Eric Kemp-Benedict

Senior Scientist


Somerville, MA
erickb@sei-us.org
skype: ekempbenedict
+1 (617) 627-3786 x9#

Eric Kemp-Benedict is a senior scientist at SEI-US in Somerville, MA. He is a co-leader of the SEI Initiative on the Water, Energy and Food Nexus.

His research focuses on economic analysis for sustainable consumption and production. From the time Eric joined SEI in 1997, he has contributed to studies on diverse topics of relevance to sustainability at national, regional, and global levels, including on poverty and income distribution; social dynamics; water, livestock, and land use; and rural livelihoods. He has also actively developed and applied tools and methods for participatory and study-specific sustainability analyses.

Eric led SEI's Rethinking Development theme during 2011 and 2012, and from February 2013 until February 2016 he was director of SEI's Asia Centre. As director, he was responsible for research, administrative and financial leadership. He was also part of SEI's international management and helped coordinate the Asia Centre's interactions with headquarters and with SEI colleagues worldwide.

He has a B.S. in physics from the University of Texas in Austin and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Boston University in 1997, as well as an MAT in secondary physics education.


Recent Publications by Eric Kemp-Benedict

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Testing a multi-scale scenario approach for smallholder tree plantations in Indonesia and Vietnam

Technological Forecasting and Social Change 80(4), 762-771

Author(s): Dermawana, A. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Huber-Lee, A. ; Fencl, A.
Year: 2013

Research Area(s): Sustainable Futures

Description: This article presents a participatory method for constructing cross-scale scenario logics, which applies when different locales are embedded within a common higher-level scenario. Smallholder tree plantations are seen as promising routes to alleviating poverty and increasing forest area among the countries in Southeast Asia. However, implementation has been disappointing, which led scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) to consider a scenario exercise as a way to mitigate the risk of unwanted outcomes. The authors chose an explicitly multi-scale approach, and applied the method during two scenario workshops held to explore the use of smallholder tree plantations in efforts to improve rural livelihoods; each workshop considered two different localities. From these experiences, they discuss and critique the method.
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Social Ecology of Domestic Water Use in Bangalore

Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. XLVIII No. 15, April 13, 2013, Special Article, 40-50

Author(s): Mehta, V. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Goswami, R.; Muddu, S.; Malghan, D.
Year: 2013

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This paper develops a metabolic framework for domestic water use in Bangalore, one of the fastest-growing urban agglomerations in India. The rapid growth of urban India has added new saliency to the resource conflict between the burgeoning cities and village India that continues to be the home for vast majority of Indians. Cities, like living organisms, depend on external metabolic flows to keep them alive. Among all the metabolic flows of matter and energy none is more important than water – especially water used for meeting basic drinking water and other domestic consumption needs. Our urban metabolism framework treats Bangalore as a tightly coupled social-ecological system and shows that a spatially explicit understanding of consumption patterns is crucial to addressing three central aspects of the water conundrum – equity, ecological sustainability and economic efficiency.
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International Trade and Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Could Shifting the Location of Production Bring GHG benefits?

SEI and 3C Project Report

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Lazarus, M. ; van Asselt, H.
Year: 2013

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This report examines the potential for trade to shift production to the lowest-emission locations and thus reduce overall emissions, and explores the viability of policy approaches to spur such a shift. It looks at the relative average GHG intensity of production of selected goods in different world regions and the potential for regions to access low-GHG fuels and feedstocks needed to expand low-GHG production. This simplified approach allows us to gauge what conditions might enable countries to be future low-GHG producers. The report begins by looking at the emissions embodied in trade, based on a multiregional input-output model, to help identify significant trade flows for further analysis. It then examines differences in GHG-intensity among regions for some of the categories identified, and asks whether and how shifting the location of steel production could reduce global GHGs. The final sections assess a range of national and international policies that could be used to shift trade patterns, summarize the results and identify areas for further research.
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Downscaling global income scenarios assuming institutional convergence or divergence

Global Environmental Change, in press; available online July 2, 2012

Author(s): Kemp-Benedict, E.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Sustainable Futures

Description: This paper offers a new approach to generating long-term global scenarios of economic growth at national level. It presents a simple model grounded in the economic theory of conditional convergence. The free parameters in the model, which characterize different scenarios, reflect rates of institutional and structural convergence between countries. The model can be used either for generating new global economic scenarios, or for downscaling existing regional economic scenarios.
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The National Bioenergy Investment Model: Technical documentation

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Working Paper 88

Author(s): Kemp-Benedict, E.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Sustainable Futures ; Bioenergy

Description: The National Bioenergy Investment Model is a scenario model that simulates the decisions of domestic and international investors on whether to invest in biofuel enterprises in a developing country. In the model, investors compare the profitability of different biofuel feedstock and fuel operations using a riskadjusted discount rate – taking market, currency, country and sector risks into account. Prices for biofuels and feedstocks are determined in part through exogenous international prices and in part through a dynamic, equilibrium-seeking price adjustment mechanism. The model is intended to be used within a participatory scenario exercise, and can be run interactively.
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