T5: Tackle the Task of a Transition through Technological Targets

T5: Tackle the Task of a Transition through Technological Targets

Gilbert Ahamer (Graz University, Graz, Austria)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijtem.2015010101
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This article provides a technology-based quantitative tool for the sharing of hypotheses, scenarios, political applications, and didactic strategies related to planning, developing, managing, using and evaluating technological targets towards climate protection and global sustainability in academia, administration, education and policy consulting. This article illustrates a problem-based educational technique and dialogic use of technology in education. The approach is to produce an improved scientific basis for the implementation of climate protection targets by assessing trends of energy-related CO2 emissions for each country. The complete logical chain of cause and effect “socio-economic driving forces => CO2 emissions => CO2 concentration => global carbon cycle => resulting climate change => necessary measures to be taken” is used as an educational basis for advocating the global necessity and potential technological feasibility of CO2 reduction. Global structural transitions can make use of intrinsic saturation effects detected by the proposed educational tool. By technologically oriented university classes, a set of CO2 abatement measures can be identified and assessed by the analysis of intrinsic societal, economic, energy-related and technological trends and the systemic transitions proposed by such analysis. In educational and technological practice, students can undertake a detailed analysis of the energy system of any country by means of a dynamics-as-usual case as baseline for measures and a historical long-term trend analysis of the structural change in socio-economic and energy parameters.
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1. Objectives

This article designs an educational tool for assessing the drivers of climate change.

1.1. The Aim

This endeavour aims at integratively assessing the relative importance of long-term techno-socio-economic developments driving global climate change. We ask: Which megatrends help and which megatrends hinder sustainable development?

The results of an interdisciplinary analysis of long-term trends are intended to improve factual understanding and to rank the anthropogenic causes of environmental change in order to help in the formulation of consistent environmental policies, in particular CO2 abatement measures on global and national levels (Figure 1).

The core of the analysis resides in quantitatively identifying and comparing the “techno-socio-economic causes of environmental change”. Scenarios for the emissions of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2 from energy systems and also from land use change) are generated and the impact of the respective techno-socio-economic driving forces is assessed. Over 2500 data sets of relevant parameters will describe the developments of recent decades for every country across the globe.

Figure 1.

The setting of this article. The suggested endeavour T5 focuses on the entirety of this sketch.


1.2. Issues and State of the Art

Given the scientific and public increase in concern about global warming, policy makers have made several steps in the direction of cutting back greenhouse gas emissions (mainly of CO2) in various documents, globally comprised in the UNFCCC procedures (UNFCCC, 2015). Recent literature (Weizsäcker et al., 1995; 2009) enumerates practical technological possibilities for reaching such necessary and envisaged targets. In order to strengthen the scientific basis for choosing appropriate, feasible and effective measures, the key linkages and feedbacks between human activities and behaviour – and significant environmental changes – are to be identified and evaluated by an interactive IT approach and evaluated in dialogue.

1.3. The Main Five Elements of the Train of Thought

The character of this entire endeavour (symbolised by the five letters “T” in Figure 2 representing the five learning subtasks) is truly transdisciplinary: societal, economic, technological and natural scientific aspects serve as a means for enhancing implementation of a complex political target like CO2 emission reduction (Ahamer, 1998: 106). The following thread leads from causes to effects of climate change:

  • 1.

    CO2 emission: On both global and national levels, a dynamics-as-usual case of energy scenarios (Ahamer, 1994; Ahamer & Mayer, 2013; 2014) as the baseline for measures can be constructed by means of a historical long-term trend analysis of the structural change in the socio-economic and energy parameters of the world’s economies;

  • 2.

    Macroeconomics: Views on the economic side-effects of reduction measures such as changes in GDP growth or in unemployment rates (Rauch, 2013; 2014) are provided, analysed by means of a macroeconomic model and complemented by qualitative assessment;

  • 3.

    Social processes: When designing CO2 abatement measures, the different views and patterns of values are harmonised during negotiation processes (Ahamer, 2012; Ahamer & Jekel, 2010; Chumakov, 2014; Sayamov, 2013, Matzenberger, 2013) between different institutions and regional aggregates;

  • 4.

    Carbon cycle: The effects of CO2 emissions, especially from land use change, on global CO2 concentration are modelled by a global carbon cycle model (Ahamer, 1993, 1994; Breiling et al., 2005);

  • 5.

    Climate: The resulting scenarios for paths of CO2 concentrations may serve as input for existing climate models (IPCC, 2000) which assess likely changes in human living conditions.

Figure 2.

The structure of the T5 working strategy. The five puzzle pieces refer to the five single tasks.


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