Vol. 9 No. 4 (2015)

Published December 30, 2015

The concept of low-carbon economy is built upon a futuristic
theory which depictures the production operating on a low input
and energy consumption level so it has a minimal amount
of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To measure the loading
capacity of the biosphere, researches use carbon-dioxide as
a basic GHG unit, therefore all of these gases are generally
expressed in carbon equivalent (CO2e). Briefly, the birth of
low-carbon economy is originated from the common opinion
of the scientists and the members of the society who recognize
the harmful effects of human activity on our environment.
Their concern is mostly focused on the GHG emissions indicating
such changes in our atmosphere which in a long-term
would put our living conditions and the ecological systems in
danger. The global interpretation of this initiative encourages
the implementation of zero- and low-carbon economic models
with the involvement of renewable energies and green technologies.
Sometimes, the application of these principles means
new challenges for the actors of the economy because our current
knowledge serves them with a lack of tools for measuring
the real risks and costs of an environmental investment.
In order to develop the appropriate – financial and technological
– measurement tools for the examination of climate
change, first we must take into account the basic economic interests
associated with our appointed targets. Discovering the
financial means of the climate friendly projects and tracking
the effects of the new technological innovations can be considered
quite a new field of study but raising the public awareness
of these “start-ups” or “pilot projects” is essential for planning
our future systems. Therefore, in the current issue of the APSTRACT
scientific journal it was our aim to introduce some
research areas which represent practical business examples for
efficient GHG reduction endeavours.

Full Issue



  • Proposals for low-carbon agriculture production strategies between 2020 and 2030 in Hungary

    When viewed from the perspective of climate policy, agriculture as a separate sector is one of the most difficult development areas to assess. One of the reasons for this is the problem of the localization of greenhouse gas emitters, caused by the fact that production takes place in small or dispersed production units. The special circumstance that unit production takes place in complex interactive systems (food, feed, energy sources, main products, by-products, etc.) is yet another special factor, which in addition makes it significantly more difficult to measure and identify the GHGs they emit than if they were a uniform production plant. Additionally, there are few sectors outside agriculture where decision-makers encounter such strong opposition and lobby interests when developing limiting regulations. This stems from the fact that following World War II, European decision-makers and the Common Agricultural Policy elevated agriculture to a prominent role whose importance was indisputable. As a result, both climate policy and other measures that would result in any reduction of the priority of the sector are very difficult to implement, since the players involved always reason that limitations would restrict their competiveness and the security of their production. In addition, the uncertain nature of regulatory elements also poses a grave problem. As an example, the name of the sector itself – the LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) sector – shows that the strategy for reducing the greenhouse gasses emitted by the whole sector would be significantly different if these units were treated separately (agricultural land use, forest, not-cultivated areas). Taking the above into account, the present study aims to identify development directions that in turn allow those low-carbon development directions to be pinpointed within animal husbandry and plant production that have the greatest feasibility and can contribute to decreasing the GHG environmental load exerted by agriculture.

  • Cross-sector analysis of the Hungarian sectors covered by the Effort Sharing Decision – Climate policy perspectives for the Hungarian agriculture within the 2021-2030 EU programming period

    Ever since 2012, the EU ETS (European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme), which is the EU’s climate policy was extended to include the ESD (Effort Sharing Decision) sectors’ (agriculture, transport, building) regulations. As its name implies, this mechanism is based off of shared interests and efforts, all in order to reach the climate goals. Therefore, analysing the agriculture sector from an environmental viewpoint requires the analysis of related sectors as well, since their performances will have an impact on determining the requirements to be met by the agriculture. Seeing that those primarily present in said sectors are not various firms, but people and public utility management institutions instead, the level of regulations draws from the economic state of the various countries in question (GDP per capita). Therefore, member states like ours did not receive difficult goals until 2020, due to our performance being lower than the average of the EU. However, during the program phase between 2021 and 2030, all nations are to lower their GHG (greenhouse gases) emission, and have to make developments to restrict GHG emission level growth within the ESD, which means we already have to estimate our future possibilities. During the analyses, we will see that analysing agriculture from an environmental viewpoint, without doing the same to their related sectors and their various related influences is impossible. The GHG emission goals determined by the EU have to be cleared by the agriculture sector, but the inputs from transport, waste management and building are required nonetheless.

    JEL classification: Q58

  • New tools and opportunities in growth and climate friendly greening for small and medium enterprises in the European Union

    The role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is unquestionable in the European economies, while financial opportunities are still inadequate for them. The more than 20 million SMEs play a significant role in European economic growth, innovation and job creation. According to the latest EC Annual Report , SMEs are accounting for 99% of all non-financial enterprises, employing 88.8 million people and generating almost EUR 3.7 tn in added value for our economy. Despite the fact that there is plenty of EU funding available for these SMEs, for certain reasons these funds hardly reach them. But we have to see that the EU supports SMEs by various way, e.g. by grants, regulatory changes, financial instrument, direct funds. On the other hand, SMEs and decision makers realised that the environmental sustainability has to be attached to the economic growth, therefore more and more tools are available for these enterprises. Over the last few years, public institutions, the market, the financial community and non-governmental associations have explicitly demanded that firms improve their environmental performance. One of the greatest opportunities might lay in the Climate- and Energy Strategy till 2030 as 20% of the EU budget is allocated to climate-related actions, however the easy access to finance is still a key question. Does the EU recognise the actual difficulties? Is there a systemic reason behind the absorption problems? Is the EU creating a more businessfriendly environment for SMEs, facilitating access to finance, stimulates the green and sustainable growth and improving access to new markets? The paper analyses the current European situation of the SMEs and the effectiveness of some new tools, which are specially targeting SMEs.

    JEL classification: Q18

  • More insurance subsidies for European farmers – is it needed?

    In addition to traditional sources of uncertainties, such as market price volatility and animal and plant health-related risks, the impacts of climate change have recently become a major concern in the agricultural sector throughout the world. Insurance has been commonly proposed as a key instrument in farm risk management, and agricultural insurance schemes have become more widespread both in developed and developing countries. We conducted a case study in the UK to investigate farmers’ risk perception and willingness to pay for crop insurance by using contingent valuation method (CVM). Similarly to the experience from developing countries, we found that farmers are less willing to pay for insurance, however they do take actions to reduce their risks. While these results suggest that the provision of premium subsidies to European farmers can be justified; in order to avoid counter-productive policy outcomes, one may consider the introduction of a risk-based approach in agricultural risk management.

    JEL classification: Q14

  • Integrating environment economy to project management

    Environmental sustainability is a horizontal issue that appears at all level of economic activities and private life. Due to the increasing complexity of regulations, particularly in case of EU funded developments, all the projects need to meet a lot of criteria on environment protection issues. These activities include the conduction of environmental studies, data collection, future emission estimations, improving social attitude, acquiring necessary permissions and environment friendly equipment and finally all the administrative activities to monitor everything mentioned previousThe project management organization increasingly needs a special expertise to meet all the requirements no matter what is the original scope of the project. The study collects different type of knowledge and expertise to manage environment economic issues during project management on four different categories, such as legal, technical, financial or human. The summary of the different type of knowledge provides logical conclusion on how the project management organization should meet the challenges of climate change in terms of daily work and organizational operations.

    JEL classification: O22

  • Low-carbon innovation policy with the use of biorenewables in the transport sector until 2030

    The topic of the present study deals with the changes and future trends of the European Union’s climate policy. In addition, it studies the manner in which Hungary’s transport sector contributes to the success of the above. The general opinion of Hungarian climate policy is that the country has no need of any substantial climate policy measures, since it will be able to reach its emission reduction targets anyway. This is mostly true, because the basis year for the long term goals is around the middle/end of the 1980’s, when Hungary’s pollution indices were entirely different than today due to former large-scale industrial production. With the termination of these inefficient energy systems, Hungary has basically been “performing well” since the change in political system without taking any specific steps in the interest of doing so. The analysis of the commitments for the 2020-2030 climate policy planning period, which defined emissions commitments compared to 2005 GHG emissions levels, has also garnered similar political reactions in recent years. Thus, it is not the issue of decreasing GHG emissions but the degree to which possible emissions can be increased stemming from the conditions and characteristics of economic growth that is important from the aspect of economic policy. In 2005, the Hungarian transport sector’s emissions amounted to 11 million tons, which is equal to 1.2% of total EU emissions, meaning it does not significantly influence total transport emissions. However, the stakes are still high for developing a low GHG emission transport system, since that will decide whether Hungary can avoid those negative development tendencies that have plagued the majority of Western European transport systems. Can Budapest avoid the scourge of perpetual smog and traffic jams? Can it avert the immeasurable accumulation of externalities on the capital city’s public bypass roads caused by having road transport conduct goods shipping?

    JEL classification: Q58

  • Enhancing the effectiveness of thermal water consumption via heat pumping

    Renewable technologies and the extension of their scope of usage basically has to face the general obstacles like any other novelties newly introduced to the market. In the case of environmentally friendly and clean technologies we must consider another critical aspect: the knowledge and the trust of the potential future users. To influence these people first we must extend their knowledge regarding renewable energies so they will be able to change their own approach about them. Usually the most crucial factor is the economic efficiency which determines the attitude of the majority of the users. Even the ones whose decision making process is highly based on the environmental patterns. In the case of any technology, the economic aspect is significantly influenced by its operational effectiveness. So this analysis – besides the direct economic matters – aims to examine how the performance of thermal water heating in greenhouses can be improved by using heat pumping.

    JEL classification: Q42

  • Methane reductions to moderate the global warming effects

    The case-study overviews the possible reduction for the methane gas emission in order to avoid of the more global warming effects and climate change caused by the human activity at latest decades. To collect international data base is for analysing and valuing methane gas emission based on the different country-groups, emphasizing responsibility of developing countries and highly developed countries for gas emission, also the methane emission based is on the economic sectors. China and India have share 8% of China and 2% of India respectively of cumulative CO2 emissions over the period 1900-2005, the US and the EU are responsible for more than half of emissions. Based on the estimation the global gas emissions of methane in the whole world has increased by 37% for period of 1990- 2030, as four decades, and this was 0,92% annual rate growth, while the OECD has increased the methane emission by 8,5% for this period, which means 0,21% growth rate annually. Scenario in developing countries for 2013-2020 the methane gas emission reduction could have been 8200 Mt of CO2e (Equivalent) and less than 10 US dollar per ton in more cost financing. Highly developed and developing economies (last one their methane emission share 56% in 1990, estimated 66,8% in 2030) increase their economic growth by mostly fossil energy resulted in increasing also methane gas emissions. The methane gas emission can be solved by those results-based-finance forms relevant to Kyoto Protocol, which can extend in the world by financial institutions.

  • Greener cement sector and potential climate strategy development between 2015-2030 (Hungarian case study)

    Advancing the domestic industrial production towards a sustainable, resource-preserving direction can become an important pillar to support competitiveness in the European Union, as well as in Hungary. Reaching the de-carbonization goals for industrial production via lowering the production volume may result in less desirable macro-economic effects, so decisions which concern the industry require a lot of attention from the climate policy as well. In the case of the cement sector, economic actors have to be motivated to make energy-efficiency investments and technology developments, which also show promise in terms of business efficiency. In the more natural-resource-intensive branches of the industry, both innovations and technological developments will be required to reduce the amount of used non-renewable energy resources, keep it in the industrial cycle, and reduce environmental load. The importance of greener cement will be essential in the near future to reduce the sector’s CO2 emission levels. We need to identify more sector branches which relate to sustainability, which can aid the country in establishing long-term competitiveness that points towards the de-carbonization goals. The cost-efficiency aspects of this development process are the most tedious questions in today’s business planning.

    JEL classification: Q55

  • Climate change impact on crop production in Central Asian Countries

    Increased risk due to global warming has already become embedded in agricultural decision making in Central Asia and uncertainties are projected to increase even further. Agro-ecology and economies of Central Asia are heterogeneous and very little is known about the impact of climate change at the subnational levels. The bio-economic farm model is used for ex-ante assessment of climate change impacts at sub-national levels in Central Asia. The bio-economic farm model is calibrated to ten farming systems in Central Asia based on the household survey and crop growth experiment data. The production uncertainties and the adaptation options of agricultural producers to changing environments are considered paramount in the simulations. Very large differences in climate change impacts across the studied farming systems are found. The positive income gains in large-scale commercial farms in the northern regions of Kazakhstan and negative impact in small-scale farms in arid zones of Tajikistan are likely to happen. Producers in Kyrgyzstan may expect higher revenues but also higher income volatilities in the future. Agricultural producers in Uzbekistan may benefit in the near future but may lose their income in the distant future. The negative impacts could be further aggravated in arid zones of Central Asia if irrigation water availability decline due to climate change and water demand increase in upstream regions. The scenario simulations show that market liberalization and improved commodity exchange between the countries have very good potential to cope with the negative consequences of climate change.

    JEL classification: Q11, Q18

  • The effects of climate change on cereals yield of production and food security in Gambia

    Increasingly, empirical evidences are substantiating the effects of climate change on agricultural production is a reality. In the early part of the 20th century many were skeptical about the so-called climate change that is due to global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) defines climate change as follows: “climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean or variability of its properties and that persists for extended periods, typically decades or longer” This study analyses the impact of climate change on cereals production (millet and maize) in the Gambia using a time series data for a period of 46 years (1960 – 2013) at an aggregate level to assess the relationship between climate (temperatures and rainfall,) and non-climate variables fertilizer, area planted respectively and yield. The specific objectives of the research are: (1) How climate change affects the expected cereals (Millet and Maize) output or yield in the Gambia. (2) How the level of output risk within cereals (Millet and Maize) farming is affected? In order to achieve these set objectives, the paper will adopt Just and Pope modified Ricardian production functions for climate change impact assessments (e.g., Chen et al. 2004), the paper will also control for the impacts of regular input factors in the production process. The study used a data set for the Gambia comprising variables relevant for cereals production and climate information from 1960 through 2013. There is strong evidence that climate will affects Maize and Millet; according to the analysis 77% and 44% of the variability in the yield of Maize and Millet respectively is explained by the climate and non-climate variables included in the model. Given the effects of climate variables on cereals production, and increasing climate change vulnerabilities on other food production section, the result of this paper will add voice to the growing call for policy makers to step up funding in research and development in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

    JEL classification: Q54

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