No. 7 May 1995

The Newsletter of the UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment

UNEP Governing Council 18 Special Issue

In this issue:

UNEP Centre - origins and activities

Environmentally Sound Energy Development - India and China Projects

The SEI/UNEP Fuel Chain Analysis Project

Climate Change Mitigation Studies

Countries with past, on-going or planned collaboration activities

Staff profiles

Visiting staff

c2e2 news provides up-to-date information at regular intervals on the activities of the UNEP Centre, UNEP and related events and developments. Information on forthcoming conferences, reports, studies, etc. are welcome.

Editor: Gordon A. Mackenzie (

The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily represent those of UNEP.

UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment
Risø National Laboratory
P.O. Box 49
DK-4000 Roskilde

Phone: + 45 46 32 22 88

Fax: + 45 46 32 19 99

c2e2 index

Return to UNEP Centre Home Page

Energy and the Environment

Energy is an important input in virtually all areas of social and economic activity. For most developing countries, improving the access to and quality of energy services is vital for meeting basic human needs and raising standards of living. However the production, conversion and use of energy often leads to damaging environmental effects. These impacts range from the adverse health effects caused by the indoor use of biomass fuels in developing countries, through urban air pollution in many cities of the world, to changes in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, notably CO2, with the consequent risk of climate change.

Environmental impacts are not limited to air pollution from fuel combustion. The damming of rivers for hydropower utilisation, coal mining, oil production and many other energy activities can cause damage to the aquatic and terrestrial environments, leading to ecosystem damage (including biodiversity loss), degradation of productive land, etc.

Economic development and policy decisions in the industrialized world, and well as in the developing world and transitional economies, must take account of the environmental issues connected with energy if sustainable local, regional and global development is to be achieved.

Energy plays a role in many of the areas which are the concern of UNEP. The energy programme of UNEP, although a relatively modest component of UNEP's activities, is of central importance. Within the United Nations system moreover, UNEP's energy programme is in a unique position, spanning all forms of energy production and use, in all types of countries, by virtue of the common environmental dimension.

One of UNEP's aims in the field of energy is to reach out beyond the environmental community and encourage greater incorporation of environmental concerns into the economic decision-making process affecting energy production, transportation and consumption.

Since its establishment in 1990 the UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment has played an important role in UNEP's Energy Programme. With its international core staff of energy scientists, planners and economists, its network of collaborating institutions and growing roster of guest researchers, the Centre has supported UNEP in its catalytic role of encouraging the incorporation of environmental aspects into energy policy and planning. This has been done largely through collaborative projects, capacity building and methodological development.

This special issue of c2e2 news, published to coincide with the 18 th Governing Council of UNEP, presents some of the important aspects of the UNEP Centre's work. The three project areas described illustrate the breadth of collaboration and form in which the overall aim is being pursued. The various special functions of the Centre are also outlined, and staff profiles are presented.

UNEP Centre - origins and activities

The UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment was conceived by UNEP in 1989 as a research and technical support unit, based at a well established scientific research centre with modern infrastructure and facilities, which could operate both independently and in a supporting role for UNEP in energy-environment matters. Suitable funding for the Centre was secured from Danish International Development Assistance (Danida), and the Danish Government's Scientific Research Centre - Risø National Laboratory - provided the ideal host organisation.

A four-year agreement was signed in 1990 between UNEP, Danida and Risø on the establishment of the Centre. More recently, in 1994, a new agreement on the continuation of the Centre was signed by the three organisations.

Geographical setting

Risø, situated close to the town of Roskilde, 40 km from Copenhagen, has a reputation as an international centre of excellence in several fields of science. Risø has a staff of about 1000 with main research areas Energy, Environment and Materials.

Establishment of the Centre

The UNEP Centre was established in 1990, with a small core of four professionals. During the second phase, from 1992 to 1994 the professional staff was increased to seven. An independent evaluation carried out for UNEP in 1994 recommended continuation and expansion, mainly through increased contract activities with other bi- and multi-lateral organisations. The Centre has now embarked on its third phase with the recruitment of additional staff, a broader portfolio of projects, and a postgraduate research programme associated with the core activities. To accommodate this expansion, Risø is building new premises for the Centre for completion by the end of 1995.

The Centre pursues its objectives in a number of different but complementary ways:

The three projects described in this issue illustrate these different aspects of the Centre's function.

India and China

The energy-environment studies in India and China represent detailed studies addressing all aspects of energy and environment policy and planning, with substantial participation of local teams. Both projects are funded by the UNEP Energy Programme and initiated with support from the Centre.

The two activities illustrate two different approaches to the task of conducting a national study. In the case of India, the study was carried out mainly by a local NGO - the Tata Energy Research Institute - and guided by a national steering committee. The Centre's participation was one of initiation and monitoring.

The China study, in contrast, is carried out by a group of government agencies, coordinated by National Environmental Protection Agency. The Centre participates substantively in the China project through formal and informal training, including extended stays of Chinese staff at the Centre. In substantive terms the projects also differ: in India the study was approached from a sectoral viewpoint, while the China study divided the country into geographical regions.

Climate Change Mitigation

The Climate Change Mitigation activities at the Centre, were initially carried out on behalf of the UNEP Climate Programme, and combine elements of methodological development, capacity building and country studies. The new phase of the UNEP activity is supported by GEF. Bilateral support, especially from Danida, plays an increasing role for the Centre's country study activities.

Climate Change has grown to become one of the main activity areas for the Centre. In addition to its involvement in specific mitigation analysis studies, the Centre is active in a number of international fora:

Fuel chain analysis

The Fuel-Chain Analysis Project, carried out as a collaboration between the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Centre, was initiated and undertaken for the Energy Programme of UNEP as a direct means of providing countries with a tool for incorporating environmental considerations into energy decisions.

Local capacity building

The Centre has also initiated and performed a number of more limited projects, all aiming at the strengthening of local capacity and fostering collaboration. Examples are studies in Argentina, Costa Rica, Maharashtra (India), Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. These projects are described in previous issues of c2e2 news, as well as in forthcoming Centre publications.

The Centre also played a central role, and continues to be active, in the Energy Strategies for Africa initiative spearheaded by the African Energy Policy Research Network. In Latin America, a training package focusing on integrated resource planning for energy-environment issues is under development in collaboration with the University of Campinas, Brazil, and a regional seminar is under preparation with OLADE. In Asia the Centre has been closely involved in the Asian Energy Institute activities.

International Collaboration

In addition to the above activities related to UNEP programmes, Centre staff have also participated in a number of international fora, such as the UN Solar Energy Group and working groups of the World Energy Council (WEC) on renewable energy options and developing country issues. Most recently the Centre acted as secretariat and lead author of a WEC working group on "Local and regional energy-related environmental issues". This report will be presented at the WEC Congress in Tokyo in October 1995.

Environmentally Sound Energy Development - India and China Projects

Two of the key activities in UNEP's energy programme during the last biennium have been the energy-environment policy studies in India and China. The project objectives follow UNEP's general mandate in the energy area, to promote integration of environmental criteria in national energy policy and planning. Specific aims are to strengthen national and regional institutional capacity in the area of energy environmental analysis and to promote policies that reduce energy-related environmental emissions. The two studies have been described in previous issues of c2e2 news, and are fully documented in project reports.

Environmentally sound energy policy and strategies for India

The project is currently under completion after two years of intense work. The study was implemented by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) of New Delhi under the guidance of a national Steering Committee chaired by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and including other key ministries, industrial bodies and research institutes.

On the basis of detailed sectoral studies the project team established a business-as-usual (BAU) energy scenario for India over the next 20 years, describing how energy demand and supply would be expected to develop, and with particular analysis of the environmental effects.

The BAU scenario projected large increases in the demand for energy in the examined period to 2011-12: coal supply would have to be increased three fold; petroleum product consumption would more than double; electricity generating capacity would have to be increased by a factor of three; and firewood demand, assuming that supply is not a constraint, would increase from the present estimated levels of 200-250 million tonnes to about 350 million tonnes.

These increases in energy demand would place heavy loads on the local, regional and global environment, to the extent that the analysis found the BAU scenario to be unsustainable. The unacceptable environmental impacts ranged from increased indoor and urban air pollution leading to seriously worsened health effects, deforestation and regional air pollution.

The study went on to define alternative energy development paths whereby the growing demands for energy services could be met in a sustainable way.

Alternative energy development paths

Nearly 25 % of India's population continues to live below the poverty line and on an average India's population has a per capita income level of US$ 256 compared with a world average of US$ 4179 in 1991. The targeted economic development can only take place if there is adequate provision of energy.

India has a large number of options from which to choose, including increased energy efficiency, acceleration of renewable energy development, introduction of clean coal technologies, increased share of hydro resources and the provision of alternative environmentally friendly energy options for the rural areas.

If all of these options were to be adopted successfully, CO2 emissions would be reduced by 20 per cent compared with the BAU scenario and emissions of suspended particulate matter would reduce by 24 per cent (Figure 1). The annualised energy system costs would change from Rs. 4114 billion to Rs 4019 billion, indicating that the more environmentally sustainable path could be achieved at little extra cost.

Figure 1.

Economic and institutional reforms

Since the beginning of the present decade India has implemented major economic reforms and this has had a considerable effect on the energy sector. For example, the reduced governmental budgetary support has led to energy prices being brought more into line with real costs and has also introduced more incentive for energy efficiency. The involvement of private sector investment in the power sector has introduced competition which is judged to have a positive impact on efficiency, as well as the accelerated introduction of new and renewable sources of energy.

Along with increased environmental regulation, these developments should lead to increased efficiency of energy production and use and greater incorporation of environmental considerations in energy planning and policy. However, the study points out that much remains to be done.


On the basis of the study of alternative energy-environment scenarios and an analysis of the present economic and institutional situation in India, the study makes a number of observations and has put forward recommendations for achieving the desired more sustainable energy path.

One of the key institutional findings of the study is the importance of the fragmented structure of the energy planning process in determining the energy situation. This has resulted in a sub-optimal allocation of resources geared more towards meeting short-term requirements than planning for a longer term strategy for the sector as a whole.

To facilitate integrated energy-environment planning it would be advisable to constitute a quasi-governmental body comprising the Secretaries of the various energy supply Ministries, the Planning Commission, representatives of consumer groups, academicians and non-governmental bodies. This body would not only look at supply enhancements but would also give due consideration to demand management options, fuel substitution possibilities and environmental impacts.

Rather than establish a "super energy ministry", a standing committee, supported by core technical staff, needs to be put in place with the following broad mandate:

The more detailed recommendations and a timebound action plan resulting from the project are under discussion with the Indian Government with the aim of identifying specific implementation possibilities and follow-up activities.

Incorporation of Environmental Considerations in Energy Planning in the People's Republic of China

The China project was started in June 1993 with the signing of an agreement between UNEP and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of the People's Republic of China. The project is similar in scope to the Indian study described above, but in contrast, analyses the national situation at a regionally disaggregated level, rather than in terms of national sectors.The project aims to provide a broad overview of the national energy development situation, to develop an alternative national energy scenario, and to identify economic and technological factors that might constrain the implementation of energy systems which minimise environmental impacts. Detailed regional studies are being undertaken for Beijing and Guanxi provinces.

Specific aims are to promote energy-related national and regional policies regarding the emission of atmospheric pollutants, especially oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, particulate matter and carbon dioxide.

The Centre has been involved closely in the substantive work of the project, through formal and informal training, and close collaboration on the use of energy-environment modelling tools. In this connection, a number of members of the Chinese team have spent extended stays at the Centre during 1994. The planning software LEAP/EDB has been used in the project, and staff from the Stockholm Environment Institute have been involved in implementation and training in the use of the tool.

It is rather early in the present analytical stage of the project to discuss specific policy issues. So far a range of relevant energy options has been identified, and the consequences of these studied by energy-environment modelling. This will be complemented in the present phase of the project by the analysis of concrete policy and technological options.

The analysis will identify relevant decision levels and actors involved in the decision process, and specify conflicting objectives and strategies. All these factors are likely to play a decisive role in the formulation of long-term energy policy for China.

The SEI/UNEP Fuel Chain Analysis Project

UNEP has worked for several years with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) - Boston Center on the development of energy-environment planning tools. During the last biennium, SEI, the Centre and counterparts in Venezuela and Sri Lanka have collaborated on a two-year project to develop analytical methods for incorporating environmental considerations in major fuel choice decisions.

A method and software for analysing and comparing fuel chains has been developed and implemented through case studies in Venezuela and Sri Lanka. Fuel chain analysis (FCA) goes beyond the typical environmental assessment at the site of energy use or conversion to consider the "chain" of activities and environmental effects that occur elsewhere as the result consuming a unit of fuel or energy resource.

Fuel chains

In fuel chain analysis, also referred to as fuel cycle analysis or life-cycle assessment, the effects of mining the coal or harvesting the wood, for example, are considered along with the more commonly assessed impacts of burning these fuels for useful heat or electricity. Considering the full fuel chain in addition to on-site impacts can affect the comparative advantage of different fuel and technology choices, as found in the case studies. Full fuel chain analysis, however, can be complex and data-intensive. Thus, the main thrust of this project has been to develop a tool that can make fuel chain analysis as straightforward as possible, and to test its applicability and usefulness in terms of policy-relevant fuel choice decisions in developing countries.

Biomass resources

The project also placed emphasis on improved analysis of biomass resource options. Commonly used methods for assessing biomass resource availability and impacts have simply not matched up with reality very well. So-called gap theory models, which predicted growing gaps or shortfalls of traditional wood energy in developing countries that never materialised, have been criticised. Further, the analytical comparison of environmental implications of biomass resource use with those of fossil fuel and other energy resources has proven difficult. The nature of these impacts - highly dispersed, site-specific, and dependent upon other activities such agriculture - renders them hard to quantify and generalise.

Evaluating alternatives

As part of the SEI/UNEP project, resource options for producing both electricity and final fuels were evaluated, and the data and methods for evaluating biomass resource options and their environmental consequences were enhanced. In particular, a completely revised Biomass program was created, including more realistic assessment of supply-demand interactions, better accounting for the potential for natural woodland regrowth, on-farm biomass production, modern biofuel crops, and the availability of agricultural wastes.

Project outputs

The final outputs of the present project are:

These outputs are targeted for government and NGO planners, researchers, and decision makers with overall goal of increasing the consideration of environmental concerns in energy planning and development.

Environmental Database

This project represents the second phase of an ongoing UNEP/SEI collaborative effort to develop and disseminate methods for bringing environmental considerations to bear on energy development in developing countries. In Phase 1, a comprehensive Environmental Data Base (EDB) was developed. This interactive database contains extensive quantitative information on the environmental loadings associated with a wide range of energy production and consumption technologies.

EDB is linked to LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning system Ð SEI's computerised energy-planning software), so that the environmental loadings of specific energy scenarios could be compared. Now installed at over 100 sites in over 30 countries, the combined LEAP/EDB system is being actively used in numerous energy-environment studies. The enhancements developed as the result of this project will be available to the full network of LEAP/EDB users and other interested individuals and organisations in mid to late 1995. The project, its results and the software will also be presented and demonstrated at the International Symposium on Electricity, Health and the Environment, organised by a number of UN agencies and international organisations, to take place in Stockholm, 17-20 October 1995.

Climate Change Mitigation Studies

Complexity of climate change mitigation

Climate change mitigation, and in particular the limitation of GHG emissions, is a complex issue which is intimately connected with economic development at national and global levels. This complexity stems from the fact that key economic sectors such as energy, agriculture, industry and forestry all produce GHGs, and will be affected directly and indirectly by any mitigation policy.

As a first attempt at addressing these complex issues, UNEP initiated the project "National Greenhouse Gas Abatement Costing Studies" in 1991. The project, coordinated by UCCEE, aimed at clarifying the many approaches within economic assessment and modelling GHG emission limitation, through practical application in specific countries. The UNEP project comprised a set of country studies based on comparable assumptions and a common analytical approach.

The first phase of the project consisted of detailed studies of the underlying issues in estimating abatement costs, including review of modelling options and existing cost estimates, and a small set of assessments of national studies. The second phase of the project, completed at the end of 1993, developed and tested a set of broad methodological guidelines for abatement costing through a series of national case studies. Participating country teams were: Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, France, India, the Netherlands, Senegal, Thailand, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The Phase One and Two reports are available from the Centre, along with popular brochures: Counting the Cost and Comparing the Cost. In addition the project has been discussed in previous issues of c2e2 news.

The second phase of the UNEP project concentrated on CO2 emissions from the energy sector. A more limited third phase including studies in Venezuela and Zimbabwe in 1994, has facilitated the expansion of the methodological guidelines to better address non-energy and non-CO2 mitigation options. Phase Three will be reported later in 1995.

New multi-country project

A new multi-country and regional project on climate change mitigation is currently in the preparatory stage. The project is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and is being coordinated by the Centre on behalf of UNEP. The Centre will work closely with Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) on the implementation of the project.

This collaboration will involve both country support and methodological development activities. Initial country consultations and fact-finding missions are being carried out by Centre staff in May-June 1995, and project start-up is planned for September 1995.

Eight new country studies

The countries that have requested participation in the project are distributed between the four "developing regions" and comprise: Argentina, Ecuador, Estonia, Hungary, Indonesia, Mauritius, Senegal and Vietnam. The country studies will be supplemented by two analysis activities at sub-regional level undertaken by the cooperating organisations in collaboration with regional "centres of excellence". The regional analysis activities will include specific regional mitigation assessment and studies of possible regional and sub-regional cooperation in energy markets, trade, transport, etc.

This new project will build on the three phases of the UNEP GHG Abatement Costing Project, further refining the international methodological framework, building institutional capacity in the participating countries and contributing national reporting input to the UNFCCC. In particular the new project will carry the methodology further into discussing how mitigation analysis can be integrated into national economic planning, and addressing important policy issues associated with the implementation of mitigation measures.

Related activities

The considerable involvement of the Centre in UNEP's climate change mitigation activity has led to a number of other related activities.

In 1994, a joint international conference on National Action to Mitigate Climate Change was convened in Copenhagen. The Conference was reported briefly in the previous issue and the proceedings are being published in the near future.

Centre staff have participated in IPCC Working Groups as lead authors of chapters for the Second Assessment Report.

The Centre is involved in bilaterally funded climate change studies in four countries in Southern Africa and in Burkina Faso, as described in the previous issue of c2e2 news.

25 developing countries worldwide with past, on-going or planned collaboration activities with the Centre

Staff profiles

John M. Christensen, MSc. PhD. Head of the Centre, nationality Danish. Engineer with experience in renewable energy technologies and energy-environment planning in developing countries. Programme Officer in the Energy Unit at UNEP Headquarters, Nairobi from 1988 to 1990. Joined UCCEE as Head when the Centre was established in October 1990. (

Pramod Deo, MSc. Ph.D. Senior Energy Economist, nationality Indian. Senior administrator with 23 years of experience in the Indian State and Central Governments, and international organisations. Founder Director of Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (1986-88) and Energy Management Centre (1989-93) Joined UCCEE in July 1993. (

Jørgen Fenhann, MSc. Senior scientist, nationality Danish. With Risø since 1978, working on energy planning models, emissions from energy systems, new and renewable energy technologies and energy-environment planning in E. Europe. Joined UCCEE on a half-time basis in 1994, working on climate change mitigation analysis projects. (

Kirsten Halsnaes, MEcon. Senior Economist, nationality Danish. With Risø National Laboratory since1987 working on methodologies for energy and environmental economics. Joined UCCEE in January 1993. Main area of research: economics of climate change mitigation. (email:

Gordon A. Mackenzie, BSc. PhD. Senior Energy Planner, nationality British. With Risø since 1980. Energy Adviser/Deputy Director in the Department of Energy, Zambia (1984-87). With UCCEE since 1990. Research areas include climate change studies, fuel chain analysis and energy-environment modelling. Editor of Centre publications, newsletter and electronic information systems.(email:

Henrik J. Meyer, MEcon. Economist, nationality Danish. With Risø since December 1993, joined UCCEE April 1995. Main research areas: economics of climate change and externalities of energy production and use. (email:

Steffen R. Nielsen, MSc. PhD student, nationality Danish. Joined UCCEE in February 1995, PhD project "Climate change mitigation in developing countries". (

Joel N. Swisher, MS. PhD. Senior Energy Scientist, nationality USA. Engineer with experience in energy and forestry related activities in many parts of the world. Joined UCCEE in 1993. Main activities: integrated energy-environmental planning, electric utility planning models, bottom-up analysis of national costs of reducing carbon emissions, training in energy end-use analysis. (

Arturo Villavicencio, MSc. Senior Energy Scientist, nationality Ecuadorian. National Energy Institute (Ecuador) 1979-85. Energy Planning Consultant for the Latin American Energy Organisation, CEC and World Bank 1985-88. Energy Adviser at OLADE 1988-90. From May 1991 with UCCEE. Main activities: energy-environment models, integrated energy-environment planning and climate change mitigation studies. (

Maria Andreasen, secretary.(

In addition to the above staff, the Centre is currently recruiting two senior international economists. It is expected that the new staff will take up their positions before the end of 1995.

Visiting staff

Over the past four years the Centre has been privileged to host the following colleagues as visiting researchers for periods of one to six months:

Yew-Kwang Ng, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Gilberto Jannuzzi, University of Campinas, Brazil

Ranjan K. Bose, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, India

Jyoti Painuly, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Bombay, India

Stephen Karekezi, AFREPREN/FWD, Kenya

Jiming Hao, Department of Environmental Engineering, Tsinghua University, People's Republic of China

Fan Yansheng, Air pollution Division, NEPA, People's Republic of China

Zhao Weijun, NEPA, People's Republic of China

Ding Yongfu, Guanxi Environmental Protection Bureau, People's Republic of China

Li Dianlin, Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China

Luis Villanueva, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Venezuela

R.S. Maya, Southern Centre for Energy and Environment, Zimbabwe

Go to c2e2 index

Return to UNEP Centre Home Page