why footprinting begets better emissions policy

footprinting captures emissions too

Perhaps you've noticed the burgeoning global momentum for adoption of the ecological footprint method in all policy and industry-specific assessments.

It's the best tool we've got for considering all the feedback loops, and Global Footprint is networking vigorously to standardize the methods and data.

I'm pressing for Hawaii to adopt the footprinting method as it launches a new era of research in support of reducing the islands' greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, Australia in general, and the South Australia government in particular are far down the road toward integrating ecological footprinting and sustainability, as evidenced in their updated Strategic Plan.

South Australia seeks to reduce it's ecological footprint by 30% and its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050.

Here's the key bit from their research (and this ballpark figure keeps coming up in footprinting work elsewhere):

"Greenhouse gas emissions make up more than half of South Australia's Ecological Footprint."

Point being: emissions ain't da whole thang.

Bottom line, for me: footprinting offers not just a more comprehensive sustainability indicator, but it also provides a superior framework for assessing GHGs.

If Hawaii hopes to stay even in this fast-developing field of mitigation policy, it seems we might as well start with the current state-of-the-art assessment tools, no?

(Oh, and, while you're at it, it might be instructive to compare S. Australia's detailed strategy with the forthcoming Hawaii 2050 sustainability strategy...and we will when the latter is published in the weeks ahead.)

If you're into the methodology, you might note the relation between footprinting and other methods, as summarized near the bottom of this page.

Also note that the recent ' material flow' assessment done by Yalies for Kohala Center is also part of it...and we're pushing for something similar for Kauai.

On a technical note, the best footprint method builds on an input-output model, and Hawaii is blessed with a good one (recently updated).

As I told John Tantlinger, that's prolly the place to start the research effort...in effect creating an ecological overlay for the state's input-output model, which will then allow us to conduct consistent sector-specific emissions assessments.

But, hey, I'm just a green economist from Kauai. Wot do I know?!

I'll be looking for opps to do more statewide networking on this in the weeks ahead.

Published by Ken on June 28th, 2007 tagged HI-specific, Systems Thinking

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