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Integrated assessment of the ecological footprint of North America Senbel, Maged 1999

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Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America By Maged Senbel B.Arch., The University of Oregon, 1991 M.Arch., McGill University, 1995 A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree of Master of Science in Planning In The Faculty of Graduate Studies School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard University of British Columbia September 1999 © Maged Senbel, 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of ^ 6 r r g ^ L of C O M M U N I T Y The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date oarcm^ i61b K")0)0) DE-6 (2/88) • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • ABSTRACT Recently developed analytical tools provide opportunities for revisiting old questions of scarcity and ecological limits. This research combines ecological footprint analysis with integrated assessment modeling. It sets out to reveal which of the factors of human consumption and ecological productivity have the most significant effect on the ecological budget of North America over the next century. Three choice variables were used to project four possible future scenarios. Under these scenarios North America is likely to experience an exponentially increasing ecological deficit. Only one scenario, which assumes considerable reductions in consumption, is likely to yield an ecological surplus through the next century. Among the different consumption categories, food is by far the most significant. Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S ABSTRACT II TABLE OF CONTENTS ffl LIST OF FIGURES . V LIST OF TABLES.... V ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS VI 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1 1.2 S C O P E OF RESEARCH 4 1.2.1 Overall Research Objective 4 1.2.2 Specific Research Objectives 4 1.2.3 Research Question 4 1.2.4 Limits of Study 4 1.2.5 Definition of Terms 5 1.4 METHODS 6 2.0 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 9 2.1 ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT ANALYSIS 9 2.2 INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT 15 2.3 UNCERTAINTIES 16 3.0 ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT MODEL 19 3.1 MODEL OBJECTIVES 19 3.2 MODEL STRUCTURE 20 3.2.1 Scenarios 23 3.3 ASSUMPTIONS 27 3.3.1 Individual Lifestyles 27 Luxury 28 Moderation 30 Simplicity 31 3.3.2 Consumption Efficiency 33 Dematerialisation, Moderate Efficiency and Energy Intensification 34 3.3.3 Ecological Production 34 Intensified Production 35 Business as Usual 37 Depletion 40 Conservation 41 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 4.0 RESULTS 41 4.1 SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS 44 5.0 CONCLUSIONS 49 5.1 IMPLICATIONS FOR E F 4 9 5.2 IMPLICATIONS FOR DECISION MAKERS 5 0 5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 51 BIBLIOGRAPHY 53 APPENDIX A 56 APPENDIX B 59 iv Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 - Two ways in which ecological deficits are "financed" in the short term 13 Figure 2 - Structure of EFIAM .20 Figure 3 - Mean values for assumed energy land productivity in hectares 36 Figure 4 - The Long Wave used in economics and ecology from Bossel (1998) 38 Figure 5 - Ecological footprint of North America over the next century 42 Figure 6 - Ecological Budget of North America 43 Figure 7 - Magnitude of change in the overall North American ecological 44 Figure 8 - Scenario group effects on the ecological budgets of 2050 45 Figure 9 - Results of Sensitivity analysis on the four consumption categories in 2050... 46 Figure 10 - Significance of different consumption choices on the ecological budget in hecatares. ...47 LIST OF TABLES Table 1 - Ecosystem/"land-use" categories as defined by Wackernagel and Rees (1996:68) 10 Table 2 - Example Calculation of Ecological Footprint of the Average Canadian 14 Table 3 - Consumption choices per category of consumption 24 Table 4 - Model Scenarios 26 Table 5 - Comparison of food consumption footprints adapted from Wackernagel et al (1997) 29 Table 6 - Summary of total consumption ecological footprints for each scenario for each category of consumption 32 V Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S I would like to thank Dr. Timothy McDaniels for his patience and support in guiding me through this project. His confidence and encouragement helped me overcome the frustrations of navigating a new computer environment. I am grateful to Hadi Dowlatabadi, of the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie-Mellon University, for funding this research and providing a framework within which to conduct it. I would also like to thank Dr. William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel, whose work is central to this research. Bill's comments at various stages of the research have also been invaluable. The community at the School of Community and Regional Planning has provided me with immeasurable support during my studies and I thank each and every member of the school for enriching my educational experience. Thanks are always due to my parents, Wagdi Senbel and Fadila Basha, and to my brother, Sharif, without whose love and support these words would never have been written. vi • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • 1.0 INTRODUCTION Unlike other life forms whose growth is limited by the physical constraints of their habitat, human beings are capable of consuming the product of ecological systems far removed from their local region.1 While we share with other species our fundamental dependence on ecological cycles, the ecosystem that we inhabit is the entire planet. Through trade and transportation, we can, at any location, use resources expropriated from anywhere on the planet (Rees 1992:126). Not only do we consume the recurring productivity of existing ecosystems, but we also use stored stocks of productivity that were created by ancient ecological systems. As we continue to grow and develop as a species, our consumption demands continue to increase. It is in this context of growth and expansion that researchers have asked the question: are we approaching limits to growth as imposed on us by the physical characteristics of the earth's ecosystems? 2 Today, after three decades of research, exploration and debate, we are no closer to having agreement on an answer.3 There are three causes for this continued lack of agreement. First, the dynamic nature and complexity of the socio-economic systems that must be incorporated into this scale of research, and the wide range of variables within each system, make it difficult to reach an answer. Second, the nature of the question itself changes significantly depending on how you choose to look at it, making consensus impossible across different disciplines and varying worldviews. Third, there are huge gaps in our collective knowledge of the manner in which systems behave (Janssen 1998: 44, Bossel 1998: 270). 1 Migratory species travel to make use of many habitats, but humans are able to transport the resources of far away habitats. 2 The Limits to Growth by Meadows et al. was a seminal work in this area. More recent works by Brundtland (1987), McKibben (1989), Angell 1990), Tamphall (1990), Meadows et al. (1992), Goodland (1992), Schnaiberg (1994), Beckerman (1995), Wackernagel and Rees (1996), Baskin (1997), and Brown et al.(1999) have all tackled the issue of Ecological limits to growth to varying degrees and through a variety of perspectives. 3 While environmentalists such as Brown (1999) and Baskin (1997) demonstrate the devastation of the natural environment, Economists such as Beckerman (1995) argue that such changes are natural and irrelevent to the human economy and its ability to grow. 1 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America While the issue of ecological limits to growth remains contentious, a number of analytical tools have been developed to ask more informed questions addressing the three difficulties inherent to this research. Integrated assessment is an analytical tool that brings together simplified models from a variety of areas of specialisation and research. It integrates expertise from separate and seemingly unrelated disciplines to simulate future scenarios of complex realities (Janssen 1998: 27). Quantitative analysis using uncertainty is a method by which incomplete information on any given problem is acknowledged and integrated into the analysis rather than ignored and substituted with approximations (Morgan and Henrion 1990: 43). Ecological footprint analysis is a system of accounting that converts all human consumption and waste assimilation needs into the common reference point of land and ocean surface areas. 4 Calculating eco-footprints allows researchers to compare human consumption demands to the productive capacity of the earth, thus informing the debate on the ecological limits to growth (Rees 1992, Wackernagel and Rees 1996, Rees 1996). This research is an integration of these three tools. It formalises the uncertainty in ecological footprint calculations through the creation of an integrated assessment computer model. Model outputs reveal a number of possible future conditions linking ecological productivity in North America to the human consumption as represented by the ecological footprint. Sensitivity analyses on the outputs of the model reveal those areas of ecological footprint analyses that are most critical to the ultimate ecological surplus or deficit of our expanding societies. 4 The ecological footprint concept has been taught by William Rees for 25 years and was further developed by Mathis Wackernagel and other students working with Rees for UBC's task force on sustainability (Wackernagel and Rees 1996: 7). The ecological footprint is defined in greater detail in section 2.1 2 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 1.1 Rationale Human society is facing myriad environmental challenges arising from resource consumption, waste production and climate change (Brown and Flavin 1999: 3). However, studying the impact of human activity on the ecology of the Earth is an endeavor filled with complexity. A multitude of variables intertwine to influence the manner and quantity with which we consume the products of the Earth's ecosystems. Perhaps an even greater number of variables determines the capacity of ecosystems to produce services that are usable by humans (Bossel 1998: 271). Moreover, the behaviour of the global system is non-linear and extremely difficult to predict. Scientists are becoming increasingly aware of our limited understanding of the global system and the existence of many interdependent factors that affect its working. (Janssen 1998: 2). The interdisciplinary nature of integrated assessment make it an appropriate modeling tool for addressing complex problems combining socio-economic and ecological systems (GCIAP 1995: 2). One of the central questions that ecological footprint analysis was conceived to address is: "will nature's productivity be adequate to satisfy the rising material expectations of a growing human population into the next century?" (Wackernagel and Rees 1995: 9) Ecological footprint studies have previously used single value assumptions and approximations for their various per capita consumption and ecological production variables. By formalising the uncertainty in an integrated assessment ecological footprint model, I hope to make a significant contribution to the literature on the ecological limits to growth.5 5 The model I developed explicitly uses distributions for variable inputs instead of single values. This is explained in greater detail in section 3.2. 3 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 1.2 SCOPE OF RESEARCH 1.2.1 Overall Research Objective To gain an understanding of the effects of uncertainty on future projections of ecological footprint calculations. 1.2.2 Specific Research Objectives • To build an ecological footprint integrated assessment model (EFIAM), linking different components of ecological footprint calculations to scenarios of lifestyle choices, consumption efficiency and ecological expropriation. • To conduct sensitivity analysis on the ecological footprint calculation for North America. • To identify opportunities for linking the Ecological Footprint model to the Integrated Climate Assessment Model (ICAM-2) developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change. 1.2.3 Research Question What ecological footprint variables have the greatest influence on the magnitude of ecological surpluses or deficits in North America over the next century? 1.2.4 Limits of Study The geographical scope of this research is the combined area of Canada and the United States. The marine productivity areas used in the study are a population-adjusted per capita share of global marine productivity.6 Empirical data for this research draws on data from previous ecological footprint research conducted by researchers and graduates of the University of British Columbia. This was 6 This marine area does not correspond to political marine boundaries as administered by international law, but was considered, by previous authors of marine ecological footprint research, to be an egalitarian allocation of a portion of ocean productivity to all inhabitants of the planet. 4 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America supplemented and in some cases replaced with more recent data from published databases. Real world influences on the ecological footprints of nations are complex and dynamic. Ecological footprint researches have deliberately simplified this complexity and made assumptions to keep the analysis simple, manageable and replicable. This study does not concern itself with gathering empirical data to either refute or support these assumptions. For the purposes of incorporating uncertainty into EFIAM, I have simply justified my using alternative sets of assumptions in constructing a variety of possible future scenarios. Much of the insight drawn on for envisioning scenarios is gained from literature that either promotes or attacks sustainability. Defining sustainability is an elusive and inherently eclectic task. For the purposes of this study sustainability can be defined in terms of the ecological budget of a region. Global communities are considered to be sustainable if they enjoy a collective surplus in their annual ecological budget. 1.2.5 Definition of Terms Ecological footprint analysis, integrated assessment and uncertainty are Conceptual tools that are central to this thesis and will be defined in some detail in section 2. EFIAM - This is an acronym for the computer model used as the analytical tool for this research. It refers to Ecological footprint integrated assessment model. Ecological consumption - This is a dependent variable in the model that refers to consumption by humans in terms of the surface areas of terrestrial or marine ecosystems used to produce the resources required for, and assimilate the wastes generated by, local human activity. These areas are 5 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America calculated using 1993 yield data for each ecosystem. These surface areas are not confined to the local region. Ecological production - This is a dependent variable in the model that refers to the area (in ha) of local land or ocean surfaces that is ecologically productive and usable for human consumption.7 These surface areas are confined to the local region. Ecological budget - This refers to ecological production minus ecological consumption. If negative then it is a deficit if positive it is a surplus. The Ecological budget is the main output of EFIAM. Ecological surplus or deficit - This refers to whether the ecological budget is positive or negative. A negative budget or deficit means that the local regions is consuming more ecological services than it produces. A positive budget or a surplus means that the local region produces more than it consumes Local region - The local region in the case of this thesis is the study region of the integrated assessment ecological footprint model, which is Canada and the USA. Footprint or eco-footprint - In the interests of sentence flow these terms are sometimes substituted for ecological footprint. 1.4 Methods I began this study with a general overview of the literature on ecological systems and then focused my attention on ecological footprint studies. Having gained a conceptual understanding of the components of ecological footprint analysis, and their relationships to one another, I constructed a computer model using Analytica 7 In other ecological footprint calculations productivity is typically expressed in terms of yield (kg per ha) (Wackernagel and Rees 1996). In this study productivity is expressed in ha using most recent yield data (1993) as the base figure. Increased productivity is expressed as an increased area with each unit of area producing 1993 yields. This was done to avoid having the model be self-referential. 6 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 1.1.1™ software.8 The model is a computational system that relates human consumption figures in the local region to the natural resources available in that local region to determine its ecological budget over time. It projects a range of values for ecological production and consumption over the twenty-first century allowing for uncertainty. Three different variables have changeable inputs that function as choices of future assumptions. I use a combination of choices across the different variables to create four scenarios whose outcomes I analyse and discuss. The structure of the model, the different variables and the relationships between the variables are all described in Section 3.2. By running the model and generating ecological budget outputs, I identified ways in which the model could be improved to better address my research objectives. My goal in refining the model at this stage was to be able to generate ecological footprint outputs comparable to those generated by Wackernagel et al. (1997) when using their inputs for any of the countries that they studied. The second stage in my research methods was a general review of environmental sustainability literature. This gave me insight into current thinking on the state of the environment and its resilience, or lack thereof, to human exploitation. I used this literature, along with ecological footprint literature to revise the ecological production and consumption data inputs of the model. I also reviewed literature projecting a variety of societal scenarios before conducting another round of computations and refinements of the model. During this iteration my objective was to be able to represent the range of possible future scenarios discussed in the literature.9 I then began collating and tabulating the results of the model. 8 This software was developed by Max Henrion, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, for incorporating uncertainty into integrated assessment modeling. 9 Significant works undertaking to project futures scenarios are Gallopin and Raskin (1998), Bossel (1998) and Robinson et al. (1996) 7 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America The analytical contribution of this research is a user friendly computer model that has been refined through a number of iterations as described above. The quantitative inputs of the model are easy to alter to reflect evolving research and new data. While the model is capable of computing the effects of many different combinations of scenarios, I used it to generate a range of possible outcomes and to discover which of the input variables is most significant. I conducted sensitivity analyses to determine the relative influence of each of the three groups of lifestyle choices, consumption efficiency and ecological production, on the ecological budget of the local region. This was done in two ways. First, a built in elasticity function was used to determine the correlation of variables. Second, choice variable inputs were changed from one extreme to the other while keeping all other inputs constant. In this manner I was able to determine which choice variable has the most influence on the ecological budget. In developing the scenarios I included a range of views on the health of global and local ecosystems. I also read works that demonstrated a strong conviction that the technological prowess of our society can ameliorate any ecological problems that we must face (Beckerman 1995, Rifkin 1998). Other writers argue that it is technology that has caused us to be in this predicament and that it is more of a danger than a solution (Odum 1989, Baskin 1998). I do not make an argument for either case but simply incorporate both points of view into the model by creating a scenario built on each ideology.10 Authors from both sides of the fence compensate for the existence of conflicting data by citing isolated cases. In translating both worldviews into future ecological production and human consumption figures, I had to make assumptions based on qualitative descriptions. In the section on assumptions I justify the inputs that I used. Because all numerical inputs in the model are distributions and not point 1 0 It is important to note that both sides may turn out to be correct if humanity continues to thrive and survive while most other species or whole ecosystems die off. 8 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America values, precision is neither necessary nor desirable. However, as more is discovered about the quantitative implications of future scenarios, this information can be fed into the model to observe how the outputs might change. The model is not an attempt to precisely represent reality, but is rather a heuristic for learning what matters in striving for a more comprehensive understanding of reality. 2.0 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 2.1 Ecological Footprint Analysis The ecological footprint has its roots in the concept of the carrying capacity. Carrying capacity, as defined by biologists, is the number of individuals of a given species that a given habitat can support without being permanently damaged (Odum 1989: 158, Rees 1992:125). An ecosystem can support only a particular number of a particular species before the needs of that species can no longer be met locally. If the population exceeds the carrying capacity either the resources required for the needs of that species will become depleted, or the wastes produced by that species will begin to build up to the point of poisoning members of the species. In the age of global trade, the ecosystem inhabited by humans or affected by human activity is the entire globe or ecosphere. Rather than measure how many humans the earth can support, the ecological footprint measures how much of the earth's surface human beings using to produce their resource demands and to assimilate their wastes. At the heart of the ecological footprint concept is an acknowledgement that ecological systems are an essential foundation of human society (Wackernagel and Rees 1996: 7). We are dependent on closed loop ecological cycles. The cycles may be geographically close to our daily lives, as in the case of a back-yard vegetable garden fed by our composted food wastes. Or they may be far 9 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America removed, as illustrated by the absorption of our cars' C O 2 emissions by the forests of Brazil. The underlying premise of the ecological footprint is that all human needs are supported by the bio-physical processes of the ecosphere. The ecological footprint measurement is an estimate of the surface area, land or sea area, required for the production of biophysical goods and services used by people. Both the ecosystem areas required to produce consumable goods, and the ecosystem areas required to assimilate the wastes associated with the production and consumption of these goods, are counted. Human consumption is thus related to the Earth's ecological carrying capacity because there is only so much surface area on the Earth (Rees 1992, Wackernagel 1994, Wackernagel and Rees 1996).11 Energy Land a Land" appropriated" by fossil energy use (ENERGY or C02 LAND) Note: fuel crops would remove some land from categories c,d,eorf. Consumed Land b Built environment (DEGRADED LAND) Currently Used Land c Gardens (REVERSIBLY BUILT ENVIRONMENT) d Crop land (CULTIVATED SYSTEMS) e Pasture (MODIFIED SYSTEMS) f Managed forest Land of Limited Availability g Untouched forests (PRODUCTIVE NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS) h Non-productive areas (DESERTS, ICECAPS) Table 1 - Ecosystem/ "land-use" categories as defined by Wackernagel and Rees (1996:68). 1 1 Wackernagel and Rees (1996) evolved in part from Mathis Wackernagel's PhD research (Wackernagel 1994) conducted under the supervision of William Rees. Althought the latter is more academic, we have chosen the former for citation because it is a published and more accessible work. It is also well referenced. 10 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America In determining the total area required to support human consumption and waste assimilation, Wackernagel and Rees developed two classifications: ecosystem groups and consumption groups. Ecosystem groups are types of ecosystems that are distinct from one another and whose productivity is utilised by humans in meeting consumption needs. Consumption groups are categories of human consumption typically used in official statistics and published reports. Table 1 shows the ecosystem classifications used by Wackernagel and Rees. Two of the eight ecosystem types were considered unavailable for human consumption. The five consumption categories are food, housing, transportation, consumer goods and services. Wackernagel et al. subsequently revised both sets of classifications. Consumption categories were grouped as biotic resources: ("food", "roundwood" and "other crops") and energy resources (Wackernagel et al 1997:7).12 Ecosystem categories saw the removal of Garden land, and marine area was added to account for the considerable seafood consumption in many countries around the world. In EFIAM I used an adapted classification borrowing from both Wackernagel and Rees and Wackernagel et al. I used Wackernagel et al.'s ecosystem types: energy land, used for sequestering of C 0 2 , or for generating other forms of energy; urban land, developed to house humans and human institutions; arable land, used for crop production; pasture land, grazing land for raising livestock; forest land, logged for the production of timber products; marine land, fished for seafood. 1 3 1 2 Wackernagel et al. used 132 categories of consumption but grouped them into biotic and energy resources(1997). 1 3 The notable departures from table 1 (Wackernagel and Rees 1996) is that energy land includes forms of energy other than fossil energy and the built environment and gardens categories are combined. I also added marine areas. 11 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America I decided to retain the consumption categories used by Wackernagel and Rees in order to research the relationships between consumption choices and local ecological budgets. Due to a lack of ecological footprint data distinguishing between the consumption of goods and the consumption of services I opted to combine the two into a single consumption category. The manner in which metal and mineral consumption is accounted for in ecological footprint analysis is through the energy that is required to extract them and the areas occupied by mining camps and mining infrastructure. The reserves or stocks of resources are not considered. Thus issue of whether the resources are finite is insignificant because the limiting factor is the extraction of the resource and not the resource itself.14 Per capita ecological footprint calculations also do not include the provision of fresh water or the neutralisation, storage or assimilation of toxic waste. A significant finding of Wackernagel and Rees' research was a calculation of the ecological footprint of the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Using a per capita Canadian average consumption figure, and multiplying it by the local population, they estimated that Lower Fraser Valley residents require an area of land that is 19 times the size of their region (Wackernagel and Rees 1996: 87). Their estimate for a Canadian per capita footprint of 4.27 ha, has been subsequently revised by Wackernagel et al. to 7 ha, making the urban footprint 30 times larger than the inhabited area. Wackernagel et al. also compared the ecological footprints of 52 nations to the their ecological capacity. Canada was found to have a surplus of 1.5 ha/capita and the US has an ecological deficit of 2.1 ha/capita (Wackernagel et al. 1997:10). Figure 1 presents two ways in which countries can accommodate ecological deficits: through the use of fossil fuels and unlimited emissions, and by using the ecological surpluses of other regions. 1 4 The availability of cheap and non-polluting sources of energy may one day render extraction insignificant relative to total reserves 12 • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • 1 Fossil fuel emissions are often ignored as long as the supply of fuel is abundant. However, the long term effects of polluting the atmosphere in terms of climate change are not understood so ecological footprint analysis treats the atmosphere as a finite resource by accounting for the forest areas required to absorb carbon dioxide emissions. Because the affects of pollution are cumulative, we are currently able to endure ecological deficits, by continuing to pollute and disregarding the potential consequences. Ecological Footprint of North America (Ecological Consumption in EFIAM) North America: Actual area of ecologically productive land (Ecological Production in EFIAM) 2 The second way in which a country can endure an ecological deficit is if it relies on the ecological surpluses of other countries. In this diagram the ecological footprint of North America uses up ecological productivity in other countries. The totality of countries would be living within their ecological means only if the deficits of countries such as North America are compensated for by surpluses of equal or greater value in other countries. Figure 1 - Two ways in which ecological deficits are "financed" in the short term. 13 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Per-capita Consumption Data obtained from Stats Canada or Word Resources Institute Annual Yield_ (Conversion Factor) World averages published by international organisations Ecological Footprint Consumption / yield Energy Gj/yr Fossil (coal) 46 Gj/yr Fossil (liquid) 80 Gj/yr Fossil (gas) 117 Gj/yr [Assumed Carbon absorption of 1.8 t/ha] Nuclear 36 Gj/yr Hydro 40 Gj/yr Enerqy in exported qoods 51 Gj/yr Total energy 55 Gj/ha/yr 71 Gj/ha/yr 93 Gj/haA/r 71 Gj/ha/yr 1000 Gj/ha/yr 71 Gj/ha/yr 0.8338 ha 1.1249 ha 1.2597 ha 0.5054 ha 0.0404 ha -0.71 ha 3.0 ha Arable 589 kg/yr 1172 kg/ha/yr 0.5 ha Forest 2 m3/yr 1.99 m3/ha/yr 1 ha Pasture 293 kg/yr 195 kg/ha/yr 1.5 ha Marine 311 kg/yr 24 kg/ha/yr 1.17 ha Built-up Area 0.23 ha Not applicable 0.23 ha Total 7.4 ha Table 2 - Example Calculation of Ecological Footprint of the Average Canadian, adapted from Wackernagel et al. (1997) Table 2 illustates that calculating human ecological footprints typically uses national consumption figures divided by average yields per hectares for each of the classes of ecosystems. In this way all consumption can be translated to surface areas and directly related to the total productive land and water areas of the planet. This common unit of measurement, and its conceptual simplicity, is a powerful educational and communication tool as demonstrated by the accessibility of Wackernagel and Rees' book. The model that I have built seeks to uncover the significant variables affecting the future ecological footprint of North America under four different future scenarios. 14 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 2.2 Integrated Assessment No matter how educated or intelligent we are, we cannot fully comprehend or adequately encapsulate the entirety of global systems (Bossel 1998, 37). To compensate for this cognitive deficiency we have historically attempted to systematically reduce our frame of reference and explore the workings of minute parts of the whole. It was believed that by understanding the parts and extrapolating outwards we could adequately understand how the world works. Complexity was addressed by studying smaller and smaller increments (Capra 1996: 17). The reductionist method was not sufficient for a number of reasons. Most notably the emergent property principle of ecology meant that when components or subsets of a system combined, new properties emerged that were not present or detectable at the reduced levels. The idiom "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" thus has scientific relevance in ecology (Odum 1989, 30). Holism, the iterative study of both parts and wholes, is now a common term in both natural and social science literature (Capra 1996). This view of the world brings us closer to appreciating the multi-dimensional complexity of natural systems and by extension our socio-economic interactions with it. While mathematical modeling has been used to aid decision makers since WWII (Janssen 1998: 2), the first generation of integrated assessment models appeared in the early 1970s. These were built in the tradition of system dynamics. The mainstream scientific community found them to be lacking in quantitative robustness and therefore unacceptable (Janssen 1998: 24). These models do, however, offer qualitative insight into the workings of complex systems and have resurfaced as a legitimate and powerful tool for addressing issues of environmental degradation and global climate change (Janssen 1998: 24). 15 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Integrated assessment is by definition interdisciplinary. It is a method of analysis that attempts to account for and incorporate many different areas of specialisation and research. Integrated assessment models (1AM) integrate simplified versions of "expert" models from various fields into an interactive and user friendly interface that projects possible future scenarios. Unlike other mathematical models, the aim of 1AM is to provide insight into the workings of complex reality and not to predict and forecast the future (Janssen 98, 3). From the outset 1AM developers recognise that the future is inherently unpredictable. "Integrated assessment is a process of combining, interpreting and communicating knowledge" (Janssen 1998, 23), and it is intended to " capture the main elements of the co-evolution of the human society and its environment" (Janssen 1998, 28). 2.3 Uncertainties In addition to the inherent uncertainty of any modeling of future scenarios, integrated assessment modeling is exposed to cumulative uncertainty (Janssen 1998, 28). Because lAMs are built on a synthesis of many areas of research, each with its own set of assumptions, the models are subject to enormous fluctuations depending on the ultimate accuracy of these assumptions. The relative advantage of lAMs over specialised mathematical models is that they acknowledge uncertainty and explicitly work with a range of values. Our knowledge of the workings of natural systems is fraught with uncertainties. Even lavishly funded efforts at recreating natural ecological systems, such as the Biosphere 2 miniature replication of the ecosphere, prove the extreme difficulty of completely understanding the workings of natural systems (Baskin 1997: 208). The difficulty of mimicking nature is an important point that is relevant to some of the assumptions of the E F model, but here it demonstrates the presence of uncertainty in our conceptualisation and subsequent modeling of nature. 16 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Morgan and Henrion (1990) identify three types of uncertainty: uncertainty about measurements; uncertainty about the form of models; and disagreement about the value of using certain quantities. Another critical type of uncertainty, which Janssen alludes to, has to do with epistomological and value differences (Janssen 1998, 28). Scientists and researchers, within and across disciplines, often have fundamentally different point of reference from which they view a problem. When the differing expert views are introduced into a modeling environment they constitute uncertainty. The model developed for this research deliberately polarises worldviews to establish a range of possible outcomes depending on which views end up being the closer approximation of reality. Schneider terms the difference between these polar views as the optimist/pessimist or economist/ecologist gulf (Schneider 1997:122). This gulf is deliberately and explicitly incorporated into the structure of EFIAM. The pessimist view is captured by the following statement: [G]rowth has allowed advances in living standards that our ancestors could not have imagined, but it has also undermined natural systems in ways they could not have feared. Oceanic fisheries, for example, are being pushed to their limits and beyond, water tables are falling on every continent, rangelands are deteriorating from overgrazing, many remaining tropical forests are on the verge of being wiped out, and carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have reached the highest level in 160,000 years. If these trends continue, they could make the turning of the millennium seem trivial as a historic moment, for they may be triggering the largest extinction of life since a meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago (Brown and Flavin 1999:4). The optimist point of view is not concerned with extinction because it believes that humans will adapt: [T]he world's stock of key minerals has actually risen over the last twent;y years in spite of having 'used up' during that period more than had been in the stock at the outset... since, in the future the rate of population growth will gradually slow down, the prospects for the balance between food output and population look even more favourable. And this is so in spite of new scare stories about the effect of global warming on food output... 17 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America The finite resources argument is flawed in every respect. It is logically absurd and obviously at variance with the whole of historical experience, and it takes no account of the way societies adapt to change in the demands and supplies of materials. It is based on a concept of resources that is static and unimaginative, and an underestimate of the human capacity to make technological progress and adapt to changing conditions. It reflects a petty defeatist view of human resourcefulness (Beckerman 1995:65). The cautious middle ground is epitomised by the following statement: "[U]ntil human societies can understand, in both economic and ecological terms, just what is lost when we abandon or degrade the free subsidies nature provides, we are likely to continue bartering away too cheaply the essential elements of our life support systems." (Baskin 1997: 209). In constructing possible future scenarios from the possible choices for input variables, I attempted to represent each of these differing worldviews. 18 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 3.0 ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT MODEL 3.1 Model Objectives The principal objective of the model is to gain insight into the effects of uncertainty on the calculation of ecological footprints (EF). It also seeks to discover the significance of the various inputs of ecological footprint calculations. It is intended to be a learning tool and not a predictive tool. The model is built using the components of ecological footprint and, for the most part, it uses data already generated by ecological footprint researchers. The contribution of the model is twofold. First, it introduces uncertainty by using distributions instead of single value inputs as in previous EF calculations . Second, sensitivity analysis on the different inputs determines the relative significance of each input variable on the overall ecological budget. Conceptually the model is a synthesis of integrated assessment modeling, ecological footprint analysis and uncertainty. Similar to ecological footprint calculations the model disaggregates areas of human consumption. It also separates factors affecting consumption and ecological production so that they can be independently manipulated to gain insight into their relative significance on overall eco-footprint calculations. Not only will this be of benefit to decision and policy makers, but also to ecological footprint researchers who are working on refining footprint inputs and calculations. 19 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 3.2 Model Structure CONSl MITIOX EFFICIENT Y CHOICES P R O D U C T I O N CHOICES T h e Characteristics of each variable are outlined in appendix B. T h e arrows indicate the influence of one variable on the next. A n independent variable has no arrows going into it and the model output, the ecological budget, is dependent on all others. T h e choices for each of the "choice" variables are outlined in Table 3. Figure 2 - Structure of EFIAM 20 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America An essential feature of integrated assessment models is attaining a balance between a level of complexity that resembles real world complexity and a level of simplicity that provides insights into the workings of that complexity. Morgan and Henrion, use Einstein's words and suggest that models be made " as simple as possible but not simpler" (Morgan and Henrion 1990: 38). Simplicity, to them, is essential in that it facilitates an understanding of the analysis and a communication of the results. This is especially critical with integrated assessment models because of their interdisciplinary nature. Janssen refers to this balance between simplicity and realism or comlexity as the level of "aggregation." This occurs at all the different scales of the model, and each subcomponent of the model may have a different level of aggregation (Janssen 1998: 27). For example, a sub-model on economic activity may aggregate regions into nations but be concerned with annual GDP figures. On the other hand, a sub-model on ecological risk may disaggregate the region geographically into different ecosystems, but only be concerned with five-year cycles. It is therefore important not to lose sight of the level of aggregation of the different submodels when deciding on the complexity and spatial and temporal resolution of the large model. EFIAM uses a five-year temporal increment and takes advantage of the simplifying homogeneity of ecological footprint inputs. All inputs, with the exception of population and income, are in hectares. The basic structure of the model is a supply and demand system of accounting with the sum being the net ecological surplus or deficit in the study region (figure 2). On the demand side, (top half of figure 2) human consumption is comprised of four distinct categories; housing, transportation, food and consumer goods. This categorisation was used by Wackernagel and Rees (1995) but later reclassified as 21 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America biotic and energy resources in Wackernagel et al. (1997). I used the original classification in EFIAM to determine the effects of different lifestyle choices, as defined by areas of human consumption, on the ecological budget of a region. Consumption inputs here occur locally but include resources that are expropriated from both inside and outside the local region. Individual consumption in each of the categories is then aggregated and multiplied by a projected population at any given year. 1 5 Individual income, which assumes a 2% annual growth rate with a normal distribution that changes over time,1 6 is divided by the average individual income at the base year of 1995. This accounts for changes in ecological footprints that may occur as a result of growth in personal incomes over time and fluctuations in overall local income. The result of population-adjusted individual ecological footprint (consumption multiplied by population) and income-adjusted individual ecological footprint (average income divided by base year income) is the total ecological footprint for the entire population of the local region for any given year. On the supply side of the model, six areas of ecological productivity are subjected to different policy choices. The six areas include four different land uses: arable land, pasture land, forest land and urban land. They also include fossil fuel emissions assimilation areas and marine production areas. These classes were used by Wackernagel and Rees (1995) and Wackernagel et al. (1997). They are intended to encompass all the ways in which humans "consume" the surface of the earth in their expropriation of natural resources. Unlike the consumption side, in which consumption choices are collectively affected by time through the income and population inputs, the production side is 1 5 Population projections are based on a population growth coefficient that fluctuates every 5 years between a normal distribution of 2 and 2.2 percent with a standard deviation of 0.2 1 6 Both the population and income inputs are borrowed from the ICAM 2 model developed at Carnegie Mellon University. 22 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America constructed of inputs that individually change over time. Each of the ecological production choices affects the different areas of production in slightly different ways as shall be discussed in the next section. The sum of the six different production areas is the total local production of consumable ecological services. The difference between the ecological footprint and local productivity forms the net ecological surplus or deficit. This is the final output of the model and it is the fluctuation in this output that determines the relative significance of each input. Uncertainty is incorporated into the analysis in two ways: data uncertainty and worldview uncertainty. First, every numerical input into the model calculations is a distribution and not a point value. This uncertainty reflects our imperfect knowledge of societal and ecological systems. Second, the use of different scenarios in both the consumption and production sides of the model allow for an inclusion of another scale of uncertainty. This uncertainty reflects the existence of different attitudes towards technology and different ways in which society as a whole may act. 3.2.1 Scenarios There are three choice variables in the model, two on the consumption side and one on the production side. Each choice variable allows a choice between three different options that generally represent two polar opposites and a middle-of-the-road projection. The choice variables are lifestyle choices, consumption efficiency, and ecological production. On the consumption side of the model lifestyle choices allow us to determine the effect of having the entire population adopt one of the three choices of consumption: luxury, moderation and simplicity. 23 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Luxury projects a wide scale adoption of the most consumptive behaviour patterns in each of the consumption categories of housing, transportation, food and consumer goods. Moderation represents an approximation of the status-quo or an average of current levels of consumption across all categories. Simplicity is a voluntary move towards reduced consumption and a shift away from consumerism and material culture. Table 3 summarises the conditions assumed for each category for each "Individual Consumption" choice. A second "choice variable" on the consumption side of the model addresses efficiency of consumption. This group enables projections on the role of technology in affecting overall consumption. Will technology and the proliferation of information bring about a decoupling of the human economy from ecological resources, or will increased reliance on technology require an ever greater expenditure of energy and materials? The three choices possible in this group are dematerialisation, moderate efficiency and energy intensification. These scenario choices are incorporated into the model as a factor affecting total consumption by the entire population for a given year. Individual Consumption Luxury Moderation Simplicity Housing Single family detached house Townhouse Walk-up apartment building Food Imported food and beverages. Diet heavily dependent on animal products Mostly vegetarian diet. Occasional meat consumption, with packaged regional product Vegetarian locally grown diet with minimum packaging Transportation Private auto commuting Public transit and vanpooling Walking and cycling Consumer Goods Icelandic example North American status-quo figures World average example Table 3 - Consumption choices per category of consumption 24 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America The choice variable on the production side of the model consists of a choice between intensified production, business-as-usual, conservation and depletion. The choices affect the projected production of ecological services in the six different areas of consumption used in ecological footprint analysis. Intensification places a lot of confidence on technology and its ability to further increase the capacity of ecosystems to produce goods for human consumption. Business-as-usual follows current levels with some fluctuations over time. Conservation projects a societal move towards protecting natural ecosystems and preserving species health and diversity and depletion sees a steady decline in all ecosystem productivity. Table 4 outlines the choices for each of the choice variables and which ones were used for each of the constructed scenarios. The four constructed scenarios are Technological Optimism, Depletion and Scarcity, Business-as-usual and Sustainability. These scenarios are not mutually exclusive, indeed business as usual places a lot of faith in technology and may well lead to depletion. Or the shift to a sustainable society may well require reliance on technological solutions. As table 4 indicates this overlap is accounted for through the use of identical choices in one or more of the choice variables. This categorisation is also useful for applying ecological budgeting onto self-referencing value systems. For example, if a person believes that the status-quo is viable in the long run, and that we simply have to do what we can to maintain it, it would be useful for that person to see what kind of an ecological budget that may create in the long term. The technological optimists on the other hand may believe that we are about to experience unimaginable advances in technology that will see us double our ecological productivity. What kind of ecological budget would we experience then? 25 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Scenario Choice Variable Choice made for Scenario Technological Optimism Individual Consumption Luxury Efficiency of Consumption Dematerialisation Expropriation Intensified Production Depletion and Scarcity Individual Consumption Simplicity Efficiency of Consumption Moderate Efficiency Expropriation Depletion Business as Usual Individual Consumption Moderation Efficiency of Consumption Moderate Efficiency Expropriation Business as Usual Sustainability Individual Consumption Simplicity Efficiency of Consumption Dematerialisation Expropriation Conservation Table 4 - Model Scenarios Scenario modelers deliberately polarise possible outcomes to demonstrate how choices made today may have consequences that may result in radically different futures. Bossel compares a future of partnership to one of competition. Partnership represents sustainability while competition is a perpetuation of individualism and consumerism (Bossel 1998). Each scenario is described and analysed in great detail, allowing for a thorough exploration of the complexities inherent in envisioning our collective future. Gallopin and Raskin use three different scenario groups: "conventional worlds," "barbarisation" and "great transitions." Each scenario group is further broken down to two possible outcomes (Gallopin and Raskin 1998). This approach is comprehensive and affords them a considerable range of possible conditions but diminishes the depth to which each condition could be explored. Common to both studies is a depiction of that which is desirable and that which is not desirable. 26 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America To generate a range of model outputs that encapsulates a wide range of possible scenarios I used a combination of choices from the different scenario groups. In creating the scenarios I sought to represent optimism on the one hand, and pessimism on the other (table 4). I also added what a middle of the road perpetuation of the status-quo might look like as well as a set of choices that may describe what a sustainable society might look like. 3.3 Assumptions In constructing my model I made a set of assumptions that inform how the model itself will operate and what data it will use to feed its inputs. In addition to identifying these assumptions, this section makes explicit many assumptions that I made about the possible future scenarios. Each of the scenarios of the model assumes a set of conditions that may take place over the next hundred years. The reality will, of course, be a much more complex unfolding of conditions than is suggested by the neat categorisation within EFIAM. The scenarios are an abstraction of the different factors that determine the ecological footprint of a region over time. Each of the scenario groups has two polarised scenarios that are not fantastical extremes, but defensible positions on what may be possible. A balance was struck between creating radical scenarios that envision diverging future paths, to account for uncertainty, and scenarios that are a defensible position on what may actually unfold. 3.3.1 Individual Lifestyles Housing consumption figures used in this scenario group build on Lyle Walker's Masters thesis at UBC. Walker examined the consumption requirements of five different housing types including the embodied energy of construction and operation. He also estimated the projected transportation consumption of 27 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America residents, living in each of the housing types, by imagining that entire cities would be built of one housing type or another (Walker 1995). EFIAM departs from this projection by separating housing from transportation. I allow for scenarios in which housing choices are consumptive but, through deliberate mixed-use planning, services and amenities are situated in such a way as to allow for reduced transportation consumption. Transportation choices are limited to those that individuals make for their personal transportation needs and not for the transportation of the goods that they consume. The latter is included in the consumption figures in the goods and services category. All inputs for this scenario group are normal distributions with means as described below and a standard deviation of 20% of the mean. Luxury This choice projects an increase in individual human consumption across all categories. For the luxury choice in housing consumption I assumed a standard single family detached dwelling. I subtracted Walker's average housing estimate from Wackernagel and Rees' total housing estimate (this figure includes non residential buildings) added Walker's estimate for single family homes. Thus the total estimated footprint related to housing choices is 2ha (Walker 1995, 123)17. While construction techniques vary across the North American continent, changes in materials are compensated for by higher embodied energy in those areas where wood frame construction is not used. These figures were therefore assumed to be representative of housing footprints in the entire study region of North America. The Luxury choice projects mean transportation demands of 1 ha per capita. Once again, I took Walker's average per capita estimate across all housing types for a city of single family homes and subtracted it from Wackernagel and Rees' 1 7 The housing footprint figure is the sum of construction and maintenance of both buildings and infrastructure and the transportation needs during construction taken from Walker 1995. 28 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America total transportation figure and added Walker's footprint estimate for transportation in a city of single family homes. This amounted to an average daily commute of one hour in a single occupancy vehicle. The transportation footprint under the Luxury scenario is therefore 1.8 ha per capita (mean) for transportation consumption footprints. For food consumption I compared figures from different countries around the world as well as the world average. As shown in Table 5, food demand varies considerably around the world. For the luxury choice of increased consumption I looked at O E C D countries that consume more than North Americans for their dietary needs. Iceland had the largest footprint at the time of the study but the largest portion is derived from marine ecosystems which is unlikely to become the case in North America. New Zealand, which also has a very large food footprint, is similar to Canada in its heavy dependence on pasture land productivity. I therefore used the New Zealand figures of 7.2 ha/capita for the Luxury scenario in North America. Footprint Demand per capita for Food in hectares (1993 data) Ecosystem area Energy Arable Pasture Forest Urban Marine Total Canada 0.36 0.49 1.52 0.03 0 0.96 3.36 USA 0.51 0.35 1.84 0.03 0 0.92 3.66 Canada & USA average 0.49 0.36 1.8 0.03 0 0.92 3.6 France 0.24 0.27 1.87 0.03 0 1.31 3.72 Japan 0.18 0.19 0.57 0.03 0 3.11 4.08 New Zealand 0.26 0.16 5.53 0.03 0 1.21 7.1.9 Iceland 0.27 0.19 1.39 0.03 0 5.87 7.76 Germany 0.25 0.32 1.29 0.03 0 0.85 2.74 World Aver. 0.09 0.18 0.57 0.03 0 0.56 1.43 India 0.02 0.13 0.19 0.03 0 0.16 0.53 Table 5 Comparison of food consumption footprints adapted from Wackernagel et al (1997) 29 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America To capture the notion of increased consumerism in the luxury scenario I chose a goods and services mean footprint of 3.0 ha. Although the figure given for Canada in Wackernagel and Rees in 1995 is 1.2 ha, this figure is closer to 2.0ha per capita in Wackernagel et al. study. The latter study does not categorise goods and services specifically however. To reflect the lack of data and the greater degree of uncertainty I used a normal probability distribution with a standard deviation that is 20% of the mean figure. Moderation The moderation scenario is intended to project a continuation of status quo consumption. It rises only with a rise in either income or population. For housing consumption I assume that the average North American will live in atownhouse, or row house. The shared party walls between residences translate into a reduction in the consumption of building materials and in the expenditure of energy for heating. I used Wackernagel and Rees' 0.9 ha estimate. In addition to the construction material and operation energy efficiency gains of townhouses over single family homes, the higher density of townhouse design facilitates the provision of services in close proximity to a greater number of residences. If people choose to take advantage of this proximity and substitute using private cars with public transit then they will have a smaller transportation footprint. This would be most significant in terms of energy land consumption and urban land consumption. Walker estimated per capita transportation footprints, for a city composed solely of townhouses, to be 0.41 ha (Walker 1995:132). To include all other societal transportation needs, such as train and air transport, I adjusted this number using Wakernagel and Rees' figures, which include all forms of transportation, to obtain a mean footprint of 1.0 ha per capita. The Moderation choice projects a continuation of the current food consumption footprints which are explicitly provided by Wackernagel et al (1997). The 30 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America population adjusted average for Canada and the U.S is 3.6 ha per capita. The detailed breakdown for different ecosystem areas is shown in table 5 above. In determining the actual ecological footprints for goods and services for all choices I used a combination of data from Wackernagel and Rees' 1995 study and Wackernagel et al's 1997 study. In the 1995 study only the footprint of Canada was computed and even so, that footprint was revised from a value of 4.27 ha to 6.99 ha. 1 8 The 1997 study only distinguishes between energy consumption and biotic consumption. To extrapolate goods and services figures I compared consumption footprints across the different ecosystem areas. The only land types that were adjusted to significantly higher figures in the 1997 study are arable land, pasture land and forest land. Arable land and pasture land are devoted entirely to food and consumer goods. If we subtract the food footprint from 1997 figures, we get an arable and pasture land footprint for goods and services of 0.07 ha. Seventy percent of the forest land footprint in the 1995 study was consumed for housing and the remainder for goods and services. If we assume an equal percentage for the 1997 study and add it to the other land areas we get a total goods and services footprint of 2 ha. Simplicity For the simplicity scenario I chose reduced consumption figures across all ecosystem areas. Walker estimated 0.75 ha per capita for a city comprised solely of walk-up apartment buildings. For this scenario choice we can assume deliberate architectural design strategies that further reduce the consumption demands of buildings. A study modeling an improved house design demonstrated a 36% reduction from conventional housing footprints while maintaining minimum 1 8 The 1995 study used data from 1991 while the 1997 study used data from 1993 therefore the difference between the two figures is most due to better data, a revised C 0 2 footprint based on a lower forest productivity and the addition of marine footprints. I therefore opted to use the 1997 study where discrepancies arise. 31 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America lifestyle changes and minimum economic construction costs (Hijran 1995:100). I therefore assumed a mean housing footprint of 0.5 ha in the Simplicity scenario. In the simplicity scenario I envision cities to be composed of a series of complete communities. Goods, services and jobs would all be within walking or cycling distance. Save for travelling, residents' only need for motorised transport would be for the shipping and receiving of trade goods. The transportation both food, and goods and services, is included in their respective footprint calculations. However, to account for some degree of remote travel and some use of public transit and carpooling I assumed a mean transportation footprint of 0.5 ha. All figures in ha per capita Housing Transportation Food Goods & Services Luxury 2.5 2.2 6.0 3.0 Moderation 0.9 1 3.6 2 Simplicity 0.5 0.5 1.5 0.5 Table 6 Summary of total consumption ecological footprints for each scenario for each category of consumption However ecologically productive urban land becomes, 1 9 It is unlikely that urban communities will ever be completely self-sufficient (Rees 1997). The closest approximation of a self-sufficient community would occur if most of the local consumption was of goods produced locally. This would almost eliminate the need for transportation and the high expenditures of energy associated with it. Given the nature of development of North America and the location of many Canadian and American cities on land that cannot produce food to meet the needs of its residents this scenario is not likely. 19 The Integral Urban House, written by the Farallones Institute (1979) provides a thorough exposition of the potential for ecological productivity in urban housing. It is proposed that through rainwater harvesting, greywater filtering marshes, composting toilets, fish ponds and vegetable gardens urban dwellers could be completely self-sufficient in terms of food and water. However, this has yet to be demonstrated. 32 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America To gain some insight into what might actually be possible in terms of a reduced food footprint I once again looked at figures from a variety of countries around the world (table 5). While India manages on 0.53 ha per person I considered this to be too drastic a lifestyle shift for too many North Americans and chose a mean of 1.5 ha. This is still higher than the world average of 1.4 ha but still captures the significant reduction from the status quo projected by the simplicity option. For the goods and services footprint I assumed a 50% reduction from current consumption levels and used mean of 0.5 ha per person. 3.3.2 Consumption Efficiency It is uncertain whether technological innovation will bring about an increase in overall efficiency of resource consumption and a subsequent decline in demand for ecological resources. In 1980 Alvin Toffler made a bold prediction that citizens of information age societies will live in electronic cottages (Toffler 1980). Toffler describes a revolution equal in historical magnitude to the industrial revolution. We would not need new sources of energy. Not only would we require fewer material resources, but all our material needs would require a lot less energy. A World Resource Institute study relating material throughput to GDP, shows that a modest decoupling of economic activity from natural resource use occurred in the 1980s. A study of four modern industrial economies over the last twenty years examines whether or not economies become less material intensive as they move away from producing goods towards producing services (WRI 1997:13). The study relates Total Material Requirement (a physical account relating economic activity to natural resources) to GDP, and shows that after a period of seeming decline, "natural resource commodities may now be growing in parallel with economic growth" (WRI 1997:2). In the US, for example, per capita GDP increased by 36% from 1975 to 1993 while the total material requirements per unit 33 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America of GDP dropped by only 33%. 2 0 The question of whether or not technology leads to a per capita decline in ecological demands is an important one that will undoubtedly affect future ecological footprints. The options in this choice variable allow for a range of possible answers to this question. Dematerialisation. Moderate Efficiency and Energy Intensification Distinctions between the three choices are only made in the energy land footprint because the only efficiency gains attributed to technology on the consumption side of the model are in the use of energy. In the absence of any decisive evidence regarding a shift away from natural resource consumption as we shift towards service and information economies, I assumed only a 25% distinction between the different choices in this scenario group. For the dematerialisation scenario I assumed a 25% reduction in the energy land footprint and no change in any other land area. The moderate efficiency scenarios projects no change in consumption in any ecological area. Energy intensification projects a 25% increase in energy consumption and no change in other land or marine areas. 3.3.3 Ecological Production The major assumptions on the supply side of the model are a range of confidence levels in the ability of science and technology to render scarcity irrelevant. Will we continue to deplete the natural resources of the planet through pollution and over exploitation to the point were yields and harvests will be substantially diminished? Or will technology enable us to overcome the environmental problems that we have created? The two positions can also be described as unfettered optimism and unyielding pessimism in our collective future. The reality will clearly not be an either-or situation. Learning more about what the extremes entail can help us determine the significance of either assumption in the overall ecological budget. This scenario group provides projections of these 2 0 In 1975 $ calculated from World Bank figures, World Bank (1995) 34 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America extremes. Through iterative runs of the model I added a scenario in which we as a society choose conservation and reduced exploitation of natural systems to avoid devastating them and to give them a chance to regenerate and bounce back. Intensified Production In the intensified production scenario, it is assumed that technology generally, and biotechnology specifically, will be used to their fullest extent to maximise the yields and harvests of ecological systems. This scenario therefore has a higher mean yield for all ecosystem types than other production choices. However, uncertainties surrounding the long-term effects of the genetic manipulation of species increase the risk of a possible overall reduction in yields. This may especially be the case if engineered genes are not subjected to prolonged isolated studies before they are introduced to open ecosystems (Odum 1989, 210). To account for this risk, the probability distribution for this scenario has been negatively skewed, with the mean occurring four fifths of the way between the two bounds. Energy productivity under this choice ignores the effects of emissions on climate change. Wackernagel and Rees (1995) used land areas required for sequestering C 0 2 as the footprint calculation for fossil energy demands. In both the Intensive Production and Business-As-Usual choices, I projected energy productivity that does not consider sequestration. While this is counter to the concept of the ecological footprint, it captures the manner in which North America continues to experience an ecological deficit by ignoring the possible ecological consequences of polluting the atmosphere. These choices depict this worldview. No limits are imposed on the use of fossil fuels because it is assumed that any excess carbon dioxide will simply trigger feedback reactions such as the oceans absorbing more C 0 2 . There are sufficient numbers of scientists who argue against the certainty of global climate change that give this optimist scenario credibility 35 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America (Beckerman 1995:82). Another possibility for the provision of clean and affordable energy under this scenario is through engineered crop and bacteria species. Scientists have reportedly already developed strains of Ecoli bacteria that can consume organic waste to produce ethanol (Rifkin 1998:16).21 Ecological Production scenarios intensified Prod... Business as Usual Depletion Conservation Figure 3 - Mean values for assumed energy land productivity in hectares. The vertical distance between the starting point of the two pairs of curves in 1990 (fig. 2) represents the difference between ignoring the ability of the Earth to absorb C 0 2 , and assuming that that absorption capacity is the threshold to which we can safely emit C 0 2 . Fundamental to the Intensive Production scenario is the notion that there are no limits to growth. The reality of micro-economics will, of course, limit the pace and extent of technological innovation to increase production. There is no incentive for production by ecological systems to exceed demand by consumers. There is, therefore, a market limitation imposed on increases in production. However, since my model only tracks local market demands and since North America will likely continue to export considerable portions of its local 2 1 C 0 2 emissions from burning ethanol are considered to be inconsequential for this scenario for the worldview reasons outlined above. 36 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America production, I used WorldWatch Institute projections to assume a maximum mean productivity of 200% of current levels (Brown 1999:127). The rate of increase varies depending on the ecosystem type. For example, agricultural yields are not expected to increase dramatically in the US as a result of biotechnology because they are already close to their physiological capacities (Brown 1999:127). Pasture land productivity on the other hand, may increase more rapidly through the genetic manipulation of animals. 2 2 Business as Usual This scenario projects a continuation of current levels of resource expropriation. Even if we ignore scenarios of extreme optimism or pessimism, the middle ground projection of current trends is filled with uncertainty. I took current productivity averages as reported by Wackernagel et al. (1997) and subjected them to fluctuations over time. My long term production curve borrows from the economic "long wave," or Kondratieff cycle (fig. 2) (Bossel 1998, 66). This is an ecological cycle as well as an economic one. Observed systems go through periods of innovation, renewal and growth, conservation and deterioration leading back to innovation again. While the duration of the cycle varies from system to system, oscillations in the number of industrial innovations, interest rate, inflation rate, price index and unemployment rate over the past 200 years reveal a 50 year cycle (Bossel 1998,65). Appendix A shows all the productivity curves assumed in EFIAM 37 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America production eta. J ^ Inno- renewal conser- deteri- inno-vation & growth vation oration vation phase 4 1 2 3 4 ; Uma Figure 4 - The Long Wave used in economics and ecology from Bossel (1998) The "temporal dynamics" or "turnover time" of an ecological system refers to the development and replenishment of its components overtime, and can be represented by a wave similar to the Kondratieff cycle (Braat and van Lierop 1987: 56). In ecological systems this time period is the duration of the recovery period for ecosystems to regain their pre-depletion productivity levels. This cycle varies with different species and different ecosystems: days for phytoplankton in a pond and decades for trees in a forest (Odum 1989, 44). For the purposes of this scenario, taking into account both economic and ecological fluctuations, I assumed an average cycle of 40 years. 2 3 The present day productivity of ecosystems can be determined with relative accuracy as the sum total of current yields. This is especially the case for arable and pasture land were productivity has been maximised by farmers as a matter of economic efficiency. Forest land and marine area productivity are more difficult to quantify because less is known about the thresholds of logging and harvesting, beyond which respective systems would be unable to replenish themselves. The temporal lag between the exploitation and rejuvenation of stocks is a factor of many intertwining complex and uncertain variables (Pahl-Wostl 1995:186). 2 3 The position of each ecosystem output relative to the long wave was estimated through WorldWatch Institute and World Resource Institute reports linking past yields to future projections. The cycle is dependent on the ecosystem type. 38 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Clear cut forests can be, and often are, replanted, but the wood production of these planted forests is substantially lower than that of original forests. Coupled with an increased rate of logging, this translates into uncertainty regarding the ability of forests to sustain stable yields that meet global demands. In marine ecosystems a high degree of uncertainty exists surrounding the size, location and reproductive capacity of fish stocks at any given time or place. Energy land productivity is even more difficult to predict because of the considerable uncertainty regarding existing reserves of fossil fuels. This is further compounded by limits imposed on the use of fossil fuels by global climate change. Even if a hundred years worth of fossil fuel reserves are available we may have to abandon them in favour of cleaner sources. In the meantime, accessible and affordable alternative energy sources may well proliferate, substantially increasing energy land productivity. The Business-As-Usual scenario projects an initial reduction in energy land productivity as we switch away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy. In the long run, I assume an incremental increase in energy land productivity as we begin to adopt the large scale use of solar and wind energy (Wann 1996: 78). This land would otherwise be an ecological desert and its use would therefore not diminish the productivity of other ecosystem areas. World Bank figures, for example, show the cost of generating electricity from photovoltaics falling to that of natural gas or coal by the year 2020 (Beckerman 1995: 58). It is assumed that as the technologies are developed, so too will our ability to use stored electricity for purposes that are currently solely dependent on fossil fuels. 39 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Depletion This scenario limits fossil energy production through the sequestering capabilities of the local region this includes both forested land and ocean surface. If we assume a forest absorption capacity of 100 GJ/ha/yr (Wackernagel and Rees 1995:80), and we consider only those forests protected from logging to be available for energy land and not for forest land, we get a forest sequestering capacity of 104 million hectares.2 4 The WorldWatch Institute estimates that oceans absorb as roughly the same amount of C 0 2 as land based resources (McGinn 1999:82). If we allow North America a share of the oceans that can absorb as much C 0 2 as its land, and if we err on the side of optimism, we can assume a total absorption capacity of roughly 220 million hectares. The 1993 fossil energy demands for North America was 889 million hectares (Wackernagel et al. 1997). Thus for the energy production capacity under the Depletion scenario I assumed 25% of consumption demands. Since the majority of energy demands are satisfied through the use of fossil fuels I projected a gradual increase in production capacity as consumption shifts to alternative forms of energy. In terms of arable and pasture lands, some scientists report that the systematic addition of fertilisers to soils has a detrimental effect on soil ecology that ultimately reduces its ability to support forests, grasslands and crops (Baskin 1997:128). Thus human intervention further exacerbates the problem of nutrient depletion in soils. The depletion scenario captures this possibility. 2 4 Protected park land forest areas for the US and Canada were used, taken from U S D A Forest Service, and National Resources Canada, www.fs.fed.us/database/lar/lartabl.htm and www.NRCan.fc.ca/cfs/proj/iepb/nfdp/cp95/tablle.htmrespectively. 40 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Conservation This scenario projects a reduction from current levels of ecological production to avoid the depletion and devastation of natural ecosystems. I assumed a reduction of yields in all categories of ecological productivity to 60% of current levels by the year 2010 and 75% by 2020. This level gradually increases through the rest of the 21 s t century. 4 . 0 R E S U L T S Using status-quo conditions as inputs for the model the ecological footprint of North America in 1995 was 8.2ha/capita and will be 8.4 ha/capita in the year 2000. The most recent estimate by Wackernagel et al. using 1993 data and the population-adjusted average for Canada and the US was 8.1 ha/capita. Figure 5 depicts North America's Ecological footprint over the next century for each of the choices of consumption. The different choices represent worldview uncertainty while the probability range within a choice represents data uncertainty. The increase is exponential for the luxury scenario and much more gradual for the simplicity scenario with moderation falling almost exactly in between. The difference in values between the different scenarios at the base year is indicative of the major shifts that would be necessary to shift lifestyles from one consumption regime to another. The model does not account for any transitional time required to move from one scenario to the next. It is time-dependent to the extent that consumption is linked to population and a growing economy. Regardless of the consumption choice, the ecological footprint of North America is likely to double by the year 2030. All consumption choices show a doubling of footprints over the next thirty years (figure 5). The extent to which this growth is significant in light of different possibilities of ecological production is demonstrated in figure 6. 41 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 30,000,000,000 25,000,000,000 20,000,000,000 S d x 15,000,000,000 10,000,000,000 5,000,000,000 Ecological Footprint of North America - - • • - - •Luxury 0.1 Probability -Luxury 0.5 Probability (Mean) •Luxury 0.9 Probability X - - -Moderation 0.1 Probability —H—Moderation 0.5 Probability (Mean) - •* -- Moderation 0.9 Probability ...+.. •Simplicity 0.1 Probability ---+•- Simplicity 0.5 Probability (Mean) .. + . •Simplicity 0.9 Probability n n s n n n ii u s 8 n s Figure 5 - Ecological footprint of North America over the next century1 ,25 Even with no C 0 2 sequestration limits imposed on energy land productivity, the Business as Usual scenario shows an ecological deficit by the year 2020. Wackernagel et al. estimated that in 1993 North America was already experiencing a deficit. The difference in my study is that the Business-as-Usual scenario does not account for C 0 2 sequestration. The scenario represents optimism in terms of the ability of the earth's atmosphere to absorb all that is discharged into it without affecting global climate. The long-term trend of ecological indebtedness is a cause for concern. The technological optimism scenario shows a deficit for the entire 21 s t century. Ecological debt in one place is not necessarily problematic if regions elsewhere on the planet are enjoying a surplus. This possibility is unlikely if consumption increases in developing 2 5 A 0.1 probability line means that 10% of values in the distribution fall below this figure and a 0.9 distribution line means that 90 % of values in the distribution fall below this figure. 42 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America countries, thus increasing consumption all over the world. Even if technology far exceeds all expectations and more than triples ecological productivity, that scenario would still return a deficit into the next century. Ecological Surplus or Deficit for North America 5,000,000,000 O IT . -5,000,000,000 -10,000,000,000 at 01 -15,000,000,000 -20,000,000,000 -25,000,000,000 -30,000,000,000 -L~ ••+-- Technological Optimism 0.1 Probability —i—Technological Optimism 0 .5 (Mean) -+-- Technological Optimism 0 .9 Probability Business as Usual 0.1 Probability -H»—Business as Usual 0 .5 (Mean) Business as Usual 0 .9 Probability x Depletion and Scarcity 0.1 Probability -*—Depletion and Scarcity 0 .5 (Mean) Depletion and Scarcity 0 .9 Probability * Sustainability 0.1 Probability ••• Sustainability 0 .5 (Mean) o Sustainability 0 .9 Probability Figure 6 - Ecological Budget of North America A prolonged ecological deficit represents a risk to both local and global ecological systems. Regional ecological deficits will stress and deplete local ecosystems while a global deficit will likely contribute to global change (Wackernagel et al. 1997: 13). In addition to increasing exposure to ecological risk, ecological deficits fuel the Malthusian argument that food and other resources will not be able to keep up with population growth (Browne 1998). 43 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 4.1 Sensitivity Analysis I conducted sensitivity analysis in two ways. First, I isolated scenario groups by recording the ecological budget at either extreme of the scenario group while holding all other variables constant at the middle choice. Second, I used an elasticity function that is built into the computer modeling software. This formula tracks the percent change in dependent variable X (in this case the ecological budget), when the independent variable Y is changed by 1%. Both sets of analyses were conducted for the year 2050, while the isolation method was used to generate figures for the entire 21 s t century. The following chart (fig. 7) displays the results of isolating choice variables and tabulating the effects of choices within that variable on the overall ecological budget when all other variables are kept constant. nnn m n nnn -Figure 7 - Magnitude of change in the overall North American ecological budget as induced by different choices in each choice variable. 44 • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • Individual Lifestyles is clearly the most influential scenario group in terms of affecting the ecological budget of the region. In the year 2050, for example (fig. 7), the difference between choosing the Luxury scenario and the Simplicity scenario amounts to a change in the ecological budget of almost 8,000,000 hectares. Changes from "Intensified Production" to "Depletion" in the Expropriation scenario group amounted to a change in the ecological budget of approximately 3,000,000 hectares. Consumption efficiency is the least influential scenario group and seems relatively insignificant compared to the other two. Thus technological innovation in the expropriation of natural resources is likely to yield far better returns than innovations in the design of consumable commodities. Effect of Scenario Choices on Local Ecological Budget In 2050 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 Footprint in Millions of Hectare: Figure 8 - Choice variable effects on the ecological budgets of 2050 These results are not surprising if we consider that we are more likely to be able to exercise control over ecological consumption than over ecological production. Consumption choices lie more within our sphere of control while production scenarios require us to exercise control over the functioning of ecosystems. Nevertheless, the expropriation scenario group represents a worldview gap that I 45 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America expected to have a greater effect on the ecological budget. Perhaps it is under represented due to our limited capacity to envision truly revolutionary technological breakthroughs. Change in Elasticity (x10OO) due to consumption choices Change in Ecological Budget due to consumption choices (millions of ha) Elasticity of Simplicity (x1000) Elasiticity of Luxury (x100O) Ecological Budget for Luxury (millions of ha) | | Ecological Budget for Simplicity (millions of ha] Figure 9 - Results of Sensitivity analysis on the four consumption categories in 2050. Elasticity figures were multiplied by 1000 for the sake of comparison. Having determined that the lifestyle choices scenario group is the most significant one, I conducted sensitivity analysis on the consumption categories within the group. Using the same methods of changing isolated variables and running elasticity functions, I determined that food choices are the most significant ones in terms of the ecological budget. Both the elasticity of the ecological budget to food variables and the change in the ecological budget resulting from changes in food choices reflect a high level of significance compared to other consumption 46 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America categories. As figure 8 shows, the other three categories are relatively equal to one another in terms of significance. The method of isolating variables also reveals the importance of food choices throughout the next century (fig. 9). Once again this fuels the Malthusian debate that our growing population will overwhelm our ability to feed ourselves (Browne 1998). 18,000,000,000 16,000,000,000 C M C M C M C M C M C M C M C M C M C M C N J Figure 10 - Significance of different consumption choices on the ecological budget in hectares. The significance of food in our collective ecological budget does not necessarily mean that it will be the limiting factor for our growth, but rather that North American resources could go much further if we changed our eating habits. Much has been written about the mechanics of local food provision, but few studies have linked food consumption choices to overall consumption.2 6 Scenario analysts have only paid marginal attention to food as a central component to the transition to sustainability. Biggs and Robinson project a sustainable Canada in 2030 in which diets would shift from meat and animal products to legumes, nuts, seeds and other 47 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America sources of protein. Fruit, vegetables and protein would constitute 40% of the average diet as opposed to today's 24%. They rationalise this shift as being healthier and more conducive to the local and domestic production of food (Biggs and Robinson 1996: 98). They do not, however, stress the significance of this shift in terms of the overall consumption savings that it could achieve. Bossel's "partnership" scenario projects the local provision of services, including energy, food, water and materials (Bossel 1998:129). Gallopin and Raskin are equally general about their projection of confined energy and material flows in their "great transitions" scenario (Gallopin and Raskin 1998: 28). Sensitivity analysis of EFIAM variables indicates that food consumption is far more critical than is apparent from other models. More research needs to be devoted to the technical realities of reducing average food consumption in North America. However, I do share with these models the common finding of a future of ecological debt and uncertainty if we continue with business as usual. The results show that any future scenario which does not include considerable reductions in consumption will have North Americans increasingly living in an ecological debt of uncertain consequences. The long term effects of our current use of the atmosphere as a sponge for our fossil fuel consumption are uncertain. Using fossil fuels and the earth's atmosphere to finance our ecological deficit represents a monumental ecological risk and according to Schneider, it's a "planetary gamble we can't afford to lose" (Schneider 1997). 2 6 The Farallones Institute (1979) and Bill Mollison (1990) provide comprehensive accounts on the benefits of local food production. 48 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 5 . 0 CONCLUSIONS Combining integrated assessment modeling, uncertainty and ecological footprint analysis has proven to be an insightful tool in addressing issues of ecological limits and societal expansion. Through a series of iterations and refinements to the ecological footprint integrated assessment model, and through a series of sensitivity analyses, I have made several findings. Individual human consumption, as defined by the Lifestyle Choices choice variable, is the most significant variable in determining the ecological budget of North America over the next hundred years. Within the Lifestyle Choices variable, the food consumption category proved to be most significant. I also found that under most scenarios North America is most likely to be running an increasing ecological deficit. The only combination of scenarios that lead to a surplus includes the Simplicity choice for all aspects of individual consumption. 5.1 Implications for EF As we look for more ways to meet the needs of an expanding society, we have to be able to envision an evolution of our traditional uses of ecosystems. If food consumption is the most significant consumption category, as my results indicate, then we have to be able to envision an urban provision of food. Conventional ecological footprint calculations that rely on trade data may be insufficient for accounting for informal urban production. Categories of ecosystems may also have to be reclassified to include overlapping functions. Arable land and marine areas, for example, could be used for the simultaneous provision of food and building materials. Our ability to genetically manipulate ecosystems to get more productivity out of them requires more thorough research. Quantifying the levels of productivity that 49 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America might be attainable, as well as the levels or risk that such an undertaking would undoubtedly entail, have to be incorporated into the development of meaningful scenarios. Optimism in the ability of biotechnology to feed growing human populations, warrants an inclusion of the possible effects of biotechnology on ecological footprint analyses. Addressing the supply and demand of fresh water is an issue of critical importance. Current ecological footprint calculations do not include hydrological cycles as part of the various ecosystem areas (page 12). EFIAM could benefit from the inclusion of those ecosystem services that have to do with water purification and transportation. This is particularly necessary if the model is to be applied to other regions of the world where water is a scarce resource. A method by which bioremediation areas could be included in footprint areas will also likely become increasingly important especially if we begin to look at possible transitions between different future scenarios. 5.2 Implications for Decision Makers Making changes in our consumption patterns is no small task. The Simplicity choice, in particular, represents a radical shift from our current values. Our cities would have to be redesigned and our economies redefined. While we, as a society, would have to make difficult choices, it would require us, as individuals, to have the discipline, desire and conviction to see through these decisions. From housing to transportation, from food to goods and services, we would have to move on from our attachment to material consumption. We would have to shift our love for the private automobile to other less consumptive forms of transportation. We would have to live in more compact and higher density buildings. We would essentially have to change the way we live, and draw satisfaction and contentment through means other than those of material acquisition and consumption. 50 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America If indeed it is only through much reduced consumption that we can enjoy an ecological surplus, and if it is considered necessary or desirable to enjoy a surplus, then policy makers have to find ways to encourage, promote or otherwise facilitate reduced consumption. Further research on the design and construction of an alternative, less consumptive, infrastructure for the provision of services is needed. 5.3 Recommendations for Future Research Since most scenarios show a running deficit in the ecological budget of North America, more work needs to be undertaken to determine the long-term implications of this result. What are the risks to society? How does local risk vary from global risk when one region relies so heavily on the ecological productivity of another. Quantitative risk assessment could in the future help determine the levels of ecological risk that we are exposing ourselves to when we are running an ecological deficit. Both the local ecological risk and the global ecological risk need be assessed. The model could also benefit from a direct link between time and consumption variables to account for transition time between the different choices. For example, some of the infrastructure changes required for an evolution towards the simplicity options in consumption would require decades to fully implement. Having the model reflect this incremental change would better reflect the significance of changing the momentum of status-quo consumption practices. Income and population inputs may also be individually linked to various consumption categories in addition to the total consumption figures. A further iteration of the model would include choices in the population and income variables. Not only would this further reveal the significance of these two 51 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America variables, but they could also be incorporated into the construction of the different scenarios. Having identified areas of significance within the model, an essential next step would be to revisit these areas and take a closer look at the relationships of variables within these areas and the numerical assumptions that we made. Of particular significance are the "Simplicity" consumption scenarios and the "Intensified Production" ecological production scenario. With more informed assumptions and a justified quantification of these assumptions, the results of the model would be made more robust and more significant. The inclusion of expert opinions on the various inputs of the model would make it a more valuable tool for policy makers, advocates and community groups working on issues of human consumption and ecological limits. My research findings suggest that our continued economic growth and consumerism will take us to a very large ecological deficit. I have found that for us to have a balanced ecological budget we must reduce our consumption. If a balanced ecological budget is what we desire, then future research should address the problem of how do we get there. How much of a deficit we can endure before we reach a limit, and how much risk we face in reaching that limit are questions of paramount importance. They are questions that we as a society cannot afford to ignore. 52 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Bibliography Angell, D.J.R. and J.D. Comer and M.LN. Wilkinson, eds. Sustaining Earth: Response to the Environmental Threat. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional, Ltd., 1990 Baskin, Yvonne. The Work of Nature. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1997 Beckerman, Wilfred. Small is Stupid: Blowing the Whistle on the Greens. London: Gerald Duckworth and Company, Ltd, 1995 Bossel, Hartmut. Earth at a Crossroads: Paths to a Sustainable Future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 Braat, Leon C and Wal F. J . van Lierop. Economic-Ecological Modeling. Amsterdam: North Holland, 1987 Brown, Lester, Christopher Flavin and Hilary French. State of the World 1999. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999 Browne, Malcolm W. Will Humans Overwhelm the Earth? The Debate Goes on. New York Times. Decembers, 1998 Calthorpe, Peter. The Next American Metropolis. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993 Calthorpe, Peter and Sim Van der Ryn. Sustainable Communities. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1986 Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life. New York: Doubleday, 1996 Farallones Institute. The Integral Urban House. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1979 Gallopin, Gilberto C. and Paul Raskin, "Global Scenarios and Sustainability." Environment. Volume 40 Number 3, April 1998 GCIAP, Global Change Integrated Assessment Program. "Integrated Assessment" in Degrees of Change. Vol. 1(1) May, 1995 Graves, Jonathan and Duncan Reavey. Global Environmental Change. Essex, England: Longman, 1996 53 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Janssen, Marco. Modelling Global Change: The Art of Integrated Assessment Modelling. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 1998 McKibbin, Bill. "Reflections: The End of Nature." The New Yorker September 11, 1989 Meadows, Donella H., Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers. Beyond The Limits. Post Mills, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Company. 1992 Meadows, D.H., D.L Meadows, J . Randers, and W.W. Behrens. The Limits to Growth. Washington: Universe Books, 1972 Morgan, Granger and Max Henrion. Uncertainty: A Guide to Dealing with Uncertainty in Quantitative Risk and Policy Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990 Odum, Eugene. Ecology: and our Endangered Life Support Systems. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc. 1989 Pahl-Wostl, Claudia. The Dynamic Nature of Ecosystems: Chaos and order Intertwined. Chichester, England: John Wiley and Sons, 1995 Rees, W.E. Revisiting Carrying Capacity: Area based Indicators of Sustainability. Population and Environment. 17:3, 1996 Rees, William. "Ecological Footprints and Appropriated Carrying Capacity: What Urban Economics Leaves Out." In Environment and Urbanisation. Vol. 4, No. 2, 1992 Rees, William. "Is Sustainable City an Oxymoron?" Local Environment. 1997 Rifkin, Jeremy. Entropy: Into the Greenhouse World. New York: Bantam New Age Books, 1989 Rifkin Jeremy. The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1998 Robinson, John B. Life in 2030: Exploring a Sustainable Future for Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1996 Shawkat, Hijran Ali. Sustainable housing : reducing the ecological footprint of new wood frame single-family detached houses. University of British Columbia. School 54 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America of Architecture. Unpublished Masters Thesis. Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 1995 Schneider, Stephen. Laboratory Earth: The Planetary Gamble we Cannot Afford to Lose. New York: Basic Books, 1997 Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1980 Wackernagel, Mathis, Larry Onisto, Alejandro Callejas, Ina Susana Lopez Falfan, Jesus Mendez Garcia, Ana Isabel Suarez Gurrero, Ma. Gualdalupe suarez Guerrero. Ecological Footprints of Nations. Xalapa, Mexico: Centra de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad, March 10 1997 Wackernagel, Mathis and William Rees. Our Ecological Footprint. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1995 Walker, Lyle Andrew. The influence of dwelling type and residential density on the appropriated carrying capacity of Canadian households. School of Community and Regional Planning unpublished Masters Thesis, Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 1995 Wann, David. Deep Design: Pathways to a Sustainable Future. Washington D .C : Islan Press, 1996 World Resources Institute. Resource Flows: The Material Flows of Industrial Economies. Washington, D . C : World Resources Institute, 1997 55 Integrated Assessment ot the Ecological Footprint of North America Appendix A Ecological Production projections over the next century per ecosystem area 200M n 150M H i i 1 i — ' i ' 1975 2000 2025 2050 2075 2100 Time Key ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION Intensified Prod-Business as Usual Depiction Corisejvation SOONI •£ 400M e L Om 4 _l L < 300M 200M 100M ^ .. .——— * rrrrr. - - - - — " 1975 Key 2000 ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION Intensified Prod-Business as Usual Depiction Conservation 2025 2050 2075 2100 Time 56 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America 750M T o a s •o o L. 0. 500M " 250M H i 1 i i i 1975 2000 2025 2050 2075 2100 Time Key ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION intensified Prod... — Business as Usual Consitnvation is L o u. 0 "I i i i i i 1975 2000 2025 2050 2075 2100 Time Key ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION Intensified Prod... — Business as Usual Depletion Conservation 57 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America , .... / "* ^ v. ^ -~ ^ ^ . \ r , 1 1 i i 1975 Key 2000 ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION Intensified Prod... Business as Usual Depletion Conservation 2025 2050 2075 2100 Time 4 U U M e £ 200M u IS Z 1975 1 2000 2025 2050 2075 2100 Time Key ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION intensified Prod... — Business as Usual Depletion Conservation 58 • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America Appendix B Attributes of the variables used in EFIAM O Objective • Title: Description: Definition: Value: Inputs: Outputs: Net Units: Net Ecological Surplus or Deficit Ecological Budg4t expr (Prod-Ef) | , Calc r"?) O Ef O P r ° c l Ecological Footprint Production of Consumables O Correlation 1 Correlation O Elasticityl Elasticity O Chance Title: Description: Definition: Tic Units: Total Individual Consumption [ Edit TabLelindexed by CONSUMABLE AREAS, CONSUMPTION EFFICIENCY SCENARIOS List of numbers S u m ( ( ( I t c + I h c ) 4 I f c ) ) Value: Calc "1 Inputs: o Cons CONSUMABLE AREAS o Ifc Individual Food Consumption o Igc Individual Goods Consumption o Ihc Individual Housing Consumption o Itc Individual Transportation Consumption • TechnologiccCONSUMPTION EFFICIENCY SCENARIOS Outputs: o Ef Ecological Footprint o Elasticityl Elasticity 59 • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • L_J Variable • Title: Description: Definition: Ef Ecological Footprint Units: expr Sum(((G"ic*Pop)*(lncome/18K))),Cons) Value: ( Ca lc ] Inputs: £J Cons O Income O Pop O Tic CONSUMABLE AREAS Income Population Total Individual Consumption Outputs: O Net Net Ecological Surplus or Deficit ,Decision • Technological_scenar Title: Description: Definition: Domain: CONSUMPTION EFFICIENCY SCENARIOS List of labels Dematerialisation Moderate Efficiency Energy Intensification Value: [" C a l f J Units: Lz) • Dematerialisation Outputs: O Tic Total Individual Consumption 60 • Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America O Variable Title: Description: Definition: Value: Inputs: Outputs: Economy Economy Units: dynamic(3T, economy(time-l)*normal(l .02, ,005)A5) dynamic(3T, 3T*normal(l .02, .005)A(time-1975)) expr dynamic(4T, economy(time-1 ] *randomwalkA5) ( Ca lc , ) O Randomw... Random walk (re) Time Time t Q Economy Economy O Income ± 0 Economy Income Economy O Chance Title: Description: Definition: Randomwalk Random walk Units: Dynamic(Normal(l .02,1 m),((Randomwalk(Time-l)+Normal(l .02,5 m))/2)) Value: ( CalC ) Inputs: ® Time Time i+Cj1 Randomw... Random walk Outputs: Q Economy Economy * 0 Randomw... Random walk 61 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • I_I Variable Title: Description: Income Income expr Definition: Economy/Pop Value: ( Calc Inputs: CZ) Economy O Pop Units: Economy Population Outputs: O Ef Ecological Footprint O Variable • Pop Title: Population Description: Units: Definition: Outputs: expr dynamic(285M, pop(time-l)*(1 +popgr/l00) A5) Value: [ Calc Inputs: O Popgr @ Time O Pop O Ef O Income O Pop Popgr Time Population Ecological Footprint Income Population 6 2 Integrated Assessment of the Ecological Footprint of North America • O Chance r-J Popgr Units: Title: Description: Definition: Inputs: Outputs: txpr if time < 2000 then normal(l, .2) else if time < 2025 then normal(l .25, .2) else if time < 2050 then normal(l, .2) else if time < 2075 then normal(l .25, .2) else normal(l, .2) Value: [ Calc j ® Time O Pop Time Population O Objective Title: Prod Units: Production of Consumables Description: Definition: Outputs: txpr ((((Fwp+Ulp)+Clp)+Mp)+Plp+Ff) Value: [ CalcS ] Inputs: o Clp Arable Land Production o Ff Production by Energy Land o Fwp Forest Wood Production o Mp Marine Production o Pip Pasture Land Production o Ulp Urban Land Production o Net Net Ecological Surplus or Deficit 63 


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