Energy and environmental system interactions – Policy and modelling
|Convener: Daniel Dennis Konadu | Co-Conveners: Mark Howells , Edward A. Byers , Pete Smith , Keith S. Richards|
The transition to a low-carbon energy regime to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and combat climate change, together with the need to meet future demand and security of energy supply, presents a challenge for many governments. Meeting these challenges would require significant changes to the whole energy system including the deployment of new technologies, expansion of power generation capacity, and significant levels of demand-side management. These projected changes in the energy system will inevitably result in changes to the level of appropriation of environmental resources, particularly land and water, and this will have wider implications for environmental sustainability, and may affect other sectors of the economy.
In order to understand and project the co-evolution of future energy systems and environmental resource appropriation; to characterize risks and potential stress on environmental resources and critical ecosystems; to estimate sustainable limits of environmental resource appropriation; and to develop sustainable and appropriate policies for avoiding or mitigating the anticipated impacts of energy system transitions, there is the need for an integrated approach to analysing energy and environmental resource use to inform policy development, improvement in our understanding and characterisation of the interactions, feedbacks and trade-offs.
This multidisciplinary session will discuss novel approaches for analysing Energy and Earth/Environmental systems interactions and their implications for policy and society. These approaches may inform the development of sustainable energy/environmental policies, the navigation of sustainable energy and resource use pathways, and management of energy system transitions and critical thresholds of environmental resource exploitation. It will bring together inputs from diverse research disciplines such as energy systems and engineering, hydrology and water resources, climatology, ecology, systems sciences, economics and the social sciences, using multiple research approaches such as whole systems modelling, geospatial data analysis and measurements at different spatial and temporal scales.
The first part of the session will focus on conceptual and methodological developments for exploring energy and environmental resource use, especially those dealing with modelling and integrated analysis of energy, water and land/food, and the definition of precautionary/critical thresholds of sustainable environmental resource appropriation for energy.
In the second part of this session, we will centre on the real world issues with potential consequences for the resilience of environmental, economic, and socio-cultural systems at the local, national, regional and global scale. A focus will be on the different energy system transitions that may trigger shifts in ecosystems and socio-economic systems. One theme is the impact of changes in land and water use triggered by low-carbon energy systems on stability of natural and agricultural ecosystems and the sustainability of livelihoods that depend on them.