Friday, August 11, 2017

Voluntary Contributions to Hiking Trail Maintenance: Evidence From a Field Experiment in a National Park, Japan

• We examine the effects of information provision on donation behavior.
• A field experiment was conducted to in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan.
• Announcing seed money is superior to showing the amount of others' contribution.

Donation is one of the most important solutions to inadequate funding for protected area management; however, there has been little agreement on the measures to be used to encourage visitors to donate. We conducted a field experiment in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan, to examine the effect on donation behavior of providing information about two types of initial contributions. The first type of contribution is toward the fundraising campaign for trail maintenance and the initial amount of government funding (i.e., seed money) and information is provided about the target amount. The second type is for trail maintenance and information is provided on the value of one day's contribution by other participants. We found that announcing the seed money amount and the target significantly increased the probability of a positive contribution and raised the average contribution, compared with the control treatment of no additional announcements. When the participants knew others' contribution beforehand, the likelihood of a positive contribution increased; however, the average contribution tended to decrease. In conclusion, announcing the seed money and the fundraising target is superior to the other measures studied in this paper to raise funds in this specific context of protected area management.
With increased demand for biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecosystem services, the coverage of protected areas expanded rapidly. By 2030, protected areas are likely to reach 15–29% of the surface area of the earth (Chape et al., 2005; Li et al., 2013 ;  McDonald and Boucher, 2011). However, most protected areas do not receive sufficient funding for their management, even though their value has been realized (Emerton et al., 2006). Although these insufficient situations are mostly reported in developing countries (Emerton et al., 2006), other countries also face the challenges of sustainable park management because of poor funding. For example, Olympic National Park in the U.S. needed $13.3 million to operate the park; however, only $7.8 million was available (NPCA, 2015). The Japanese national parks face the same problems, and the government declared a law in 2015 that allows local communities to collect an entrance fee to resolve these problems (Ministry of the Environmental, Japan, 2015). Especially, insufficient funding has significant impacts on the maintenance of trails, visitor centers, and other facilities, and leads to a lack of development of new protected areas even if the costs are relatively small. Although donation or voluntary contribution is one of the most important options to aid in sustainable management of protected areas (Emerton et al., 2006 ;  Thur, 2010), there is still much room to improve fund raising measures in most countries.
The surveys were conducted at the Numameguri Hiking Trail (NHT) in the Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan, in mid-September 2015. This is the largest Japanese terrestrial park, receiving approximately 5 million visitors per year (Ministry of the Environmental, Japan, 2016). Visitors are not charged any entrance fee. The NHT is one of the most popular hiking trails in the park because of the beautiful color of leaves in fall. However, visitors face a high risk of bear attacks; thus, they are requested to attend a lecture at an information center at the trailhead before hiking (for detail, see Kubo and Shoji, 2014). In addition, they need to be registered before hiking and are required to report their safety after hiking using a logbook. The NHT faced the risk of an insufficient management budget, especially due to reduced government funding over the last few years. A donation box at the information center was provided to cover the budget shortfall; however, it accumulated only a few thousand JPY1 per year until 2015 (personal communications with park staffs in July 2015). Thus, it was necessary for park authorities to find new measures to encourage park visitors to donate to the park management.
The questionnaires that participants in the PREV treatment received had the same information as the control treatment; however, participants were shown the amount that other participants had contributed during the first day of the experiment (40,088 JPY) by using a transparent box and bags, instead of a white box. Thus, participants were able to see a variety of contributions from 1 JPY coins to 1000 JPY notes.
Of the 934 participants, 707 participants positively donated and raised a total of 32,5045 JPY. In the control treatment, 67.5% of participants donated. Furthermore, the sample average contribution was 311.3 JPY and the average conditional contribution was 461 JPY. In the SEED treatment, the share and the sample average contribution significantly increased to 81.6% (F = 16.2, p = 0.00) and 396.7 JPY (z = − 3.66, p = 0.00), respectively. The conditional average contribution of the SEED treatment (486.1 JPY) was not statistically different from the control treatment, although it was higher than the control treatment. As for the SEED treatment, the share and the sample average contribution of the PREV treatment also significantly increased to 78.0% (F = 8.56, p = 0.00) and 336.3 JPY (z = − 2.14, p = 0.03), respectively. However, the average conditional contribution of the PREV treatment (431.4 JPY) was smaller than the control treatment, even though the difference was not statistically significant.
File:Daisetsusan national park 2005-08.JPG
We note some interesting findings from the field experiment that also have important implications for the understanding of actual donation behaviors. First, all treatments have three peaks in the distribution of their contributions—0, 500, and 1000 JPY—as described in Fig. 1. A possible explanation is that it is easy for people to choose these donations because 500 and 1000 are round numbers and because there are 500 JPY coins and 1000 JPY bills in Japan. Next, the findings from the regression analysis show that older and non-local participants contributed more than others. This is not surprising and supports previous studies (e.g., Johnston et al., 2006)—older people's income tend to be higher than that of younger people, and the higher travel costs of non-local tourists imply that they have greater motivations to hike on the mountains.
Appendix 2. Questionnaire
Through sharing of responsibilities and cooperation, administrative agencies and private organizations carry out the maintenance and management of mountain trails in the Kamikawa district of Daisetsuzan National Park, including the Numameguri Hiking Trail. Administrative agencies and private groups are assigned an annual budget of over 10 million JPY for patrolling and upkeep of activities; however, as the total length of trails is considerable, adequate maintenance and management cannot be performed.

Therefore, beginning in 2015, the “Liaison Council for the Maintenance and Management of Mountain Trails”—formed by administrative agencies and civilian organizations—began seeking donations and conducting fundraising through the establishment of the “Mountain Trails Maintenance Account.” Its purpose is to strengthen nature conservation initiatives by mountain trail maintenance through allotting funds for the purchase of sufficient trail maintenance materials. For example, this year, ten wooden walkways were installed on the Numameguri Hiking Trail using these funds, as countermeasures against mud [while funds of over 500,000 JPY have been raised this year, the goal for total donations and fundraising stands at one million JPY].
Takahiro Kubo 1, Yasushi Shoji 2, Takahiro Tsuge 3, Koichi Kuriyama 4
1. Center for Environmental Biology and Ecosystem Studies, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan
2. Research Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Japan
3. Faculty of Economics, Konan University, Japan
4. Division of Natural Resource Economics, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Japan
Ecological Economics via Elsevier Science Direct
Volume 144; February, 2018; Pages 124–128; Available online 8 August 2017
Keywords: Donation; Field experiment; Information provision; National park; Park management; Voluntary contribution

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wind Technologies Market Report

Report Highlights
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Wind Technologies Market Report provides an annual overview of trends in the U.S. wind power market. You can find the report, a presentation, and a data file on the Files tab, below. Additionally, several data visualizations are available in the Data Visualizations tab. Highlights of this year’s report include:

Wind power additions continued at a rapid clip in 2016: $13 billion was invested in new wind power plants in 2016. In 2016, wind energy contributed 5.6% of the nation’s electricity supply, more than 10% of total electricity generation in fourteen states, and 29% to 37% in three of those states—Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas.

Bigger turbines are enhancing wind project performance: Increased blade lengths, in particular, have dramatically increased wind project capacity factors, one measure of project performance. For example, the average 2016 capacity factor among projects built in 2014 and 2015 was 42.6%, compared to an average of 32.1% among projects built from 2004 to 2011 and 25.4% among projects built from 1998 to 2001.

Low wind turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs: Wind turbine prices have fallen from their highs in 2008, to $800–$1,100/kW. Overall, the average installed cost of wind projects in 2016 was $1,590/kW, down $780/kW from the peak in 2009 and 2010. 

Wind energy prices remain low: After topping out at nearly 7¢/kWh for power purchase agreements (PPAs) executed in 2009, the national average price of wind PPAs has dropped to around 2¢/kWh—though this nationwide average is dominated by projects that hail from the lowest-priced Interior region of the country (such as Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma). These prices, which are possible in part due to federal tax support, compare favorably to the projected future fuel costs of gas-fired generation. 
Installed Cost Of Wind Has Declined Since 2009-2010

The supply chain continued to adjust to swings in domestic demand for wind equipment: Wind sector employment reached a new high of more than 101,000 full-time workers at the end of 2016. For wind projects recently installed in the U.S., domestically manufactured content is highest for nacelle assembly (>90%), towers (65-80%), and blades and hubs (50-70%), but is much lower (<20%) for most components internal to the turbine.

Continued strong growth in wind capacity is anticipated in the near term: With federal tax incentives still available, though declining, various forecasts for the domestic market show expected wind power capacity additions averaging more than 9,000 MW/year from 2017 to 2020.

PDF icon Report PDF3.24

Lawrence Livermore Berkeley Lab Electricity Markets and Policy Group

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How Large Are Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies? - ScienceDirect

• Fossil fuel subsidies are large, amounting to 6.5% of global GDP in 2015.
• Mispricing from a domestic perspective accounts for the bulk of the subsidy.
• Coal subsidies account for the largest part (about half) of global subsidies.
• In absolute terms, subsidies are highly concentrated in a few large countries.
• The environmental, fiscal, and welfare gains from subsidy reform are substantial.

This paper estimates fossil fuel subsidies and the economic and environmental benefits from reforming them, focusing mostly on a broad notion of subsidies arising when consumer prices are below supply costs plus environmental costs and general consumption taxes.  Estimated subsidies are $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2013 and $5.3 trillion in 2015 (6.5% of global GDP in both years). Undercharging for global warming accounts for 22% of the subsidy in 2013, air pollution 46%, broader vehicle externalities 13%, supply costs 11%, and general consumer taxes 8%. China was the biggest subsidizer in 2013 ($1.8 trillion), followed by the United States ($0.6 trillion), and Russia, the European Union, and India (each with about $0.3 trillion). Eliminating subsidies would have reduced global carbon emissions in 2013 by 21% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths 55%, while raising revenue of 4%, and social welfare by 2.2%, of global GDP. 

A version of this paper is available free of charge at

Volume 91, March 2017, Pages 11-27
David Coady 1, Ian Parry, LouisSears 2 and BaopingShang 1
1. International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC, USA
2. University of California, Davis, USA
Keywords: energy subsidies global warming air pollution efficient taxation deadweight loss revenue

Monday, August 7, 2017

A global framework for future costs and benefits of river-flood protection in urban areas : Nature Climate Change

Floods cause billions of dollars of damage each year, and flood risks are expected to increase due to socio-economic development, subsidence, and climate change. Implementing additional flood risk management measures can limit losses, protecting people and livelihoods. Whilst several models have been developed to assess global-scale river-flood risk, methods for evaluating flood risk management investments globally are lacking. Here, we present a framework for assessing costs and benefits of structural flood protection measures in urban areas around the world. We demonstrate its use under different assumptions of current and future climate change and socio-economic development. Under these assumptions, investments in dykes may be economically attractive for reducing risk in large parts of the world, but not everywhere. In some regions, economically efficient investments could reduce future flood risk below today’s levels, in spite of climate change and economic growth. We also demonstrate the sensitivity of the results to different assumptions and parameters. The framework can be used to identify regions where river-flood protection investments should be prioritized, or where other risk-reducing strategies should be emphasized.
In this study, we used Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and Shared Socioeconomic pathways (SSPs)2 to represent future climate and changes in future socioeconomic conditions, respectively. In total, there are 4 RCPs and 5 SSPs, leading to a matrix of 20 combinations of projections.
For the ‘optimise’ objective, there is a large difference between the RCP/SSP combinations in both the benefits and the costs. The costs at the global scale range from USD 22 billion per year (RCP2.6/SSP3) and 78 billion USD per year (RCP8.5/SSP5). Averaged across all SSPs, the results show that the costs at the global scale increase as the CO2-equivalent concentration increases (RCP2.6 = USD 40 billion per year; RCP4.5 = USD 45 billion per year; RCP6.0 = USD 47 billion per year; RCP8.5 = USD 55 billion per year). This means that globally, higher greenhouse gas concentrations will lead to higher adaptation costs as a result of a generally larger increases in flood hazard (note that there are also areas where higher greenhouse gas emissions lead to reduction in flood risk). For all combinations of RCP/SSP, on average, the benefits far outweigh the costs, leading to B:C ratios ranging from 3.6 (RCP2.6/SSP3 and RCP4.5/SSP3) to 10.2 (RCP8.5/SSP5). The B:C ratios are also larger for the RCPs with higher CO2 concentrations, since the larger increase in hazard under those RCPs means that flood damage is higher, and therefore the potential avoided damage is also higher. Averaged across all RCPs, the costs at the global scale follow the projected increases in GDP to 2080 between the different SSPs (i.e. highest costs in SSP5 and lowest costs in SSP3, which are the SSPs with the highest and lowest global GDP growth respectively).

Under the ‘constant absolute risk’ objective, B:C ratios exceed 1 for all RCPs combined with SSPs. However, for SSP, which represents a more fragmented world, the B:C ratios are less than, because under this scenario, economic prospects are poor and thus the benefits of adaptation low. Under the ‘constant absolute risk’ objective’, B:C ratios exceed 1 for all combinations of RCPs and SSPs.

Percentage reduction in current expected annual damage for simulations carried out with assumed current protection standards compared to no flood protection
Percentage reduction in current expected annual damage for simulations carried out with assumed current protection standards compared to no flood protection.

B:C ratio at sub-national level, and percentage of models for which B:C ratio exceeds 1, for the EAD-constant and EAD/GDP-constant adaptation objections
B:C ratio at sub-national level, and percentage of models for which B:C ratio exceeds 1, for the EAD-constant and EAD/GDP-constant adaptation objections.

Protection standards at sub-national level in 2080 and associated B:C ratios
Protection standards at sub-national level in 2080 and associated B:C ratios.
by Philip J. Ward, Brenden Jongman, Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts, Paul D. Bates, Wouter J. W. Botzen, Andres Diaz Loaiza, Stephane Hallegatte, Jarl M. Kind, Jaap Kwadijk, Paolo Scussolini & Hessel C. Winsemius
Nature Climate Change
Published online 31 July 2017

Optimization of a vertical axis wind turbine for application in an urban/suburban area: Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy

The goal of this study is to investigate the effect of various design parameters on the performance of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) subjected to realistic unsteady wind conditions. Thirteen turbine design configurations are examined to determine if an optimal VAWT has applications in an urban/suburban environment. The four design parameters of interest include the height-to-diameter aspect ratio ..., blade airfoil shape ..., turbine solidity ... and turbine moment of inertia. The height and diameter of the turbine varied between 1.89 and 2.54 m, depending on the aspect ratio.... The energy generated by each VAWT design configuration is simulated using a full year of actual wind speed data collected in 2009 at 9 different locations around Oklahoma City spanning an area of approximately 500 km2. The wind data were acquired from the top of traffic light posts at a height of about 9 m above the ground. In all cases, an active control strategy is used that allows the turbine to continuously adjust its rotational speed in response to the fluctuating wind. The results suggest that, for the case of operation in unsteady winds, the optimal power coefficient (Cp) versus tip speed ratio curve is not necessarily the one exhibiting the highest peak Cp value but rather the broadest shape. Of the thirteen configurations examined, the optimal wind turbine design capable of harvesting the most energy from the gusty winds was found to have an aspect ratio of H/D=1.2H/D=1.2, a solidity of S=12%S=12%, and a blade shape using the NACA 0015 airfoil. This design also displayed the lowest moment of inertia. However, when the effects of mass were removed, this design still performed the best. The site-to-site variation in terms of energy captured relative to the available energy in the gusty winds was only about 5% on average and increased slightly with turbine moment of inertia. Four of the suburban sites studied were deemed to be economically viable locations for a small-scale VAWT. The results further indicate that, at one of these sites, the levelized cost of energy associated with the top performing turbine designs examined in the study was about 10% less than the national electricity price, meaning that wind energy provides a cheaper alternative to fossil fuel at this location. It is surmised that VAWTs could economically harvest wind energy in the urban center as well if the turbines were located higher than 9 m, such as on the rooftops of commercial/residential buildings.
File:Vertical-axis wind turbine at Hartnell College Alisal Campus.gk.webm
by Lam Nguyen and Meredith Metzger; Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Volume 9, Number 4; Published Online: August 2017
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy 9, 043302 (2017); doi:
via "Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Can Offer Cheaper Electricity For Urban And Suburban Areas"

Full steam ahead for new power plant at Portsmouth Naval Base | BAE Systems | International

The CHP facility will reduce the naval base's carbon footprint.

BAE Systems is beginning work to install a specialist Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant at Portsmouth Naval Base which will recycle energy, reduce carbon footprint and save the Ministry of Defence up to £4million per year in energy costs.

Energy and electrical requirements at the naval base are set to increase when the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers arrive in their home port. As part of BAE Systems’ ongoing commitment to Portsmouth, developing a dedicated CHP facility will not only meet this demand but also increase energy efficiency across the site.

Chris Courtaux, Head of Engineering and Energy Services at BAE Systems, said: “By developing this new facility we will be able to recycle energy consumption on the naval base as well as deliver a significant cost saving. This is an innovative solution to support the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy.
A CHP system produces electricity and heat from a single fuel source and is able to retain excess heat which would have otherwise be wasted. To create this new facility a former boiler house will be converted into and is due to be completed by the end of 2018.
Portsmouth Naval Base 
The £12million contract for the CHP facility forms an amendment to the Maritime Services Delivery Framework (MSDF) contract, awarded to BAE Systems by the Ministry of Defence in 2014. Under the MSDF contract, BAE Systems manages Portsmouth Naval Base on behalf of the Royal Navy, as well as supporting half of the Royal Navy's surface fleet on UK and global operations.
The CHP facility will reduce the naval base's carbon footprint.
Press Release dated August 4, 2017

which reports higher savings