitude change discourse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ The effects of an IA procedure may well be that it will mainly benefit future decisions, while having a more limited impact on the decisions which the impact assessment was meant to inform and influence’ (Nooteboom, 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The structuring discourse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IA helps to structure inherent as well as institutional complexity of current societal challenges through its systematic approach. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 6. IA: practice <ul><li>EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) </li></ul><ul><li>SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) </li></ul><ul><li>HIA (Health Impact Assessment) </li></ul><ul><li>RA (Risk Assessment) </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability Assessment (SA) </li></ul><ul><li>But what’s in a name? </li></ul>
  10. 10. 7. Sustainability assessment for energy policy Characteristics of an ideal SA approach in support of energy policy Institutional context Adequate scope & proportionality Continuous & iterative process Supporting decisions Net benefits / avoid undesirable trade offs Avoid irreversibility Participation Transparency Sustainable process & procedure SD risks facing the proposal SD impacts of the proposal Assess system; parts & linkages Having a holistic perspective Participation Precaution Equity Integration Global responsibility Fostering SD objectives
  11. 11. 7. Sustainability assessment for energy policy (cont’d) <ul><li>Generic framework, inspired by: </li></ul><ul><li>Own research experience: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SEPIA project on energy future scenarios 2050 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainability Assessment Frameworks in Belgium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gibson, 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bellagio Principles for Assessment, 1997 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pope, 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Belgian Federal Planning Bureau </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. 8. Case: IA on nuclear waste management in Belgium <ul><li>Case description </li></ul><ul><li>NIRAS Agency commissioned a </li></ul><ul><li>participatory IA on nuclear waste management, realized through </li></ul><ul><li>NIRAS dialogues & inter-disciplinary conference and through a </li></ul><ul><li>Public Forum (cf. Consensus Conference, Danish Board of Technology) </li></ul><ul><li>Which led to a Report informing NIRAS’ draft waste mgmt plan </li></ul><ul><li>Case selection </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-SEA </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretational limits of SD and SA? </li></ul>
  13. 13. 8. Case study appreciation on SA charachteristics 1 Institutional context 1 Adequate scope & proportionality 0-1 Continuous & iterative process Supporting decisions 1 Net benefits / avoid undesirable trade offs 2 Avoid irreversibility 1 Participation 1 Transparency Sustainable process & procedure 0-1 SD risks facing the proposal 1 SD impacts of the proposal 1 Assess system; parts & linkages Having a holistic perspective 2 Participation 1 Precaution 1 Equity 1 Integration 1 Global responsibility Fostering SD objectives
  14. 14. 8. Case study: reflections <ul><li>Any SA is performed within a particular context </li></ul><ul><li>Management of radio-active waste is part of the nuclear energy chain </li></ul><ul><li>Can one call the exercise a SA in the light of the debate on the sustainability of nuclear energy? </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency and critical stance are key </li></ul>
  15. 15. 9. Nuclear energy & sustainability <ul><li>Good process design (cf. Bellagio principles for assessment) can tackle information structuring challenge and even influence challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation challenge is far more ‘tricky’ </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatism: Public Forum on nuclear waste management (Belgium): ‘ 100 years reversibility check’ as a pragmatic stance towards inter-generational equity </li></ul><ul><li>Tangible principles leading to possible over-enthusiastic one-sided advocacy: avoided GHG emissions -> ‘ nuclear energy supports and enables the world in its journey to a sustainable, safe and secure energy future’ (Duffey, 2005)? </li></ul>
  16. 16. 9. Nuclear energy & sustainability (2) <ul><li>Trade offs (Adamantiades & Kessides, 2009): avoided GHG emissions yet quid safety? Disposal of waste? Proliferation? </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear energy is not sustainable (Verbruggen, 2008): next to safety and un-insurable risk, nuclear energy decision-making is technocratic and is not globally accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear energy & renewables are opponents (Verbruggen, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term waste problem - major uncertainties </li></ul>
  17. 17. 9. Nuclear energy & sustainability (3) <ul><li>Normativity pervades the interpretation of SD </li></ul><ul><li>This does not necessarily lead to discard the conclusions of IA for SD on an aspect of the nuclear energy chain (as the (waste) challenges are here anyway and need to be dealt with) </li></ul><ul><li>Yet it means that the ‘interpretation challenge’ -in this case the (un-)sustainability of nuclear energy- needs to be taken into account in any IA </li></ul><ul><li>Answer is not straightforward as showed by the -Fukushima-influenced- intense societal debate </li></ul>
  18. 18. 10. Conclusion (1) <ul><li>Impact assessment can turn sustainable development from a general concept into a decision-guiding strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability assessment shows ideal-typical characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability assessment can help to respond to three challenges related to decision-support for sustainable energy policy </li></ul><ul><li>Case study shows that the information-structuring challenge & the influence challenge are dealt with (although IA is a continuous learning process) </li></ul><ul><li>The interpretational challenge -what is sustainability?- is tougher to answer </li></ul>
  19. 19. 10. Conclusion (2) <ul><li>Yet the interpretational challenge should not be avoided and needs to be dealt with transparently.. </li></ul><ul><li>in order not to create a loss of credibility surrounding any attempt at improved decision-support for a sustainable energy future. </li></ul><ul><li>IA is one of the processes that will contribute to the societal debate on nuclear energy.. </li></ul><ul><li>and it can take on the shape of both existing IA approaches (Risk Assessment, EIA and SEA w.r.t. plant siting) or ‘actual’ sustainability assessments. </li></ul>
  20. 20. 11. References <ul><li>Adamantiades, A. & Kessides, I. 2009. Nuclear power for sustainable development: current status and future prospects. Energy Policy 37: 5119-5166. </li></ul><ul><li>Duffey, R.B. 2005. Sustainable Futures Using Nuclear Energy. Progress in Nuclear Energy 47: 535-543. </li></ul><ul><li>Gasparatos, A., El-Haram, M. & Horner, M 2007. A critical review of reductionist approaches for assessing the progress towards sustainability. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 27: . </li></ul><ul><li>Gibson, R.B. 2005. Sustainability Assessment – Criteria and Processes . Earthscan, United Kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>Hardi, P. & Zdan, T.. Assessing Sustainable Development: Principles in Practice. IISD, Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>IEA 2008. World Energy Outlook 2009. International Energy Agency. www. worldenergyoutloook .org . Accessed August 3, 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Midilli, A., Dincer, I. & Ay, M. 2006. Green Energy Strategies for Sustainable Development. Energy Policy 34: 3623-3633. </li></ul><ul><li>Nooteboom, S. 2007. Impact assessment procedures for sustainable development: a complexity theory perspective. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 22: 3-16. </li></ul><ul><li>Scrase, J.I. & Sheate, W.R. 2002. Integration and integrated approaches to environmental assessment: what do they mean for the environment? Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 4: 275-294. </li></ul><ul><li>Verbruggen, A. 1997. A Normative Structure for the European Energy Market. Energy Policy 25: 281-292. </li></ul><ul><li>Verbruggen, A. 2008. Renewable and nuclear power: a common future? Energy Policy 36: 4036-4047. </li></ul>
  21. 21. 12. Contact <ul><li>Jean Hugé </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Waas </li></ul><ul><li>Prof. Gilbert Eggermont </li></ul><ul><li>Policy Research Centre for Sustainable Development </li></ul><ul><li>Vrije Universiteit Brussel </li></ul><ul><li>BELGIUM </li></ul><ul><li>Jean. [email_address] .ac.be </li></ul><ul><li>Tom. [email_address] .ac.be </li></ul><ul><li>www. vub .ac.be/APNA </li></ul><ul><li>www. steunpuntdo .be </li></ul>

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