The Stockholm Environment Institute is an international not-for-profit research organization that has been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for 25 years.
Our goal is to bring about change for sustainable development by bridging science and policy. We do this by conducting integrated analysis that supports decision-makers.
SEI's work is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing upon engineering, economics, ecology, ethics, operations research, international relations and software design.
We work all around the world building capacity for integrated sustainability planning through training and collaboration on projects.
SEI's Long Range Energy Alternatives Planning system
LEAP developer recognized as 'visionary leader'
SEI-US Senior Scientist Charlie Heaps is one of three low-emission development 'champions' honored at the 2015 LEDS Global Partnership awards.
For more than 20 years, Charlie Heaps has worked to develop and improve LEAP, the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning system. He has travelled around the world, training hundreds of people to use the software – and teaching them new ways to think about climate and energy.
He created COMMEND, an online community for energy planners in developing countries that now has more than 20,000 members. He has applied LEAP in numerous national, sub-national, regional and global studies, and secured funding to further expand LEAP's capabilities and to train more users.
In recent years, LEAP has become the tool of choice for many developing countries doing integrated resource planning, greenhouse gas mitigation assessments, and low-emission development strategies. Several countries also used it crafting their mitigation pledges ("intended nationally determined contributions", or INDCs) for the upcoming Paris Climate Change Conference.
On October 16 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Heaps, who was also U.S. Center director from 2006 to 2014, was honored with one of the first-ever LEDS Global Partnership Leadership Awards, for "Leading Design".
Heaps was one of three "champions" from around the world recognized for their "outstanding vision and action to achieve low-emission, sustainable development". Andrea Guerrero, director of economic, environmental and social affairs in Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, won an award for "Acting on Implementation", and Kanya Onsri, president of the Environmental Conservation and Alternative Career Community in Thailand, was recognized for "Achieving Results".
"These LEDS leaders are transforming the way development is done on the ground," said Ashley Allen, LEDS coordinator for the U.S. State Department, in a news release. "Their efforts show that climate-smart economic development can benefit people, communities, and the environment."
LEAP has been used by thousands of organizations in more than 190 countries around the world to guide decisions on sustainable development. LEAP and its associated training materials and documentation are available free of charge to qualified academic, governmental and not-for-profit organizations based in the developing world and to students worldwide. Consulting companies, utilities and other businesses can also get access to LEAP through affordably priced licensing arrangements.
LEAP-based analyses have informed climate and energy policies in many countries; for example, they have been used to guide policy-makers in China in setting more stringent standards, codes, and policies to help achieve their national commitment to energy reduction and emissions mitigation.
LEAP is also used extensively to build capacity for mitigation and low-emission development. For example, through the ECRAN Network, it was used to help planners in Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro to assess climate and energy policy options and set emission targets.
"I feel unbelievably honoured to have won this award for my work on LEAP and COMMEND," Heaps said. "Thanks to everyone at SEI and our partner organizations who have contributed to LEAP over the last 25 years, to the many donors who have funded its development, such as the Governments of Sweden, the U.S. and the Netherlands, and United Nations organizations. But most importantly, huge thanks to the users of LEAP who have contributed so much to its design and have made our community so vibrant and productive in addressing the challenges of low-emission development."