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Concept: International Energy Agency


A number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and less costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. [Jacobson MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060-15065] argue that it is feasible to provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across all energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 and 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

Concepts: Petroleum, Fossil fuel, Renewable energy, Solar energy, Wind power, Hydroelectricity, International Energy Agency, Pumped-storage hydroelectricity


We estimate the consumptive water footprint (WF) of electricity and heat in 2035 for the four energy scenarios of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and a fifth scenario with a larger percentage of solar energy. Counter-intuitively, the ‘greenest’ IEA scenario (with the smallest carbon footprint) shows the largest WF increase over time: an increase by a factor four over the period 2010-2035. In 2010, electricity from solar, wind, and geothermal contributed 1.8% to the total. The increase of this contribution to 19.6% in IEA’s ‘450 scenario’ contributes significantly to the decrease of the WF of the global electricity and heat sector, but is offset by the simultaneous increase of the use of firewood and hydropower. Only substantial growth in the fractions of energy sources with small WFs - solar, wind, and geothermal energy - can contribute to a lowering of the WF of the electricity and heat sector in the coming decades. The fifth energy scenario - adapted from the IEA 450 scenario but based on a quick transition to solar, wind and geothermal energy and a minimum in bio-energy - is the only scenario that shows a strong decline in both carbon footprint (-66%) and consumptive WF (-12%) in 2035 compared to the reference year 2010.

Concepts: Energy, Sun, Fossil fuel, Solar energy, Solar power, Wind power, Geothermal power, International Energy Agency


Of all industrial sectors, the built environment puts the most pressure on the natural environment, and in spite of significant efforts the International Energy Agency suggests that buildings-related emissions are on track to double by 2050. Whilst operational energy efficiency continues to receive significant attention by researchers, a less well-researched area is the assessment of embodied carbon in the built environment in order to understand where the greatest opportunities for its mitigation and reduction lie. This article approaches the body of academic knowledge on strategies to tackle embodied carbon (EC) and uses a systematic review of the available evidence to answer the following research question: how should we mitigate and reduce EC in the built environment? 102 journal articles have been reviewed systematically in the fields of embodied carbon mitigation and reduction, and life cycle assessment. In total, 17 mitigation strategies have been identified from within the existing literature which have been discussed through a meta-analysis on available data. Results reveal that no single mitigation strategy alone seems able to tackle the problem; rather, a pluralistic approach is necessary. The use of materials with lower EC, better design, an increased reuse of EC-intensive materials, and stronger policy drivers all emerged as key elements for a quicker transition to a low carbon built environment. The meta-analysis on 77 LCAs also shows an extremely incomplete and short-sighted approach to life cycle studies. Most studies only assess the manufacturing stages, often completely overlooking impacts occurring during the occupancy stage and at the end of life of the building. The LCA research community have the responsibility to address such shortcomings and work towards more complete and meaningful assessments.

Concepts: Life, Natural environment, Research, Assessment, Sustainability, Recycling, Life cycle assessment, International Energy Agency


Nuclear sites around the world are being decommissioned and remedial actions are being undertaken to enable the sites or parts of the sites to be reused. Although this is relatively straightforward for most sites, experience has suggested that preventative action is needed to minimise the impact of remediation activities on the environment and the potential burden to future generations. Removing all contamination in order to make a site suitable for any use generates waste and has associated environmental, social and economic detriments and benefits that should be taken into account. Recent experience of OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) member countries in the remediation of contaminated land, predominantly contaminated soil and groundwater, on nuclear sites during decommissioning has been assessed by an NEA task group. The experience was used to identify strategic considerations for nuclear site remediation, to consider the application of sustainability principles to nuclear site remediation, to describe good practice, and to make recommendations for further research and development. The key aspects that were identified were that 1) site remediation should be sustainable by resulting in an overall net benefit; and 2) an adaptive approach is essential in order to take into account the inherent uncertainty associated with the decommissioning and site remediation timescales. A report describing the findings was published by OECD/NEA in 2016. The conclusions provide insights to decision makers, regulators, implementers and stakeholders involved in nuclear site decommissioning so that they can achieve sustainable remediation of nuclear sites, now and in the future.

Concepts: Natural environment, Environmental remediation, International Atomic Energy Agency, Sustainability, Soil contamination, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Remedial action, International Energy Agency


“Efficient Solutions and Cost-Optimal Analysis for Existing School Buildings” (Paolo Maria Congedo, Delia D'Agostino, Cristina Baglivo, Giuliano Tornese, Ilaria Zacà) [1] is the paper that refers to this article. It reports the data related to the establishment of several variants of energy efficient retrofit measures selected for two existing school buildings located in the Mediterranean area. In compliance with the cost-optimal analysis described in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and its guidelines (EU, Directive, EU 244,) [2], [3], these data are useful for the integration of renewable energy sources and high performance technical systems for school renovation. The data of cost-efficient high performance solutions are provided in tables that are explained within the following sections. The data focus on the describe school refurbishment sector to which European policies and investments are directed. A methodological approach already used in previous studies about new buildings is followed (Baglivo Cristina, Congedo Paolo Maria, D׳Agostino Delia, Zacà Ilaria, 2015; IlariaZacà, Delia D'Agostino, Paolo Maria Congedo, Cristina Baglivo; Baglivo Cristina, Congedo Paolo Maria, D'Agostino Delia, Zacà Ilaria, 2015; Ilaria Zacà, Delia D'Agostino, Paolo Maria Congedo, Cristina Baglivo, 2015; Paolo Maria Congedo, Cristina Baglivo, IlariaZacà, Delia D'Agostino,2015) [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. The files give the cost-optimal solutions for a kindergarten (REF1) and a nursery (REF2) school located in Sanarica and Squinzano (province of Lecce Southern Italy). The two reference buildings differ for construction period, materials and systems. The eleven tables provided contain data about the localization of the buildings, geometrical features and thermal properties of the envelope, as well as the energy efficiency measures related to walls, windows, heating, cooling, dhw and renewables. Output values of energy consumption, gas emission and costs are given for a financial and a macro-economic analysis. This data article provides 288 and 96 combinations for REF1 and REF2, respectively. The output values are obtained using the software ProCasaClima 2015v.2.0.

Concepts: Fossil fuel, Renewable energy, Peak oil, Wind power, Sustainable energy, Efficient energy use, International Energy Agency, Renewable energy development


Between September 2011 and August 2015, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) organised a series of 12 stakeholder dialogue workshops with residents of Fukushima Prefecture. Discussions focused on recovery, addressing topics such as protection of children, management of contaminated food, monitoring, and self-help measures. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) supported, and the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) Secretariat attended, all 12 meetings to listen directly to the concerns of affected individuals and draw lessons for CRPPH. To summarise the dialogue results, ICRP organised a final meeting in Date, Japan with the support of NEA and other organisations. The lessons from and utility of the dialogue meetings were praised by dialogue participants and sponsors, and ICRP agreed that some form of dialogue would continue, although with ICRP participation and support rather than leadership. This paper summarises the internationally relevant lessons learned by CRPPH from this important process.

Concepts: Management, Japan, International Atomic Energy Agency, Prefectures of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, Tōhoku region, Honshū, International Energy Agency


The rising importance of converting high peak electricity from renewables to fuels has urged field specialists to organize this Faraday Discussion on Solid Oxide Electrolysis. The topic is of essential interest in order to achieve a greater utilization of renewable energy and storage at higher densities.

Concepts: Michael Faraday, Energy, Water, Liquid, Renewable energy, Peak oil, Wind power, International Energy Agency


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are considered vital and economic elements for achieving global CO2 reduction targets, and is currently introduced worldwide (For more information on CCS, consult for example the websites of the International Energy Agency ( and the Global CCS Institute ( One prominent CCS technology, the amine-based post-combustion process, may generate nitrosamines and their related nitramines as by-products, the former well known for their potential mutagenic and carcinogenic properties. In order to efficiently assess the carcinogenic potency of any of these by-products this paper reviews and discusses novel prediction approaches consuming less time, money and animals than the traditionally applied 2-year rodent assay. For this, available animal carcinogenicity studies with nitrosamines and nitramines have been used to derive carcinogenic potency values, that were subsequently used to assess the predictive performance of alternative prediction approaches for these chemicals. Promising cancer prediction models are the QSARs developed by the Helguera group, in vitro transformation assays, and the in vivo initiation-promotion, and transgenic animal assays. All these models, however, have not been adequately explored for this purpose, as the number of nitrosamines investigated is yet too limited, and therefore further testing with relevant nitrosamines is needed.

Concepts: Cancer, In vivo, In vitro, Carcinogen, Mutagen, Nitrosamine, Carbon capture and storage, International Energy Agency


Water scarcity and uneven water distribution pose significant challenges to sustainable development and energy production in China. Based on the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s energy strategy scenarios for China, we evaluated the water withdrawal for energy production from 2011 to 2030. The results show that the amount of water withdrawal will be increased by 77% in 2030, which will aggravate China’s water scarcity risk under current energy strategy. We also observed that 67% of the energy production in China occurs in areas that are facing water scarcity. Moreover, China’s 12th Five-Year Plan of Energy Development does not change the existing energy strategies, and the planned total energy production is much higher than the IEA’s projection, which will result in an increased demand for water resources. However, if China were to apply broad policies to reduce CO2 emissions, the amount of water withdrawal would also decline compared with current energy strategy. Thus, reforming China’s energy structure and reducing energy usage are not only urgent because of climate challenges and air pollution but also essential to reducing the pressure of water scarcity.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Water, Hydrology, Peak oil, World energy resources and consumption, Peak water, International Energy Agency, Energy policy


The objectives of the study were to use the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) software package for the analysis of scintigraphic renal dynamic studies to obtain values of curve parameters and excretory parameters in children with hydronephrosis and to validate the reliability of these numerical outputs by comparing with values established by consensus reports.

Concepts: Kidney, Validation, Renal pelvis, Cultural studies, International Atomic Energy Agency, Hydronephrosis, Verification and validation, International Energy Agency