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An evaluation of regional sustainability by analysing energy and carbon flows – A 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
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 [en]
Regional sustainability, Energy flows, Exergy, Carbon GHG fluxes, Sustainability indicators, carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, nature emissions
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34896ISBN: 978-91-88527-74-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34896DiVA, id: diva2:1263579
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
List of papers
1. Interdisciplinary Cooperation And System Modelling As Means To Govern The Anthropocene
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interdisciplinary Cooperation And System Modelling As Means To Govern The Anthropocene
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, international society for the systems sciences (ISSS) , 2015Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The global development has now come to a critical state where humanity act as a new geological force and it is obvious that there are numerous of environmental problems which arise from the present geosphere-biosphere-anthroposphere interactions which urgently need to be addressed. This paper argues that systems analysis and modelling of environmental systems is one necessary part in successful governing of societies towards sustainability. In the 1960th many observations and data made it evident that the environment in most countries was in a bad state. To get a holistic view of the complex problems and to clarify the relationships of structure and function, systems thinking was applied e.g. modelling, cybernetics, systems analysis, life cycle assessment and energy and material flow analysis. Such tools used collectively, conceptualized as ‘integrated assessment’, can help to communicate fundamental knowledge, and to support decision-making when identifying, developing and implementing precautionary measures and solutions. There are good examples demonstrating the strength of such approaches; Solutions to the ozone depletion by replacing CFC’s with more chemically reactive compounds that are degraded within the troposphere. Acidification of European low buffer soils and lakes, sensitive to acid rain, has decreased due to concerted action on Sulphur emission control in large parts of Europe. The handling and recycling of solid waste has resulted in a considerable reduction of deposits in large parts of the world. This basically natural scientific knowledge has also influenced the development within e.g. economy and jurisprudence and today ecological economy and environmental law assume ecological systems as fundamental.

The complexity of ecosystems and environmental issues can only be understood by use of advanced scientific tools such as modelling as a base for establishing interdisciplinary co-operation. Each component of such models will of course be an approximation, but validation and verification of the models will serve to make them useful. An ongoing research project at Mid Sweden University aims at building a complete carbon and energy balance model of an entire Swedish region, based on the Danish Samsø-model. Such models will make it possible to refer to a robust scientific base, thereby making it easier to argue for appropriate measures and actions. At the same time it will be clear what data these actions rest upon thereby making it easier to identify possible errors or limitations.

Systems analysis and subsequent modes are constructs. According to systems theory and model development they are strategies as the best representations of nature, we can make. At the same time it must be assured, that a continuous adaptation and improvement in a studied area is possible - i.e. that model outcomes are matched with phenomenological observations and that empirical work also is carried out. Model development can therefore be characterized as a dynamic and iterative process.

Governance in the Anthropocene must be based on an understanding of the problem picture at hand, and learning how to appropriately address increasingly complex issues. For identifying potential solutions and consequences of policy implementation, systems modelling on relevant levels will be one necessary tool. The current project developing an environmental regional model, illustrates how modelling can provide decision support for the county of Jämtland regarding management of energy resources and planning of future infrastructure, as well as serving regional and national information purposes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
international society for the systems sciences (ISSS), 2015
Keywords
Integrated Assessment, Regional sustainability, Governing Anthropocene, Ecological modelling, Interdisciplinary cooperation
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-25797 (URN)2-s2.0-84976466711 (Scopus ID)
Conference
59th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences; Scandic Berlin Potsdamer PlatzBerlin; Germany; 2 August 2015 through 7 August 2015; Code 121844
Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2018-11-16Bibliographically approved
2. Involvement of Advanced Level Students Using Ecological Modelling in Research About Regional Sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Involvement of Advanced Level Students Using Ecological Modelling in Research About Regional Sustainability
2016 (English)In: Engaging Stakeholders in Education for Sustainable Development at University Level / [ed] Walter Leal Filho and Luciana Brandli, Springer, 2016, 1, p. 145-162Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to present a pilot educational project where ecological modelling has been used to integrate advanced level students into the research about regional sustainability. Addressing regional sustainability with an ecological systems model based on carbon and energy balances is a way to understand the basics of sustainability integrating detail and holistic views. Such model has been developed in a case study on the Danish island Samsø, and currently a similar model is now being developed for the Jämtland county. Even though Jämtland, located in mid Sweden, is a sparsely populated area with large forests, a lot of hydro power, and only one major city, it is still not obvious how to reach long term sustainability. For educational purposes ecological models are excellent tools, since complex interactions can be studied, analysed and discussed in a structured way. It can be expected future sustainable society development presupposes integration between research and education, thus building a long term strategy for the possibilities to change negative cultural patters of whatever kind these might be. To strengthen the authorisation of the education for sustainability, clarification of the university’s integrative role in society may well be used, to give students self-confidence for continuous development within the field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016 Edition: 1
Series
World Sustainability Series, ISSN 2199-7373, E-ISSN 2199-7381
Keywords
Regional sustainability, Ecological modelling, Role of the academia, Educational involvement, Carbon balance, Work energy balance, Education for sustainability
National Category
Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29896 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-26734-0 (DOI)978-3-319-26732-6 (ISBN)978-3-319-26734-0 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-01-19 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2018-11-15Bibliographically approved
3. Energy flows and efficiencies as indicators of regional sustainability – A case study of Jämtland, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy flows and efficiencies as indicators of regional sustainability – A case study of Jämtland, Sweden
2019 (English)In: Ecological Indicators, ISSN 1470-160X, E-ISSN 1872-7034, Vol. 100, no May 2019, p. 74-98Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An analysis of energy and material flows has been elaborated for the Swedish region Jämtland with the aim of monitoring and comparing regional sustainability by following the work energy flow method developed in a study of the Danish island of Samsø (Nielsen & Jørgensen, 2011). In the region of Jämtland about 46,000 TJ of energy flows into society, of which 88% is renewable. From this an amount corresponding to 30,800 TJ is exported as electricity from the region, while another 410 TJ is exported as waste to be incinerated. The remaining part, about 15,200 TJ (63% renewable), drives Jämtland. From an energy flow perspective, the most important production from the region, apart from electricity production, is biomass from the forest: 49,000 TJ estimated as energy content in the biomass harvested. Another 55,000 TJ is added to the standing biomass every year as forest growth (only productive forest land area has been calculated). Some suggested indices of sustainability have been calculated and Jämtland shows high values. However, it will be a challenge to transform the quite large transport sector of Jämtland, and therefore the potential to become fully sustainable (ref to indexes used for the Samsø study) might not be quite as high. In order to reduce the use of non-renewable energy, a major conversion of the transport fleet is needed, and this should be given high priority. The private sector is the largest single user of non-renewable energy (2,200 TJ). One successful transition is the Swedish diesel mix with 19% FAME/HVO derived from vegetable or animal sources and regarded as renewable. The consumption of FAME/HVO is predicted to increase significantly, increasing the importance of the forest as a source. A sustainability analysis based at work energy flows shows for both Samsø and Jämtland that large natural resources producing a high work energy output combined with low work energy use due to low population density, gives high sustainability indicators. This indicates that regions with high population density and the absence of natural resources (high import), as in most regions in the world, will show low sustainability indicators. 

Keywords
Ecosystems energy, Energy flows, Infrastructure, Regional sustainability, Societal energy, Sustainability indicators
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34731 (URN)10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.08.065 (DOI)000470961400009 ()2-s2.0-85053314419 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2019-07-08Bibliographically approved
4. Carbon dioxide and methane fluxes as indicators of regional sustainability – A case study of Jämtland, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Carbon dioxide and methane fluxes as indicators of regional sustainability – A case study of Jämtland, Sweden
(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
Regional sustainability, Carbon based fluxes, Sustainability indicators, carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, nature emissions
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34895 (URN)
Funder
Interreg Sweden-Norway, SMICE
Available from: 2018-11-15 Created: 2018-11-15 Last updated: 2018-11-16Bibliographically approved

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