Presentation on theme: "Roland Clift Centre for Environmental Strategy University of Surrey."— Presentation transcript:
Roland Clift Centre for Environmental Strategy University of Surrey
OVERVIEW What is sustainable development? What are the issues? How does this relate to the role of engineers? Examples Exercise
Sustainable Development is “ … development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press (1987) (“The Brundtland Report”)
The overarching goal of sustainable development is “… enabling all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations” One Future – different paths, UK Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development, 2005
THE HUMAN ECONOMY E E E SUN WASTE HUMAN SOCIETY AGRICULTUREINDUSTRY DISPERSED EMISSIONS NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES FOOD etc. GOODS & SERVICES
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE APPROACH An approach which seeks to reconcile human needs and the capacity of the environment to cope with the consequences of economic systems
ECO-CENTRIC CONCERNS Natural resources and ecological capacity TECHNO-CENTRIC CONCERNS Techno-economic systems SOCIO-CENTRIC CONCERNS Human capital and social expectations THREE DIMENSIONS OF SUSTAINABILITY
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES Natural resources Water 1 billion people lack access to clean water 2.5 billion people (more than 1/3 of population) lack adequate sanitation Air Air in most cities in the world is polluted Land Land contamination Deforestation Desertification 50% of natural resources (fossil fuels, minerals) have already been consumed
NATURAL RESOURCES: WHAT DO WE USE? Number of planets needed to sustain current global consumption in 2050 if all countries consumed as Britain does today
WHO USES WHAT? Inequitable distribution of resources between nations The US, Japan, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and the UK (less than 12 % of the world's population) consume: 43% of the world's fossil fuel production, 64% of the world's paper, and 55-60% of all the aluminium, copper, lead, nickel and tin 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the world’s resources
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES Population increase current 6 billion to 10 billion in this century? Income distribution and poverty The richest 20% (1.2 billion) of the world’s population receive nearly 83% of total world income At the same time, the poorest 20% of the population receive 1.4% or less than $1 a day Almost half of the world's population of six billion lives on less than $2 a day About 790 million people are hungry and food insecure
SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING Sustainable engineering means providing for human needs and improving quality of life without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs Engineers can contribute to sustainable development in many ways, e.g. designing sustainable buildings designing transportation manufacturing plants water and food provision systems introducing ICT to reduce material use, emissions and waste in products and services
THE ROLE OF ENGINEERS IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Economy to optimise economic returns Environment to optimise the use of natural resources and minimise environmental impacts Society to supply human needs and improve quality of life Examples of human needs: Housing, food, health, energy, communication, mobility…
CONSTRUCTION: BUILDINGS Energy use in buildings constitutes 30-50% of total energy requirements of a society This energy use contributes to more CO 2 emissions than traffic or industry Reason: poor insulation and inefficient combustion systems Relatively cheap fuels and profligate use of energy
ICT: TELECOMMUTING For Cambridgeshire CC Commute miles down by up to 500,000-1.25 million per year Commute hours could be reduced by 40,000 – 75,000 per year Reductions in emissions 26,200 kg CO, 323,000 kg CO2 and 4,500 kg NOx per year Positive high quality of life Self-reported health benefits Greater use of local services see www.sustel.org and www.flexibility.co.uk
ICT: INTERNET SERVICES Online services: home shopping, banking, entertainment, even learning Traffic reduction is difficult to measure. RAC (1997) predicted that by 2007 will cut shopping travel by 17% Possible dematerialisation e.g. online subscriptions for software updates Social inclusion Better accountability of service providers Has made the world far smaller Information transfer: news and media
SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: FRESH AND WASTE WATER The supply problems - shortage of water 1 billion people lack access to clean water Provision of water to developing countries Increasing the efficiency of use and reducing demand for fresh water e.g. using ‘grey water’ for toilets or to water the gardens (the example of the eco-house) Rethinking systems for treating and recycling water e.g. sea water desalination
SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: WASTE Developed countries, each person 500kg p.a. Prevention of waste generation increased process efficiencies reduced consumption of materials Re-use and recycling turning waste into valuable resources provision of facilities for recycling Leasing rather than buying products Waste-to-energy schemes Incinerating municipal solid waste A plant in Sheffield provides heating to 3,000 homes and 90 buildings Saves 200,000 MW of fossil fuel and 60,000 t of CO 2
SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: FUELS AND ENERGY Global warming and limited supply of carbon- based fuels will require the use of non-carbon energy sources Wind and solar power Biomass Hydrogen (generated by using solar energy or nuclear power) Electric batteries Fuel cells Also more security of supply
EXERCISE: YOUR CONTRIBUTION? Write down three ways in which you will be able to contribute, as an engineer, to sustainable development in future. Discuss your choices with your neighbour. Write a combined list of six ways you can contribute. Pass your list down to the front, to be collated. See if your ideas change by the end of the semester.
A NEW APPROACH Increased material efficiency: reducing raw material inputs and waste outputs Removing hazardous materials for a more acceptable alternative. Designing service systems to minimise environmental impacts
PURCHASING DECISIONS FOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Often driven by immediate criteria e.g. price, functionality, appearance, etc. There is another way of thinking: chain of processes upstream and downstream from the product in the shop e.g. mobile phone What happens before you purchase? How is it used? What happens when it reaches end of life? Implications for design
LIFE CYCLE THINKING Thinking qualitatively about impacts: upstream and downstream Application of systems analysis “Cradle to grave” quantification of: material and energy inputs outputs as emissions together known as “environmental interventions” of the system Avoids displacing environmental problems Promotes responsible product design Formal environmental management tool: LCA
WHAT IT DOES Life cycle thinking examines the environmental interventions and potential impacts throughout a product’s life (i.e. cradle-to-grave) from raw material acquisition through production, use and disposal. The general categories of environmental impacts needing consideration include resource use, human health, and ecological consequences.
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES Environmental impacts Global warming Ozone layer depletion Loss of biodiversity Summer and winter smogs Acid rain Eutrophication Human and eco-toxicity
FOREGROUND SYSTEM: Set of processes whose selection or mode of operation is affected directly by decisions based on the study. BACKGROUND SYSTEM: All other processes which interact directly with the foreground system, usually by supplying material or energy to the foreground or receiving material energy from it. A sufficient (but not necessary) condition for a process or group of processes to be in the background is that the exchange with the foreground takes place through a homogeneous market.
ASSUME-other products from Foreground are used in Background -other Functional Outputs from Background unchanged THEREFORE-other products from Foreground displace activities in Background and so avoid some burdens TOTAL INVENTORY is then: DIRECT BURDENS from Foreground plus INDIRECT BURDENS from Background, due to inputs to Foreground minus AVOIDED BURDENS from Background displaced by outputs from Foreground
Life cycle approaches are here to stay… Skill base is insufficient Open range for consultants Professional bodies need to recognise Environmental System Analysis as an essential body of skills and tools CONCLUDING REMARKS
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