|Sunday, June 11
|The Intellectual Framework
Chair: Valerie Thomas, Princeton University
- 1. Earth systems engineering and the Grand Cycles
- Vaclav Smil, Univ. of Manitoba
Earth systems engineering and management may be defined as the study and practice of engineering human technology systems and related elements of natural systems in such a way as to provide quality of life while actively managing the dynamics of relevant systems so as to reduce the risk and scale of undesirable behavior and outcomes. It is a response to the recognition that the dynamics of major natural systems, including the carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and water cycles, are increasingly dominated by human activity.
- 2. Ethical, religious and cultural dimensions of the engineering of nature
- Max Stackhouse, Princeton Theological Seminary
The manipulation of earth systems raises a number of ethical issues that are rooted in profound historic religious influences on our common culture, and on the culture of science and technology itself. Ethical debates are most advanced in regard to the issues raised by genetic engineering, but are growing in areas related to "ecology". The decisive issues have to do with the fundamental concept of the nature of nature, the capacity of humans to intervene to alter it, the right or duty to do so, and the principles and ends that should govern that intervention. At least new dialogues, and possibly new institutions, will be needed to pursue these issues.
|Monday, June 12
|Carbon Cycle Engineering I|
Chair: Roland Borey, Texaco
- 1. Carbon cycle engineering - global scale
- Robert Socolow, Princeton University
Understanding of the carbon cycle itself is somewhat incomplete, but the level of understanding of the couplings between that cycle and other relevant natural cycles - e.g., the nitrogen and hydrologic cycles - is even more so. Such linkages, however, clearly exist and must be considered if society is to accept responsibility for the dynamics of the carbon cycle. For example, use of agricultural biomass as a fuel should be evaluated in light of increased demand for agricultural nitrogen, and the potential for increased runoff, and therefore fertilization of estuaries.
Monday, 10:30 am - Group photo to be taken
- 2. The fossil fuel sector and carbon cycle engineering - sector level
- Paul Rutter, BP
The fossil fuel sector is traditionally considered 'the bad guy' in carbon emission/global climate change negotiations, reflecting the end-of-pipe approach which dominates such discussions. New technologies and options, such as carbon sequestration in deep aquifers, however, raise the possibility that the sector could shift from being the problem - the source of emissions - to part of a carbon governance technology system.
|Monday, June 12
|Carbon Cycle Engineering II|
Chair: Cathy Koshland, UC Berkeley
- 1. The biomass sector and carbon cycle engineering - sector level
- Lee Lynd, Dartmouth College
In taking an industrial ecology perspective, it is useful to recognize that three sectors traditionally viewed as separate - forestry, agriculture, and fisheries - are usefully considered as a single activity: the production of biomass for human ends. Moreover, other sectors - pharming, energy production - are beginning to look at biomass production as a foundation technology. Following the industrial ecology focus on systems, it is therefore important to evaluate the implications of biomass production from the perspective of relevant natural cycles, especially the carbon cycle. Among factors which are critical from this perspective are scale (at what point does possible biomass activity begin to create discontinuities in the carbon cycle and closely coupled natural systems?), system stability and resiliency (can biomass sector activity be used to stabilize the carbon cycle, or, alternatively, provide resiliency?) and limits (are there limits to these systems which make current projections simply unrealistic? For example, if energy, plastic production, and carbon cycle management options all propose to rely on biomass systems, is there enough water?).
- 2. Geoengineering technologies as carbon cycle engineering tools
- David Keith, Carnegie-Mellon University
Over the history of global climate change discussions, a number of possible technological fixes have been discussed. While they have usually been proposed as stand-alone systems by proponents, taken together they begin to provide an interesting, if inchoate, tool kit for carbon cycle engineering.
|Tuesday, June 13
|IE Tools and Methods in New Applications|
Chair: Pat Eagan, U. Wisconsin
Application of existing industrial ecology tools and methods, such as mass balance analysis, LCA, and DFE, to new applications and sectors serves several purposes. First, it begins to generate comparable data across broader systems. Second, it makes it clear that industrial ecology is not a concept that is limited to manufacturing and manufactured artifacts, which has been perhaps an implicit bias of the field to date. Thirdly, by applying existing tools to new systems, we not only learn more about the systems, but about the tools themselves. Following the general theme of earth systems engineering, therefore, life cycle assessments of four products/technologies from biomass sectors are presented.
- 1. Agricultural technology - are GMOs better than existing crops?
- David Gustafson, Monsanto
Agriculture is increasingly becoming not just an economic sector, but an infrastructure technology, with crops being designed to meet a number of demands, from enabling drug delivery to low impact farming. Which agricultural technologies are preferable is an increasingly contentious question, however, especially given the increasingly widespread use of GMO crops. These can reduce energy and pesticide usage and, more broadly, create cultivars with different characteristics, including greater nutritional value - but are highly problematic to certain segments of the public, especially in Europe.
- 2. Forestry - is wood fibre or non-wood fibre paper environmentally preferable?
- Reid Lifset, Yale University
This is an increasingly important and contentious question for the pulp and paper sector, which is under increasing pressure to shift from wood fibre to non-wood fibre paper. The environmental, technological, earth system, economic and social implications of such a shift are not clear. Accordingly, a broad life cycle assessment comparing paper made from wood fibre with paper made from non-wood fibre, such as agricultural waste or hemp, is a useful and important exercise.
|Tuesday, June 13
|IE Tools and Methods in New Applications II|
Chair: Emily Matthews, WRI
- 1. Fisheries - are fish farms more environmentally friendly?
- Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund
It is well known that many "natural" fisheries are collapsing, and that increasing amounts of commercial fish, especially salmon, catfish, and shrimp, are produced in commercial fish farming activities. Such operations are not necessarily environmentally benign, however, involving, for example, extensive destruction of mangrove ecosystems for shrimp farms in Southeast Asia. A life cycle assessment of farmed vs wild fish is therefore both an interesting application of LCA, and an important contribution to rational engineering of fish production systems, combining both natural and farmed product.
- 2. Industrial applications of biotechnology
- Ester van der Voet, Leiden University
Specialized products such as enzymes, proteins, drugs and other medicinal applications are increasingly produced with genetically modified organisms: plants, animals and imicro-organisms. The industries involved claim that using biotechnology reduces environmental impacts. Applications of IE tools such as LCA and MFA are hardly available in this area, but would probably support the claims of the industry, especially in the case of micro-organisms. However, "traditional" IE tools cannot show the effects of earth systems engineering by introducing changes in the natural gene pool. So far, these effects are largely unknown but might be extensive. New IE tools must be developed, not based on the physical law of mass conservation but on evolutionary principles: mutation and natural selection.
|Wed., June 14
|Industrial Ecology: Reports from the Field|
Chair: David Allen, Univ. of Texas
IE is currently practiced primarily at the meso and micro scales - the firm, facility, product, specific material, or process level. These activities build the knowledge base for understanding and studying higher level, more complex, regional and global coupled economic/environmental systems. Additionally, of course, they are important in themselves, both for the environmental benefits they generate, and the skills at integrating environment into economic and technological decision-making which they encourage.
- 1. Managing product lifecycles: the electronics sector
- Greg Pitts, MCC
Electronics products and infrastructure are critical components of the information
economy. The combination of rapidly increasing demand and shorter lifecycle of electronics products because of rapid technological evolution has, however, created substantial streams of electronic waste. Combining the industrial ecology concept of the eco-park with the need to manage this complex waste stream is an opportunity to practice industrial ecology in a number of dimensions.
- 2. Managing product manufacture: the electronics sector
- Bob Pfahl, Motorola
This presentation complements the previous one, which looks at the product, by looking at the major environmentally sensitive impacts of semiconductor and electronics manufacture, especially energy, water, and toxics consumption, and evaluating opportunities for improvement. Favorable trends in device performance during the use phase - less energy consumption, dematerialization - are also important in reducing the contribution of electronics products to environmental perturbations.
|Wed., June 14
|Industrial Ecology: Reports from the Field II|
Chair: Arpad Horwath, UC Berkeley
- 1. The information industry and the functionality economy
- Brad Allenby, AT&T, and Bart Krutwagen, IVAM, the Netherlands
This talk completes the troica of talks on the electronics/information sector, from the
micro (product manufacture) to the meso (product lifecycle management) to the macro (information services as a critical enabling infrastructure for an environmentally efficient, perhaps even sustainable, economy). It thus balances against the focus earlier in the week on the other enabling sector, biotechnology.
- 2. Material flows from industrial economies
- Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Austrian Universities
This talk discusses a not-yet-released comparative report looking at a 20-year time series of ourput flows for Austria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the US, generated by using input-output balances. Both the methodology and the results are new to the scientific community.
|Thursday, June 15
|IE Tools and Methods: New Improvements|
Chair: Najmedin Meshkati, USC
Short paper session [20 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion]
- 1. Alejandro Pablo Arena, LAHV-INCIHUSA, Argentina:
- "Using LCA and related tools in developing countries."
- 2. Rob Anex, University of Oklahoma:
- "LCAs and risk assessment of biotechnology"
- 3. Tomomi Murata, Kitakyushu University (Nippon Steel Corp.):
- 4. Eric Rodenburg, USGS:
- "Substance flow accounting in the US: an update"
- 5. Rusong Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences:
- "Social-Economic-Natural system engineering in China"
- 6. Robert Ayres,
- "Resource consumption and endogenous economic growth"
|Thursday, June 15
Chair: Robert Ayers, INSEAD
- 1. Pattern and scale in industrial ecology
- Thomas Graedel, Yale University
Industrial ecology interfaces with biological ecology and with the envirom-nental science community as a whole. In those communities, many of the most interesting and daunting challenges involve deriving and understanding data that apply over different scales in space and time, and studying the patterns that emerge from those data sets. This approach has great promise also for industrial ecology. In fact, industrial ecology is not particularly useftil to the environmental science community until it strongly addresses the spatial aspects of its studies, and is not particularly useful to the environmental policy community until it develops predictive capability. Some initial results from models developed with economists and community ecologists that begin to address problems of pattern and scale in industrial ecology will be presented and discussed.
- 2. Building IE: Gap analysis
- John Enrenfeld, MIT
Industrial ecology is a new field in an area - the systematic interaction of
economic and natural systems - which is itself poorly understood in many ways. In part, this also reflects the origin of the field (looking at manufacturing and manufactured products as an ecosystem) and the traditional focus of much environmental science and policy on manufacturing. These barriers are, however, artificial if viewed from the perspective of the natural systems being perturbed, which integrate effects from different sectors, countries, and economic activities regardless of whether we study them as integrated or as separate. The discussion of the proceeding days will have identified a number of gaps in the field which can usefully serve as one research agenda for the future.
- 3. Concluding remarks
- Ron Socolow, Princeton