Category System Dynamics

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Journal Articles

Environmental responsibility and policy in a two country dynamic input-output model

Hoekstra, R. and M.A. Janssen

2006 Economic Systems Research 16(2): 572-583.


Increased spatial dependency of economic activities, as well as spatial differentiation of production and consumption, has implications for environmental policy. One of the issues that has gained importance is the responsibility for the emissions from products that cross national boundaries during the environmental policy’s lifetime. This paper discusses the different ethical views of environmental responsibility. Furthermore, the policy measures that are associated with the different viewpoints are analyzed in a novel dynamic two-country two-sector dynamic input–output model. A numerical example is modeled to assess taxing schemes that are based on these ethical viewpoints. The results show that a tax on the ‘embodied’ environmental pressure, which is generally viewed as ethically preferable, is less effective that the current policy of taxing consumers of products. Our discussion however shows that these results are very dependent on the model structure and initial parameters that are used. Nevertheless, the model illustrates that policies that are based on ethically superior standpoints may have detrimental distortionary effects in the dynamic setting.

Keywords: Dynamic input–output model, international trade, technological change, environmental responsibility.


Overexploitation of renewable resources by ancient societies and the role of sunk cost effects

Janssen, M.A. and M. Scheffer

2004 Ecology and Society 9(1): 6.


What makes social-ecological systems (SESs) robust? In this paper, we look at the institutional configurations that affect the interactions among resources, resource users, public infrastructure providers, and public infrastructures. We propose a framework that helps identify potential vulnerabilities of SESs to disturbances. All the links between components of this framework can fail and thereby reduce the robustness of the system. We posit that the link between resource users and public infrastructure providers is a key variable affecting the robustness of SESs that has frequently been ignored in the past. We illustrate the problems caused by a disruption in this link. We then briefly describe the design principles originally developed for robust common-pool resource institutions, because they appear to be a good starting point for the development of design principles for more general SESs and do include the link between resource users and public infrastructure providers.

Keywords: institutions, resilience, robustness, social-ecological systems.


Into the black box of environmental Kuznets curves: optimal growth and material resource use in two trading countries

Janssen, M.A. and J.C.J.M. van den Berg

2004 Annals of Regional Science 38(1): 93-112.


Most important environmental problems can be related to materials flows through the economy. Regional and national economies use materials that are either extracted domestically or imported from other regions. Therefore, an analysis of optimal patterns of combined economic development and materials use requires that both trade and environmental aspects are taken into account. A model is presented here that optimises long-term welfare for two regions that trade in virgin and recycled materials as well as consumer goods. The regions differ in one respect, namely with regard to domestic availability of a material resource. Analysis of the model shows, among other things, that the relationship between production and virgin material use can follow an Environmental Kuznets curves or an N-shaped curve. The latter points at “re-linking” of income growth and material resource use. Although trade of material resources and goods increases the carrying capacity of both regions, and in turn their levels of welfare, it can not prevent the re-linking phenomenon.


Economic valuation of the Leuser National Park on Sumatra, Indonesia

Van Beukering, P.J.M., H. Cesar and M.A. Janssen

2003 Ecological Economics 44(1): 43-62.


The Leuser Ecosystem in Northern Sumatra is officially protected by its status as an Indonesian national park. Nevertheless, it remains under severe threat of deforestation. Rainforest destruction has already caused a decline in ecological functions and services. Besides, it is affecting numerous economic activities in and around the Leuser National Park. The objectives of this study are twofold: firstly, to determine the total economic value (TEV) of the Leuser Ecosystem through a systems dynamic model. And secondly, to evaluate the economic consequences of deforestation versus conservation, disaggregating the economic value for the main stakeholders and regions involved. Using a dynamic simulation model, economic valuation is applied to evaluate the TEV of the Leuser National Park over the period 2000–2030. Three scenarios are considered: ‘conservation’, ‘deforestation’ and, ‘selective use’. The results are presented in terms of (1) the type of benefits, (2) the allocation of these benefits among stakeholders, and (3) the regional distribution of benefits. The economic benefits considered include: water supply, fisheries, flood and drought prevention, agriculture and plantations, hydro-electricity, tourism, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, fire prevention, non-timber forest products, and timber. The stakeholders include: local community members, the local government, the logging and plantation industry, the national government, and the international community. The regions considered cover the 11 districts involved in the management of the Leuser Ecosystem. With a 4% discount rate, the accumulated TEV for the ecosystem over the 30-year period is: US $7.0 billion under the ‘deforestation scenario’, US $9.5 billion under the ‘conservation scenario’ and US $9.1 billion under the ‘selective utilisation scenario’. The main contributors in the conservation and selective use scenarios are water supply, flood prevention, tourism and agriculture. Timber revenues play an important role in the deforestation scenario. Compared to deforestation, conservation of the Leuser Ecosystem benefits all categories of stakeholders, except for the elite logging and plantation industry.

Keywords: Natural resource valuation; Conservation; Deforestation; Indonesia


Valuation of the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra

Beukering, P.J.H. van, H.S.J. Cesar and M.A. Janssen

2002 Asean Biodiversity 2(2): 17-20.

Trade and recycling of used tyres in Western and Eastern Europe

van Beukering, P.J.M. and M.A. Janssen

2001 Resources, Conservation and Recycling 33(4): 235-265.


Truck tyres can cause significant environmental pressure through the life cycle. The main aim of this paper is investigate to what extent international policy measures on foreign trade, international recycling and harmonisation of legislation can contribute in effectively reducing environmental pressure caused in the truck tyre life cycle. A two-region simulation model, representing Western and Eastern Europe, is developed that integrates the complete life cycle, incorporates environmental impacts in its economic analysis, is technically dynamic by accounting for learning-by-doing effects, and allows for variations in trade of new and old truck tyres. In this study the economic, environmental and social effectiveness of harmonisation and trade measures in the European life cycle for truck tyre is tested. Several conclusions can be drawn from the model simulations. First, the environmental effects caused by the trade of used tyres from Western to Eastern Europe are of limited impact on the overall environmental damage caused by truck tyres. The consumption stage is by far the main contributor to environmental damage. Within the marginal analysis of trade, harmonisation of disposal fees illustrated to generate very limited positive results. The private and external costs in the solid waste management (SWM) stage are too limited to have a notable impact on the overall configuration of the European tyre life cycle. The introduction of strict laws on tread depth in Eastern Europe has a much stronger impact on material flows than the harmonisation scenario. This suggests that domestic policy measures should be the primarily focus on interventions in this stage of the life cycle, for instance, by improving the management of tyre pressure. Because trade of used tyres has little impact on the consumption stage, this issue should not get priority in European environmental programs.

Keywords: International trade; Recycling; Environmental policy; Tyres; Europe


A dynamic integrated analysis of truck tyres in Western Europe

van Beukering, P.J.H. and M.A. Janssen

2000 Journal of Industrial Ecology 4(2): 93-115.


By evaluating tires from a perspective of industrial metabolism, potential novel and practical ways to reduce their environmental impact can be found. This may be achieved by focusing on technological issues such as choosing materials, designing products, and recovering materials, or by looking at institutional and social barriers and incentives such as opening waste markets or changing consumer behavior. A model is presented for the life cycle of truck tires in Western Europe that is dynamic in nature and values both environmental and economic consequences. Various scenarios are simulated including longer tire lifetimes, better maintenance of tire pressure, increased use of less-expensive Asian tires, and increased use of fuel efficiency-enhancing tires (“eco-tires”). Tentative results indicate that, among other things, more than 95% of the overall environmental impact during the life of a tire occurs during the use of the tire, due to the impact of tires on automotive fuel efficiency. Better maintenance of tire pressure and use of eco-tires produce greater environmental and economics benefits than more-durable and/or less-expensive (Asian) tires. These results imply that the emphasis in environmental policies related to tires should shift from the production and the waste stages to the consumption stage. It also suggests that the focus on materials throughput and associated improvements through factor 4 or factor 10 advances in reduction in mass are less important than the quality of the tires and their management.


Climate change policy targets and the role of technological change

Janssen, M.A. and H.J.M. de Vries

2000 Climatic Change 46 (1/2): 1-28.


In this paper, we present results of simulationexperiments with the TIME-model on the issue ofmitigation strategies with regard to greenhouse gases.The TIME-model is an integrated system dynamics worldenergy model that takes into account the fact that the systemhas an inbuilt inertia and endogenouslearning-by-doing dynamics, besides the more commonelements of price-induced demand response and fuelsubstitution. First, we present four scenarios tohighlight the importance of assumptions on innovationsin energy technology in assessing the extent to whichCO2 emissions have to be reduced. The inertia ofthe energy system seems to make a rise ofCO2 emissions in the short term almostunavoidable. It is concluded that for the populationand economic growth assumptions of the IPCC IS92ascenario, only a combination of supply- anddemand-side oriented technological innovations incombination with policy measures can bring the targetof CO2-concentration stabilization at 550 ppmv bythe year 2100 within reach. This will probably beassociated with a temporary increase in the overallenergy expenditures in the world economy. Postponingthe policy measures will be more disadvantageous,and less innovation in energy technology will happen.


Perspectives on global energy futures: simulations with the TIME model

Vries, H.J.M. de, M.A. Janssen and A. Beusen

1999 Energy Policy 27(8): 477-494.


Many uncertainties and controversies surround the future of the global energy system. The Targets Image Energy (TIME) model of which a concise description is given, is used to explore the consequences of divergent assumptions about some uncertain and controversial issues. The IPCC-IS92a Conventional Wisdom scenario is used as a reference and, in combination with two other scenarios, discussed in the context of other recently published global energy scenarios.

Keywords: Global energy scenarios; Energy modelling; Climate change.


The Interactive Scenario Scanner (ISS): A Tool to Support the Dialogue between Science and Policy on Scenario Analysis

Berk, M and M.A. Janssen

1998 Change  42: 11-13.


Workers at the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) have recently developed a new comput­ er tool called the Interactive Scenario Scanner (ISS). The tool enables users to interactively construct global greenhouse gas emission scenarios and evaluate their likely climate change impacts. In this way, the tool can be used to support a dialogue between scientists and policy makers on scenario development and help in selecting scenarios to be analysed with more sophisticated modelling tools, like RIVM’s IMAGE 2 model.


Book Chapters

Modeling human dimensions of global environmental change

Janssen, M.A.

2002 In Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, edited by T. Munn, Vol. 5: Social and economic dimensions of global environmental change, by P. Timmerman (ed.), pp. 394-408, John Wiley and Sons Ltd, London, UK.

Policy Case Studies: Netherlands – A life cycle analysis of tires in Western Europe

van Beukering, P.J.H. and M.A. Janssen

2001 In Environmental External Costs of Transport, edited by R. Friedrich and P. Bickel, pp. 274-277, Springer.

The TARGETS model

Rotmans, J., M.B.A. van Asselt, H.J.M. de Vries, A.H.W. Beusen, M.G.J. den Elzen, H.B.M. Hilderink, A.Y. Hoekstra, M.A. Janssen, H.W. Köster, L.W. Niessen and B.J. Strengers

1997 In Perspectives on Global Change: The TARGETS Approach, edited by Rotmans, J. en H.J.M. de Vries, pp. 33-35, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK..


When tackling a subject as complex as global change and sustainable development, it is essential to be able to frame the issues. This was one of the main reasons for developing the TARGETS model, an integrated model of the global system, consisting of metamodels of important subsystems. In this chapter, we introduce TARGETS. Building on the previous chapters, we elaborate on the possibilities and limitations of integrated assessment models. Some of the key issues discussed are aggregation, model calibration, and validation, and dealing with uncertainty.


The energy submodel: TIME

Vries, H.J.M. de and M.A. Janssen

1997 In Perspectives on Global Change: The TARGETS Approach, edited by Rotmans, J. en H.J.M. de Vries, pp. 83-106, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK..


This submodel simulates the supply and demand for fuels and electricity, given a certain level of economic activity. It is linked to other submodels, for example through investment flows, population sizes, and emissions. The energy model consists of five modules: Energy Demand, Electric Power Generation, and Solid, Liquid and Gaseous Fuel supply. Effects such as those of depletion, conservation, fuel substitution, technological innovation, and energy efficiency are incorporated in an integrated way, with prices as important signals. Renewable sources are included as a non-thermal electricity option and as commercial biofuels.


Energy systems in transition

Vries, H.J.M. de, A.H.W. Beusen and M.A. Janssen

1997 In Perspectives on Global Change: The TARGETS Approach, edited by Rotmans, J. en H.J.M. de Vries, pp. 263-290, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


In this chapter we present simulation experiments and outcomes of the energy submodel TIME. First, the major controversies and uncertainties are discussed. Next, the cultural perspectives are introduced with reference to world energy, after which we clarify the way in which these are linked to assumptions and model routes. Some results of sensitivity and uncertainty analyses are also given. We discuss a few energy dystopias which could emerge if, for a given population-economy scenario, the world view and the management style within the energy system are discordant. Some conclusions are presented about the plausibility of and risks related to the Utopian energy futures. The impacts of the emissions from fossil fuel combustion on water, land, and element cycles are discussed in the next three chapters.


Global change: fresh insights, no simple answers

Vries, H.J.M. de Vries, J. Rotmans, A.H.W. Beusen, M.G.J. den Elzen, H.B.M. Hilderink, A.Y. Hoekstra, M.A. Janssen, L.W. Niessen, B.J. Strengers and M.B.A. van Asselt

1997 In Perspectives on Global Change: The TARGETS Approach, edited by  Rotmans, J. en H.J.M. de Vries, pp. 417-434, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


The Targets IMage Energy Regional (TIMER) Model, Technical Documentation

de Vries, H.J.M., D.P. van Vuuren, M.G.J. den Elzen and M.A. Janssen
2001 Report 461502024, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.


The Targets IMage Energy Regional simulation model, TIMER, is described in detail. This model was developed and used in close connection with the Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment (IMAGE) 2.2. The system-dynamics TIMER model simulates the global energy system at an intermediate level of aggregation. The model can be used on a stand-alone basis or integrated within the framework of the integrated assessment model IMAGE 2.2. The model simulates the world on the basis of 17 regions. The main objectives of TIMER are to analyze the long-term dynamics of energy conservation and the transition to non-fossil fuels within an integrated modeling framework and explore long-term trends for energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Important components of the various submodels are price-driven fuel and technology substitution processes, cost decrease as a consequence of accumulated production (‘learning-by-doing’), resource depletion as a function of cumulated use (long-term supply cost curves), and price-driven fuel trade. The first chapter gives a brief overview of the model objective, set-up, and calibration method. In subsequent chapters, the various submodels are discussed, with the introduction of introduced concepts, equations, input assumptions, and calibration results. Chapter 3 deals with the Energy Demand submodel, Chapter 4 with the Electric Power Generation submodel, and Chapters 5 and 6 with the Fuel Supply submodels. Chapter 7 describes fuel trade and technology transfer modeling; Chapter 8, the Emissions submodel. In the last chapter, a few general concepts are discussed in some detail to improve the user’s understanding of the model. The TIMER-model has played a role in the following: the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the European AirClim-project, the construction of global mitigation scenarios, and the Policy Options for CO2 Emission Mitigation in China project.


SIMBIOSES-Modelling industrial metabolism in a regionalised economic system

Janssen, M.A. and J.C.J.M van den Bergh
1999 Tinbergen Institute discussion paper, TI 99-060/3.


A model framework, SIMBIOSES, is presented which describes economic activities and related material, substance, and energy flow in a multi-region and multi-sector economic system. The conceptual design of the framework is discussed in relation to current issues on “dematerialization” and “decoupling”.

Three types of models to implement SIMBIOSES are discussed: a static equilibrium model, a dynamic optimization model, and a system dynamics model. The static model determines the static equilibrium of extraction, production, recycling, and energy recovery from waste. The dynamic model determines the long-term investment decision that optimizes the total discounted utility of consumption. The dynamic model incorporates technological change, allocation of resources, and damage costs due to the accumulation of substances in the environment. The system dynamic model generates endogenous economic growth and technology development and includes the bounded rationality of economic agents.

Keywords: dematerialization, mass balance, integrated models, Environmental Kuznets curve, equilibrium analysis, dynamic optimization, system dynamics.


The Interactive Scenario Scanner: a Tool to Support the Dialogue between Science and Policy on Scenario Development

Berk, M.M. and M.A. Janssen
1997 RIVM Report No. 481508005, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.


In order to explore long-term policy options for controlling climate change, there is a need to develop and evaluate long-term emission scenarios. If these scenarios are to be policy-relevant, they should, account for differences between world regions with respect to their contribution to the problem, their stage of economic development, their vulnerability to climate change, and their ability to control emissions. The scenarios should also deal with the question of fair distribution of future emission budgets. Therefore it is important to involve policymakers in the development of these scenarios. On the basis of requests and comments from policymakers participating in the Delft Science Policy Dialogue workshops, a new software tool called the Interactive Scenario Scanner (ISS), has been constructed at RIVM. ISS is a computer model that assists in the interactive construction and evaluation of long-term emission scenarios using the parameters of the Kaya Identity to define scenarios and the climate indicators of the Safe Landing Approach to scan their likely consequences for global climate change and its impacts. This tool can be used to construct proto-scenarios, which can then be further elaborated and analyzed with such sophisticated energy and climate change models as IMAGE 2. Recent experiences with the application of ISS indicate that it indeed can be a useful tool to involve policymakers in the development of emission scenarios. Moreover, ISS has also been shown useful in educating policymakers on the complexity of the problem and enhancing communication between, and among, scientists and policymakers.

Keywords: Science/Policy Dialogue, Climate Change, Integrated Assessment Models, Scenario Development


`Global Energy Futures: An integrated perspective with the TIME-model’

Vries de, H.J.M. and M.A. Janssen
1996 GLOBO Report Series no. 18, RIVM, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.


This report contains an integrated analysis of the Targets/IMage Energy (TIME) model. In a previous report (De Vries and Van den Wijngaart, 1995) the five submodels of the energy model were described in detail. Here, we describe a number of applications with the (stand-alone) TIME model.

After the introduction and a brief outline of the TIME framework in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 describes the calibration of the world version for the period 1900-1990. Given the exogenous drivers like population size and economic activities, the energy demand, fuel mix, fuel prices, energy investments- and C02 emissions are calculated and compared with observed values. We discuss what assumptions had to be made to derive a suitable fit with the observed values.

Chapter 4 present the methodology for scenario construction. Furthermore, we discuss uncertainties and assumptions on structural change, energy efficiency improvements, long-term supply cost curves of fossil fuel resources, and technology in energy supply options.

An application of the methodology of Chapter 4 is discussed in Chapter 5 where a reference scenario is constructed based on the IS92a scenario of the IPCC. In Chapter 6 some scenarios from other institutions are investigated by assessing their outcomes in terms of the underlying assumptions. In Chapter 7, we will discuss energy futures according to alternative perspectives or world views. Finally, in Chapter 8, we give some results of optimized mitigation strategies using the CYCLES module of TARGETS to assess the impacts of scenarios. We especially address the role of technological change in meeting climate change policy targets.


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