Johan Lilliestam

Professor, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)
  • Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)
  • Germany


Public Policy Science, technology and society

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Behind the Paper Earth Day 2020

Recent Comments

Apr 29, 2020
Replying to David Parra

Dear Johan, thank you for this interesting contribution.  I would like to add a note/question. Could you confirm that the 2008 economic crisis explains the decline of coal use in Spain? Or was it just a correlation? The economic crisis  reduced markedly renewable capacity additions (mainly solar PV), but I am not sure about the direct link to coal. However, this could have been the result of policy making. Thank you in advance, David.

No, I cannot confirm that. We're doing the analysis (on this and several other cases right now, but it will be some time until we're done. The Spanish coal fleet has been in decline for a long time, also before 2008. What we can immediately say is that the crisis greatly reduced energy demand in industry, and that the economic recovery did not increase it again: the recovery happened either in very energy-efficient industry (I doubt it, but don't know) or in the service sector (which I very strongly believe). Quite likely, the reduced demand increased the pace of coal decline: coal power was likely the first to fall out of the generation mix as demand decreased, and coal power generation kept on falling before. This seems to be a pattern, also outside Europe: crises appear to accelerate already ongoing transformation processes (to climate-friendlier futures, or dirtier ones).