Energy and society

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    The Beijing Municipality has implemented a programme that subsidizes electric heat pumps and electricity, and bans coal. This study estimates the programme’s impact on household energy use and expenditure, well-being and indoor environment quality.

    • Christopher Barrington-Leigh
    • , Jill Baumgartner
    • , Ellison Carter
    • , Brian E. Robinson
    • , Shu Tao
    •  & Yuanxun Zhang
    Nature Energy 4, 416-423
  • Research | | open

    Aerosol impacts have not been comprehensively considered in the cost-benefit integrated assessment models that are widely used to analyze climate policy. Here the authors account for these impacts and find that the health co-benefits from improved air quality outweigh the co-harms from increased near-term warming, and that optimal climate policy results in immediate net benefits globally.

    • Noah Scovronick
    • , Mark Budolfson
    • , Francis Dennig
    • , Frank Errickson
    • , Marc Fleurbaey
    • , Wei Peng
    • , Robert H. Socolow
    • , Dean Spears
    •  & Fabian Wagner
  • Research | | open

    It is important to examine the economic viability of battery storage investments. Here the authors introduced the Levelized Cost of Energy Storage metric to estimate the breakeven cost for energy storage and found that behind-the-meter storage installations will be financially advantageous in both Germany and California.

    • Stephen Comello
    •  & Stefan Reichelstein
  • Reviews | | open

    Climate change represents an existential, global threat to humanity, yet its delocalized nature complicates climate action. Here, the authors propose retrofitting air conditioning units as integrated, scalable, and renewable-powered devices capable of decentralized CO2 conversion and energy democratization.

    • Roland Dittmeyer
    • , Michael Klumpp
    • , Paul Kant
    •  & Geoffrey Ozin
  • Reviews |

    Domestic heating systems vary widely in their configurations across different countries. Here, Gross and Hanna use case studies of Sweden and the United Kingdom to explore the central roles of policies and path dependence in shaping the technologies and infrastructures providing domestic space heating.

    • Robert Gross
    •  & Richard Hanna
    Nature Energy 4, 358-364

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Zeolites and other technologies should be evaluated and pursued for reducing methane concentrations in the atmosphere from 1,860 ppb to preindustrial levels of ~750 ppb. Such a goal of atmospheric restoration provides a positive framework for change at a time when climate action is desperately needed.

    • R. B. Jackson
    • , E. I. Solomon
    • , J. G. Canadell
    • , M. Cargnello
    •  & C. B. Field
  • News and Views |

    A significant portion of the energy required to electrochemically reduce CO2 to fuels and chemicals is typically consumed by the accompanying oxygen evolution reaction. Now, researchers show that alternative oxidative reactions using biodiesel-waste could improve the economics and emission profiles of this process.

    • André Bardow
    •  & Matthias Wessling
  • Comments and Opinion |

    There has been a divide between scientists making recommendations for sustainable natural resource development and the community living around those resources. Masami Nakagawa argues that the community should be considered first, as the successful development of sustainable natural resources requires their cooperation and trust.

    • Masami Nakagawa
  • News and Views |

    Policies that encourage a shift away from solid fuels can improve public health, welfare and the environment. However, impacts and their distribution are rarely evaluated. Now research shows that benefits to home comfort, indoor air quality and well-being from China’s coal-to-electricity programme vary across rich and poor districts.

    • Shonali Pachauri
    Nature Energy 4, 356-357