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Frontiers of Engineering Management

, Volume 6 Issue 1

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Special issue: Low-carbon management
Wenrui HU, An WANG, Yi-Ming WEI
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 1-4.
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A global carbon market?
Michael G. POLLITT
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 5-18.
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This paper explores the prospects for a global carbon market as the centerpiece of any serious attempt to reach the ambitious goal for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions set by climate scientists. My aim is to clarify the extent to which we know what policy might best support global decarbonisation. We begin by discussing what we might mean by a global carbon market and its theoretical properties. We then go on to discuss the EU Emissions Trading System experience and the recent experience with the Australian carbon tax. Next, we assess recent carbon market initiatives in the US and in China. My argument is that while establishing the amount of emissions required and dividing it up acceptably between countries requires an enormous scientific and international negotiations effort, the economic instruments to deliver the agreed targets are readily at hand.

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Sufficient or insufficient: Assessment of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) of the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters
Ge GAO, Mo CHEN, Jiayu WANG, Kexin YANG, Yujiao XIAN, Xunpeng SHI, Ke WANG
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 19-37.
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The recent Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has resulted in the submission of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of 190 countries. This study aims to provide an analysis of the ambitiousness and fairness of the mitigation components of the INDCs submitted by various parties. We use a unified framework to assess 23 INDCs that cover 50 countries, including European Union (EU)-28 countries as parties to the Convention, which represent 87.45% of the global greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. First, we transform initial INDC files into reported reduction targets. Second, we create four schemes and six scenarios to determine the required reduction effort, which considers each nation’s reduction responsibility, capacity, and potential, thereby reflecting their historical and current development status. Finally, we combine the reported reduction target and the required reduction effort to assess INDCs. Evaluation results of the 23 emitters indicate that 2 emitters (i.e., EU and Brazil) are rated as “sufficient,” 7 emitters (e.g., China, the United States, and Canada) are rated as “moderate,” and 14 emitters (e.g., India, Russia, and Japan) are rated as “insufficient.” Most pledges exhibit a considerable distance from representing a fair contribution.

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Geoengineering and the blockchain: Coordinating Carbon Dioxide Removal and Solar Radiation Management to tackle future emissions
Andrew LOCKLEY, Zhifu MI, D’Maris COFFMAN
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 38-51.
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Geoengineering is a proposed response to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Conventionally it consists of two strands: Solar Radiation Management (SRM), which is fast-acting, incomplete but inexpensive, and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), which is slower acting, more expensive, and comprehensive. Pairing SRM and CDR offers a contractually complete solution for future emissions if effectively-scaled and coordinated. SRM offsets warming, while CDR takes effect. We suggest coordination using a blockchain, i.e. smart contracts and a distributed ledger. Specifically, we integrate CDR futures with time and volume-matched SRM orders, to address emissions contractually before release. This provides an economically and environmentally proportionate solution to CO2 emissions at the wellhead, with robust contractual transparency, and minimal overhead cost.

Our proposal offers a ‘polluter pays’ implementation of Long & Shepherds SRM ‘bridge’ concept. This ‘polluter geoengineers’ approach mandates and verifies emissions-linked payments with minimal friction, delay, or cost. Finally, we compare alternative market designs against this proposal, finding that this proposal offers several advantages. We conclude that blockchain implementation of the ‘polluter geoengineers’ approach is attractive and feasible for larger wellhead contracts. We also identify a handful of advantages and disadvantages that merit further study.

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Comprehensive analysis on China’s National Climate Change Assessment Reports: Action and emphasis
Bing WANG, Ge HONG, Chao-Qun CUI, Hao YU, Tad MURTY
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 52-61.
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Climate change assessment is central for low-carbon management practice. This paper investigates China’s National Climate Change Assessment Reports of 2007, 2011, and 2015. These three reports are compared with other climate change assessment reports by data mining. The necessity of national climate change assessment is analyzed with the requirements at home and abroad. The latest progress surrounding climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation is outlined with the increasing temperature rise in China and the urgency of climate change commitments. The achievements in climate change assessment indicate the increasing climate change vulnerability on sectors and regions in China and the strategies and priorities for low-carbon actions. Distinct gaps and differences are identified in the coverage of industry, regions, and vulnerability assessment between our assessments and other evaluation reports. These gaps and differences demonstrate the importance and future improvements of China’s national climate change assessment in international climate governance. The outlook for China’s fourth assessment report is proposed.

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Solvability and thermal response of cellulose with different crystal configurations
Qian CHEN, Kai ZHENG, Qingtao FAN, Kun WANG, Haiyan YANG, Jianxin JIANG, Shijie LIU
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 62-69.
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Cellulose is a biodegradable and renewable natural material that it is naturally resistant to breaking and modification. Moreover, the crystalline structure of cellulose is a major factor restricting its industrial utilization. In this study, cellulose polymorphs were prepared from natural cellulose, and their solvability and thermal response were investigated. Using liquid- and solid-state NMR signals, the distinct types and dissolving states of cellulose polymorphs were identified. The thermal behavior of the polymorphic forms of cellulose-d was also evaluated, and cellulose II exhibited the poorest thermal stability and a unique exothermic reaction.

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Characteristics of flow and heat transfer of shell-and-tube heat exchangers with overlapped helical baffles
Tingting DU, Wenjing DU
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 70-77.
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The characteristics of flow and heat transfer of shell-and-tube heat exchangers with overlapped helical baffles (STHXsHB) were illustrated through a theoretical analysis and numerical simulation. The ideal helical flow model was constructed to demonstrate parts of the flow characteristics of the STHXsHB, providing theoretical evidence of short-circuit and back flows in a triangular zone. The numerical simulation was adopted to describe the characteristics of helical, leakage, and bypass streams. In a fully developed section, the distribution of velocity and wall heat transfer coefficient has a similar trend, which presents the effect of leakage and bypass streams. The short-circuit flow accelerates the axial velocity of the flow through the triangular zone. Moreover, the back flow enhances the local heat transfer and causes the ascent of flow resistance. This study shows the detailed features of helical flow in STHXsHB, which can inspire a reasonable optimization on the shell-side structure.

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An adaptive policy-based framework for China’s Carbon Capture and Storage development
Xiaoliang YANG, Wolfgang HEIDUG, Douglas COOKE
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 78-86.
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China’s political leadership has taken an increasingly public and proactive stance on climate change since 2014. This stance includes making a commitment that Chinese carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will peak around 2030 and enacting measures through the 13th Five-Year Plan to support energy efficiency, clean energy technology, and carbon management. Chinese policymakers consider carbon capture and storage (CCS) a critical bridging technology to help accelerate the decarbonization of its economy. This paper reviews and analyzes Chinese CCS support policies from the perspective of an adaptive policymaking framework, recognizing uncertainty as an inherent element of the policymaking process and drawing general lessons for responding to changing circumstances. Notably, the political support for CCS in China remains fragmented with uncoordinated government leadership, undecided industry players, and even with opposing voices from some leading scientists. There is scope for expanding the framework to provide more granularity, in particular relating to the development of a CCS infrastructure and the development of storage-focused CO2-EOR. Overall, given the role CCS can play to decarbonize China’s power and other industrial sectors, a commitment to CCS from top policymakers and major stakeholders is needed.

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Internal incentives and operations strategies for the water-saving supply chain with cap-and-trade regulation
Zhisong CHEN, Li FANG, Huimin WANG
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 87-101.
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Faced with the rapid development of modern industries of agriculture, manufacturing, and services, water resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Industries with high water consumption are generally regulated by the government’s water cap-and-trade (CAT) regulation to solve the contradiction between the limited water supply and the rapid growing water demand. Supply chain equilibrium and coordination models under the benchmark scenario without water saving and CAT regulation, water-saving supply chain equilibrium and coordination models under the scenario without/with CAT regulation are developed, analyzed and compared. The corresponding numerical and sensitivity analyses for all models are conducted and compared, and the managerial insights and policy recommendations are summarized in this article. The results indicate that (1) Conducting water saving could improve effectively the operational performance of the water-saving supply chain under the scenario without/with CAT regulation. (2) The coordination strategy based on the revenue sharing contract could efficiently coordinate the water-saving supply chain, enhance water consumption reduction rate, and improve the operational performance of the water-saving supply chain. (3) The implementation of CAT regulation enhances effectively water-consumption-reduction in the water-saving supply chain and improves the operational performance of water-saving supply chain. (4) Simultaneous implementation of CAT regulation by the government and adopting coordination strategy by the water-saving supply chain would be superior to any other scenarios/strategies. (5) A suitable water cap based on the industrial average water consumption and historical water consumption data are beneficial for constructing reasonable and effective incentive mechanism. (6) A higher marginal trade price could induce more reduction in water consumption and create better operational performance for the manufacturer and water-saving supply chain, both under the equilibrium and coordination strategies.

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Security of solar radiation management geoengineering
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 102-116.
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Solar Radiation Management (SRM) geoengineering is a proposed response to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) (National Academy of Sciences, 2015). There may be profound – even violent – disagreement on preferred temperature. SRM disruption risks dangerous temperature rise (termination shock). Concentrating on aircraft-delivered Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI), we appraise threats to SRM and defense methodologies. Civil protest and minor cyberattacks are almost inevitable but are manageable (unless state-sponsored). Overt military attacks are more disruptive, but unlikely – although superpowers’ symbolic overt attacks may deter SRM. Unattributable attacks are likely, and mandate use of widely-available weapons. Risks from unsophisticated weapons are therefore higher. An extended supply chain is more vulnerable than a secure airbase – necessitating supply-chain hardening. Recommendations to improve SRM resilience include heterogeneous operations from diverse, secure, well-stocked bases (possibly ocean islands or aircraft carriers); and avoidance of single-point-of-failure risks (e.g. balloons). A distributed, civilian-operated system offers an alternative strategy. A multilateral, consensual SRM approach reduces likely attack triggers.

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Financing climate-resilient infrastructure: Determining risk, reward, and return on investment
Peter B. MEYER, Reimund SCHWARZE
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 117-127.
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Urban infrastructure investment is needed for both, mitigation of climate risks and improved urban resiliency. Financing them requires the translation of those benefits into measurable returns on investment in the context of emerging risks that capital markets can understand and appreciate. This paper develops a generic framework to identify what are the necessary and sufficient factors to economically favor climate-change resilient infrastructure in private investment decisions. We specifically demonstrate that carbon pricing alone will not generate the needed will, because market prices at present systematically fail to account for climate change risks such as the costs of stranded assets and the national and local co-benefits of investments in climate resiliency. Carbon pricing is necessary, but not sufficient for an enhanced private financing of climate-resilient infrastructure. The Paris Agreement and other supra-local policies and actors including city networks can concretely help to generate the sufficient social and political will for investments into climate change mitigation and resiliency at the city level.

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Low-carbon technology calls for comprehensive electricity-market redesign
Yang YU
Front. Eng. 2019, 6 (1): 128-130.
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The energy transition also calls for electricity- market redesign. Low-carbon technologies will fundamentally reshape the electricity sector. The electricity generation and demand will be significantly unpredictable and uncontrollable thus require for a more sophisticated system operation to guarantee the grid stability and reliability. The higher difficulty induced by the green-technology penetration expose the electricity-market to a higher market-failure risk. Thus, the future low-carbon electricity-market and associated regulation scheme require a comprehensive new design.

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13 articles