Archive for February, 2013

Useful resources for CGE modeling

During the past two days, the GAMS user list has seen an email communication about sources/literature that give a good overview/introduction about CGE modeling.

Definitely, the resources that have been recommended look very useful:

Thanks to the GAMS users for providing that information!




Work less and slow climate change. Sounds good, isn’t it?

A recent paper by the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) explores the question to which extent a reduction in work hours can contribute to slowing climate change.

The author uses a subset of the IPPC’s illustrative scenarios and simulates the impact of a reduction of work hours by assuming that hours worked fall by 0.5% per year in each scenario. He links this reduction in work hours to carbon emissions through the assumption that a 1% increase in hours worked per employee results in a 1.5% increase in carbon footprint.

As a result, between 35 and 70% of not already locked in warming would be avoided. However, this figure would change with alternative assumptions on the link between a reduction and work hours and carbon emissions and with expectations regarding employment effects.

Sure, the modeling approach as well as the assumptions may leave space for critical discussion. However, the piece is a nice and interesting analysis, which fits well into the debate on degrowth. And it can be seen as complementary to another recent article, published by Jørgen Randers in the Guardian: Should paid work be rationed? In that article, Randers also gives some input for answering the inevitable question what would happen to emissions if people with more free time opted to travel or watch TV (which requires electricity) instead:

Shorter working weeks, with more time spent reading and pottering in the garden, would help stabilise the use of planetary resources.

Reaching Out To RTB Experts Around the World

The CRP RTB blog reports about our work in the priority setting exercise, in particular about the global expert surveys on priorities for RTB research we are currently carrying out for that program:

More than 800 experts have already provided input into an ongoing assessment of research priorities for Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), the results of which will be used to guide RTB research in the coming years.

From potato breeders in Bolivia to plantain pathologists in East Africa, experts on the principal Root, Tuber and Banana crops have filled out surveys on production constraints and the research needs for addressing them. In doing so, they’ve contributed to an ambitious global assessment of research priorities that will help the management of RTB, a CGIAR Research Program, to set goals and allocate resources for improving the food security, diet and incomes of some of the world’s poorest people.

Crop surveys for bananas and plantains, cassava, potatoes, sweetpotatoes and yams can be complete online at the RTB website until February 28. They are part of a dynamic, six-stage process that aims to involve the greatest number of stakeholders possible in a strategic assessment of research priorities. That assessment includes a comprehensive literature review and the creation of an online RTB Atlas, in conjunction with the CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CSI). The surveys, however, are especially important, because they allow RTB to get input from an array of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, such as crop experts at advanced research centers or representatives of government institutions and NGOs.

Guy Hareau, an agricultural economist at the International Potato Center (CIP) who is coordinating the assessment with colleagues from the four CGIAR research centers participating in RTB, said he hopes that more than 1,000 people will complete crop surveys. Hareau and his colleagues in the priority assessment team have compiled lists of experts in the different RTB crops and regions and have contacted them by email requesting that they complete the survey for their crop.

Expert surveys can be completed online in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese or Chinese. They should take no longer than 25 minutes to complete, and the process can be interrupted and resumed at any time.

Hareau and colleagues have also attended various international conferences on RTB crops, where they’ve gotten more than 400 researchers to complete surveys on the spot.

“We introduced the assessment at the Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (held in Kampala, Uganda in June of 2012) and got 200 people to fill out the survey in half an hour. It was our most efficient day yet,” Hareau said.

After the survey process is closed at the end of February, Hareau and colleagues will analyze the results and compile a short list of 6-8 research options for each RTB crop. In addition to global results, they will identify research priorities for specific regions and agroecologies. They will then do impact modeling and economic and other analyses of the shortlisted options, and share their findings online.

“It is important that the stakeholders not only have an opportunity to provide their input, but also that we share the results with them,” Hareau said, adding that RTB will solicit feedback on the assessment’s results, though he isn’t sure exactly how they will go about it.

That process will get a test run in April of 2013 with banana and plantain experts participating in a Global Musa Expert Workshop organized by Biodiversity International in Kampala, Uganda. Those participants who haven’t completed the crop survey will be asked to do so on the first day. The results will then be computed and presented to participants, who will join work groups to discuss them and provide recommendations.

Ulrich Kleinwechter, who is working on the assessment at CIP, noted that in addition to providing quality information for RTB decision makers, it is contributing to a process of cooperation and knowledge sharing that will be key to the research program’s success, since it involves a transparent process of stakeholder consultation.

Kleinwechter observed that the assessment builds on a tradition of priority setting at the four centers, but involves a much larger pool of crops and participants. It is the first time such a study has been conducted simultaneously by four CGIAR Research Centers for so many crops.

In addition to Hareau and Kleinwechter, the assessment team’s members are Tahirou Abdoulaye, Joseph Rusike and Holger Kirscht, at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Bernardo Creamer and Glenn Hyman, at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and Diemuth Pemsl and Charles Staver, at Biodiversity International.

Call for papers: Tropentag 2013 “Agricultural development within the rural-urban continuum”

TT logoThe call for papers for the Tropentag 2013 conference is now available.

The conference will take place in Hohenheim, Germany from September 17 – 19, 2013. This year’s conference theme will be “Agricultural development within the rural-urban continuum”. Deadline for the submission of abstracts is May 1st. The submission of abstracts will go online on March 15th.