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    Global scenarios of irrigation water abstractions for bioenergy production: a systematic review
    (Munich : EGU, 2021) Stenzel, Fabian; Gerten, Dieter; Hanasaki, Naota
    Many scenarios of future climate evolution and its anthropogenic drivers include considerable amounts of bioenergy as a fuel source, as a negative emission technology, and for providing electricity. The associated freshwater abstractions for irrigation of dedicated biomass plantations might be substantial and therefore potentially increase water limitation and stress in affected regions; however, assumptions and quantities of water use provided in the literature vary strongly. This paper reviews existing global assessments of freshwater abstractions for bioenergy production and puts these estimates into the context of scenarios of other water-use sectors. We scanned the available literature and (out of 430 initial hits) found 16 publications (some of which include several bioenergy-water-use scenarios) with reported values on global irrigation water abstractions for biomass plantations, suggesting water withdrawals in the range of 128.4 to 9000 km3 yr−1, which would come on top of (or compete with) agricultural, industrial, and domestic water withdrawals. To provide an understanding of the origins of this large range, we present the diverse underlying assumptions, discuss major study differences, and calculate an inverse water-use efficiency (iwue), which facilitates comparison of the required freshwater amounts per produced biomass harvest. We conclude that due to the potentially high water demands and the tradeoffs that might go along with them, bioenergy should be an integral part of global assessments of freshwater demand and use. For interpreting and comparing reported estimates of possible future bioenergy water abstractions, full disclosure of parameters and assumptions is crucial. A minimum set should include the complete water balances of bioenergy production systems (including partitioning of blue and green water), bioenergy crop species and associated water-use efficiencies, rainfed and irrigated bioenergy plantation locations (including total area and meteorological conditions), and total biomass harvest amounts. In the future, a model intercomparison project with standardized parameters and scenarios would be helpful.
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    Freshwater resources under success and failure of the Paris climate agreement
    (Göttingen : Copernicus Publ., 2019) Heinke, Jens; Müller, Christoph; Lannerstad, Mats; Gerten, Dieter; Lucht, Wolfgang
    Population growth will in many regions increase the pressure on water resources and likely increase the number of people affected by water scarcity. In parallel, global warming causes hydrological changes which will affect freshwater supply for human use in many regions. This study estimates the exposure of future population to severe hydrological changes relevant from a freshwater resource perspective at different levels of global mean temperature rise above pre-industrial level (ΔTglob). The analysis is complemented by an assessment of water scarcity that would occur without additional climate change due to population change alone; this is done to identify the population groups that are faced with particularly high adaptation challenges. The results are analysed in the context of success and failure of implementing the Paris Agreement to evaluate how climate mitigation can reduce the future number of people exposed to severe hydrological change. The results show that without climate mitigation efforts, in the year 2100 about 4.9 billion people in the SSP2 population scenario would more likely than not be exposed to severe hydrological change, and about 2.1 billion of them would be faced with particularly high adaptation challenges due to already prevailing water scarcity. Limiting warming to 2 °C by a successful implementation of the Paris Agreement would strongly reduce these numbers to 615 million and 290 million, respectively. At the regional scale, substantial water-related risks remain at 2 °C, with more than 12% of the population exposed to severe hydrological change and high adaptation challenges in Latin America and the Middle East and north Africa region. Constraining δTglob to 1.5 °C would limit this share to about 5% in these regions. ©2019 Author(s).
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    The limits to global-warming mitigation by terrestrial carbon removal
    (Hoboken, NJ : Wiley, 2017) Boysen, Lena R.; Lucht, Wolfgang; Gerten, Dieter; Heck, Vera; Lenton, Timothy M.; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
    Massive near‐term greenhouse gas emissions reduction is a precondition for staying “well below 2°C” global warming as envisaged by the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, extensive terrestrial carbon dioxide removal (tCDR) through managed biomass growth and subsequent carbon capture and storage is required to avoid temperature “overshoot” in most pertinent scenarios. Here, we address two major issues: First, we calculate the extent of tCDR required to “repair” delayed or insufficient emissions reduction policies unable to prevent global mean temperature rise of 2.5°C or even 4.5°C above pre‐industrial level. Our results show that those tCDR measures are unable to counteract “business‐as‐usual” emissions without eliminating virtually all natural ecosystems. Even if considerable (Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 [RCP4.5]) emissions reductions are assumed, tCDR with 50% storage efficiency requires >1.1 Gha of the most productive agricultural areas or the elimination of >50% of natural forests. In addition, >100 MtN/yr fertilizers would be needed to remove the roughly 320 GtC foreseen in these scenarios. Such interventions would severely compromise food production and/or biosphere functioning. Second, we reanalyze the requirements for achieving the 160–190 GtC tCDR that would complement strong mitigation action (RCP2.6) in order to avoid 2°C overshoot anytime. We find that a combination of high irrigation water input and/or more efficient conversion to stored carbon is necessary. In the face of severe trade‐offs with society and the biosphere, we conclude that large‐scale tCDR is not a viable alternative to aggressive emissions reduction. However, we argue that tCDR might serve as a valuable “supporting actor” for strong mitigation if sustainable schemes are established immediately.
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    Towards a comprehensive climate impacts assessment of solar geoengineering
    (Hoboken, NJ : Wiley, 2016) Irvine, Peter J.; Kravitz, Ben; Lawrence, Mark G.; Gerten, Dieter; Caminade, Cyril; Gosling, Simon N.; Hendy, Erica J.; Kassie, Belay T.; Kissling, W. Daniel; Muri, Helene; Oschlies, Andreas; Smith, Steven J.
    Despite a growing literature on the climate response to solar geoengineering—proposals to cool the planet by increasing the planetary albedo—there has been little published on the impacts of solar geoengineering on natural and human systems such as agriculture, health, water resources, and ecosystems. An understanding of the impacts of different scenarios of solar geoengineering deployment will be crucial for informing decisions on whether and how to deploy it. Here we review the current state of knowledge about impacts of a solar‐geoengineered climate and identify the major research gaps. We suggest that a thorough assessment of the climate impacts of a range of scenarios of solar geoengineering deployment is needed and can be built upon existing frameworks. However, solar geoengineering poses a novel challenge for climate impacts research as the manner of deployment could be tailored to pursue different objectives making possible a wide range of climate outcomes. We present a number of ideas for approaches to extend the survey of climate impacts beyond standard scenarios of solar geoengineering deployment to address this challenge. Reducing the impacts of climate change is the fundamental motivator for emissions reductions and for considering whether and how to deploy solar geoengineering. This means that the active engagement of the climate impacts research community will be important for improving the overall understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and risks presented by solar geoengineering.