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Carbon dioxide and methane fluxes as indicators of regional sustainability – A case study of Jämtland, Sweden
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Ecotechnology and Sustainable Building Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7037-5348
Aalborg University, Centre for Bioscience and Techno-anthropology.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study presents a regional model showing carbon dioxide and methane fluxes in Jämtland applying a 20-year time horizon to meet the Paris agreement horizon and regional policy goals. This short time horizon compared to the long horizon of 100 years typically applied, shows clearly the necessity to take both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic emissions into consideration in analyses to be able to make proper priorities in future action strategies. The total annual GWP impact from Jämtland calculated as CO2eq is an uptake of 2.4 Mton/year (19 ton/capita) as shown in Figure 1. Jämtland shows large annual uptakes in forests (8 Mton carbon dioxide), but also large emissions of methane (80 kton), mainly from lakes, mires and ruminants. The (theoretical) sustainability (ref to global warming) of Jämtland is highly dependent of the choice of a GWP CO2 equivalent factor for methane, defined from the time horizon applied. Since methane respond quickly to emission pulse changes due to the short atmospheric life length of 11-13 years, it is necessary to evaluate regional activities contributing to changes of methane emissions to optimise regional CO2eq balance. But not only methane emissions need to be evaluated during a short-term time horizon. Also the use of woody biomass can have completely different outcomes from a CO2eq balance perspective if a 20-year time horizon is applied compared to a 100-year time horizon (or even longer). An increased regional awareness about the effects of the time horizon applied is needed when regional policy goals are to be set. This is not to say that a 20-year horizon is to be applied just because policy goals use this time horizon, but if the differences in short-term and long-term effects are not considered, ‘sustainability activites’ might be counterproductive from either a short-term or long-term time horizon. Especially an increased understanding about radiative forcing effects from the complex interplays in forest and mire/wetland ecosystem emissions and uptakes is necessary to be able to tell how the region actually influence climate change. The anthropogenic contribution in Jämtland, about 15% of total emissions, is easier to understand, but not necessarily easier to decrease.

Keywords [en]
Regional sustainability, Carbon based fluxes, Sustainability indicators, carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, nature emissions
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34895OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34895DiVA, id: diva2:1263578
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway, SMICEAvailable from: 2018-11-15 Created: 2018-11-15 Last updated: 2018-11-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An evaluation of regional sustainability by analysing energy and carbon flows – A study of Jämtland, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An evaluation of regional sustainability by analysing energy and carbon flows – A study of Jämtland, Sweden
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Models showing the anthropogenic and natural flows of two sustainability indicators; carbon based GHG and energy (as work energy) have been made for the Swedish region Jämtland. The methodology used was inspired by the study sustainability analysis conducted on the small Danish island Samsø using the above two indicators. The aim was to upscale the methodology used for Samsø and make necessary adaptations for Jämtland in order to be able to evaluate sustainability in terms of global warming. We also wanted to study the linkages between research, education and regional sustainability initiatives. Working at a regional level has advantages compared to working at a national or global level, as socio-ecological processes can be covered more extensively to reach a deeper understanding of practical aspects. In parallel to this we have also been participating in local and regional sustainability activities to increase our understanding of practical approaches and human behaviour.

Studies of the energy flows in Jämtland show that 46,000 TJ (88% renewable) flows into the region and about 31,000 TJ is exported. The remaining 15,000 TJ (63% renewable) drives ‘the machine Jämtland’. Added to this is about 4000TJ as matter. The total global warming potential (GWP20) impact of Jämtland (as carbon dioxide equivalents, CO 2eq ) indicating influence on the global mean temperature as radiative forcing) is an annual uptake of 2.4 Mton. The total regional emissions, as CO 2eq, from anthropogenic activities, including consumption, are 1500 kton. The region has large emissions of methane, 80kton (6700 kton CO 2eq ), mainly from mires, lakes and animals but also large uptakes of CO2 from assimilation in woody biomass.

Jämtland can be regarded as relatively sustainable from several perspectives, but taking the large forests and a population of only 127,000 inhabitants into consideration, the total uptake of CO 2eq is not very large and of the 15,000 TJ driving Jämtland, 37% comes from non-renewable sources. From a national (and global) perspective Jämtland needs to perform better, in view of its considerable reserves of natural resources. How to increase long-term sustainability in the region is a complex issue that requires penetration from many perspectives. Modelling results presented here needs to be interpreted in a broader sustainability context, together with regional stakeholders, to serve as a base for future knowledge development and sustainability activities.

Abstract [sv]

Två modeller har utvecklats för att studera antropogena och naturliga flöden av energi (exergi) och kolbaserade växthusgasflöden i Jämtland. Metodiken har inspirerats av en metodik för att göra hållbarhetsanalyser som genomförts för den lilla danska ön Samsø utifrån dessa båda indikatorer. Att arbeta på regional nivå har fördelar gentemot att arbeta på en nationell eller global nivå eftersom man har större möjligheter att gå ned på djupet både gällande samhälleliga processer och ekologiska processer. Kopplingen mellan siffror och faktiska skeenden blir tydligare. Parallellt med arbetet med de regionala modellerna har vi också deltagit i lokalt och regionalt arbete för att förståelsen omkring praktiska angreppssätt och mänskligt beteende.

Studien av energiflöden i Jämtland visar att 46.000 TJ (varav 88% förnyelsebart) flödar in i regionen och 31.000 TJ exporteras ut och att resterande 15.000 TJ (varav 63% förnyelsebart) driver maskineriet Jämtland. Till detta kommer omkring 4000 TJ i form av material. Den totala GWP20-påverkan från Jämtland är ’kylande’ och motsvarar ett upptag av koldioxid-ekvivalenter årligen på 2.4 Mton, vilket ungefär motsvarar emissionen från225.000 genomsnittssvenskar. De totala antropogena emissionerna av CO 2eq , inklusive konsumtion, är 1500 kton. Regionen uppvisar betydande emissioner av metan, 80 kton (motsvarande 6700 kton CO 2eq ) från sjöar, myrar och våtmarker samt djur.

Jämtland kan ur flera perspektiv betraktas som relativt hållbart, men tar man de enorma skogsarealerna och den i ett internationellt perspektiv blygsamma befolkningen på 127 000 personer i beaktande är hållbarheten mindre övertygande. Vidare är 37% av den energi som driver Jämtland faktiskt icke-förnyelsebar. Sett ur ett globalt perspektiv och med hänvisning till Jämtlands enorma naturresurser behöver Jämtland prestera bättre. Hur man skall kunna öka den långsiktiga hållbarheten är en komplex fråga som kräver belysning från flera olika perspektiv. Resultat som de som presenteras här måste tolkas tillsammans med regionala intressenter i ett bredare hållbarhetssammanhang för att kunna utarbeta lämpliga implementeringsstrategier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2018. p. 39
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 145
Keywords
Regional sustainability, Energy flows, Exergy, Carbon GHG fluxes, Sustainability indicators, carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, nature emissions
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34896 (URN)978-91-88527-74-5 (ISBN)
Presentation
2018-12-14, G3213, Mittuniversitetet, Akademigatan 1, 831 25 ÖSTERSUND, Östersund, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway, SMICE
Note

Vid tidpunkten för framläggningen av avhandlingen var följande delarbete opublicerat: delarbete 4 (manuskript).

At the time of the defence the following paper was unpublished: paper 4 (manuscript).

Available from: 2018-11-16 Created: 2018-11-15 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved

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Skytt, TorbjörnJonsson, Bengt-Gunnar

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