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Global Transition to Sustainable Development

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  1. Daniel E. Campbell Research Ecologist IV International Workshop Advances in Energy Studies Ecology-Energy Issues in Latin America June 15-19, 2004 Global Transition to Sustainable Development

  2. Brief Outline of the Talk • What is sustainable? • Where are we now? • The trade-off between the economy and the environment. • Is sustainable development possible? • Human well being. • Environmental accounting using emergy. • Comparison of some emergy accounts for SA and NA. • Conclusions and recommendations.

  3. Sustainable Development • All nations will become better places for their inhabitants to live. • Well being will be measured as an increase in the product of environmental, social, and economic empower per capita in a system. • Is this a reasonable goal for the world today?

  4. Understanding What is Sustainable • Energy Systems Theory (Odum 1994) is used as a context for understanding sustainable development. • Characterization of the properties of the global system using this approach will help answer our question. • The maximum empower principle provides the criterion for identifying system designs that will succeed.

  5. Maximum Power Design • System designs that maximize empower prevail in competition. • Nature’s ubiquitous patterns are the result of such designs. • Pulsating systems at all scales may be one such design.

  6. Nature’s Pulsing Paradigm • The pulsing paradigm replaces the old concept of growth followed by steady state. • Systems with coupled pairs of components can oscillate. • Such pairs are found on all hierarchical levels of organization. • Pulsing pairs contain one component, the accumulator, that slowly builds up resources and a second component, the frensor, that rapidly consumes the accumulated resources.

  7. Pulsing on nested levels of hierarchical organization. 100000 1000 Level 3 Dispersed Material 100000 1000 Energy 100000 ST = 1 Resource Consumption Accumulated Resource 100000 100000 10000 100000 10000 100 Dispersed Material Level 2 10000 100 Energy 10000 ST = 1 Resource Consumption Accumulated Resource 10000 10000 1000 10000 1000 10 Dispersed Material Level 1 1000 10 Energy 1000 ST =1 Resource Consumption Accumulated Resource 1000 1000 100 1000

  8. The Cycle of Change • The pulsing paradigm for ecosystem development implies that a cycle of change is the fundamental characteristic of environmental systems rather than development through a series of stages to a climax condition that is sustainable.

  9. The Repeating Cycle of Change • Environmental resources are the accumulated products. • Global economic, informational, and cultural assets are the resource consumers. • The cycle of change moves through phases of (1) exploitation, (2) climax or conservation, (3) creative destruction, and (4) renewal (Holling’s Figure 8).

  10. The Cycle of Change B C A D

  11. The Evolving Cycle of Change • The shared information of humans in social systems provides a mechanism for evolution of the cycle. • Hypothesis:System empower will gradually increase in each successive phase of renewal, • In the limit, approaching the maximum empower possible for the resource base.

  12. X X X X X Role of Information in Altering the Renewal Phase of Pulsing Systems k8 2.5E-5 Material, M TM = 200 k7 Consumers C =2 Information I = 0.2 k9 2.5E-5 3E-5 k6 3E-4 k11 k3 k12 0.002 0.0003 0.005 k10 0.0012 Energy E= 5 Resources R = 2 k4 0.02 k2 k5 X 0.2 0.01 k1 0.005

  13. Accumulated Resource Resource Consumption 20 B 16 12 C Emergy, sej A 8 D2 D1 4 0 0 400 800 1200 1600 2000 2400 2800 3200 Time Pulsing as an evolutionary mechanism for attaining higher empower states.

  14. A) Exploitation of Resources B) Climax C) Decession D) Low Energy Steady State Our children will have more material wealth than we do. We will meet our needs without compromising the needs of our children We will do more with less, so our children will have less material wealth but life will be better We plan for the 7th generation of our children Morality in Each Phase of the Cycle

  15. Where are we now in the cycle of change? • M. King Hubbert (1956) predicted peak petroleum production in the U.S. would occur in 1970, which history has verified. • Colin Campbell predicts peak oil production for the world around 2004. • If he is right, we stand on this production peak today.

  16. H.T. Odum’s model of Hubbert’s Blip.

  17. Model of Global Society on Fossil Fuel

  18. F Production Nonrenewable Resource , P Q P Energetic limits determine the level of development.

  19. Prior to its production peak, energy does not limit economic growth or production, except locally in time and space. Campbell’s forecast

  20. Environmental Systems • Environmental systems are ecosystems in which humans are a dominant component. • Economic production supports society and our standard of living and is not possible without the use of environmental resources. • The central problem for sustainable development is how to balance the environmental costs of economic production with the benefits of that production to society.

  21. Environmental Limits to Economic Development • Environmental resources are necessary inputs for economic production, • Which produces wastes and alters land use thereby decreasing available environmental resources. • Declining environmental resources eventually cause a decrease in economic production.

  22. Area Area Area X X X X - X X - X X X X X The Environmental System of a Nation Natural resources are required for economic production, but production has negative effects on the environment. Fossil fuel, Minerals (5) Groundwater, soil, clean air. etc. C Waste, Fertilizing Fossil fuel, minerals, etc. Waste, Toxic Goods & Services (3) Renewable Energies C Subsidized Ecosystems Markets (2) GDP (1) Economy (4) Natural Ecosystems C, Land Conversion

  23. Energy Limits Global Growth • As long as the production of nonrenewable resource increases some resource can be used to mitigate the negative effects of economic production on the environment, while allowing economic growth to continue. • Once production peaks, each year less resource is available and some formerly supported activities must be given-up.

  24. Area Area Area X X X X X X The Global Environmental System Before Nonrenewable Resources Peak. Groundwater, soil, clean air. etc. (1) C Waste, Fertilizing Fossil fuel, minerals, etc. Waste, Toxic Renewable Energy C (2) Recycle &Waste Treatment X X - X Subsidized Ecosystems GWP $ X X - Economy Natural Ecosystems C Better Design (3)

  25. Is Global Sustainable Development Possible? • If it is, there must be an optimum nonrenewable emergy use for maximum human well being. • Underdeveloped countries will improve by using more nonrenewable emergy. • Developed countries will increase well being by using less, but improving design.

  26. An optimum is not apparent looking at global economic activity as a function of energy use.

  27. Nor does an optimum appear in the relationship between national GDP and national emergy use.

  28. Human Well Being • We hypothesize that human well being is determined by the interaction of emergy flows of the environment, economy, and society within a system. • The product of these three will have a humpbacked (optimum) relation as a function of fossil fuel use when detrimental drains are included.

  29. Mechanism that will allow global sustainable development Hypothetical Data Overdeveloped Underdeveloped

  30. Questions Related to Transition • What is sustainable for the world as a whole? • And for each country given its particular resource base and position in the cycle of change? • Is it possible for all nations together to move toward higher states of human well being? • Is global sustainable development a realizable system state?

  31. Environmental Accounting • The answers to these questions will depend on the development of an adequate theory of human well being and on the development of accounting methods to determine whether we are moving toward this goal. • Environmental accounting using emergy (Odum 1996) provides methods and measures to help answer these questions.

  32. Tools of Environmental Accounting • The Emergy Income Statement • The Emergy Balance Sheet • Emergy Measures of Trade Equity • Emergy Measures of Social Equity • Emergy Indices, e.g., environmental loading and sustainability.

  33. Global Transition to Sustainable Development • To illustrate the application of environmental accounting methods to the problem of sustainable development, we will consider the concept of society’s debt to the environment debt and how it can be measured using emergy methods.

  34. Environmental Debt • Money is paid only to people for their work. • The environment contributes work to economic production without payment. • Anything taken without payment is obtained on credit and becomes a liability on the balance sheet.

  35. Measuring the Debt • Environmental debt is mostly external to the market system, thus it is not easily measured by money. • Value can be measured by what was required to produce an item as well as by what someone is willing to pay for it. • Environmental work can be measured by the former method.

  36. Available energy is a common denominator • All action is accompanied by the transformation of available energy or exergy. • The exergy used in the past to create an item is a measure of what was required to produce it. • But exergies of different kinds have different ability to do work when used in a network.

  37. Emergy • If all the different kinds of exergy previously used up, directly and indirectly, to make an item are expressed as solar joules, and then summed the resulting value is the solar emergy of the item. Emergy of Bread Bread Oil Rain = = + X X Solar emjoules Joules Joules Joules

  38. What is Emergy? • It is the Energy Memory of everything that has been used to make a product or service. • It is a scientific expression of the folk idea of energy. • More energy = a barn instead of a shed and when the barn is built the energy is used up.

  39. Emergy to money ratio • Monetary and emergy accounts are reconciled on the balance sheet using a combined emergy-money measure,e.g., the emdollar. • The emdollar value of an item is its emergy divided by the emergy-to-money ratio for an economy in a given year. Emergy to money ratio

  40. Environmental Accounting Tools • Emergy accounting makes it possible to keep a single set of books for the environment and the economy. • And to create a balance sheet that includes environmental liabilities from which the true solvency of our economic activities can be determined.

  41. Emergy Balance Sheet The emergy balance sheet gives direct information on what is sustainable.

  42. Emergy Balance Sheets for North and South America • Emergy debt to the environment: • Forest systems (original area – present area) • Species extinctions: vascular plants • Emergy assets: • Fossil fuel reserves • Coal • Oil • Natural gas

  43. South America: Country Data

  44. SA Assets in Fossil Fuel Reserves

  45. SA Fossil Fuel: Use Remaining

  46. SA Emergy Debt to Forest Ecosystems * Brown (2003)

  47. SA Biodiversity Debt

  48. North America: Country Data

  49. NA Fossil Fuel Reserves