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Global Land Outlook - working paper on energy and land

Photo credit: Richard Allaway, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Global Land Outlook - working paper on energy and land

Focali researcher Göran Berndes is one of the main authors of the Global Land Outlook working paper on energy and land use - one in a series focusing on the land-energy nexus. This paper identifies and compares the land impact of all terrestrial energy forms and provide recommendations on how to deliver a sustainable global energy system - hectare by hectare.

The Global Land Outlook is a strategic communications platform that produces publications focusing on development of transformative vision for land management policy, planning and practice at both global and national scales. This paper – prepared in partnership with International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – is one of a series that aims to synthesize and compile knowledge, focus on the land-energy nexus (i.e., taking into account food and water) and provide data, contexts, and recommendations on the interaction between energy and land. The paper was launched on September 12th with Focali member Göran Berndes as one of the main authors.

 

The paper identifies and compares the land impact of all terrestrial energy forms, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as the normative framework for analysis. Since the mandate of the UNCCD is to combat global desertification and land degradation, the land “footprint” of energy supply and use, referred to in SDG 15, is of particular interest. Currently, approximately 90 percent of global energy demand is met from non-renewable energy (mainly fossil), which leaves its footprint on land through resource extraction (e.g., coal mining), conversion (e.g., refineries, power plants) and their respective infrastructure (e.g., pipelines, fuel storage, transmission lines). Similarly, the development of renewable energy, such as biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind, has land consequences, although these differ in scope and form. This working paper further focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use and supply of energy, as well as the maintenance and enhancement of terrestrial carbon sinks that are essential to mitigating climate change, as set forth in SDG 13 and the Paris Agreement of 12 December 2015. Meeting these goals will require a rapid scale up of lowcarbon, sustainable energy sources and their efficient distribution, and many of these activities have significant implications for land use, management and planning.

 

Full publication is available here.

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