The objective of NewExt is to improve the assessment of externalities by providing new methodological elements for integration into the existing accounting framework of external costs. The external costs accounting framework developed by the ExternE projects has been widely accepted and successfully applied for support decision making in energy and environmental policy. However, there are areas, for which a need for further research was identified. Uncertainties result from lacking empirical data on the monetary valuation of mortality effects, from the omission of impacts on ecosystems due to acidification and eutrofication and from the insufficient knowledge about the impacts of global warming.
In addition, contamination of water and soil and accidents in energy chains other than nuclear has not been taken into account. It is the aim of this project to close these gaps and so improve the quality of external cost estimates. Description of work: The work comprises the following four major work packages: An empirical survey is conducted in the UK, Italy and France on the monetary valuation of the reduction of life expectancy. With this survey, the valuation of chronic, latent and future mortality risks (one of the most important impacts related to energy fuel cycles) will be improved; the questionnaire elicits willingness to pay for avoiding reductions of life expectancy in Europe. The standard-price approach is introduced to complement the welfare-based estimates of externalities by taking into account abatement costs for achieving policy based environmental sustainability targets. This allows deriving external cost estimates for impact categories like impacts on ecosystem, which have not been covered in previous assessments of external costs. Furthermore, marginal avoidance costs for global warming impacts are prepared.
A methodological framework for the modelling of multi-compartment (air/water/soil) impact pathways is developed. Human exposure to heavy metals and organic substances via accumulation in water and soil and the food chain is modelled. In a fourth work package, a methodology for the assessment of externalities from major accidents in non-nuclear fuel chains is developed. For this, a worldwide database on energy related accidents is revised and updated. Results will be compared with those from the nuclear fuel chain. In a last step, the new methodologies will be incorporated into the framework for estimating external costs and the change of external costs due to these new developments will be examined for a number of electricity producing technologies.
Expected Results and Exploitation Plans: This project produces a set of new methodological “building blocks” for integration into the existing accounting framework developed by ExternE. One result is, by testing the new elements and by re-calculating external costs for some reference power plants, the evaluation how new figures may effect the major policy conclusions of previous work. Besides that, dissemination of the new results to current users of the accounting framework, but furthermore to a broader scientific community and policy makers are regarded as essential.
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