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1.
Energy Research & Social Science ; 96:102934, 2023.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165286

ABSTRACT

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and amidst COVID-19 recovery efforts, the energy crisis has put enormous pressure to policymakers to balance climate action, sustainable development, and management of the impacts of fuel supply disruptions and price shocks. Policy and market responses, such as liquefied natural gas infrastructure investments and use of every available fossil-fuel lever to make up for Russian gas supply cuts, are feared to trigger new lock-ins, jeopardising decarbonisation. This is also the case in Italy, which is highly dependent on Russia-imported gas. Energy models typically used to support such decisions take time to produce meaningful scenarios and, in times of crisis, are largely driven by highly uncertain parameters. This study uses fuzzy cognitive maps to engage with experts in a workshop and elicit their knowledge and perceptions with the aid of a questionnaire, towards simulating the impact of selected strategies and important uncertainties on the three pillars of Italy's progress to electricity-sector sustainability: decarbonisation, affordability, and reliability. In a framework of deliberation and simulation, experts displayed strong preference for renewable energy, compared to new gas infrastructure. Renewables were notably deemed to have positive impacts across all three sustainabiltiy dimensions and were found more robust against uncertainties, such as regulatory and political instability, which was highlighted as the biggest risk. Critically, despite their expectedly positive impact, demand-side transformations including demand reductions and broader behavioural shifts—a core component of the EU's current approach—may prove inadequate, should large system pressures from negative socio- and techno-economic developments persist.

2.
Energy ; 263:N.PAG-N.PAG, 2023.
Article in English | Academic Search Complete | ID: covidwho-2149681

ABSTRACT

In the EU, COVID-19 and associated policy responses led to economy-wide disruptions and shifts in services demand, with considerable energy-system implications. The European Commission's response paved the way towards enhancing climate ambition through the European Green Deal. Understanding the interactions among environmental, social, and economic dimensions in climate action post-COVID thus emerged as a key challenge. This study disaggregates the implications of climate ambition, speed of economic recovery from COVID-19, and behavioural changes due to pandemic-related measures and/or environmental concerns for EU transition dynamics, over the next decade. It soft-links two large-scale energy-economy models, EU-TIMES and NEMESIS, to shed light on opportunities and challenges related to delivering on the EU's 2030 climate targets. Results indicate that half the effort required to reach the updated 55% emissions reduction target should come from electricity decarbonisation, followed by transport. Alongside a post-COVID return to normal, the European Green Deal may lead to increased carbon prices and fossil-fuel rebounds, but these risks may be mitigated by certain behavioural changes, gains from which in transport energy use would outweigh associated consumption increases in the residential sector. Finally, the EU recovery mechanism could deliver about half the required investments needed to deliver on the 2030 ambition. • This study soft-links an energy system model and a macroeconometric model for the EU. • Electricity decarbonisation can make up half the effort to −55% followed by transport. • Investments as part of EU green recovery could finance about half of what is required. • The pandemic is unlikely to heavily impact the EU's long-term emissions trajectory. • Work- and travel-related behaviour changes could considerably reduce investment needs. [ FROM AUTHOR]

3.
Energy (Oxford, England) ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2092296

ABSTRACT

In the EU, COVID-19 and associated policy responses led to economy-wide disruptions and shifts in services demand, with considerable energy-system implications. The European Commission's response paved the way towards enhancing climate ambition through the European Green Deal. Understanding the interactions among environmental, social, and economic dimensions in climate action post-COVID thus emerged as a key challenge. This study disaggregates the implications of climate ambition, speed of economic recovery from COVID-19, and behavioural changes due to pandemic-related measures and/or environmental concerns for EU transition dynamics, over the next decade. It soft-links two large-scale energy-economy models, EU-TIMES and NEMESIS, to shed light on opportunities and challenges related to delivering on the EU's 2030 climate targets. Results indicate that half the effort required to reach the updated 55% emissions reduction target should come from electricity decarbonisation, followed by transport. Alongside a post-COVID return to normal, the European Green Deal may lead to increased carbon prices and fossil-fuel rebounds, but these risks may be mitigated by certain behavioural changes, gains from which in transport energy use would outweigh associated consumption increases in the residential sector. Finally, the EU recovery mechanism could deliver about half the required investments needed to deliver on the 2030 ambition.

4.
One Earth ; 5(9): 1042-1054, 2022 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2031613

ABSTRACT

To meet the Paris temperature targets and recover from the effects of the pandemic, many countries have launched economic recovery plans, including specific elements to promote clean energy technologies and green jobs. However, how to successfully manage investment portfolios of green recovery packages to optimize both climate mitigation and employment benefits remains unclear. Here, we use three energy-economic models, combined with a portfolio analysis approach, to find optimal low-carbon technology subsidy combinations in six major emitting regions: Canada, China, the European Union (EU), India, Japan, and the United States (US). We find that, although numerical estimates differ given different model structures, results consistently show that a >50% investment in solar photovoltaics is more likely to enable CO2 emissions reduction and green jobs, particularly in the EU and China. Our study illustrates the importance of strategically managing investment portfolios in recovery packages to enable optimal outcomes and foster a post-pandemic green economy.

5.
J Clin Psychol Med Settings ; 29(4): 798-807, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1640922

ABSTRACT

The current study aimed at exploring the relationship between objective disability, illness perceptions, resilience, fear of COVID-19, and psychological distress (i.e., anxiety, depression, and stress) in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) during the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. A group of 122 pwMS recruited in an Italian university hospital took part in this cross-sectional monocentric study. Hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the strength of the hypothesized associations. Results indicated that, differently from cognitive impairment, motor disability was positively associated with anxiety. However, accounting for subjective illness perception, such association was no longer significant. Moreover, accounting for both protective and risk factors in the models, even illness perception was no longer significant, highlighting the central role of resilience and fear of COVID-19 in explaining the negative emotional outcomes. Implications for clinical interventions and psychoeducational trainings are discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disabled Persons , Motor Disorders , Multiple Sclerosis , Humans , Mental Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Multiple Sclerosis/complications , Multiple Sclerosis/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Motor Disorders/epidemiology , Fear/psychology , Disease Outbreaks , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology
6.
J Clin Med ; 10(6)2021 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1136516

ABSTRACT

Physical disability impacts psychosocial wellbeing in people with multiple sclerosis. However, the role of physical activity in this context is still debated. By taking advantage of a previous survey, conducted online from 22 April to 7 May 2020, we performed a post-hoc analysis with the aim to assess the associations between disability, physical exercise, and mental health in multiple sclerosis. We retrieved the following data: (i) sociodemographic information, (ii) changes in lifestyle (including exercise), (iii) physical disability, as measured with the Patient-Determined Disease Steps scale, and (iv) anxiety feelings and depressive symptoms assessed via the items included in the Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders measurement system. Examination of the interaction plot showed that the effect of disability on depression, but not on anxious symptoms, was significant for all levels of physical exercise (low: b = 1.22, 95% C.I. 0.85, 1.58, p < 0.001; moderate: b = 0.95, 95% C.I. 0.66, 1.24, p < 0.001; and high: b = 0.68, 95% C.I. 0.24, 1.13, p = 0.003). Based on these data, we can conclude that disability significantly impacted depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, with physical activity playing a moderating role. Our results suggest that favoring exercise in multiple sclerosis (MS) would ameliorate psychological wellbeing regardless of the level of physical disability.

7.
Sustainability ; 10(12), 2020.
Article | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-635525

ABSTRACT

The recent outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been extremely stressful and has produced fear and anxiety throughout the population, representing a psychological emergency. This work aimed at presenting a mental health first aid service established within an Italian university public hospital context to address four different population targets (i.e., people vulnerable to mental health problems, health-care professionals, people in isolation, and general citizenship). Specifically, the organizational structure comprising four different areas (i.e., management, clinical, communication, and research) and first data collected from the foundation of the service until 3 May 2020 are presented. Findings indicated that anxiety and fear of contagion were the main motivations prompting both the general population and health-care professionals to ask for a psychological help. Furthermore, findings indicate that clients' current quality of life was perceived as lower than in the past but also that imagined in the future, highlighting the importance of psychological first aid interventions. This service may represent an example for helping mental health professionals in developing similar services in their local realities, promoting health and individual and community resilience.

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