Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
s research also points toward the rich human breadth and depth of
resource management institutions in the water-energy-food nexus; which invites
consideration of a third perspective on institutions in relation to human wants and
needs. These are often articulated in sectoral assessments of emergent resource
problems and solutions, for which existing institutions are generally inadequate.
Examples include the Millennium Development Goals, Kyoto Protocol, Hyogo
Convention on disaster risk reduction, etc. These often address the lower half of the
pyramid of the oft-cited hierarchy of human physiological and safety needs (Ma-
slow 1943 ). However, it is worth considering that many of these problems originate
from, and are sometimes addressed by, the purportedly higher needs of esteem and
self-actualization. While simple hierarchies and dynamics of nexus institutions
appear logical, they are in practice more heterogeneous and complex over space,
time and cultural context.
3 Trade-off Between Ef
ciency and Effectiveness:
Illustrative Cases
3.1 Water for Energy: Carbon and Nuclear Legacies
and the Transition to Renewables
The breathtakingly rapid post-World War II expansion of the world economy would
not have been possible without the development and harnessing of fossil fuels
(including coal, petroleum and natural gas, as well as non-renewable nuclear fuels,
which impose many of the same environmental and social
impacts as
carbon-based fuels). The widespread quality-of-life bene
ts of conventional energy
development have come at staggeringly high costs to the environment, especially
climate change driven by carbon emissions. Additionally, social transformation and
ecological devastation have been spatially displaced from consumption. For
example, cheap fuel at
y in high-demand
developed countries like the U.S. has wrought war and irreversible pollution in the
Niger Delta. This is far more than
filling stations worldwide but chie
. Furthermore, the impacts of
current consumption are temporally deferred, including the intergenerational effects
of atmospheric carbon and social-environmental devastation, as cited in the two
examples above, but also the technological,
collateral damage
inherent in reversing decades of lock-in to fossil-fuel energy dependence. But
reverse we must, and the transition is underway, in countries like Germany where
solar and other renewables account for a growing share of energy portfolios and
where, for the
financial and political dif
first time, there is a serious and sustained national dialogue on
alternative energy futures. For example, what are the energy supply, technology
development and
financial models to support the transition? What are the respective
roles of civil society and the state? The path is not without hazards; in the U.S., for
example, natural gas development through non-conventional (but now increasingly
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