Masaru Yarime — Associate Professor, University of Tokyo
Monday September 22, 2014 — 12:30–2 pm (lunch provided at 12:15 pm)

Energy is a critical component of our efforts moving towards achieving sustainable development. In addition to the three aspects of promoting access, renewables, and efficiency, which have been emphasized in many of international proposals in the field of energy, it is also important to take into consideration the dimension of resilience in energy systems. The implementation of resilient energy systems requires social transformations, which in turn depend upon active engagement with all stakeholders. Such an engagement needs a quantitative understanding of the socio-economic practices underlying resilient energy systems. The ecological information-based network approach can be used as a methodological tool to evaluate the system-level interactions and synergies of various socio-technical practices leading to resiliency of energy resources. This research demonstrates the effectiveness of the ecological information-based approach in evaluating the resiliency of energy systems at the global level. With the increasing globalization of trade, there remains a critical knowledge gap on the link between embodied energy in the production and consumption of traded goods. To bridge this knowledge gap, we attempt to quantitatively explore global energy resilience through an examination of global embodied electricity trade based on multi-regional input-output (MRIO) networks, evaluating system-level metrics relevant to resilience such as efficiency, robustness, and flow dependencies among 57 economic sectors in 134 countries. This research highlights future directions of research utilizing network approaches towards developing objective policy tools for managing resilience in energy systems. From a broader perspective, this research addresses a general issue of global governance of various resources through networks. Network governance for sustainability would be a grand challenge worth exploring seriously, including energy, water, food, and other materials and resources. By identifying potential problems in the networks and coordinating our technologies and behavior to address them, we will be able to tackle with the global challenge of sustainability collectively through network governance. This research is an attempt through a study on energy to explore the possibilities and implications of the approach of network governance of resources for sustainability at the global level. Implications for transportation will be discussed with opportunities and challenges identified.

About the speaker

Masaru Yarime is Project Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance (STIG) at the Graduate School of Public Policy of the University of Tokyo. He also has an appointment as Honorary Reader of University College London (UCL) in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP). His research interests focus on public policy, corporate strategy, and institutional design for promoting science, technology, and innovation for sustainability. For the past years he has been engaged in research and educational activities from interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives, with an intention to understand the complex interface between engineering and social sciences and the dynamic interactions between technology and institutions in creating sustainability innovation. He is particularly interested in exploring the structure, functions, and evolution of knowledge systems involving various stakeholders in society. He contributes to many international initiatives, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative on Environmental Risk Integration in Sovereign Credit Analysis, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Technical Working Group on GHG Risk Management, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change) Fifth Assessment Report, and the Expert Group to develop a guide on and a catalogue of policy support tools and methodologies of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Currently he is serving on the editorial board of international journals, including Sustainability Science, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, and Frontiers in Energy Research – Energy Systems and Policy. He received B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tokyo, M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and Ph.D. in Economics and Policy Studies of Technological Change from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Previously he worked as Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). His previous visiting professorships include Groupe de Recherche en Économie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA) of the University of Bordeaux IV in France and the Department of Science and Technology Studies of the University of Malaya in Malaysia.