Paper introduces an innovative approach to the economic assessment of proportionality in meeting emission standards
Emissions limits for coal-burning power plants are gradually being tightened around the world, with additional requirements and consequently significant costs placed on existing power plants. Design that conforms to regulatory requirements require credible estimation of the associated abatement costs. However, the existing methods for estimating abatement costs do not estimate those costs using microeconomic data or take the need to retrofit current abatement technologies into sufficient consideration. Therefore, they fail to calculate the actual costs of compliance accurately and thus are not suitable for assessment of cost proportionality, which is the key principle of regulatory design. This paper introduces a straightforward and innovative methodological approach to quantification of abatement costs that can reflect the real-world situation at an individual power plant and allows assessment of proportionality in meeting emission standards. The approach is based on collection of detailed data at the level of individual plants and on the comparison of costs associated with various levels of emission reduction in defined scenarios. The approach is demonstrated by application to nearly 50% of the installed thermal power capacity of the Czech Republic. The results show that recent European regulations for coal-burning plant emissions incur high abatement costs for most power plants, despite having very little effect in terms of emission reductions.
Reference: Vojáček, O.; Brabec, J.; Macháč, J. (2022). Costs of achieving emission limits in coal-burning power plants under the recent best available techniques regulation amendment: Evidence from national microeconomic data. Journal of Cleaner Production 352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.131600
In urban planning CBA can act as a decision support, rather than making, tool identifying gaps that need to be filled.
Urban areas are hot spots of flood risk due to how urban development concentrates people and assets into hazard prone areas, reinforcing negative externalities on the welfare of urban residents. Mitigating flood risk in urban environments, however, is challenging. This is not only because the process generating flood risk is complex, but the objectives of city planners, residents and/or developers are also multi-faceted. Therefore, there are various trade-offs to be considered. One such problem across many areas of Europe and beyond is how to regenerate declined urban areas, to improve the welfare, prosperity, and image of the city. However, in turn, many areas within these cities will see this activity being traded-off against increased flood risk. Cost-benefit analysis represents a useful approach for assessing this trade-off, as a decision-support tool. In this paper we present an exploratory cost-benefit analysis of a potential urban regeneration project within the city of Ústí nad Labem (Czechia) that seeks to highlight the potential magnitude of such trade-offs that need to be more often actively considered as a core, rather than peripheral, element of urban regeneration. We present an exploratory framework that can be expanded upon and integrated into wider regeneration visions.
Reference: Hudson, P.; Raška, P.; Macháč, J.; Slavíková, L. (2022). Balancing the interaction between urban regeneration and flood risk management – A cost benefit approach in Ústí nad Labem. Land Use Policy 120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2022.106276
Which form of green and blue infrastructure elements (nature-based or semi-natural) is preferred by residents of the medium-sized Czech city of Liberec?
Green and blue urban infrastructure (GBI) has many positive functions often not recognised by residents (e.g., microclimate regulation, water retention, etc.). The question for urban planners who are aware of these functions when planning new GBI elements or revitalising existing GBI is how much they need to account for the preference heterogeneity of locals, who typically consider only aesthetic and recreational value. This study uses data from a discrete choice experiment among residents of the medium-sized Czech city of Liberec to reveal which combinations of nature-based or semi-natural GBI and recreational facilities respondents prefer and how strong their preferences are in terms of their willingness to pay. Overall, study respondents preferred nature-based GBI to semi-natural ones. A mixed-latent class model identified two groups of respondents who differ in preferences, trade-offs, and socio-demographic characteristics: (i) mostly older educated women who prefer nature-based elements and enjoy park infrastructure; (ii) mostly less educated men who dislike urban gardens and semi-natural streams and do not value park infrastructure. Based on the results, we recommend that spatial planners and green space managers design and implement more nature-based elements in Liberec, which are in line with the respondents’ preferences.
Reference: Macháč, J.; Brabec, J.; Arnberger, A. (2022). Exploring public preferences and preference heterogeneity for green and blue infrastructure in urban green spaces. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127695
How serious gaming can contribute to ongoing discussions concerning the shift to more holistic and governance-based flood resilience perspectives?
Serious gaming is increasingly used to explore important real-world problems and a growing number of serious games are addressing flood-related issues. However, there has been limited synthesis of these attempts and their contributions to the ongoing shift toward a more holistic and governance-based flood resilience perspective in flood risk management (FRM). This international review collates and analyses these attempts in order to develop a knowledge base of serious gaming in the field of FRM. It contains 37 games that were developed with different rationales that include engaging players in the topic of FRM, supporting practice by exploring future options through collaboration, improving communication of FRM, as educational tools, and to collect research data. The gameplay countries and player characteristics, game characteristics, relevance to FRM, game rationales, and collection of data are explored in this paper. Identified serious games provided an unconventional and entertaining approach to engage stakeholders on flood-related issues. The review analysed the serious games in light of the shift toward flood resilience and identified limitations in the documentation of serious games and their potential in understanding the longer-term impacts of gameplay on players. Furthermore, the vast majority of reviewed games were played in a single country and missed out on understanding the cultural production and perspectives of FRM that could support cross-cultural learning and inspiration for future FRM strategies. Overall, the review identified an important role for serious games in the shift toward governance and the adoption of more holistic flood resilience perspectives.
Reference: Forrest, S. A.; Kubíková, M.; Macháč, J. (2022). Serious gaming in flood risk management. WIREs WATER 9(4). https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1589
Analysis of the role of self-organized forest communities in innovative forest governance and sustainable forest ecosystem services provision.
Abstract: Self-organized forest communities (FCs) have governed common forests in a sustainable way in Europe for centuries. In most Central and Eastern European countries, this tradition was interrupted by the communist regime in the second half of the 20th century. The social demand for non-provisioning forest ecosystem services (FES) is increasing nowadays and FCs could play a significant role in their provision. However, FCs are currently facing many challenges, e.g., climate change, loss of income or changing social values. The paper investigates (i) the role of self-organized FCs in innovative forest governance and sustainable FES provision and (ii) specific conditions and fostering/hindering factors affecting implementation of innovative forest governance schemes by FCs in CEE.
Factors influencing forest governance innovations in two FCs in Czechia and Slovakia were identified and discussed during workshops, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with their members and stakeholders. It was shown that self-organized FCs could play a pioneering role in implementation of innovations as they are open to novel solutions and have the ability to flexibly and collectively respond to new challenges. Emphasis on non-provisioning FES, cooperation of actors, strong leadership and introduction of financial compensations are key fostering factors. In contrast, factors related to institutional settings (e.g., current legislative environment) are perceived as hindering.
Citation and link: Louda, J., Dubová, L., Špaček, M., Brnkaláková, S., Kluvánková, T. 2023. Factors affecting governance innovations for ecosystem services provision: Insights from two self-organized forest communities in Czechia and Slovakia. Ecosystem Services, 59, 101497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2022.101497
Recommendations for better flood risk mitigation via land use changes
Abstract: Flood risk management (FRM) aims to integrate necessary technical measures with environmental and societal approaches. Focusing on the process and governance of how to plan, implement, and maintain solutions therefore becomes essential. Among the different stakeholders, landowners are a key group to be considered. This contribution elaborates on the interconnections between land policy, FRM and private land ownership. It is based on the European COST Action network LAND4FLOOD, which brings together academics and stakeholders from various disciplines and more than 35 countries. We argue for a less project oriented and more process oriented approach, a focus on land management and more emphasis on small-scale measures. This represents a break with some of the recent working paradigms of FRM.
Full citation: Potocki, K., Hartmann, T., Slavikova, L., Collentine, D., Veidemane, K., Raska, P., Barstad, J., Evans, R. (2022). Land Policy for Flood Risk Management—Toward a New Working Paradigm. Earth´s Future, 10, e2021EF002491.
Construction of the economic model for the organic waste transport optimalization.
Abstract: Nowadays, dealing with organic waste (or biowaste) remains a global phenomenon. Especially developing countries worldwide generate more than 50 percent organicwaste. In the European Union (EU) with a share of 34%, biowaste is a dominantfraction of the municipal waste (EEA, 2020). Therefore, separate collection at source and environmentally sound treatment of biowaste are of key importance. An intensive optimisation of biowaste separate collection is needed to balance demands of municipal representatives and households’ needs. Based on the mixed-method approach we developed a MCDA model complemented by expert-based weighting assessment and combined with the GIS localisation tools aimed at the optimisation of biowaste container locations that reflects various spatial conditions, preconditions for the localisation of containers and its cost intensity. We concluded that changing the density of containers, distance between the address point and container, and selecting container locations that respect the habits of households and demands of the collection technology significantly affect the total and collection costs. We confirmed that the decreases in the total costs were not significant for maximum walking distances of over 95 m, and would approach zero for distances of over 230 m. When the maximum walking distance exceeds 268 m, 40% of all inhabitants would not participate in the system as it would be inconvenient for them. A recycling campaign is needed to increase their willingness to participate in the system. We provided arguments for decision-makers how to balance convenience of the biowaste separation system and collection costs by proper localisation of biowaste containers.
Citation and link: Slavík, J., Dolejš, M., & Rybová, K. (2021). Mixed-method approach incorporating Geographic information system (GIS) tools for optimizing collection costs and convenience of the biowaste separate collection. Waste Management, 134, 177–186.
How do city dwellers feel in urban greenery? How does this greenery affect their health and well-being? And what types of urban greenery do residents prefer the most?
Abstract: The quality of life in our cities critically depends on the intelligent planning and shaping of urban living space, in particular urban nature. By providing a wide range of ecosystem services (ES), urban nature essentially contributes to the well-being of city dwellers and plays a major role in avoiding common diseases through its positive impact on physical and mental health. Health is one of the most important factors underlying human welfare and is, thus, vital to sustainable development. The ES of urban green space provide other social-cultural functions alongside public health, for example by fostering environmental justice and citizenship participation. Thus, they should always be considered when searching for solutions to urban problems. The aim of this research was to determine the impact of green areas in three selected cities on the health and well-being of people by self-reporting of green areas’ visitors. To this end, we posed the research question: which types and characteristics of urban green space are most appreciated by city dwellers? Based on our ﬁndings, we have drawn up recommendations for practices to promote better living conditions. We have also pinpointed obstacles to and opportunities for leisure time activities as well as ways of supporting the public health of citizens.
Syrbe, R., Neumann, I., Grunewald, K., Brzoska, P., Louda, J., Kochan, B., Macháč, J., Dubová, L., Meyer, P., Brabec, J., Bastian, O. (2021). The Value of Urban Nature in Terms of Providing Ecosystem Services Related to Health and Well-Being: An Empirical Comparative Pilot Study of Cities in Germany and the Czech Republic. Land, 10 (4): 341. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/10/4/341
The article describes how the use of a combination of quantitative and qualitative scientific methods could contribute to the design of socially acceptable environmental policy recommendations.
Abstract: The reﬂection of ecosystem services in environmental policy has recently become a key aspect in solving environmental problems occurring as a consequence of their overburdening. However, decision makers often pay attention predominantly to results of quantitative (monetary valuation) methods. This article explores a new way of combining quantitative and qualitative methods that has proven to be a useful practice for achieving better environmental governance. We combine the (quantitative) choice experiment method and (qualitative) institutional analysis as full and equal complements. In our approach, the goal of qualitative institutional analysis is not to verify the adequacy of willingness-to-pay results but rather to better address cultural and social perspectives of society representatives. Such an approach increases the robustness of policy recommendations and their acceptance in comparison with isolated applications of both methods. To verify this general premise, both methods were applied in the territory of the Eastern Ore Mountains in the Czech Republic to capture preferences and attitudes of local stakeholders as well as tourists towards small-scale ecosystems. The results conﬁrm that preference calculations regarding aesthetic values of ecosystems need to be complemented with facts about institutional settings and barriers in order to better address locally relevant recommendations for decision makers, such as the introduction of new economic instruments (e.g., local taxes or entrance fees). The ﬁndings of this study can also be considered for governance of larger local, common-pool resources such as (public) forests or protected areas.
Louda, J., Vojáček, O., Slavíková, L. (2021). Achieving Robust and Socially Acceptable Environmental Policy Recommendations: Lessons from Combining the Choice Experiment Method and Institutional Analysis Focused on Cultural Ecosystem Services. Forests, 12 (4): 484. https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/12/4/484
What is the experience with implementing the concept of ecosystem services in the practice of urban planning in 10 European cities?
Abstract: This paper presents a summary of lessons learned from implementing the ecosystem services (ES) approach into urban planning practice in different European urban settings. We summarise a survey co-created with, and presented to, researchers and end-users in city administrations from ten European case study cities. To complement the expert analysis, 14 semi-structured interviews were conducted among stakeholders to assess the use of ES in practice in urban settings. There was strong agreement between scientists and practitioners on both the opportunities and the barriers to uptake the ES concept in urban planning practice. Key agreements were that the ES concept supports decision-making as well as spatial planning, it is most useful as a communication tool, and monetarisation and public pressure can be considered as promoting factors. Barriers are lack of evidence including case studies, standardised methods and criteria to evaluate nature and its benefits, lack of legislations/reform, limited capacity and reluctance to apply ES in planning practice, and limited public involvement. On individual aspects, such as the monetarisation of ES, views differed both among the scientists and the practitioners. Derived from our investigations we summarize in which circumstances the ES concept is most relevant and useful for urban planners and decision-makers.
Grunewald, K., Bastian, O., Louda, J., Arcidacono, A., Brzoska, P., Bue, M., Cetin, N., Dworczyk, C., Dubová, L., Fitch, A., Jones, L., La Rosa, D., Mascarenhas, A., Ronchi, S., Schlaepfer, M., Sikorska, D., Tezer, A. (2021). Lessons learned from implementing the ecosystem services concept in urban planning. Ecosystem Services, 49, 101273; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212041621000310?via%3Dihub