Environmental systems and problems
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Environmental Systems and Problems. An Introduction. Environmental problems. Typical environmental problems: Air, water, soil pollution Noise and radiation Climate change, ozone hole Loss of habitat Extinction of species, loss of biodiversity Depletion of natural resources

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Environmental Systems and Problems

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Environmental systems and problems

Environmental Systems and Problems

An Introduction

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems

Environmental problems

Typical environmental problems:

  • Air, water, soil pollution

  • Noise and radiation

  • Climate change, ozone hole

  • Loss of habitat

  • Extinction of species, loss of biodiversity

  • Depletion of natural resources

    • harvest >> sustainable yield

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems1

Environmental problems

  • Too much

  • Not enough

  • At the wrong place

  • At the wrong time

    Problems of distribution of resources (clean air, water, land, biodiversity, …)

    leading to socio-economic inequities.

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems2

Environmental problems

result from the local or short-term optimization of resource management strategies, ignoring some externalities:

The tragedy of the commons.

All life degrades its environment.

All living systems have self-regulatory capabilities.

© K.Fedra 2003


The tragedy of the commons

The tragedy of the commons

G.Hardin, 1968

Consider a common pasture, shared by 100 farmers, each having one head of sheep, used at capacity and in equilibrium (sustainable yield).

What happens if a farmer adds a second sheep ?

© K.Fedra 2003


The tragedy of the commons1

The tragedy of the commons

Now 101 sheep share 100 units of grazing resource, leading to suboptimal results:

100/101= 0.99

99 farmers loose 1%

1 farmer gains 98%

Therefore, every rational farmer will want MORE SHEEP. What will happen ?

© K.Fedra 2003


Assignement

ASSIGNEMENT:

The tragedy of the commons:

Find at least one good example !

Try to find a formal, mathematical description.

Find the spatial component !

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems3

Environmental problems

Increasing human population

Increasing resource consumption

  • Energy

  • Materials

  • Space

    Increasing volumes of waste decreasing the quality of resources

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems4

Environmental problems

Three laws of ecology:

  • Everything is connected to everything else;

  • Everything must go somewhere; (the spatial dimension)

  • Nature knows best.

    Barry Commoner, 1971

    The Closing Circle.

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems5

Environmental problems

Root problem:

Uncoupling of feedback loops

(to obtain local or short-term benefits)

  • Tragedy of the Commons (Hardin, 1968)

  • Social costs (Kapp, 1979)

  • Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1971)

  • Malthus (1830)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems6

Environmental problems

IF: quantity or quality, spatial or temporal distribution of environmental resources do not match our needs or expectations:

  • Environment(objective reality)

  • Needs (objective-subjective reality)

  • Expectations(subjective reality)

© K.Fedra 2003


A short history

A short history

Solon, Athens (6th century B.C.)

Legislation to decentralize smelters to control air pollution and noise

Vitruvius, Rome (75-26 B.C.)

Describes relationship between urbanization and pollution

Seneca, (61 A.D.) complains about bad air in Rome

Corpus Iuris Civilis Justinianei (527-565):

Aerem corrumpere non licet.

© K.Fedra 2003


A short history1

A short history

England, 1228: coal smoke is found to be detrimental to human health

King Edward I, 1272: bans burning of low quality coal to clear the skies over London

Transboundary air pollution, 15thcentury: openburning of biomass in England affects vineyards in France

1661 Charles II publishes a pamphlet on smoke and health, offering remedies

© K.Fedra 2003


A short history2

A short history

Industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries leads to more intense pollution:

  • London, 1873: 286 unexpected death from bronchitis

  • Meuse Valley, Belgium 1930: 60 died from smog

  • Similar smog events in Manchester, Salford, Dorona

  • London 1952: several thousand deaths (again in 1956, 59, 62 with hundreds dead)

  • Los Angeles 1940-50: photochemical smog

  • Recent EU studies: thousands of premature deaths in European cities due to poor air quality

© K.Fedra 2003


A short history3

A short history

Environmental movement

  • 1962 Silent Spring (Carson) DDT

  • 1971 US National Environmental Policy Act, EPA

  • 1972 Stockholm Conference, UNEP

  • 1992 UNCED Rio Conference, Agenda 21

  • Kyoto protocol ....... ?

© K.Fedra 2003


A short history4

A short history

© K.Fedra 2003


A short history5

A short history

© K.Fedra 2003


Assignement1

ASSIGNEMENT:

Environmental disasters:

  • Find a few

  • Design a structure for their description, including META data

  • Describe them with emphasis on their SPATIAL impacts.

© K.Fedra 2003


Regulatory response

Regulatory response

Laws and regulations:

  • Emission control (water, air)

  • Product standards (fuel, engines, BAT)

  • Permitting, zoning

  • Monetary instruments:

    • Taxes (waste tax, polluter pays)

    • Subsidies (for mitigation)

© K.Fedra 2003


Regulatory response1

Regulatory response

Planning requirements:

  • Environmental impact assessment

  • Risk assessment

    Self-regulation:

  • ISO 14000, 9000

  • EMAS, Eco-Audit

  • Responsible Care

  • Labeling (“biological” food)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems7

Environmental problems

are inherently multi-disciplinary:

  • biology, ecology, toxicology

  • geography, geology, climatology

  • (geo)physics, chemistry

  • engineering, economics

  • psychology, sociology

  • law, political sciences

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental information systems

Environmental Information Systems

add to that:

  • applied mathematics, statistics

  • systems analysis, operations research

  • information technology

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems8

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems9

Environmental problems

  • complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems10

Environmental problems

Complexity

the quality or state of being complex....

(comprising a multitude of objects)

hard to separate, solve, or analyze

complexus, L.: the embrace

complector Gr.: to intertwine,

braid,include, encompass

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems11

Environmental problems

Complexity measures:

  • the number of interacting components of a system,

  • the number of different types of components,

  • the number of different types of

    interaction.

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems12

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems13

Environmental problems

Dynamics

range from the very short-term (photochemical reactions, seconds)

to daily and annual cycles, political (typically 4 to 6 years), economic and technological cycles (10 to 50 years)

to the very long-term (climate change, groundwater systems, decades to centuries, geological time scales)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems14

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems15

Environmental problems

Spatial dimensions:

almost all environmental problems are spatially distributed:

  • 1 D river systems

  • 1.5 D networks (water, transportation)

  • 2 D land cover, vegetation, vertically

    integrated 3D systems (groundwater)

  • 3 D atmosphere, water (lakes,

    groundwater, oceans)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems16

Environmental problems

Spatial scales range from

  • local scale: river segment, pond, park, local aquifer, street canyon ( ha, km2)

  • medium scale: cities, provinces, river basins, large ecosystems (102 - 104 km2)

  • regional (multi-national): deforestation, desertification, acid rain, biodiversity

  • global: greenhouse gases, climate change

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems17

Environmental problems

  • Universal: they happen everywhere, such as urban air pollution, waste management, water pollution, etc.

  • Global: they have a truly global scale and dimension, such as climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, trade in endangered species or tropical hardwood

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems18

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems19

Environmental problems

Non-linearity

a relationship that is not strictly proportional.

Y = rxlinear (straight line)

f(x) = ax+b

Y = rx (a-x)non-linear (curve)

f(x) = ax2 + bx + c

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems20

Environmental problems

Non-linearity

a relationship that is not of

constant proportionality:

it changes with the state of the system (processes and parameters affect each other).

Example:constant price per unit

price depends on the number of units

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems21

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems22

Environmental problems

Uncertainty

in the physical domain

  • measurement uncertainty, sampling

  • lack of synoptic data with sufficient spatial coverage

  • lack of direct measurements (proxies)

  • incomplete understanding of processes

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems23

Environmental problems

Uncertainty

in the socio-economic domain

  • multiple criteria, conflicting objectives

  • perceptions, believes, fears

  • psychometric or sociometric measurements

  • plural rationalities

  • hidden agenda

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems24

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems25

Environmental problems

  • Multiple actors:

  • researchers and analysts

  • planners and managers

  • policy and decision makers

  • industry and work force

  • general public:

    • consumers (market)

    • concerned citizen (voters)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems26

Environmental problems

multiple actors (Agenda 21):

  • governments, NGOs

  • planners and decision makers

  • private sector, industry

  • trade unions

  • universities, academic community

  • indigenous people

  • land users (farmers, pastoralists)

  • women (primary educators)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems27

Environmental problems

  • are complex (many elements and interactions)

  • dynamic (including delay, memory)

  • spatially distributed (1, 1.5, 2 and 3D)

  • non-linear (feedback, bifurcation, etc.)

  • involve large uncertainties in

    - the physical domain

    - the socio-economic domain

  • involve multiple actors and stake holders

  • are always multi-criteria, multi-objective

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems28

Environmental problems

multiple criteria:

  • economic criteria (costs)

  • environmental criteria

    • standards (measurements)

    • perceptions (believes, fears)

  • political criteria (equity)

  • regulatory criteria (constraints)

  • technological criteria (constraints)

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems29

Environmental problems

multiple objectives:

  • maximize economic benefits

  • minimize environmental costs

  • maximize environmental benefits

  • minimize economic costs

  • maintain equity:

    • between social groups

    • between regions and countries

    • between generations

© K.Fedra 2003


Environmental problems30

Environmental problems

  • Complex

  • Dynamic

  • Non-linear

  • Spatially distributed

© K.Fedra 2003


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