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Project

Understanding the societal impacts of transitions

Transitions, whether they are technological, economic, or environmental, have the potential to bring about significant changes in society, affecting individuals, communities, and societies as a whole. Recognizing the complexity of transitions and approaching them with a comprehensive understanding of their social dimensions is essential, to ensure that no one is left behind.

Active project

2020–2027

In a series of projects, SEI is exploring how citizens, communities and societies are affected in transition processes. This entails, for example, understanding who wins and loses from circular economy transition processes in cities, aimed at uncovering unintended negative consequences, and understanding resistance to transition. Another example related to social acceptability of carbon dioxide removal technologies, providing insight into the NIMBY/BANANA concept. Understanding societal consequences of transition processes can lead to more inclusive decision-making; proactive mitigation of disruptions; and enhanced social cohesion. If done well, transition processes can result in a more equitable distribution of access to and control over resources and enhance wellbeing and strengthened community ties.

C-sink (2023–2027)

Funded by Horizon Europe, C-sink will establish the foundations upon which to build a standardized and transparent European Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) market with trustworthy accounting methodologies and policy strategies. Comprehensive scientific assessments will be made of the various CDR approaches, in terms of (a) their potential uptake of CO2 (or particulate carbon in the case of biochar), and (b) their safety and other impacts over time. C-SINK will assess (a) the viability (technological, legal, political, social, economic and environmental) of a range of emerging and existing nature-based and engineered CDR methods, and their synergies in different combinations, for increasing the scale of CDR and its long-term storage, as well as (b) what needs to be done to enable and ensure their rapid and large-scale, effective and unbiased deployment, including recommendations for policy and MRV development.

In this project, SEI is leading the work package on Social, Environmental and total economic value assessment of the different CDR technologies. In particular, SEI will lead on the methodological design of the integrated assessment, and then focus on the social impact and acceptability of these technologies in a series of case study locations. This entails designing a survey to understand the positive and negative, intended and unintended consequences of these technologies on people, and undertaking qualitative research to tease out nuances in social acceptability across the case studies. SEI will also lead on the deliverable that combines the findings from the social impact study, the environmental study, and the economic and technical study. Using multi-criteria decision-making analysis, the different CDR technologies will be compared from a social, economic and environmental standpoint. It entails the modelling of simplified comparable scenarios for different approaches of CDR for selected use cases from C-SINK pilot use-cases (at least three use cases) as well as for a generalised case as a framework (in order to allow its implementation also for future cases). The scenarios take into account specific characteristics of a site, social impact analysis, environmental analysis together with ecosystem services analysis and techno-economic analysis, taking into account also timing criteria (i.e., different outcomes depending on time). The alternative scenarios will show benefits and potential negative aspects of each choice. The modelling result supports and would illustrate decisions and choice between CDR solutions or suggest their combination.

Publications

Fedra Vanhuyse
Fedra Vanhuyse

Head of Division: Societies, Climate and Policy Support

SEI Headquarters

Shogofa Rezaie
Shogofa Rezaie

Research Associate

SEI Headquarters

Marina Paulin
Martina Paulin

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Matilda Gunnarsson
Matilda Gunnarsson

Research Associate

SEI Headquarters

Tina Sendlhofer
Tina Sendlhofer

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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