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Climate water energy nexus 3.12.10
 

Climate water energy nexus 3.12.10

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The age of cheap, abundant fossil fuel energy is coming to an end ...

The age of cheap, abundant fossil fuel energy is coming to an end
The age of carbon accounting and pricing is here
Water security will be a perennial issue for southern Australia
Each of these has their own imperatives, but their interactions are equally, if not more important
We tend to deal with these issues in science and policy silos
But at operational levels, the trade-offs are very real already
What sorts of knowledge do we need, and how might we get it?

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  • Climate, Water and Energy are converging as ‘issues’ of public policy concern.  Moreover, they overlap with many other issues including food, human health, carbon, soil, planning, infrastructure, emergency management, national security and so on.  Yet our standard response at a policy level is to deal with such issues separately.  We default to disaggregate and delineate ‘turf’, rather than to focus on the intersections, interactions, interfaces and interstices between them, where more fruitful insights and pathways might be found.  Terry Moran, in a lecture to the IPAA last year, noted that “... The APS still generates too much policy within single departments and agencies to address challenges that span a range of departments and agencies…  We are not good at recruiting creative thinkers. ”  A similar observation could be made about the way we fund and manage research.   This presentation will explore the types of knowledge required to help us to capture the great opportunities that this convergence conveys, and how we might go about acquiring and sharing such knowledge.  It will do so using contemporary case studies at a regional level.  For organisations like water utilities and irrigation companies, the climate-water-energy nexus is not an abstract concept, but an everyday reality that has huge implications for business viability, right now.
  • The world needs to double food production over the next forty years, using less land and water, and paying much higher real prices for energy and nutrients. At the same time, we have to deal with climate change — the biggest market failure of all time — by undertaking radical economic reform in decoupling carbon emissions from economic growth. Australia is one of the countries most affected by climate change, Victoria is one of the most affected parts of Australia, and agriculture is among the most affected sectors of the economy. There will be intense pressures to change Victorian farming systems: to cope with a warming, drying, less reliable climate; to respond to greenhouse policy changes; to meet market demands and community expectations; and to adapt to demographic change. There is a grave risk that rural landscapes will be caught in a dreadful squeeze between a drying climate, and stressed farming systems and rural communities undergoing rapid reform. The habitat fragmentation, the death of paddock trees, the loss of wetlands and the consequent pressures on wildlife that we have seen in recent decades are likely to accelerate, desolating rural landscapes. Unless � Unless we find much more effective ways of reconnecting native vegetation across rural landscapes, and of securing water to maintain ecological function. This means finding ways of working landscape restoration into and around farming systems, and making it pay for people to do so. This presentation will explore the likely drivers of change in Victorian rural landscapes over coming decades and the most prospective options for large scale and rapid landscape restoration and buffering. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. Paths to it are made, not found.
  • THESE ISSUES ARE NOT UNIQUE TO THE MURRAY DARLING BASIN. PERTH HAS BEEN THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE FOR DECLINING WATER AVAILABILITY. THIS GRAPH IS SIMILAR TO THE EARLIER ONE FOR THE MDB. IT TRACKS THE INFLOW TO PERTH’S STORAGES SINCE 1911. THE GREEN LINE REPRESENTS THE AVERAGE ANNUAL INFLOW OF 338GL FROM 1911 TO 1974. INCREDIBLY, NOT A SINGLE YEAR SINCE 1974 HAS REACHED THAT PREVIOUS LONG TERM AVERAGE. THE 20 YEARS FROM 1975 TO 1996 SAW AN AVERAGE INFLOW OF 177GL - JUST OVER HALF THE PREVIOUS AVERAGE. JUST AS IN THE MDB, THE CURRENT DROUGHT IS EVEN WORSE AGAIN, WITH THE AVERAGE NOW DROPPING TO AROUND 100GL PER YEAR - LESS THAN ONE THIRD OF WHAT IT WAS FOR MOST OF LAST CENTURY.

Climate water energy nexus 3.12.10 Climate water energy nexus 3.12.10 Presentation Transcript

  • The Climate-Energy-Water nexus:  what sorts of knowledge do we need, and how might we get it? Andrew Campbell Triple Helix Consulting www.triplehelix.com.au
  • Outline
    • Converging Insecurities
      • Climate
      • Water
      • Energy
      • Food
    • Intersections and interstices
      • On-ground examples
    • Knowledge, science & policy
  • Key Points
    • The age of cheap, abundant fossil fuel energy is coming to an end
    • The age of carbon accounting and pricing is here
    • Water security will be a perennial issue for southern Australia
    • Each of these has their own imperatives, but their interactions are equally, if not more important
    • We tend to deal with these issues in science and policy silos
    • But at operational levels, the trade-offs are very real already
    • What sorts of knowledge do we need, and how might we get it?
  • Drivers for change
    • Climate
    • Water
    • Energy
    • Food
    • Population, demography, consumption and development pressures
    • Competition for land & water resources
    • Resource depletion & degradation
  • Water
    • Each calorie takes one litre of water to produce, on average
    • Like the Murray Darling Basin, all the world’s major food producing basins are effectively ‘closed’ or already over-committed
  • Perth’s Annual Storage Inflow GL (1911-2005)
  • Water, energy, and GDP from Proust, Dovers, Foran, Newell, Steffen & Troy (2007) Energy & GDP Water & GDP Water and energy have historically been closely coupled with GDP in Australia Our challenge now is to radically reduce the energy, carbon and water-intensity of our economy
  • Climate-water-energy feedbacks from Proust, Dovers, Foran, Newell, Steffen & Troy (2007)
    • Saving water often uses more energy, and vice-versa
    • Efforts to moderate climate often use more energy +/or water
      • E.g. coal-fired power stations with CCS will be 25-33% more water-intensive
    • Using more fossil energy exacerbates climate chaos
  • Profound technical challenges
    • To decouple economic growth from carbon emissions
    • To adapt to an increasingly difficult climate
    • To increase water productivity
      • — decoupling the 1 litre per calorie relationship
    • To increase energy productivity
      • more food energy out per unit of energy in
      • while shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy
    • To develop more sustainable food systems
      • while conserving biodiversity and
      • improving landscape amenity, soil health, animal welfare & human health
    • TO DO ALL OF THE ABOVE SIMULTANEOUSLY! — improving sustainability and resilience
  • Perspectives from the top of the APS
    • Terry Moran, Institute of Public Administration, 15 July 2009:
    • Reflecting on the challenges of public sector reform:
    • “ By and large, I believe the public service gives good advice on incremental policy improvement. Where we fall down is in long-term, transformational thinking; the big picture stuff. We are still more reactive than proactive; more inward than outward looking. We are allergic to risk, sometimes infected by a culture of timidity…. The APS still generates too much policy within single departments and agencies to address challenges that span a range of departments and agencies… We are not good at recruiting creative thinkers. ”
    http://www.dpmc.gov.au/media/speech_2009_07_15.cfm
  • On-ground examples
    • Energy Tree Cropping (CRC FFI)
    • Murrumbidgee Irrigation
    • Coliban Water
  • Woody biomass energy
    • Learning from the Vikings:
      • Finland: same area and population as Victoria, tougher climate, shorter growing season, slower growth rates
      • Private forestry thinnings etc produce 23% of Finland’s primary energy, over 75% of thermal energy needs, and 20% of Finland’s electricity
      • In Sweden it is 20% (already higher than oil) with a target of 40%
    • Foran et al suggest woody biomass energy can fuel Australia
    • WA already in the lead
  • CRC Future Farm Industries energy tree crops
    • Developing an efficient supply chain for woody energy crops integrated into wheatbelt farming systems.
    • Solving a bottleneck with the invention of a new harvesting head
    • Water yield trade-offs minimal, because <10% of farm area, in low rainfall zones. Distance from mill important — decentralised grid.
  • “ Carbon plus” wool, beef and sheep meat
  • Forestry integrated with farming vs replacing farming
  • Murrumbidgee Irrigation - a current case
    • Bulk water distributor and seller in the MIA
      • $1B GVAP, and $7B value-add of food, wine and fibre production
    • 100 year old irrigation & drainage network being modernised
    • Piping and pressurisation will treble energy consumption
      • And hence greenhouse gas emissions
    • Options:
      • Biomass energy plant - 0.5m tonnes p.a. of ag & food process waste
      • Solar thermal power plant on linear easements (C price-dependent)
      • Conversion to biodiesel
      • Carbon offsets through large scale tree planting
    • Turning a water company into a water, energy & carbon company
      • Liberating potential opportunities through a more integrated approach
  • Coliban Water Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Note total emissions have trebled in five years
  • Coliban Water emissions per Megalitre
    • Note water supply emissions up tenfold in five years, now level with sewage treatment, which is stable
  • The Coliban Water Radar Screen Balancing competing priorities: S ocial T echnical E nvironmental E conomic P olitical
  • Transition to carbon-neutral, energy-positive, water-smart rural landscapes
  • The integration imperative
    • Managing whole landscapes
      • “ where nature meets culture” (Simon Schama)
      • landscapes are socially constructed
      • beyond ‘ecological apartheid’
      • NRM means people management
      • engage values, perceptions, aspirations, behaviour
    • Integration
      • across issues — e.g climate, energy, water, food, biodiversity
      • across scales — agencies, governments, short-term, long-term
      • across the triple helix —  landscapes, lifestyles & livelihoods
  • What sorts of knowledge do we need?
    • Integrated metrics, or tools for integrating metrics
    • Crude mud maps of generic trade-offs and win-wins
    • Narratives that make the challenge more meaningful
      • Including international best practice case studies
    • How to articulate, quantify and evaluate CEW interactions, trade-offs and synergies holistically
    • Better CEW project assessment tools for new developments, and optimisation tools for improving them
  • How might we acquire that knowledge?
    • A Water, Energy & Land (WEL) R&D Corporation?
      • need to work with at least four Ministers & their agencies
    • A CEW CRC?
    • A Sustainability Commission with a research mandate?
      • sister agency to the Productivity Commission?
      • or an expansion of its mandate?
      • or completely independent and whole of government, like the New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment?
    • Training in systems thinking and network leadership for bright, mid-level cohorts across govt & industry
    • Commitment to some pilots – e.g. greenfield suburbs, regional centres on the margins of the grid
  • For more information e.g. Paddock to Plate Policy Propositions for Sustainable Food Systems Powerful Choices: transition to a biofuel economy www.triplehelix.com.au