Integrated pathways for meeting climate targets and ensuring access to safe water

From EurekAlert!

Public Release: 11-Jan-2019

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

IIASA researchers have led work to develop new pathways showing how the world can develop water and energy infrastructure consistent with both the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

The new analysis is one of the first to develop such global pathways. Meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets, to limit global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, is vital to avoid catastrophic climate change. However, the Paris Agreement also demands that mitigation decisions consider impacts on the SDGs. The SDGs, agreed in 2015, have the aim of ending poverty as well as protecting the environment. The SDGs cover a variety of areas, including hunger, energy, equality, education and health, as well as water and energy.

Water and energy goals are interdependent. Energy is vital to water and sanitation provision, for example in water pumping and treatment, while the energy sector is itself a large consumer of water, for example in power plant cooling and fuel processing. Reducing emissions from energy is key to achieving the Paris Agreement, therefore the research, which quantifies the interactions between the Paris Agreement and SDG6, will be useful to policymakers developing strategies for joint implementation.

The research was a collaboration between researchers from IIASA’s Energy, Water, and Transitions to New Technologies research programs and undertaken as part of the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy and Land (ISWEL) Project. The researchers took a ‘nexus’ or integrated approach, looking at all the different elements within the water, energy and climate goals in an effort to balance the needs of each.

The international team enhanced the MESSAGEix-GLOBIOM integrated assessment model to account for changes in global water use as a result of socioeconomic change and the SDGs, and to link the projections to water availability, and the cost, energy and emissions impacts of future infrastructure systems. The scenario for population and economic growth was taken from the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) to look at different ways the world and society could progress. Policies consistent with the Paris Agreement and SDG6 were also included in the analysis.

Three water sector development scenarios were developed to compare the costs and impacts – Baseline, which as the name suggests, implies ‘business-as-usual’, SDG6-Supply, which incorporates the baseline water use projections but includes the expansion of technologies to mitigate growth in water demand, and SDG6-Efficiency, in which society makes significant progress in reaching sustainable water consumption across all sectors.

The model showed that under a middle-of-the-road human development scenario, around US$1trn per year will be needed to achieve the SDG6 goals by 2030. Incorporating the climate targets consistent with limiting climate change to 1.5C will increase these costs further by 8%. The cost of operating and transforming energy systems increases by 2-9% when the SDG6 goals are added, compared to a baseline situation where the SDG6 targets are not included. This is largely due to the need for energy-intensive water treatment processes and costs from water conservation measures.

“The results of our analysis show that combining clean water and climate policies can increase implementation costs, but these increases are relatively small in comparison to the cost for implementing each policy on its own. Finding and improving synergies between decarbonization and water efficiency is crucial for minimizing joint policy implementation costs and uncertainties”, says Simon Parkinson, a researcher from IIASA and the University of Victoria, who led the study.

For example, water pumping and treatment plants could be operated flexibly to provide important on-demand services to the electricity grid, which supports integration of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The researchers say that water and energy planners need to work more closely together to make sure that the development of water and energy systems taps into these and other opportunities and is consistent with the SDGs.

“The results emphasize water conservation across sectors is key to reducing potential trade-offs, particularly in water stressed regions where the SDG6 targets might require use of energy-intensive water technologies, such as wastewater recycling and desalination,” says Yoshihide Wada, deputy director of the Water Program and coauthor on the study.

Keywan Riahi, director of the IIASA Energy Program and study coauthor, says that similar research needs to be extended to other SDGs to understand how climate targets influence broader sustainable development.

“This research demonstrates the important role of integrated assessment models and a nexus approach in finding low-cost global transformation pathways consistent with multiple SDG objectives,” he adds.

###

Reference

Parkinson S, Krey V, Huppmann D, Kahil T, McCollum D, Fricko O, Byers E, Gidden M, Mayor B et al (2018) Balancing clean water-climate change mitigation trade-offs. Environmental Research Letters DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aaf2a3 [pure.iiasa.ac.at/15591]

The authors acknowledge the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for funding the development of this research as part of the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land (ISWEL) project (GEF Contract Agreement: 6993), and the support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The research has also been supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 642147 (CD-LINKS), the University of Victoria, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

 

 

More information:

ISWEL project – http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/iswel/ISWEL.html

MESSAGE-GLOBIOM integrated assessment model – http://data.ene.iiasa.ac.at/message-globiom/

SSP Scenario Database – http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/Energy/SSP_Scenario_Da

Press release on McCollum et al’s paper on investment to meet the Paris climate targets – http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/180618-climate-targets.html

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48 thoughts on “Integrated pathways for meeting climate targets and ensuring access to safe water

  1. When you see the English language being tortured with inanities such as “integrated pathways” and”improving synergies” an informed person will realise that the entire proposal is a load of codswallop.
    The self appointed cognoscenti will sagely nod whilst never admitting that they haven’t a clue about what has been written.

    • Typical bureaucratic waffle. I got a few paragraphs into this and realised that it was not actually going to say anything.

      • I decided to put this through the gloriously irreverent ‘w**kometer’ (look it up, it’s at cynicalb***ards.com).

        The result was 11 out of 10, ie completely off the scale. Complete and utter w**k. That takes some doing. I’ve only ever seen that once before from a marketing email sent internally at a company I worked at. When I congratulated the marketing department on their achievement, we strangely never got sent any of these again. Some people don’t know how to take a compliment, I guess…

        (I do hope the mods let this through. I’d encourage more use of this wondrous tool for analysis of Climate Change ™ articles.)

    • In order to quantify the interactions between us, my wife and I decided to develop a strategy for joint implementation. This involved a collaboration including transitioning away from negative verbosity to an approach involving baseline solutions that encompassed different elements including repressing negative feedback.

      Following this integrated assessment, we found that improving synergies between us were crucial for maximising this joint policy implementation including transformation pathways consistent with dispute reduction.

      • Bravo Tim!

        What a wonderful elaboration on Thumper’s dad’s directive. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all”. (From the Bambi movie). In the bureaucratic baroque style, nearly obscuring 100% of the meaning!

    • “The international team” used the original auto-translate program. The team members chose not to use the latest auto-translate program because precision is cultural oppression.

      • I did a Google search for “integrated pathways” hoping to find a definition. Google came up a blank, kept reporting some medical stuff. Conclusion; it is indeed bafflegab.

  2. Take away their computer – what are you left with?

    Good intentions? High ideals? Daydreams of Utopia? Megalomania? ##
    And at what cost, where *do* they imagine all that money is coming from if the use of the very resources they’re trying to protect.

    ## Look up the definition of megalomania then ask what might cause it?
    (I’ve told the answer dozens of times and you’ve probably got a stomach full of it right now)

    • if *not* from the blah blah

      In all probability its floating around in your bloodstream and your Insulin system is working overdrive to clear it
      Won’t be your liver because Dry January is working real well for you.
      Only 383 days to go, exciting times!
      What wonders await – and I ain’t joking.

  3. These morons really think that wind/solar is the future of energy?
    Hey, ignorant folks, think molten salt nuclear reactors and your problems are solved. Even Bill Gates understands that.

    • Nope. Nukuler power won’t work. It’s not intermittent, and it will produce much more energy than it consumes over the total lifecycle, so it won’t achieve the goal of dismantling capitalism.

  4. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    The only buzzword missing was “bandwith”

    What a bunch of curfluffwaffle.

  5. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a good thing and achievable.

    The main argument not to waste money fighting climate change is that that money could be doing something useful.

    The UN Sustainable Development Goals are something useful. They are the challenge that the world really faces today.

    • Agree 100 percent. We could provide clean water and sanitation to all the people in the world for far less than $1 trillion per year if we ignored the (nonexistent) climate change impacts. There would be only one downside — far fewer deaths (sarc) in poor countries due to poor water and lack of sanitation facilities. The population in poor countries would grow even faster.

  6. An elaborate justification of colonialism.

    ‘“This research demonstrates the important role of integrated assessment models and a nexus approach in finding low-cost global transformation pathways consistent with multiple SDG objectives,” he adds.’

    FIFY: “What we do is important, and you should keep funding us.”

    Translating water and energy Sustainable Development Goals from cultural Marxist talk to English: global government control of water and energy.

    Billions will die.

  7. The SDGs cover a variety of areas, including hunger, energy, equality, education and health, as well as water and energy.

    Their actual agenda to meet theses goals—
    euthanize all but the elite green socialists. Dead people are not hungry, use no energy, are perfectly equal, need no education, healthcare, water, or, ummm energy (didn’t we already say energy?)

  8. The one place that wind and solar would be useful, carefully isolated from the grid of course, would be in pumping water water and in desalinization. Places like Arabia, Iran, India, Australia, and the Maghreb have access to oceans and abundant sunshine, but little fresh water.

    Wind and solar can run pumps and do desalinization. Their intermittency would be a small problem. Given that pumps and boilers are low tech, the investment and technological risk would be relatively small.

    • Yes, I’ve often thought that if windmills were used as they were originally designed, they might make a bit more sense. Just as we don’t depend on rainfall occurring at precisely the same time as we draw water from the reservoir, if we used intermittent power to fill water towers or drive reverse osmosis units when the wind blows or the sun shines, a lot more useful work could be extracted over the lifetime of these technologies.

      If we used the mechanical work of the windmill or the DC power of the photovoltaics directly, we could eliminate a lot of wasted energy and most likely reduce the cost and complexity, which could make a big difference in the initial cost, useful lifetime, and ultimately the return on investment.

      I’m afraid it may still be more expensive than using fossil fuels or nuclear, though. After all, there’s a reason why windmills got replaced by electric motors in the first place.

      Also, the amount of energy needed to pump water for municipal water supplies is probably a very small percentage of the total demand for energy. I guess that if your motivation were to reduce CO2 emissions, this would not make much of a dent. (Especially compared to nuclear).

  9. Models, models, models…. when will supposed researchers stop playing with tea leaves and get out and have a look at reality.

  10. Agree 100 percent. We could provide clean water and sanitation to all the people in the world for far less than $1 trillion per year if we ignored the (nonexistent) climate change impacts. There would be only one downside — far fewer deaths (sarc) in poor countries due to poor water and lack of sanitation facilities. The population in poor countries would grow even faster.

  11. So what will happen if some scientists somewhere, like the University of Delaware say, develop a way to convert coal to natural gas using bacteria from the guts of termites? If you think coal is plentiful now wait until we can access the 90% that is currently in seams too deep to mine. On that alone you could power humanity for 1000 years.

    Would any of the climate alarmists go along with it? I doubt it because nothing is ever good enough for them other than de-industrialisation.

  12. finding low-cost global transformation pathways
    ===========?
    Where these potentially exist, the market always finds them without any need for UN studies.

    Where we need UN studies is where the transformations are not possible. This allows politicians to majically save the world, even when they cannot figure out how to keep potholes repaired on local roads.

    Thus we see energy prices skyrocket but no reduction in CO2. And no reduction in potholes.

  13. This research demonstrates the important role of integrated assessment models
    ≠=========
    This is nothing more than the centralized planning departments made infamous by the Soviet and Chinese governments. The result was a billion plus people that couldn’t feed themselves. Except for large grain surpluses, mostly in a few capitalistic, anglo-saxon nations there would have been mass starvation on a scale never seen.

    And now that Russia and China have largely adopted market driven capitalistic approaches to their economys, the UN has taken up the failed promise of central planning.

    Having perfected the destructive force of central planning, the Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies are hard at work to export this weapon of mass destruction to the rest of the world.

  14. “The model showed that under a middle-of-the-road human development scenario, around US$1trn per year will be needed to achieve the SDG6 goals by 2030.”

    The proper way to write that would be: around US $1 TRILLION !!! per year.

    • Tom,
      It could also be written –
      “About USD $130 Per PERSON – every person, adult and child – EVERY Year between now and 2030.
      “11 Dollars US every month.
      “If nothing sticks to sticky palms.”

      Auto

  15. I was thinking in terms of particular places with particular situations.

    For instance, The Nullarbor Plain of South and West Australia, is the south portion of a desert that covers about 1 million square miles of western half of continent.

    Erect wind mills to pump water out of the ocean. Run the water through solar desalinization equipment. Forget fancy stuff like osmosis. Just use black plastic tubes to boil the water. The sweet water can be used locally for agriculture or human consumption. But the real leverage is in filling tankers with the stuff and send them to Arabia and other places short of sweet water for human use.

    • I could not agree more. Australia could feed the world this way. A space larger than most countries just to grow food.

      When Abbott suggested it, they called him a loony. He is a bit of a twat, but that idea was a good one for a change.

  16. I’m confused. Why is the IPCC target always expressed “to limit global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels”?
    As I understand it, we are currently about 1°C above pre-industrial levels. Is there a problem with the current temperatures? Was the world a healthier place in 1750 or 1850 when it was 1.0°C cooler?
    Why doesn’t the IPCC accept that we are where we are today? Now let’s discuss how a further 0.5-1.0°C increase “could possibly” result in “risks to health, livelihoods, food, security, water supply, human security and economic growth.”
    And why are there limits to adaptation? If I decide that where I live is too hot, all I have to do is drive 150 kms north or south away from the equator to experience a 1.0°C cooler climate. And if I want to experience a 1.0°C hotter climate today, not wait until 2030 or 2050, all I have to do is drive 150 kms towards the equator.
    Feeling better now?

  17. Believe me that jargon is nothing compared to the incredible waffle in the IPCC 1.5 degs paper, all 790 pages

  18. I notice the increased use of the word “Sustainability” but just what does it mean ?

    Is it saying that we just accept things as they are, or dopes it mean than when our “Betters” drive down our present standard of living, that we must accept that as the new “Normal”

    MJE

  19. Wasn’t there a study which identified the charges to our economies and societies and the cost of making these changes if we hope to meet the goals specified by the alarmist? I seem to remember something in it about the elimination of all private means of travel and the construction of nation wide mass transit systems. No more use of airplanes except for freight and a whole list of stuff that I am sure most people would raise a stink about.

  20. “The SDGs, agreed in 2015, have the aim of ending poverty as well as protecting the environment”

    SDG is UN trickery to get around their own UNFCCC to get nonAnnex countries into the climate action game although they have no climate action obligations under the Kyoto and Rio agreements. This is sneaky, illegal, and immoral. But the UN can get away with doing things like that because they have no accountability, no oversight, and no discipline mechanism. Two links below.

    https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812034

    https://ssrn.com/abstract=2794991

  21. Climate mitigation pathways are based on carbon budgets. Carbon budgets are derived from the TCRE (transient climate response to cumulative emissions). The TCRE is based on the observed correlation between mean global temperature and cumulative emissions. This correlation contains a fatal statistical flaw. It has neither time scale nor degrees of freedom. When finite time scales are inserted the correlation goes away. Therefore the correlation is spurious and the TCRE is a specious metric. It has no interpretation in terms of phenomena under study viz temperature and emissions. Therefore carbon budgets and emission pathways are just numbers with no interpretation in terms of phenomena. Angels at the head of a pin. Three links below

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/05/06/tcre/

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/14/climateaction/

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/03/tcruparody/

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