The Environmental and Economic Impact theme of the WholeSEM is centred on two main objectives. The first is the implementation of UK energy-land-water resource analysis in the Foreseer Tool by extending the work on California and global land-water-energy nexus. This will be accomplished based on the analysis of Foreseer resource flow and pathway model:
- characterising current UK land use and water resources;
- characterising the link between energy and land productivity in the UK
- characterising the connections to UK land services, including food and fibre production and ecosystem services
- characterising the link between water and energy as well as UK virtual water and avoided water use
- estimating the UK’s ‘avoided land and water use’ through imports of biomass from other countries and its sensitivity to future energy choices
- characterising current and future UK energy pathways under increased demand, climate change and potential energy mix diversification
This will also involve the iterative validation of land and water scenarios with other UK experts
The second objective is the iterative development of economic and resource scenarios for a low-carbon future UK system, aiming at a convergence of economic and physical predictions. In applying the Foreseer tool to achieve this objective, the team will analyse the physical predictions of land, water and energy resource pathways and connections under low-carbon future UK, coupled with economic scenarios. The Foreseer Tool in all these applications will provide both an underlying resource pathway analysis engine and a visualisation platform for the outputs.
1. How will future developments in the UK energy system drive environmental stress in the UK and elsewhere, particularly related to water, land and GHG emissions?
2. How will future environmental and resource stress drive changes in demand for energy in the UK, and how resilient will the energy system be in an uncertain future climate?
3. How will these environmental and resource stresses influence energy costs and demand, what are their wider economic consequences, and what policy options could mitigate the stress?
4. What are the energy implications of regional differences in resource stress within the UK, and how will inter-regional resource transfers drive energy requirements?
In dealing with the above questions, we will use approaches of physical modelling and analysis of the potential stresses associated with the demand for, and supply of land and water resources in the UK, relative to the dynamics of future energy mix, demand and supply. This will be based on the analysis of resource pathways under different scenarios of climate change and population growth using the ForeseerTM Tool.