PhD Episode III: The Rise of Engineering Advice
By laurent.liote.19, on 10 October 2022
Laurent Liote is a fourth year PhD student at UCL STEaPP. Follow him on LinkedIn (Laurent Liote), Twitter (@LaurentLiote) or ping him an email (email@example.com).
Hi there, yes, it’s still me… and yes, I’m still working on my PhD! It’s been a few months since the last update so I figured I’d let you all know that, as promised, I’m working on the final part of my PhD trilogy (Episodes I and II can be found here and here, respectively). The overarching story arch, if you’ve missed the two previous instalments, is about understanding how engineering advice is deployed in energy policy practice. This post picks up where we left off, outlining what I’ve been up to since January and where I’m going next.
Carbon dilemma: Indonesia’s experience
By Muhamad Rosyid Jazuli, on 25 August 2022
The transition from fossil fuel-based to renewable energy has become one of the most important global issues at least in the past two decades. In Indonesia, however, incentives for renewable energy have decreased and in contrast, ones for fossil fuels have increased (Kompas, 22/6).
The alleged increase in this unsustainable incentive is encapsulated in a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), titled Indonesia’s Energy Support Measures: An inventory of incentives impacting the energy transition, published this June.
During 2016-2020, the report states, that subsidies and compensation for fossil fuels in Indonesia reached 1,153 trillion Rupiah or around 65 billion Pounds. This number dwarfs incentives for other energy sources, for instance, 150 trillion Rupiah for renewable energy sources and 19 trillion Rupiah for electric vehicles and batteries.
Such gigantic spending indicates, unfortunately, that Indonesia is moving away from its commitment to building a low-carbon economy. At the Conference of the Parties (COP) 2009 and 2016, Indonesia committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% (with its own efforts) or by 41% (if receiving international assistance) by 2030.
Three shifts for improving the governance of emerging technologies
By Basil Mahfouz, on 11 June 2022
Without a coordinated global response, emerging technologies could quickly transform our world into a dystopia. By 2050, the lack of climate action may push mankind towards experimenting with planetary systems via geoengineering, lethal autonomous weapon systems could be deciding who lives and who doesn’t, while neuro-technologies will challenge the definition of what it means to be human.
To understand how to manage the societal impact of these technologies, on 16 May 2022, I joined 29 other specialists representing 21 countries at the Science Diplomacy Week Immersion Programme, a forum co-organised by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
The discussions highlighted that effectively governing frontier technologies requires three fundamental shifts across international science diplomacy: (1) adopting a proactive approach towards solving challenges, (2) leveraging cutting-edge computational tools, and (3) systemically scaling access to scientific knowledge.
The wicked fuel subsidies and the complexity of their reforms: Lessons from Indonesia
By Muhamad Rosyid Jazuli, on 15 March 2022
Climate change has been a hot issue for most countries for several decades. Experts have expressed significant concern about the overconsumption of fuels across the globe. Its main driver: fuel subsidies.
Our latest publication (Jazuli, Steenmans, and Mulugetta 2021) highlights the importance of reducing global fuel subsidies. Nevertheless, studies are incredulous how these subventions persist. Our review shows that subsidy reforms are not just a matter of cuts to these subventions and the subsequent fuel price increase. It is more complex than that.
Globally, in 2014, fuel consumption subsidies from various countries accounted for 13% of global GHG emissions (IEA, 2015). Fuel subsidies also often lead to carbon lock-in where development cannot be separated from fuel even though renewable energy potential is abundant (Seto et al., 2016).
Fuel subsidies can reduce logistics and transportation costs to suppress prices. However, these policies often come with a variety of ramifications. In addition to exacerbating global warming, fuel subsidies are hampering investment in fundamental sectors such as education, health, and renewable energy. In addition, these subsidies spoil the rich rather than help the poor. In Indonesia, for example, more than 80% of these subsidies are enjoyed by the richest 50% (Diop, 2014).
First RespondXR: Digital vulnerability of immersive training for first responders
By Niamh F Healy, on 16 February 2022
For the past few months, I have had the pleasure of working as a research assistant on the First Respond XR project. The pilot study, led by Dr Leonie Tanczer, Lecturer in International Security and Emerging Technologies at UCL STEaPP, has been funded by the SPRITE Hub and explores the digital vulnerabilities associated with using Extended Reality (XR) to train police officers in the UK.
XR is an umbrella term used in reference to different types of virtual reality technology: immersive, three-dimensional, computer-generated environments. Popular examples of XR include Oculus Rift, a fully-immersive VR gaming headset, or Pokémon Go, which superimposes Pokémon onto the user’s environment via their smartphone cameras, an example of augmented reality (AR).
As the application areas of this technology are manifold, our four-month-long pilot study (December 2021 – March 2022) has the ambition to map the social, ethical, technical, and legal risks associated with the use of XR technology in the police training context. Our team (Dr Leonie Tanczer, Professor David McIlhatton, Professor Jill Marshall, Dr Mark McGill, Dr Lena Podoletz, Marina Heilbrunn and Niamh Healy) is set together with human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers, legal experts, security academics, and criminology and policing specialists. The multidisciplinary nature of the team, encompassing social, legal and technical expertise, benefits the examination of this timely issue and aids a holistic analysis of XR systems in the policing context. To date, we have been conducting a literature review to identify existing use cases of XR for police training as well as applications in other first responders domains (i.e., health, military, fire service). Our legal team has also begun mapping the complex legal context surrounding police use of XR for training purposes.
In this blog, I share some of our social team’s initial findings, set out our next research steps, and explain how interested parties could get involved in our study.