sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "From COP 26 to COP 27: Contributions of Systems Approaches to Address the Challenges Ahead"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 16192

Special Issue Editors

Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
Interests: system dynamics; sustainability; renewable energy; resources; fishing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
1. Dipartimento di Chimica, IUL - Università Telematica degli Studi, Rome, Italy
2. System Dynamics Society (Policy Council Member), Littleton, ME, USA
3. System Dynamics Italian Chapter – SYDIC (President), Rome, Italy
Interests: systems thinking; system dynamics; simulation; organizational change; organizational behavior; business organizations; decision support systems; sustainability; digital transformation; assessment of social impacts
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance C- EENRG, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, 19 Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EL, UK
Interests: systemic risk; global sustainability; complex system science; system dynamics; digital transformation; energy transition; food security; system policy
Department of Engineering, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK
Interests: system dynamics; energy transitions; energy storage; complex systems; energy systems modelling; data visualization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recent Conference of Parties 26 (COP26) claimed to reinforce collective actions towards the Paris Agreement to tackle the climate crisis while declaring the state of global emergency. The goal is to achieve net-zero global emissions by 2050 to keep the increase in global average temperature below 1.5 ° C in comparison to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this goal, it is urgently required to strengthen the collaborations between governments, businesses, and civil society. Particular attention will be given to the financial sector, as developed countries pledged to mobilize billions of dollars per year in climate finance based on ambitious national emission reduction targets by 2030. Despite this there is still no united front to meet this deadline. China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia have committed to reaching net-zero by 2060, and India by 2070, thus making the negotiations even more challenging.

With this foreground, it becomes clear that the development of effective strategies to face both the complexity of global decarbonization and the restoration of planetary well-being must account for applied holistic, inter-disciplinary and long-term thinking. To this end, this Special Issue focuses on exploring, analyzing, and proposing interdisciplinary systemic approaches to support multilateral collaboration strategies, and help shape commonly agreed policies towards global sustainability.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions that place system modelling techniques at the core and look at (i) generalized applications of system modelling and simulation with a focus on the role of complexity, disequilibrium and non-linearities and their integration with (ii) qualitative aspects of policy engagement, including methods emerging from the social sciences and (iii) quantitative aspects aimed at linking systems modelling with the big-data and data-driven decision making techniques (e.g., game theory, multi-criteria analysis, complex networks, graph theory, probabilistic methods, optimization techniques).

More specifically, the Guest Editors encourage the submission of case studies and theoretical analyses in the following areas:

  • Consequences, resistance factors, and collateral costs to support decarbonizing every sector of the economy (e.g., energy, building, transportation, industry, agriculture).
  • Understanding and representing dynamic complexity in protecting and restoring ecosystems including socio-economic response.
  • Building more resilient defense and alert systems, with a focus on infrastructure, agriculture, and water management issues in the most vulnerable countries.
  • Systemic risk emerging from the climate crisis, including warfare, inequality between countries, food crises, and long-term economic development.
  • Highlights on long-term effects of sustainable practices in the financial sector.
  • Energy transition studies including implications for stranded assets.
  • Government interventions and system policies.

The issue is targeted to applications in the fields of

  • System dynamics.
  • Agent-based modelling.
  • Discrete event simulation.
  • Hybrid approaches among the three.

In addition, contributions around scenario planning in the areas of integrated assessment modelling, econometrics, least cost optimization, and general equilibrium modelling will be considered.

The Guest Editors also believe that the present Special Issue will constitute a valuable collection of studies to qualitatively and quantitatively contribute to the design of pathways that governments, institutions, and the financial sector should walk together to achieve planned results for COP27 in Sharm El-SheiK from 7-18 November 2022.

Dr. Ilaria Perissi
Prof. Dr. Stefano Armenia
Dr. Roberto Pasqualino
Dr. Denes Csala
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • decarbonization
  • system dynamics
  • systems thinking
  • agent-based modelling

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

7 pages, 225 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue “From COP 26 to COP 27: Contributions of Systems Approaches to Address the Challenges Ahead”: An Editorial Commentary
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13519; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813519 - 09 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1110
Abstract
This Special Issue focuses on proposing and analyzing systemic interdisciplinary approaches to support collaborative strategies and agreed-upon global sustainability policies toward addressing the challenges that lie ahead for our planet’s future. The contributions target applications in system dynamics, systems thinking, discrete event simulation, [...] Read more.
This Special Issue focuses on proposing and analyzing systemic interdisciplinary approaches to support collaborative strategies and agreed-upon global sustainability policies toward addressing the challenges that lie ahead for our planet’s future. The contributions target applications in system dynamics, systems thinking, discrete event simulation, agent-based modelling, and hybrid approaches and provide valuable qualitative and quantitative insights to guide the collaborative efforts of governments, institutions, organizations in general, and even the financial sector toward the next Conference of Parties (COP28). Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

24 pages, 2733 KiB  
Article
Renewable Electricity Transition: A Case for Evaluating Infrastructure Investments through Real Options Analysis in Brazil
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10495; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310495 - 03 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1049
Abstract
This paper explores the uncertainty of expected returns by adopting the real options analysis method for the financial evaluation of renewable energy projects in Brazil. Energy transition is key to meeting climate targets, and real options analysis can play a pivotal role in [...] Read more.
This paper explores the uncertainty of expected returns by adopting the real options analysis method for the financial evaluation of renewable energy projects in Brazil. Energy transition is key to meeting climate targets, and real options analysis can play a pivotal role in evaluating renewable energy projects to meet those targets. The impact of the volatility of the chosen variables on the viability of the project is studied using Monte Carlo simulation in the R software. The results indicate that the lower the option value the higher the volatility of the project, leading to lower likelihood of the project being financed. The resulting model represents a simple instrument that can be incorporated in larger modelling frameworks (e.g., agent-based simulation) to assess the impact of real option analysis on different markets and environmental and socio-political conditions. These findings represent a strong case for the adoption of systems modelling to inform policy to support global energy transition, as the application of this method can make a renewable energy project financially more attractive in comparison to those relying on carbon intensive energy sources. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

35 pages, 524 KiB  
Article
Examining the Potential of Marine Renewable Energy: A Net Energy Perspective
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 8050; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15108050 - 15 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1322
Abstract
It is often claimed that marine renewable energy alone could meet the electricity demand of current and future human societies. However, such claims are based on highly uncertain estimations of the global potentials of marine renewable energy sources (including tidal, ocean currents, wave, [...] Read more.
It is often claimed that marine renewable energy alone could meet the electricity demand of current and future human societies. However, such claims are based on highly uncertain estimations of the global potentials of marine renewable energy sources (including tidal, ocean currents, wave, offshore wind and salinity and thermal gradients), and do not take into account the embedded energy of current technologies. To better understand the effective potential of marine energy, we conducted a literature review of its gross, technical, economic and sustainable potentials, as well as the energy return on investment (EROI), and estimated the net energy potential. We found that all marine technologies could provide a maximum energy surplus of 57,000 TWh/yr. This figure goes down to 5000TWh/yr when excluding offshore wind. The previous figures do not include the contribution from ocean currents, for which no reliable estimates of global potentials and EROIs could be obtained. Due to its high upfront costs and environmental impacts and low social acceptance, no additional tidal range capacity expansion is envisioned. Similarly, the combination of a low sustainable potential and the low EROI makes the large-scale exploitation of salinity gradients unlikely with current technologies. Including all technologies, the average EROI of marine energy is 20, but excluding offshore wind reduces the average EROI to 8. While we did consider sustainability constraints for some marine energy sources, our estimation of marine net energy potential primarily relied on technical factors and did not account for economic and legal constraints. Therefore, the results presented here should be interpreted as an upper bound for the actual net energy contribution of marine energy sources to the global energy mix. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 1494 KiB  
Article
Peaking Dynamics of the Production Cycle of a Nonrenewable Resource
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 6920; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15086920 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1123
Abstract
We use a system dynamics model to analyse the cycle of production of a nonrenewable natural resource, with a specific interest in crude oil. This subject has been empirically studied for a long time. However, modelling studies able to correlate the peaking with [...] Read more.
We use a system dynamics model to analyse the cycle of production of a nonrenewable natural resource, with a specific interest in crude oil. This subject has been empirically studied for a long time. However, modelling studies able to correlate the peaking with the parameters of the system have been very rare, and only recently proposed. In the present paper, we examine the timing of the peaking mainly as a function of the energy return for energy invested (EROI). The model provides approximate formulas for evaluating the peak time and “rules of thumb” that are useful for understanding the peaking phenomenon in the exploitation of natural resources. It shows that the peaking of the production curve occurs at a time that is inversely proportional to the EROI of the process at the start of the cycle. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 1335 KiB  
Article
Systems Thinking and Group Concept Mapping for Classification of Marketing Techniques in Mobility Plans
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16936; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416936 - 16 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1557
Abstract
Due to the increasing urbanization of the global population, policymakers and academia have shifted their attention toward mobility plans and inquiries on how to best design and implement them. Hence, in order to introduce meaningful and lasting mobility plans, coordination and addressing the [...] Read more.
Due to the increasing urbanization of the global population, policymakers and academia have shifted their attention toward mobility plans and inquiries on how to best design and implement them. Hence, in order to introduce meaningful and lasting mobility plans, coordination and addressing the needs of a wide number of stakeholders are required. Reaching such a broad target audience may appear challenging for policymakers; nonetheless, the employment of appropriate marketing techniques can make the different stakeholders aware of the problems at stake and inform them about the available solutions. However, the question of which marketing technique to use in order to increase the probability of success for the mobility plan still remains. The purpose of the current paper is to propose a hybrid method that can assist policymakers in categorizing the marketing techniques towards the sustainable urban mobility plan’s steps, with the combination of Systems Thinking and modified Group Concept Mapping. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations to policymakers on which marketing technique appears to be the most appropriate under different conditions. The novelties of the paper are the combination of the two methodologies and the practical recommendations that could be useful by policymakers. Moreover, the paper illustrates an example of how to structure and more efficiently use evidence-based policies. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 5310 KiB  
Article
Investigating European Union Decarbonization Strategies: Evaluating the Pathway to Carbon Neutrality by 2050
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4728; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084728 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3821
Abstract
Despite the rich and extensive documentation provided by European Member States and the European Commission in describing National Energy and Climates Plans and Long-Term Strategy plans, it is still very difficult to evaluate where and how the European Union as a whole has [...] Read more.
Despite the rich and extensive documentation provided by European Member States and the European Commission in describing National Energy and Climates Plans and Long-Term Strategy plans, it is still very difficult to evaluate where and how the European Union as a whole has positioned itself on the path to achieving the Green Deal objectives, named the Fit 55% package in 2030 and the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2050. This research aims to fill this gap, proposing a simple but exhaustive semantic scaling methodology that allows, for the first time, a quantitative evaluation of the quality of the National Plans based on European Commission assessments to measure their compliance with the European Green Deal objectives. Results show that Member States have more clearly set the Green Deal targets than the actions to deliver against those targets. Actions, in term of nationals policies and funds administration, are still immature and partially addressed. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research, Other

21 pages, 1732 KiB  
Review
Decarbonization Strategies in the UAE Built Environment: An Evidence-Based Analysis Using COP26 and COP27 Recommendations
Sustainability 2023, 15(15), 11603; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151511603 - 27 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1922
Abstract
The urgency of addressing climate change is increasingly evident through the rise in devastating natural disasters and significant shifts in global temperatures. With the urbanization of rural landscapes to accommodate population growth, the built environment has emerged as a major contributor to climate [...] Read more.
The urgency of addressing climate change is increasingly evident through the rise in devastating natural disasters and significant shifts in global temperatures. With the urbanization of rural landscapes to accommodate population growth, the built environment has emerged as a major contributor to climate change, accounting for approximately 40% of natural resource consumption and carbon emissions. In pursuit of tackling climate challenges, countries have united under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to develop strategies for climate action and adaptation, through the Conference of the Parties (COP). The UAE has been an active member of the COP and has been at the forefront of implementing decarbonization strategies. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the decarbonization recommendations presented during COP26 and COP27, specifically focusing on the built environment sector. The primary objective is to highlight how recommendations were effectively incorporated into the UAE’s built environment sector, employing a case study approach further highlighting the specific implementation strategies adopted in the G+2 SEE Institute building while demonstrating how COP26, COP27, and the UAE’s National Climate Change Plan 2017–2050 recommendations were translated into practical measures. The study places particular emphasis on the areas of energy, water and waste management, investigating how these strategies were integrated to promote decarbonization efforts. By examining the G+2 SEE Institute building case, this research attempts to provide valuable insights on aligning built environment practices with climate change mitigation objectives. The planning of the building structure employed a systems thinking approach, while assessments were conducted to identify materials and designs that would enable the building to achieve net-zero status. Real-time data analysis was employed for comprehensive analysis. The findings of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on sustainable construction practices and serve as a guide for stakeholders, including developers, policymakers, and practitioners, in adopting effective strategies in reducing carbon emissions and fostering environmental sustainability in line with the Paris Agreement. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

15 pages, 1443 KiB  
Perspective
Climate and Energy Crises from the Perspective of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Trade-Offs between Systemic Transition and Societal Collapse?
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2231; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032231 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1787
Abstract
AR6 IPCC reports give divergent messages about the different socio-economic transition approaches to deal with the current climate emergency. The dangers of not giving a clear message to policymakers and to society on the need of changing the current socio-economic paradigm are considerable: [...] Read more.
AR6 IPCC reports give divergent messages about the different socio-economic transition approaches to deal with the current climate emergency. The dangers of not giving a clear message to policymakers and to society on the need of changing the current socio-economic paradigm are considerable: to fall in the SSP3-7.0 scenario, which is conducive to the collapse of our current civilization. In this work, key variables to assess the main functionalities of global socio-economy are analyzed under a system dynamics approach. This allows for understanding what the evolution is of our current socio-economy in a framework of climate change and resource depletion. The aim of this work is to provide a different perspective on socio-economic evolution by identifying similar characteristics in the worst-case IPCC scenarios with historical behavior in complex societies. From such a historical perspective and the current system evolution, a conceptual model is proposed to explain our globalized complex system near to a phase transition. Then, phase transition correspondences from the model to the current socio-economic system are proposed and a series of corresponding preventive measures (in terms of social actions, economic measures, and their linked policies) are suggested to avoid collapse scenarios. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop