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Opportunities and complications in the transition towards a sustainable bio-based economy
 

Opportunities and complications in the transition towards a sustainable bio-based economy

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IEA presentation 2010

IEA presentation 2010

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    Opportunities and complications in the transition towards a sustainable bio-based economy Opportunities and complications in the transition towards a sustainable bio-based economy Presentation Transcript

    • 26/03/2010Opportunities and complications inthe transition towards a sustainable BI - based Economy Leen Gorissen Transition Energy & Environment Leen Gorissen
    • Bio-energy. This is IT? 26/03/2010 2 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Workshop topicGHG emissions from bio-energy (BioE) Issues of responsibility 26/03/2010 3 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Back to the basics» GHG emissions - Climate change are connected with many processes influencing global environmental change. 26/03/2010 4 © 2010, VITO NV
    • It’s all connected… … and biomass plays a critical role 26/03/2010 5 © 2010, VITO NV Rockström et al. 2009
    • Back to the basics» GHG emissions - Climate change are connected with many processes influencing global environmental change.» Biomass plays a crucial role in promoting, maintaining and sustaining the life support capacity of our planet ecological carrying capacity ECOSYSTEM SERVICES 26/03/2010 6 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Back to the basics» GHG emissions - Climate change are connected with many processes influencing global environmental change.» Biomass plays a crucial role in promoting, maintaining and sustaining the life support capacity of our planet» Low carbon society: “Is there an alternative to massive expansion of biomass utilisation over the long haul?” 26/03/2010 7 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Back to the basicsCompared to other resources, biomass offers a particular variety andflexibility of use what makes it so attractive for many purposes.BI - mass Source: www.bio-economy.net 26/03/2010 8 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Back to the basics Non-food applications of BI - mass include: Energy: fuels, electricity, heat Fibres: paper, board, additives… Materials: textiles, plastic, insulation, construction… Chemicals: solvents, polymers, dyes, cosmetics, medicinesTo ensure the best possible benefits from biomass use, next to all bioEoptions, other biomass options should be evaluated as well and this in the light of decoupling economic growth from resource use. 9 26/03/2010 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Source: "IB 2025, Maximising UK Opportunities from Industrial Biotechnology in aLow Carbon Economy, A report to government by the Industrial BiotechnologyInnovation and Growth Team, May 2009" 26/03/2010 10 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Lost in… DEFINITIONS» Sustainability = Adopting practices and developing products that are environmentally, socially and economically sound, and that can meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – Brundtland Commission» Renewable energy = any form of energy that is naturally replenished - Wikipedia» A sustainable resource = a resource that is used up at the same speed that it is renewed. Biomass can be a sustainable resource if the plants are harvested at the same rate as new plants mature – WikiAnswers» Sustainable biomass use = ??? - International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management Biomass functions as a sort of natural battery for storing solar energy. As long as biomass is produced sustainably - with only as much used as is grown - the battery will last indefinitely – Union of concerned scientists 26/03/2010 11 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Lost in… DEFINITIONSSustainable biomass use = within the ecological carrying capacity of earth = no disturbance in networks and cycles of life = decoupling of economic growth to resource use? BI - mass Provisioning goods & services versus Credit: iStockphoto Supporting, regulating and cultural services & goods 26/03/2010 12 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Lost in… COMPLEXITYComplex problems facing society » Complexity of LCA pathways » Indirect effects / problem shifting / thresholds / tipping points… » Marketable versus non-marketable biomass goods and servicesComplex society » Developed – Developing – Emerging economies » Multitude of sectors, traditions, stakeholders… » Multitude of views, values & stakesComplex governance » Multitude of policy areas, rules & legislations » Multitude of political agenda’s » Lock-in of practices, technologies & management regimes PERSISTENT PROBLEMS 26/03/2010 13 © 2010, VITO NV
    • DIFFERENT STAKES Divergent policy perspectives on biomass» Climate perspective: reduce GHG emissions» Agriculture & forestry perspective: create additional income» Energy perspective: reduce fossil energy & improve security of supply» Environmental perspective: reduce GHG emissions & replace non- degradable with biodegradable materials» Economy perspective: create biomass business» Industrial perspective: commercialize biomass technologies» Trade perspective: increase multilateral trade opportunities» Development aid perspective: reduce poverty» …» Nature’s perspective: operate within the ecological carrying capacityof the earth 26/03/2010 14 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Nature’s perspective vs theoretical/physical biomasspotential?» The theoretical biomass potential excludes the role biomass plays in maintaining ecosystem integrity» If ecosystems degrade, the biomass potential will be affected » Decrease in pest & disease control » Decrease in pollination efficiency » Decrease in nutrient & water efficiency = decrease in growth & yield » Reinforcing climate change impacts » Decline in resilience to deal with average climate change » Decline in resilience to deal with increase in climate extremes »… 26/03/2010 15 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Economic versus ecological sense» A favoured approach of dealing with economic recession or stagnating economies in the past has been to increase public and consumer spending.» “While increasing our consumption of the earth‟s resources may have been the solution to recession in the past, it is not the solution of the future. The more we erode the earth‟s carring capacity, the more the ability of leaders to provide answers to economic and social crises diminishes.” – Ross 2009» “We need to „shift our emphasis from „managing resources‟ to managing ourselves so that we learn to live as part of nature.” - Wackneragel & Rees 1996; Benyus 1997; … Beyond GDP 26/03/2010 16 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Economic versus ecological sense» Optimize rather than maximize: » Multifunctional » Closed lean cycles » Cascade : Ecopyramid Cosmetics Pharmaceuticals Food &Feed Principles based on concepts from Bioplastics & polymers - Eco-pyramid - C2C - Biomimicry Bulk chemicals and biofuels Electricity and heath production 26/03/2010 17 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Cosmetics Pharmaceuticals Food &Feed Bioplastics & polymers Bulk chemicals and biofuelsElectricity and heath production 26/03/2010 18 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Economic versus ecological sense» Optimize rather than maximize: » Multifunctional » Closed lean cycles » Cascade : Ecopyramid» Synergetic strategies » Integrated systems: integrate ecosystem services in man- made landscape “Due to the large amounts of lignocellulosic feedstock required for a bio-based economy, it seems currently not possible to integrate biomass production into existing food production via so-called integrated energy and food systems.” (IEA 2010) Economic versus ecological sense 26/03/2010 19 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Source: Foley et al. 200526/03/2010 20© 2010, VITO NV
    • Economic versus ecological sense» Optimize rather than maximize: » Multifunctional » Closed lean cycles » Cascade : Ecopyramid» Synergetic strategies » Integrated systems: integrate ecosystem services in man- made landscape» Copy nature’s principle to increases yield (push-pull systems,…) Economic versus ecological sense 26/03/2010 21 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Yield limitations» Yield increase is often mentioned as a silver bullet solution to biomass production capacity - land scarcity - phosphorus scarcity - water scarcity - mean CC impact leads to average yield decrease - yield decrease because of increase in climate extremes - eutrification, acidification, pollution side-effects - GHG emissions -… 26/03/2010 22 © 2010, VITO NV
    • The importance of resilience» Earth is in a dynamic state of non-equilibrium Rock the bowl! 26/03/2010 23 © 2010, VITO NV
    • The importance of resilience» Earth is in a dynamic state of non-equilibrium … creates conditions conductive to life … adapts & evolves» There is a lot to learn from nature about adaptiveness & resilience 26/03/2010 24 © 2010, VITO NV
    • 26/03/2010 25© 2010, VITO NV
    • The way forward…Rethink the way we think about things!Remake the way we make things! Mainstream real C2C, BIOMIMICRY,… conceptsRevisit the way we communicate about things!Revise the way we govern things! Mainstream concepts from CHANGE MANAGEMENT, TRANSITION theory,… 26/03/2010 26 © 2010, VITO NV
    • No one way ticket; a cyclic process of learning by doingand doing by learning… Organising a transition arena for a transition theme Monitoring and evaluation of Development of experiments, long-term programmes and visions transition Experiments and programmes for system innovation 26/03/2010 27 © 2010, VITO NV
    • No one way responsibility… Self fulfilling prophecy ? Envision & Engage & Experiment & Learn & Adjust 26/03/2010 28 © 2010, VITO NV
    • Thank you. Q&A?Leen.gorissen@vito.be 26/03/2010 29 © 2010, VITO NV
    • We are looking forward26/03/2010 to welcoming you at the i-SUP2010 conference!