The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive helped shape healthy forests in southeastern US

The magazine Resources interviews Francisco X. Aguilar where he discusses his recent co-authored study that takes a closer look at how the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive helped shape the health of forests across the southeastern United States and contributed to the growth of the US wood pellet industry.

“A major takeaway is that energy from biomass can be renewable, but it must be tested. We must have data, and we must have information to validate the renewable characteristic of the energy and whether it can reduce carbon emissions or not, compared to other alternative sources … From a policy perspective, I think monitoring, being dynamic, and being open to make sure that we’re balancing economic objectives with conservation objectives, are key.” (23:03)

Listen to or read the podcast "Assessing the Promise and Peril of Wood Pellet Products, with Francisco X. Aguilar", published on February 16th, 2021

Learn more about the study on “Increased carbon stock despite pressure on biomass extraction

The study: Aguilar, F.X., Mirzaee, A., McGarvey, R., Shifley, S. & Burtraw, D. 2020. Expansion of US wood pellet industry points to positive trends but the need for continued monitoring. Scientific Reports.

New year – new constellation

With the arrival of 2021, the CERE management have taken on a new look with two new secretaries and one new Deputy.

Runar Brännlund, UMU continues as the Research Director but now with the newly appointed SLU Professor Tommy Lundgren at his side as Deputy Director. Mattias Vesterberg, UMU and Adan L. Martinez-Cruz, SLU as scientific secretaries. Thank you to the fantastic work of former Deputy Francisco X. Aguilar and secretaries Jurate Jaraite now also at Vilnius University and Thomas Broberg, UMU who will continue working with issues related to the environment, but outside academia.

And the 2020 Wibe Prize goes to….

Shyamani D. Siriwardena, Kelly M. Cobourn, Gregory S. Amacher and Robert G. Haight, for their article Cooperative bargaining to manage invasive species in jurisdictions with public and private lands. JFE 32 (2018): 72-83.

And the motivation:
Climate change is rapidly changing conditions for forest management all over the world. Increasing temperatures affect forest growth conditions in many ways. Extreme weather conditions, such as storms and snow damages, cause direct damage in forests, causing losses of revenue. Climate change also increases domestic pests and pathogens and promotes invasion of new species. These developments require changes in management regimes and design for new pre-emptive and reactive controls with spatial coordination of actions over larger landscapes. Coordination of actions between forest landowners is crucial for success. How to create incentives for coordination and how to establish efficient strategies, is the most policy relevant question. (click on headline to read the full motivation)

New competence center in energy economics

CERE and USBE together with Övik Energi, Umeå Energi and Skellefteå Kraft are in the process of starting a new competence center that will focus on solving energy issues that could arise in a future sustainable energy landscape as well as facilitating for policy-makers how to best move us into a sustainable future. Join the online discussions on Tomorrows energy landscape – what it looks like and how do we get there? On January 26th at 13.00. (Click on headline to learn more)

Christmas films!

poster eng mailWith what feels like the everlasting pandemic, the watch list grows thin. Fear not. We bring you throwback films from 2019 when we could actually gather and listen to our young CERE researchers talk about waste, power, nudging and electricity markets. Let yourself be transported to a happier time. More specifically November 2019 when CERE celebrated 10 years.

It begins with a short film with photos from CERE's first 10 years followed by the morning session November 28, 2019 "Meet the young scientists of CERE"

Happy Holiday’s

How do Swedish industry respond to improved energy efficiency?

News article from
A new thesis from Umeå University studies how energy efficiency and environmental regulation affect the Swedish industrial sector.

Golnaz Amjadi has studied the impacts of energy efficiency improvements in Swedish manufacturing firms using a detailed firm-level datasets for the Swedish manufacturing industry consisting of 14 sectors spanning the period 1997–2008. Her research suggests that manufacturing firms have generally potential to improve energy efficiency, but paradoxically, improved energy efficiency can increase a firm’s energy use.

- Broadly speaking, the main source(s) of energy inefficiency are long run shortcomings mainly related to structural rigidities connected to technology and/or management issues. Manufacturing firms which improve their efficiency in the use of energy, may further respond to such improvement by increasing their energy use, this is called energy rebound effects. The reason is that energy efficiency improvement lowers the price of energy service and that may result in an increased energy consumption. An intuitive and widely used example of energy rebound effect is that if one upgrades to a more fuel-efficient car, then he/she might drive more kilometers since the price of fuel per kilometer for this person is lower after this upgrade. This does not mean that improved efficiency is harmful. Indeed, higher energy efficiency is welfare enhancing. I measured the size of energy rebound effect for manufacturing firms, and found that the size of this effect is generally substantial. However, rebound effect does not totally offset the energy and emission savings expected from efficiency gains. This result help to set realistic energy and climate targets and to design policy mandates that show an awareness of accounts for behavioral responses to energy efficiency improvements, Golnaz Amjadi continues.

Read the article in full at

Dissertation - Golnaz Amjadi Torshizi
Start: Fri. 27 Nov, 2020 10:00

Essays on energy efficiency, environmental regulation and labor demand in Swedish industry


Golnaz Amjadi Torshizi


Place: Zoom
Meeting ID: 685 1833 8277
Passcode: 895961
Physical meeting place for an invited few: Hörsal A, Samhällsvetarhuset

Opponent: Professor Luis Orea, Department of Economics, Oviedo university, Spain

Do we have the right incentives to promote a more circular economy?

News article from
A new thesis from the Industrial Doctoral School at Umeå University analyzes the effects of incentives aiming to create a more circular economy.

To create an economic system that is both cost-effective and environmentally sustainable, policy makers need to understand how households, companies, and states respond to incentives. In his thesis, Alejandro Egüez, have examined how different incentives affect three fundamental sectors for a more circular economy: energy efficiency, district heating, and waste management.

Read the full article: "Do we have the right incentives to promote a more circular economy?"

The thesis: Energy efficiency, district heating and waste management: essays on environmental economics

The dissertation

Friday November 20, 2020
10.00 am, in Triple Helix in the University Management Building.
The defense will be held in English and will be broadcasted via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 698 688 8914
Passcode: 403509 

Faculty opponent Professor Patrik Söderholm, Luleå Technical University.
Main supervisor Runar Brännlund, co-supervisor Thomas Broberg.

The tax system must benefit both the economy and the environment

Runar Brännlund and Bengt Kriström presents on Västerbottens Kuriren debate a more efficient climate policy that will benefit the climate with each Swedish krona spent.

The debate article is based on the SNS report "Swedish Energy and Environmental Taxation – A Reform Proposal" presented last week where they recommended to go from narrow to wider tax bases and that environmental taxes are only to be used when it is environmentally motivated.

The debate article ”Skattesystemet måste gynna både ekonomin och miljön” published November 11, 2020.

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