Keywords

stocks and flows, critical materials, low carbon infrastructure transitions, sustainable resource management

Start Date

1-7-2012 12:00 AM

Description

Emissions reductions of the scale required to avoid dangerous climate change will require rapid, systemic change including extensive refurbishment and replacement of infrastructure systems. The technologies required to make this systemic change exist today but many rely on critical metals which are at risk of scarcity and difficult to substitute. There has been extensive debate in the academic and policy literature about whether the availability of these critical metals will constrain the transformation required. However, policy decisions are being made without addressing these material barriers or considering how critical materials could be managed more sustainably during future infrastructure renewal. This project enhances the established stocks and flows (S&F) methodology used in industrial ecology by adding layers of extra information on material criticality. This transforms S&F from being concerned only with quantities of materials, to capturing supply constraints as well. This in turn allows us to analyse how transitions in the physical infrastructure may introduce vulnerabilities, associated with materials supply. More excitingly, it allows us to identify conflicts between low carbon pathways and sustainable resource management. This paper presents the results of a proof-of-concept case study that demonstrates the enhanced S&F methodology on a simple infrastructure system. The findings of the proof-ofconcept study will be used to propose improvements to the modelling approach and its application to policy development and decision making.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Enhancing Stocks and Flows modelling to support sustainable resource management in low carbon infrastructure transitions.

Emissions reductions of the scale required to avoid dangerous climate change will require rapid, systemic change including extensive refurbishment and replacement of infrastructure systems. The technologies required to make this systemic change exist today but many rely on critical metals which are at risk of scarcity and difficult to substitute. There has been extensive debate in the academic and policy literature about whether the availability of these critical metals will constrain the transformation required. However, policy decisions are being made without addressing these material barriers or considering how critical materials could be managed more sustainably during future infrastructure renewal. This project enhances the established stocks and flows (S&F) methodology used in industrial ecology by adding layers of extra information on material criticality. This transforms S&F from being concerned only with quantities of materials, to capturing supply constraints as well. This in turn allows us to analyse how transitions in the physical infrastructure may introduce vulnerabilities, associated with materials supply. More excitingly, it allows us to identify conflicts between low carbon pathways and sustainable resource management. This paper presents the results of a proof-of-concept case study that demonstrates the enhanced S&F methodology on a simple infrastructure system. The findings of the proof-ofconcept study will be used to propose improvements to the modelling approach and its application to policy development and decision making.