Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Green Economy Related Abstracts

4 System Transformation: Transitioning towards Low Carbon, Resource Efficient, and Circular Economy for Global Sustainability

Authors: Anthony Halog

Abstract:

In the coming decades the world that we know today will be drastically transformed. Population and economic growth, particularly in developing countries, are radically changing the demand for food and natural resources. Due to the transformations caused by these megatrends, especially economic growth which is rapidly expanding the middle class and changing consumption patterns worldwide, it is expected that this will result to an increase of approximately 40 percent in the demand for food, water, energy and other resources in the next decades. To fulfill this demand in a sustainable and efficient manner while avoiding food and water scarcity as well as environmental catastrophes in the near future, some industries, particularly the ones involved in food and energy production, have to drastically change its current production systems towards circular and green economy. In Australia, the agri-food industry has played a very important role in the scenario described above. It is one of the major food exporters in the world, supplying fast growing international markets in Asia and the Middle East. Though the Australian food supply chains are economically and technologically developed, it has been facing enduring challenges about its international competitiveness and environmental burdens caused by its production processes. An integrated framework for sustainability assessment is needed to precisely identify inefficiencies and environmental impacts created during food production processes. This research proposes a combination of industrial ecology and systems science based methods and tools intending to develop a novel and useful methodological framework for life cycle sustainability analysis of the agri-food industry. The presentation highlights circular economy paradigm aiming to implement sustainable industrial processes to transform the current industrial model of agri-food supply chains. The results are expected to support government policy makers, business decision makers and other stakeholders involved in agri-food-energy production system in pursuit of green and circular economy. The framework will assist future life cycle and integrated sustainability analysis and eco-redesign of food and other industrial systems.

Keywords: Green Economy, Circular economy, Eco-Efficiency, Agri-Food Systems, life cycle sustainability assessment

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3 Biorefinery as Extension to Sugar Mills: Sustainability and Social Upliftment in the Green Economy

Authors: Asfaw Gezae Daful, Mohsen Alimandagari, Kathleen Haigh, Somayeh Farzad, Eugene Van Rensburg, Johann F. Görgens

Abstract:

The sugar industry has to 're-invent' itself to ensure long-term economic survival and opportunities for job creation and enhanced community-level impacts, given increasing pressure from fluctuating and low global sugar prices, increasing energy prices and sustainability demands. We propose biorefineries for re-vitalisation of the sugar industry using low value lignocellulosic biomass (sugarcane bagasse, leaves, and tops) annexed to existing sugar mills, producing a spectrum of high value platform chemicals along with biofuel, bioenergy, and electricity. Opportunity is presented for greener products, to mitigate climate change and overcome economic challenges. Xylose from labile hemicellulose remains largely underutilized and the conversion to value-add products a major challenge. Insight is required on pretreatment and/or extraction to optimize production of cellulosic ethanol together with lactic acid, furfural or biopolymers from sugarcane bagasse, leaves, and tops. Experimental conditions for alkaline and pressurized hot water extraction dilute acid and steam explosion pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse and harvest residues were investigated to serve as a basis for developing various process scenarios under a sugarcane biorefinery scheme. Dilute acid and steam explosion pretreatment were optimized for maximum hemicellulose recovery, combined sugar yield and solids digestibility. An optimal range of conditions for alkaline and liquid hot water extraction of hemicellulosic biopolymers, as well as conditions for acceptable enzymatic digestibility of the solid residue, after such extraction was established. Using data from the above, a series of energy efficient biorefinery scenarios are under development and modeled using Aspen Plus® software, to simulate potential factories to better understand the biorefinery processes and estimate the CAPEX and OPEX, environmental impacts, and overall viability. Rigorous and detailed sustainability assessment methodology was formulated to address all pillars of sustainability. This work is ongoing and to date, models have been developed for some of the processes which can ultimately be combined into biorefinery scenarios. This will allow systematic comparison of a series of biorefinery scenarios to assess the potential to reduce negative impacts on and maximize the benefits of social, economic, and environmental factors on a lifecycle basis.

Keywords: biomass, Sustainability, Biorefinery, Green Economy

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2 An Exploratory Study to Understand the Economic Opportunities from Climate Change

Authors: Sharvari Parikh

Abstract:

Climate change has always been looked upon as a threat. Increased use of fossil fuels, depletion of bio diversity, certain human activities, rising levels of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are the factors that have caused climate change. Climate change is creating new risks and aggravating the existing ones. The paper focuses on breaking the stereotypical perception of climate change and draws attention towards the constructive side of it. Researches around the world have concluded that climate change has provided us with many untapped opportunities. The next 15 years will be crucial, as it is in our hands whether we are able to grab these opportunities or just let the situation get worse. The world stands at a stage where we cannot think of making a choice between averting climate change and promoting growth and development. In fact, the solution to climate change itself has got economic opportunities. The data evidences from the paper show how we can create the opportunity to improve the lives of the world’s population at large through structural change which will promote environment friendly investments. Rising Investment in green energy and increased demand of climate friendly products has got ample of employment opportunities. Old technologies and machinery which are employed today lack efficiency and demand huge maintenance because of which we face high production cost. This can be drastically brought down by adaptation of Green technologies which are more accessible and affordable. Overall GDP of the world has been heavily affected in aggravating the problems arising out of increasing weather problems. Shifting to green economy can not only eliminate these costs but also build a sound economy. Accelerating the economy in direction of low-carbon future can lessen the burdens such as subsidies for fossil fuels, several public debts, unemployment, poverty, reduce healthcare expenses etc. It is clear that the world will be dragged into the ‘Darker phase’ if the current trends of fossil fuels and carbon are being consumed. Switching to Green economy is the only way in which we can lift the world from darker phase. Climate change has opened the gates for ‘Green and Clean economy’. It will also bring countries of the world together in achieving the common goal of Green Economy.

Keywords: Climate Change, Green Technology, Green Economy, economic opportunities

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1 Inclusive, Just and Effective Transition: Comparing Market-Based and Redistributive Approaches to Sustainability

Authors: Karen Bell

Abstract:

While there is broad agreement among governments and civil society globally about the need to develop more sustainable societies, the best way to achieve this is still contested. In particular, there are differences regarding whether to continue to implement market-based approaches or to move to alternative redistributive-based approaches. In this paper, ‘Green Economy’ and ‘Living Well’ strategies are compared as examples of these two different strategies for achieving social, ecological and economic sustainability. The paper is based on a 3-year ESRC funded project on transitions to sustainability which examines the implementation of the ‘Green Economy’ paradigm in South Korea and the 'Living Well' paradigm in Bolivia. As well as outlining and analysing secondary data, the paper also draws on over 100 interviews with a range of local stakeholders in these countries carried out by the author between and including 2016 and 2018. The work indicates that the Living Well paradigm seems to better integrate social, ecological and economic concerns and may better deliver sustainability in the time frame necessary than the dominant Green Economy paradigm. This seems to be primarily because Living Well emphasises redistribution to reduce inequality and ensure human needs are met; living in harmony with nature, taking into account natural limits and cycles; respecting traditional values and practices where these support sustainability and human well-being; sovereignty and local control of natural resources; and participative decision-making, based on grassroots community organising. It is, therefore, argued that to achieve inclusive, just and effective transitions to sustainability we should aim to foster equality, respect planetary limits, build on local traditions, bring resources into public ownership and enhance participatory democracy. This will require a radically different approach to that offered within the market-based agenda currently dominating global sustainability debates and activities.

Keywords: Green Economy, environmental transition, inclusive sustainability, living well, sustainable transition

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