Chapter 6 – Sustainability
Trends in Global Emissions
Global Carbon Emission from Fossil Fuels from 1900 – 2014
Source: Boden, T.A., Marland, G., and Andres, R.J. (2017). Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A. doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2017.
“Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have significantly increased since 1900. Since 1970, CO2 emissions have increased by about 90%, with emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011. Agriculture, deforestation, and other land-use changes have been the second-largest contributors”.
The Climate is Changing
The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. You can learn more about them here: https://www.ipcc.ch/
Here is the way that the IPCC defines climate and climate change.
“Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system to be”
“Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’ The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition and climate variability attributable to natural causes”.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
Climate change results in a global crisis. What will be an answer to a global crisis? Sustainability and the full Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).
North American working group of the Mining and Sustainable Development, (MMSD-NA, 2002) developed “seven questions to guide sustainability assessments of the Full-Life cycle of mining projects as discussed in Gibson et al. (2005). They are related to the engaging community, people’s well-being, the integrity of the environment, the economic viability of the project and the community, acceptable to the community by accounting for the traditional activities of the community, project consequences, periodic reassessment of the results.
And, we need to implement LCA into our design to ensure minimizing harmful material/processes in the environment and a more sustainable design. This means (Jha, N. K. 2015):
There are a couple of LCA tools available at this time
As the industry is responding to the call from the public/policymakers, they develop some platforms to integrate the LCA aspects into the modeling. For example, Solidworks uses “The GaBi environmental LCA database and a set of environmental impacts obtained through a combination of scientific experimentation and empirical results obtained in the field. (Solidwork Sustainability 2022)”. They are using four key environmental indicators (carbon footprint, total energy consumed, air acidification, and water eutrophication) indicators.
Some related information:
• Carbon footprint:
• Air Acidification
• Total Energy Consumed
The above indicators are related to product developments. However, for some projects such as mining projects we need other indicators. Overall sustainable development (SD) indicator is defined (Martinho (n.d.)) as the average of social summary measure (Soc), economic summary measure (Eco), and environmental summary measure (Env).
List of Resources
• Boden, T.A., Marland, G., and Andres, R.J. (2017). Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A. doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2017.
Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data on Feb 19, 2022
• Bob Gibson, Selma Hassan, James Tansey. Sustainability Assessment Criteria and Processes. Routledge; 2005. Accessed February 20, 2022.
• Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2008) “Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report” Retrieved from
https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ar4_syr_full_report.pdf on Feb 19, 2022
• Imperatives (1987) Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future
• Jha, N. K. (2015). Integration of Green Design and Manufacturing for Sustainability in Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum.
• Martinho M. (N.D.) “Integrating social, environmental and economic dimensions into a monitoring framework” Retrieved from https://slideplayer.com/slide/4509562/ on March 10th• MMSD-NA, Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project North America, Task 2 Work Group (2002) Seven Questions to Sustainability: How to Assess the Contribution of Mining and Minerals Activities, Winnipeg, IISD
• Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development North America, MMSD (2002) https://www.Iisd.Org/pdf/2002/mmsd_sevenquestions.Pdf
• Pacific Climate Impact Consortium (2012) http://www.plan2adapt.ca/tools/planners?pr=0&ts=8&toy=16
• Solidworks (2022) Retrieved it from https://www.solidworks.com/solutions/what-life-cycle-assessmentlca#:~:
text=SOLIDWORKS%C2%AE%20Sustainability%20provides%20actionable,as%20well%20as%20offering%20alternatives On March 12, 2022
• UN (1987) Our Common Future Retrieved from https://www.are.admin.ch/dam/are/en/dokumente/nachhaltige_entwicklung/dokumente/bericht/our_common_futurebrundtlandreport1987.pdf Retrieved On March 14, 2022
- https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data#Reference%201 ↵
- PCC, 2018: Annex I: Glossary [Matthews, J.B.R. (ed.)]. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Press ↵