Claire Jolly, Head, Ocean Economy Group / OECD Space Forum, and Barrie Stevens, Senior Advisor, OECD Science and Technology Policy Division
For some, the ocean is the new economic frontier. It holds the promise of immense resource wealth and great potential for boosting economic growth, employment and innovation. And it is increasingly recognised as indispensable for addressing many of the global challenges facing the planet in the decades to come, from world food security and climate change to the provision of energy, natural resources and improved medical care. While the potential of the ocean to help meet these challenges is huge, it is already under stress from over-exploitation, pollution, declining biodiversity and climate change.
Calculations based on the OECD’s Ocean Economy Database value the ocean economy’s output (measured in terms of the ocean-based industries’ contribution to economic output and employment) in 2010 at USD 1.5 trillion, or approximately 2.5% of world gross value added (GVA). Offshore oil and gas accounted for one-third of total value added of the ocean based industries, followed by maritime and coastal tourism, maritime equipment and ports. Direct full-time employment in the ocean economy amounted to around 31 million jobs in 2010. The largest employers were industrial capture fisheries with over one-third of the total, and maritime and coastal tourism with almost one-quarter.
Economic activity in the ocean is expanding rapidly. However, an important constraint on the development of the ocean economy is the deterioration of its health. The ocean has absorbed much of the anthropogenic carbon emissions, leading to ocean acidification. Also, sea temperatures and sea levels are rising and ocean currents shifting, resulting in biodiversity and habitat loss, changes in fish stock composition and migration patterns, and higher frequency of severe ocean weather events. The prospects for future ocean development are further aggravated by land-based pollution, in particular agricultural run-off, chemicals, and plastics, as well as by overfishing and depleted fish stocks in many parts of the world.
Looking to 2030, many ocean-based industries have the potential to outperform the growth of the global economy as a whole, both in terms of value added and employment. Between 2010 and 2030 on a “business-as-usual” basis, the ocean economy could more than double its contribution to global value added, reaching over USD 3 trillion. Particularly strong growth is expected in marine aquaculture, offshore wind energy, fish processing, and shipbuilding and repair. Ocean industries also have the potential to make an important contribution to employment growth. In 2030, they are anticipated to employ approximately 40 million full-time equivalent jobs in the business as-usual scenario. The fastest growth in jobs is expected to occur in offshore wind energy, marine aquaculture, fish processing and port activities.
In the coming decades, scientific and technological advances are expected to play a crucial role both in addressing many ocean-related environmental challenges and in the development of ocean-based economic activities. Innovation in advanced materials, subsea engineering and technology, sensors and imaging, satellite technologies, computerisation and big data analytics, autonomous systems, biotechnology and nanotechnology – every sector of the ocean economy – stands to be affected by these technological advances.
Expected growth of ocean-based industries highlights the prospect of growing pressures on ocean resources and ocean space already under considerable stress, not least in economic exclusion zones (EEZs), where most of the activity takes place. The inability so far to deal with these pressures in an effective, timely way is in large part due to what is historically a sector-by-sector management of marine activities. At least for the foreseeable future, regulation of ocean activities is expected to continue to be largely sector-driven, with efforts focusing on the integration of emerging ocean industries into existing and fragmented regulatory frameworks. The number of countries and regions putting in place strategic policy frameworks for better ocean management within their EEZs has increased in recent years in response to growing pressures.
In order to boost the long-term development prospects of emerging ocean industries and their contribution to growth and employment, while managing the ocean in responsible, sustainable ways, a number of steps could be taken to enhance the sustainable development of the ocean economy.
Reinforce international co-operation in maritime science and technology as a means to stimulate innovation and strengthen the sustainable development of the ocean economy. This entails undertaking comparative analyses and reviews of the role of government policy regarding maritime clusters around the world, notably in respect of their effectiveness in stimulating and supporting cross-industry technological innovations in the maritime domain; and establishing international networks for the exchange of views and experience in establishing centres of excellence, innovation incubators and other innovation facilities in the field of cross-industry maritime technologies, and improving the sharing of technology and innovation among countries at different levels of development.
Strengthen integrated ocean management. In particular, this should involve greater use of economic analysis and economic tools, for example by establishing international platforms for the exchange of knowledge, experience and best practice, and by stepping up efforts to evaluate the economic effectiveness of public investment in marine research and observation. It should promote innovation in governance structures, processes and stakeholder engagement to render integrated ocean management more effective, more efficient and more inclusive.
Improve the statistical and methodological base at national and international level for measuring the scale and performance of ocean-based industries and their contribution to the overall economy. This could include further development of the OECD’s Ocean Economy Database.
Build more capacity for ocean industry foresight, including the assessment of future changes in ocean-based industries, and further development of the OECD’s current capacity for modelling future trends in the ocean economy at a global scale.
Valerie Frey and Angelica Salvi Del Pero, OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Directorate
The mother had lost everything: her minimum wage job, the father of her children, and, finally, her apartment. Homeless, she stood by the street with her two young boys, their yellowed mattresses, second-hand books, and dinnerware piled around them on the sidewalk. The kids had been through this before. Her older son dreamt of becoming a carpenter so that he could build her a home.
This scene could come from a Depression-era Steinbeck novel, but instead it is one of the many tales in Matthew Desmond’s harrowing new ethnography, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond narrates a handful of stories drawn from the millions of poor Americans who are evicted from rented apartments or houses each year, despite their Herculean efforts to keep their homes.
Sadly, although OECD countries are among the wealthiest in the world, they fail to ensure that all of their residents have a safe, stable, and affordable place to live. Millions of households throughout the OECD struggle to afford good-quality housing.
Across countries, housing is usually the largest expense a household faces. Recent OECD research finds that nearly 15% of tenants and 10% of mortgaged homeowners are overburdened by their rent or mortgage, on average, across the OECD – that is, they spend over 40% of their disposable income on housing.
An even greater share of households report feeling pinched by housing costs, even if they are not counted as overspending in income and spending statistics: more than one in three respondents in a 2012 European survey reported feeling ‘highly burdened’ by their housing costs.
Poor households suffer the most when paying for housing. Households in the bottom 40% of the income scale face much higher housing costs, relative to income, than their wealthier counterparts, reflecting a lack of affordable options. Even middle-class households are not immune: across the OECD, nearly nine percent of middle-class mortgaged homeowners pay over 40% of disposable income on their mortgage.
Of course, affordability of housing does not guarantee that a home is of decent quality. Many homes are overcrowded and unsanitary. On average, 15% of OECD households lack sufficient living space in their home, and overcrowding is worse in poor households and among renters. Over 14% percent of low-income households live without access to an indoor flushing toilet, and rates are highest in Eastern Europe, Chile, and Mexico.
What can be done to help the millions of households who cannot afford good homes? OECD countries have developed housing support policies as a key part of their social protection systems. Improving access to affordable housing is an important goal in OECD countries: the majority of countries we surveyed identify affordability as one of their five most important housing objectives. Despite using a wide set of housing policy instruments, however, governments have not always been effective in achieving their objective.
Homeowner benefits, social rental housing, and housing allowances are three common social policies to support housing. Owner-occupied housing receives much social support in many countries, but this often fails to reach those who need the most help. Grants and financial assistance are provided to home-buyers, often with a focus on low-income households, and owner-occupants also benefit from tax relief for home purchases. However, poor households typically do not benefit from favourable taxation of residential property. Besides being unequitable, these subsidies can distort incentives to invest in other assets and drive prices up in housing markets.
Countries also provide support via social rental housing. Historically, in many OECD countries, the central government has funded (and local authorities directly provided) social housing. In recent years, however, public funding has decreased and has been directed to other providers, including non-profit and for-profit organizations and landlords. As a result there is an increasing concentration of low-income and vulnerable households among social housing tenants, and social housing providers will have to adapt to new incentives, objectives, and client characteristics.
Means-tested housing allowances are another instrument commonly used to help lower-income groups access housing. These allowances offer some advantages for delivering housing support to poor households (e.g. fair access to benefits and housing mobility), but have drawbacks compared to social rental housing; for example, allowances cannot guarantee good housing quality, and may perversely affect rent prices.
As public spending has shifted away from social housing, the private rental market has played an increasingly important role in offering affordable housing. OECD governments need to ensure that their housing policies do not discourage the supply or affordability of private rentals. We need to develop a better understanding of how housing allowances, rent regulation, tenancy protection, and other tenancy laws facilitate or deter the private sector from offering good-quality affordable housing to poor households. Indeed, many of the saddest tales of eviction in Desmond’s book come from poor families who were barely ineligible (or waitlisted) for social housing, and were instead forced to navigate a predatory private rental market. The American mother profiled by Desmond was lucky to find a two-bedroom apartment in a poor city for $550 per month. But with an income of $628 per month, she had almost no cash left over and no way to cushion unexpected costs.
An affordable and safe home is on the wish list of many families this year. More research and data are needed to develop effective housing support policies, and OECD governments must find ways to implement good policies efficiently and equitably. In the wealthiest countries in the world, no one should go homeless or live in unsafe conditions. With coordinated and well-informed social policies, OECD countries can go a long way towards ensuring that all individuals and families can live in affordable, good-quality homes.
Salvi del Pero, A., W. Adema, V. Ferraro and V. Frey (2016), “Policies to promote access to good-quality affordable housing in OECD countries”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 176, OECD Publishing, Paris.
OECD ((2015) Integrating Social Services for Vulnerable Groups: Bridging Sectors for Better Service Delivery, OECD Publishing, Paris , Chapter 4 – Homelessness, the homeless and integrated social services.
Statistical Insights: Who’s Who in International Trade: A Spotlight on OECD Trade by Enterprise Characteristics data
Analysing the role of different firms in international trade
Conventional international trade statistics offer a picture of trade flows between countries, broken down by types of goods and services. While this is an important input for trade analyses, these data do not offer insights into the actors, or the types of firms, that are actually engaged in cross-border trade. The OECD Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC) data do provide such information, giving important insights on the role of firms in Global Value Chains. They highlight that large firms continue to dominate international trade, and that, often, those firms that are among the most important exporters, are also responsible for the majority of imports. The TEC data also provide information on the role of SMEs in international trade, across industries and across countries, showing, for example, that although SMEs generally export to neighbouring markets, they import from a much wider geographical base.
Trade is concentrated among a few, large firms
TEC data essentially provide a ‘Who’s Who’ of international trade. For example, they show that only a small percentage of firms is actually engaged directly in international trade, typically below 10% in OECD countries, with only a few exceptions – notably in small economies such as Slovenia and Estonia.
Moreover, as shown in Figure 1, the bulk of international transactions (in value) is concentrated among firms with more than 250 employees. In the United States for example, firms with more than 250 employees account for 72% of exports, and in a further ten countries – ranging from smaller economies such as Finland and Sweden to other large economies such as Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom – more than two-thirds of exports are accounted for by large firms.
The importance of large firms is further highlighted when examining the concentration of trade among the very largest firms (based on employee numbers) in each country. On average, the top 100 enterprises in OECD countries account for 40% of exports and imports. And in smaller economies, such as Finland, Hungary and Luxembourg, these shares can be significantly higher (up to 90%).
Firms engaged in exports also account for the majority of imports
Across OECD member countries, 75% of manufacturing exporters also represent over half of importers. These two-way traders account for virtually all (98%) of manufacturing trade value. In Canada, which provides estimates for the total economy, (i.e. manufacturing and services) two-way traders account for around two-thirds of exporting firms, and one-quarter of importing firms; in terms of trade value, they account for three-quarters of exports and imports. The significant contribution of the two-way traders amongst manufacturers provides an indication of the importance of imports for exports (i.e. imports used in producing exports), and so the potential counter-productive nature of import tariffs.
Investment in knowledge-based capital can help drive SME export performance
Large firms tend to account for virtually all exports in (tangible) capital intensive industries such as motor vehicles and other transport equipment, as shown in Figure 4. In contrast, smaller firms make a larger contribution to exports of industries such as furniture, textiles and clothing, where specialized manufacturing, niche products, and investment in knowledge based assets, such as brand, design, and organisational capital (e.g. flexible production processes) provide opportunities to create comparative advantages.
The importance of large firms in manufacturing exports does however vary across countries. In the US and Mexico, for example, large firms dominate across nearly all sectors. This is likely to reflect a combination of the large size of the domestic US market as well as maquiladora (processing firms) relationships between Mexico and the US. On the other hand in France and Germany, SMEs are the key exporters in a number of sectors, such as apparel and textiles.
Small firms typically export to neighbouring markets – but source imports more widely
Compared to large firms, small firms are more likely to export to markets relatively close to their home country – evidence of the fixed costs related to breaking into new markets that tend to be relatively higher for smaller firms. Figure 3 shows this by illustrating the aggregated trade destinations for the ten European countries that report such data (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic and Spain). It shows for example that small firms (less than 50 employees) account for nearly 20% of trade with nearby destinations such as Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, but only for slightly more than 5% of exports to China, Japan or the United States. In many instances, this reflects the role of SMEs as upstream suppliers within, typically regional, value chains.
On the other hand, barriers to importing appear less onerous than those for exporting. For example SMEs accounted for over half of all imports from China and India into European countries, and over 40% of imports from the United States and Japan, possibly also reflecting affiliate relationships with parent MNEs from these countries.
The measure explained
TEC Statistics break down international merchandise trade statistics by the characteristics of the trading enterprise. The data are generally produced by national statistical authorities through the linking of microdata from the census of customs transactions (used for compiling national merchandise trade statistics) to a centralised business register containing both characteristics and reporting structure of all firms operating within that national boundary. This microdata linkage for TEC is facilitated by the possibility of using (or developing) common identifiers between the trade register and the business register, which also means that TEC statistics can be compiled without imposing additional burden on respondents.
There is growing appreciation within the international statistics community that microdata linking provides significant scope to better understand production in an increasingly globalised economy. New characteristics, notably whether the firm is foreign or domestically owned, have recently been added to TEC dataset, and efforts are ongoing to develop similar data for services trade. Increasingly, efforts are now also being made to integrate aspects of TEC within the heart of the statistical information system, such as structural business statistics, the national accounts and supply-use tables, not least to provide a holistic perspective on the nature of trade, production and investment. The OECD for example, as a response to the G20, recently developed estimates of the upstream contribution to exports made by SMEs.
One caveat in the interpretation of the role of SMEs in international trade is that throughout the international statistical system, firm size is currently defined at the enterprise level, and that these enterprises may still be part of a larger enterprise group. Pilot studies are being developed to identify such dependent SMEs from independent SMEs.
Where to find underlying data
The Trade by enterprise characteristics database is organised in ten different datasets, all available on OECD.Stat. The ones used in this blog post are:
Trade by firm size: (OECD 2016), “TEC by sector and size class”, OECD Trade by enterprise characteristics (database)
Shares of top enterprises: (OECD 2016), “TEC by Top enterprises”, OECD Trade by enterprise characteristics (database)
Two-way traders: (OECD 2016),”TEC by type of trader”, OECD Trade by enterprise characteristics (database)
Partner country and size: (OECD 2016), “TEC by partner countries and size-class”, OECD Trade by enterprise characteristics (database)
Inclusive Global Value Chains: report by OECD and World Bank
United Nations Friends of the Chair Group on International Trade and Economic Globalization: Report to the 2016 UN Statistical Commission
Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2015, OECD (2015), OECD Publishing, Paris
For further information please contact the OECD Statistics Directorate at [email protected].
Today as we celebrate World Earth Day 2016 and leaders head to New York to sign the Paris Climate Agreement at UN Head Quarters we publish the last part of a three-part interview by Shayne MacLachlan of the OECD Environment Directorate with Kamel Ben Naceur, Director of Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks at the IEA
SMacL: Are there any countries where policies that support CCS are in place, and why aren’t more governments following your CCS recommendations to prevent an overshoot in emissions?
KBN: Many countries have recognised the importance of CCS and are implementing policies to support its development and future deployment, including through investment in national CO2 storage assessments and pilot RD&D programs. A good example is Japan, which is undertaking site surveys to identify CO2 storage opportunities in parallel with an integrated pilot project at Tomakomai. The challenge for policy makers in Japan and elsewhere is to build these efforts towards large-scale CCS deployment – a task that will require significant public investment and long-term political commitment.
The United States and Canada are currently leading the way with large-scale CCS deployment, hosting 15 of the 22 projects expected to be in operation before 2020. To a large extent this has been underpinned by EOR opportunities which provide a much-needed revenue stream for the captured CO2 and eliminate uncertainty around storage availability.
Beyond these projects, it would be fair to say that global CCS deployment efforts lack a sense of urgency and reflect a tendency to focus on alternative low emission technology options that are perhaps easier to deploy in the short-term. Yet the message from the IEA and others is clear: CCS will be essential if we are to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
SMacL: Do you think that making CCS compulsory, as a condition of extracting fossil carbon out of the ground, is an option worth considering?
KBN: I would recommend that governments be flexible in identifying opportunities to support early CCS deployment. Mandating CCS as a general condition for coal, gas or oil extraction is unlikely to be practical or effective in supporting CCS deployment, as these resources are often traded or exported and their end-use is beyond the influence of the producer. However, there may well be targeted opportunities to implement policies to achieve a similar outcome. For example, Australia’s Gorgon LNG project will soon be the largest CO2 storage project in the world, and the requirement to capture and store the CO2 from the natural gas processing was imposed by the Government as a condition for project approval.
SMacL: There seem to be as many articles these days about how we can recycle, or use CO2 as there are about CCS. Is the use of CO2 just one type of CCS that can make emissions reduction more profitable, or is it something else entirely?
KBN: The utilisation of captured CO2 can make a major difference to the economics of CCS projects. More than half of the large-scale CCS projects currently in operation are associated with EOR, and global EOR activities use around 70 Mt of CO2 each year. Approximately 50 Mt of this is from naturally occurring sources, but in time this could be replaced with CO2 captured from power and industrial facilities. With appropriate site characterisation and monitoring, CO2-EOR can provide a permanent storage solution.
Alternative utilisation technologies such as mineral carbonation and CO2 concrete curing have the potential to provide long-term storage in building materials, but in general these opportunities are limited and would not be an alternative to geological storage. Similarly, today’s commercial uses of CO2, including for chemical solvents, refrigerants, decaffeination of coffee and carbonation of soft drinks are at relatively small scale. For example, the global beverage industry uses around 8 Mt of CO2 each year, which is approximately 0.5% of the CO2 that would need to be captured and stored in 2030 in the IEA 2 degree scenario.
The conversion of CO2 to liquid fuels could potentially replace fossil fuels (thereby reducing emissions) but would not deliver the same net climate benefit as geological storage as the CO2 is ultimately re-released.
SMacL: Do you think it’s inevitable that we’ll use the remaining stocks of fossil carbon in the ground? If we don’t choose to use CCS, by when do we need to stop using fossil fuels in the power sector?
KBN: It is in no way inevitable that we will use all of our global fossil fuel resources, particularly considering we still have more than 120 years of coal resources based on current production rates. Even with widespread deployment of CCS, this level of coal use would be incompatible with global climate goals.
In the event that CCS were not available for power generation, it is likely that fossil fuels will continue to feature with a significant percentage in the electricity mix until at least 2050. In the IEA 2 degree scenario, unabated coal and gas still account for around 16% of global capacity in 2050. A decision not to deploy CCS in the power sector would also remove the opportunity for negative emissions through BECCS, which may have wider implications for how quickly we can transition to net zero emissions globally.
Today we publish the second part of a three-part interview by Shayne MacLachlan of the OECD Environment Directorate with Kamel Ben Naceur, Director of Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks at the IEA
SMacL: I’d like to know more about the assertion that CCS is the only known technology that can reduce CO2 emissions from various industrial activities, such as iron and steel, chemical and cement production. Can you explain why this is the case and whether there are any competing alternatives under development? How much would CCS raise the cost of a tonne of steel or cement?
KBN: CCS can play an important role in the decarbonisation of various industrial processes and, in some cases, may be the only option for deep emission cuts. For example, the production of iron, steel and cement emit CO2 from generating heat and electricity, but also from chemical reactions inherent in the process, including the reduction of iron ore to iron and the heating of limestone to produce cement. There are some emissions in industrial processes which can be reduced through energy efficiency and switching to low carbon heat and electricity generation, but CCS is needed to reduce the majority of emissions generated in these processes.
The increase in the cost of a tonne of product due to CCS depends on a range of factors including the process, technologies and the proportion of CO2 being captured. The indicative cost increase per tonne of steel, depending on the production technology, could be USD150 to USD250.
SMacL: The IEA has said that CCS gives the fossil fuel industry, and especially coal resource holders, a chance to protect the assets they have. Why haven’t large fossil fuel companies poured more resources into the development and implementation of this technology?
KBN: The IEA has highlighted that the deployment of CCS becomes a major determinant of the demand for fossil fuels in a climate constrained future. In our 2 degree scenario, more than 95% of coal-fired power generation and 40% of gas-fired generation will need to come from plants equipped with CCS by 2050. Deployment of CCS therefore presents an opportunity for fossil fuel resource holders to secure future demand and revenue, which the IEA has estimated could amount to around $1.3 trillion each for coal and gas between now and 2040.
For owners of emissions-intensive assets, including coal and gas-fired power plants, CCS can also provide a type of insurance mechanism. The option of retrofitting CCS to planned or existing plants can prolong their economic life and reduce the risk of asset stranding. With around half of global power generation owned by governments, there is also a strong public interest case for CCS.
An estimated USD13 billion in private investment has gone into large-scale CCS projects, including from fossil fuel and technology companies. This figure will need to increase by orders of magnitude if deployment of CCS is to be accelerated, however the conditions to support private investment have largely been absent. Policy and regulatory frameworks that provide targeted support for CCS and certainty for investors will be essential.
SMacL: If fossil fuel companies cannot be relied upon to deliver CCS on their own, what policies can governments put in place to stimulate the development and deployment of CCS? I have heard that carbon prices above fifty dollars would be needed, but is carbon pricing sufficient by itself?
KBN: CCS is an emissions reduction technology that will ultimately require a price on carbon if it is to be commercial. In the near-term, targeted policies will be needed to overcome the technical and commercial barriers to large-scale deployment – in much the same way that targeted policies have supported the deployment of renewable technologies with great success. Policy options for CCS include capital grants, taxation arrangements, regulation and (for power applications) feed-in-tariffs or contracts for difference which offset the higher operational costs associated with capturing and storing the CO2. Governments can also take a major step towards stimulating CCS deployment by identifying and developing CO2 storage infrastructure.
The costs of different CCS applications vary greatly. In natural gas processing, CO2 separation is already an inherent part of the process and the additional costs of CCS can be as low as USD5-20 per tonne of CO2 avoided. As an example, the investment in the Sleipner CCS project was in response to the Norwegian Government’s upstream CO2 tax, which in 1996 was around USD35 per tonne and currently stands at around USD50 per tonne. However the cost per tonne of CO2 avoided in power generation is significantly higher, at USD48-109 for a coal-fired power plant in the United States.