Track 4a Highlights
Chairs: João Joanaz de Melo & Benedetto Rugani
- Monitoring results of climate change at local level are mostly in line with the trends predicted at global and continental level. However local analysis is important because there are specific aspects that can only be understood and answered at the local level.
- Poor populations are most vulnerable to environmental crisis, including climate change. This vulnerability increases in contexts with high level of corruption, because it severely curtails development opportunities and resource management good practice.
- LCA is an essential tool for effective response to climate change and other sustainability challenges. Indicators should be carefully selected both to cover most relevant environmental aspects and to avoid redundant information.
The presentations and discussion in this session gave rise to three main topics:
- An example was shown on how monitoring and forecasts of impacts of climate change at local level are in line with the trends predicted at global and continental level. However, the local analysis is important because there are specificities that can only be understood and answered at the local level. A case in point are the impacts of climate change on mountain regions.
- The most striking conclusion of the second presentation is the high vulnerability of poor populations to all manner of pressures, not only environmental but social, chief amongst them corruption. If the local markets do not work, this creates further vulnerability, particularly for poor farmers. In a situation of crisis those pressures are synergic. Good governance (or lack thereof through corruption) is a strong challenge to both better life for the people and better natural resources management.
- Life cycle assessment is an essential tool to better predict effects and measure improvements in climate responses and other sustainability issues, because a large part of the impacts is upstream or downstream in the life cycle. Two different cases were presented: comparison of biobased vs oil based raw materials, and optimization of energy use in waterworks.
Two interesting issues arose in the discussion, in line with the literature:
- a) The importance of considering a larger spectrum of indicators (beyond greenhouse gases), particular in the cases where land, biodiversity and other pollutants may be at stake for different solutions; and to avoid highly correlated indicators, because that represents a duplication of information to the audience with little added value;
- b) The relevance of using LCA as a tool both to optimize operations in a facility, and to improve design in the upgrading of the same or similar facilities.