Targets for sustainable land use: rationale, reflections and research needs
Authors: Meghan O’brien, Stefan Bringezu
Abstract: Targets help to set a clear orientation, provide guidance and prioritize actions toward achieving objectives. This presentation will take a closer look at the state of research on global land use targets for cropland and forestry. It examines the role and rationale for land use targets, identifies research needs and reflects on how such targets could contribute to a green transformation. It argues that balance is the key concept behind global land use targets, with the aim being to connect what may be sustainably produced on the supply side with how much may be consumed under those conditions on the demand side. A target of 0.2 hectares per person for cropland and 0.45 m3 timber per person for forest in the year 2030 are presented, and the implications of meeting such targets for the EU are discussed, considering both current and expected EU cropland and forest land footprints.
Future resource use – where are we heading? Global material use scenarios in the context of resource efficiency programs and targets
Authors: Anke Schaffartzik, Nina Eisenmenger, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Willi Haas, Fridolin Krausmann, Andreas Mayer, Dominik Wiedenhofer
Abstract: Despite our knowledge of ‘planetary boundaries’, the palpable impacts of climate change, and national and international commitments to environmental protection and resource efficiency, global material use is currently increasing at unprecedented rates. Out of the 57 Gigatonnes (Gt) by which annual material use grew between 1950 and 1960, 23 Gt were added in the last decade alone. Since 2000, global material use has risen even at a faster pace than GDP: material efficiency is decreasing. Based on global material flow data spanning 6 decades from 1950 to 2010 and 6 country groupings and world regions, we investigate the dynamics which characterized past growth in global material use. We show that even if those countries with defined resource efficiency targets (continue to) meet their goals, this would not translate into a feasible long-term scenario if it is not accompanied by a fundamental transformation of global resource use.
Target setting in a resource constrained world
Authors: Ariadna Rodrigo
Abstract: The European Union’s debate on overall resource use gained momentum with the publication of the “Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe” in 2011. However, resource use policy is still far from being the centre of the political debate. When discussing how sustainable resource use should be fostered through policies, until now decision makers tended to focus on one resource category only, usually greenhouse gasses. By introducing policies which focus on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, often unintended negative effects in other resource categories are induced, such as in the case of the EU’s biofuels policy which resulted in increased land use change and related land and water demand. The paper discusses existing approaches in European policy aiming at managing Europe’s resource use and indicates how responsible use of land, water, greenhouse gasses and materials can be integrated into policy making.
Towards global water use targets
Authors: F. Stephan Lutter, Stefan Giljum
Abstract: This paper focuses on the development of targets for global water use. Although a renewable resource, the availability of water is limited throughout the year due to variations in water demand and climatic conditions. As a consequence, in many regions – at least temporarily – the amounts of available water resources are exceeded by water withdrawal. This leads to a reduced water flow in rivers, lowering groundwater levels as well as polluted water bodies. When discussing targets for water use different aspects have to be born in mind, which are of high relevance and specific for the resource water. These aspects cover, among others, the different types of water (blue, green, and grey), the different types of water flows (abstraction vs. consumption), and others. The paper discusses existing approaches for water use targets and indicates ways towards the elaboration of targets from the watershed to the global level.