The water impacts of climate change mitigation measures

Wallis, Philip J. and Ward, Michael B. and Pittock, Jamie and Hussey, Karen and Bamsey, Howard and Denis, Amandine and Kenway, Steven J. and King, Carey W. and Mushtaq, Shahbaz and Retamal, Monique L. and Spies, Brian R. (2014) The water impacts of climate change mitigation measures. Climatic Change, 125 (2). pp. 209-220. ISSN 0165-0009

Abstract

A variety of proposed activities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions will impact on scarce water resources, which are coming under increasing pressure in many countries due to population growth and shifting weather patterns. However, the integrated analysis of water and carbon impacts has been given limited attention in greenhouse mitigation planning. In this Australian case study, we analyse a suite of 74 mitigation measures ranked as highest priority by one influential analysis, and we find that they have highly variable consequences for water quantity. We find: (1) The largest impacts result from land-based sequestration, which has the potential to intercept large quantities of water and reduce catchment yields, estimated to exceed 100 Mm3/MtCO2-e of carbon mitigated (100,000 l per tonne CO2-e). (2) Moderate impacts result from some renewable power options, including solar thermal power with a water cost estimated at nearly 4 Mm3/MtCO2-e. However, the water impacts of solar thermal power facilities could be reduced by designing them to use existing power-related water supplies or to use air or salt-water cooling. (3) Wind power, biogas, solar photovoltaics, energy efficiency and operational improvements to existing power sources can reduce water demand through offsetting the water used to cool thermal power generation, with minor savings estimated at 2 Mm3/MtCO2-e and amounting to nearly 100 Mm3 of water saved in Australia per annum in 2020. This integrated analysis significantly changes the attractiveness of some mitigation options, compared to the case where water impacts are not considered.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2015 01:42
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 06:13
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090509 Water Resources Engineering
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1156-6
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/26674

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