Synthesis manuscript for an Ecology & Society Special Feature on Telecoupling: A New Frontier for Global Sustainability
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With the goal of understanding environmental effects of a growing bioeconomy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), national laboratories, and U.S. Forest Service research laboratories, together with academic and industry collaborators, undertook a study to estimate environmental effects of potential biomass production scenarios in the United States, with an emphasis on agricultural and forest biomass. Potential effects investigated include changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water quality and quantity, air emissions, and biodiversity.
This article connects the science of sustainability theory with applied aspects of sustainability deployment. A suite of 35 sustainability indicators spanning 12 environmental and socioeconomic categories has been proposed for comparing the sustainability of bioenergy production systems across different feedstock types and locations.
The Paris Agreement and the EU Climate and Energy Framework set ambitious but necessary targets. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by phasing out the technologies and infrastructures that cause fossil carbon emissions is one of today’s most important challenges. In the EU, bioenergy is currently the largest renewable energy source used. Most Member States have in absolute terms increased the use of forest biomass for energy to reach their 2020 renewable energy targets.
Social and economic indicators can be used to support design of sustainable energy systems. Indicators representing categories of social well-being, energy security, external trade, profitability, resource conservation, and social acceptability have not yet been measured in published sustainability assessments for commercial algal biofuel facilities.
Renewable, biomass-based energy options can reduce the climate impacts of fossil fuels.
This report is a collective effort of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), including contributions from 137 researchers of 82 institutions in 24 countries. It concludes that land availability is not a limiting factor to bioenergy production and that bioenergy can contribute to sustainable energy supplies even with increasing food demands, preservation of forests, protected lands, and rising urbanization.
For analyzing sustainability of algal biofuels, we identify 16 environmental indicators that fall into six categories: soil quality, water quality and quantity, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and productivity. Indicators are selected to be practical, widely applicable, predictable in response, anticipatory of future changes, independent of scale, and responsive to management.
Corn (Zea mays L.) stover is a potential bioenergy feedstock, but little is known about the impacts of reducing stover return on yield and soil quality in the Northern US Corn Belt. Our study objectives were to measure the impact of three stover return rates (Full (~7.8 Mg ha−1 yr−1), Moderate (~3.8 Mg ha−1 yr−1) or Low (~1.5 Mg ha yr−1) Return) on corn and soybean (Glycine max. L [Merr.]) yields and on soil dynamic properties on a chisel-tilled (Chisel) field, and well- (NT1995) or newly- (NT2005) established no-till managed fields.