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THE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

IMPLICATIONS AND IMPERATIVES


FOR THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN

DISCUSSION PAPERS WORKSHOP


Wednesday 21 January, 2009 | Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Yvonne Hansen
BACKGROUND
• The first EF approximation for Cape Town
– Barrie Gasson (2002)
– Metabolic inputs and outputs
• Update this approximation
– Data collection (food, transport, housing, goods, services)
• Discussion paper
– Focus on policy
– “First principles”
– Strengths and weaknesses

• The Ecological Footprint metric provides a vehicle to both measure


and communicate/educate environmental sustainability
– Sustainable consumption
• As a policy tool, however, it requires disaggregation into
consumption categories and/or policy relevant themes
OVERVIEW
• Key footprint concepts and definitions
– Natural capital – biological capacity – appropriated carrying
capacity
– Exponential growth/demand – ecological overshoot / fair
„Earthshare‟
– Footprint accounting: component vs compound approaches
• The Ecological Footprint of Cape Town
– The first approximation (2002) based on a metabolic /
component approach
– A revision based on a compound/hybrid approach
– New work
ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINTS
EXPLAINED
• The Ecological Footprint metric compares the supply of
natural capital with human demand on it
– Track progress, set targets and develop policies for sustainability
• Calculate the area of biologically productive land and
sea required to support a given population
– To produce the renewable resources consumed
– Assimilate the waste generated
• A measure of the extent to which human economies stay
within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere
LAND USE TYPES
• Cropland
– Required for growing crops for food, animal feed, fibre and oils (highest
bioproductivity)
• Grazing land
– Pasture land required to raise livestock for meat, hides, wool and dairy product
• Fishing grounds
– Productive freshwater and marine
fishing grounds
• Forest area
– Timber products and fuelwood
• Built-up land
– Land for infrastructure, transportation,
housing and industry
• “Carbon” land
– Biologically productive area required
to assimilate CO2 eq from fossil
fuel consumption (theoretical)
CONVERTING TO GLOBAL
HECTARES
• Equivalence factors and yield factors are used to convert actual
areas in hectares of different land types into their equivalent
numbers of global hectares
• Yield factors Equivalence and Yield Factors
– Show the extent to which For South Africa in 2003
the local biocapacity of a Equivalence Factor Yield Factor
[gha/ha] [-]
given land use is greater/ Primary Cropland 2.22 0.77
smaller than the global Marginal Cropland 1.80 0.92
Forest 1.35 1.92
biocapacity in that land use Forest AWS 1.35 1.94
Forest NAWS 1.35 1.92
• Equivalency factors Permanent Pasture
Marine
0.49
0.36
0.79
1.60

– Translate a specific land type Inland Water


Built 2.22
0.36 0.03
0.77
(i.e. cropland, pasture, forest,
fishing ground) into a universal
unit of biologically productive area, a global hectare (gha)
TERMINOLOGY
• Ecological Footprint (demand)
– Expressed in units of global hectares gha
– A global hectare is a hectare that is normalized to have the world
average productivity of all biologically productive land and water
in a given year
• Biocapacity (supply)
– The capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological
materials and to absorb waste materials generated by humans
using current management schemes and extraction technologies
• Overshoot
– When the Ecological Footprint exceeds available biocapacity
– Ecological deficit or Ecological reserve (+ve)
FOOTPRINTS, BIOCAPACITY,
OVERSHOOT
FAIR EARTHSHARE?
• A fair „earthshare‟ is the amount of land each person would get if all
the ecologically productive land on Earth were divided evenly
among the present world population
• This average „earthshare‟ stands at 1.8 gha per capita and is
expected to drop to 1.44 gha per capita by 2050
ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT AND
POPULATION BY REGION (2003)
ACCOUNTING METHODS
• Compound
– Top down
– Calculates total consumption using trade flows at a National
level: Production + Imports – Exports
– Based on international data sets published by the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the
International Energy Agency (IEA), the UN Statistics Division
(UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database – UN Comtrade), and
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
• Component
– Bottom-up
– Summing all relevant components of a population‟s resource
consumption and waste production
– Useful as a PR tool to calculate local or regional footprints
– But requires sufficiently detailed data at these geographical
scales
COMPONENT–LAND USE
MATRIX
EF expressed
as % of total or
Policy relevant absolute (per capita)
themes value
Carbon Built-up Cropland Pasture Forest Productive
land land land land Sea

Food 0.34
10 %

Housing

Mobility

Goods

Services
SOUTH AFRICA‟S LAND USE
MATRIX
[gha/cap]
Energy Land Cropland Pasture Forest Built area Fishing Grounds
Total

Food 0.07 0.37 0.22 0.00 0.05 0.64


.plant-based 0.27 0.00 0.28
.animal-based 0.07 0.10 0.22 0.00 0.05 0.43
Housing 0.35 0.00 0.04 0.01 0.10
.new construction 0.04 0.00 0.04 0.08
.maintenance 0.00 0.00 0.00
.residential energy use 0.01 0.01
..electricity
..natural gas 0.34 0.34
..fuelwood 0.21 0.21
..fuel oil, kerosene, LPG, coal
Mobility 0.27 0.00 0.01 0.07
.passenger cars and trucks 0.22 0.00 0.22
.motorcycles 0.00 0.00
.buses
.passenger rail transport
Policy relevant 0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
.passenger air transport
.passenger boats
themes 0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Goods 0.17 0.01 0.01 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.12
.appliances (not including operation energy) 0.00 0.00
.furnishing 0.17 0.00 0.00 0.17
.computers and electrical equipment (not including operation energy)
.clothing and shoes 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.02
.cleaning products 0.01 0.01
.paper products 0.05 0.05
.tobacco 0.00 0.00
.other misc. goods 0.00 0.00 0.00
Services 0.12 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.02
.water and sewage
.telephone and cable service
.solid waste
.financial and legal 0.00 0.00
.medical 0.00 0.00 0.00
.real estate and rental lodging
.entertainment
Energy contribution 0.00
Total EF 0.00
.Government
..non-military, non-road
~ 64% = 2.29 gha/capita
..military
.other misc. services 0.00 0.00
Unidentified 0.48 -0.00 0.00 0.00
Total (gha/cap) 1.46 0.38 0.23 0.12 0.05 0.05 2.29
SA EF SUMMARY
Ecological Footprint (Demand) Biological Capacity (Supply)
Values are in 1000 global hectares

Animal Grazing 10,221 32,746 Pasture


Fish 2,157 9,355 Fishing Grounds
Forest Products 5,461 23,257 Forests
Crops 17,225 23,718 Cropland
Built up area 2,392 2,354 Infrastructure
Sequestering CO2 63,295
Total Footprint 103,157 91,430 Total Biocapacity

Ecological Reserve (Deficit): (11,727)

Net Exports (Net Imports): 45,545

Performance Indicators
South Africa World
Footprint per capita (gha) 2.29 2.19
Capacity per capita (gha) 2.03 1.82
Demand to Supply Ratio: 1.13 1.21
Earths required if world lived like South Africa: 1.3 n/a
THE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT OF
CAPE TOWN
• The first EF approximations for Cape Town
– Barrie Gasson (2002)
– Metabolic inputs and outputs (Compound approach)
– EF Cape Town equivalent to
the area of Western Cape
– EF ~50x larger than
juridictional area
– EF ~160x larger than
built footprint of CT
SOME OBSERVATIONS
• Bottom-up component approaches typically only capture
40% – 70%
– Lack of life cycle data (i.e. upstream energy and transport
contributions)
– Incomplete component categories
• For Cape Town underestimates on
– Electricity: Assumed generated by Koeberg (only Nuclear power
station) therefore underestimated Energy footprint. SA‟s
electricity mix > 94% coal based.
– Materials: Only data on building materials, timber and paper
available
– Services: data lacking
• Overestimates on
– Food: poor data
– Water
A COMPOUND APPROACH?
• Starting point: South Africa‟s National Footprint Accounts
Energy Land Cropland Pasture Forest Built area Fishing Grounds
Total
[gha/cap]
Food 0.07 0.37 0.22 0.00 0.05 0.64
.plant-based 0.27 0.00 0.28
.animal-based 0.07 0.10 0.22 0.00 0.05 0.43
Housing 0.35 0.00 0.04 0.01 0.10
.new construction 0.04 0.00 0.04 0.08
.maintenance 0.00 0.00 0.00
.residential energy use 0.01 0.01
..electricity
..natural gas 0.34 0.34
..fuelwood 0.21 0.21
..fuel oil, kerosene, LPG, coal

• Compare
Mobility 0.27 0.00 0.01 0.07
.passenger cars and trucks 0.22 0.00 0.22
.motorcycles 0.00 0.00
.buses 0.00 0.00
.passenger rail transport 0.00 0.00
.passenger air transport 0.00 0.00
.passenger boats 0.00 0.00

average Capetonian‟s
Goods 0.17 0.01 0.01 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.12
.appliances (not including operation energy) 0.00 0.00
.furnishing 0.17 0.00 0.00 0.17
.computers and electrical equipment (not including operation energy)
.clothing and shoes 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.02
.cleaning products 0.01 0.01
.paper products 0.05 0.05
0.00 0.00

consumption patterns
.tobacco
.other misc. goods 0.00 0.00 0.00
Services 0.12 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.02
.water and sewage
.telephone and cable service
.solid waste
.financial and legal 0.00 0.00

with average South


.medical 0.00 0.00 0.00
.real estate and rental lodging
.entertainment 0.00 0.00
.Government
..non-military, non-road

African‟s
..military
.other misc. services 0.00 0.00
Unidentified 0.48 -0.00 0.00 0.00
Total (gha/cap) 1.46 0.38 0.23 0.12 0.05 0.05 2.29

• Using demographic data; economic data; transportation;


energy consumption; food etc.
A COMPOUND APPROACH?
COMPONENT LAND USE

• Food 35% • Energy58%


• Mobility 19% • Cropland 18%
• Housing 17% • Pasture 12%
• Unidentified 14% • Forest 7%
• Goods 9% • Fishing 3%
• Services 5% • Built land 2%

Ecological Footprint (Western Cape) = 3.34


gha/cap
ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT AND
POPULATION BY REGION (2003)
EF DISTRIBUTION
BY INCOME LEVEL
Footprint 2003 global hectares per person

12

10

4 WC = 3.34

2
SA = 2.29
World =1.8
0
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Income deciles (South Africa)


THE EF IN POLICY MAKING:
CARDIFF
• A collaborative project to
measure Cardiff's
Ecological Footprint
• This study demonstrated
where Cardiff's ecological
footprint was heaviest, and
highlighted areas of
concern for the future
• Objective: to maintain
Cardiff‟s EF at 2001 levels
CARDIFF EF – 5.59 gha/cap
OUTCOMES: CARDIFF STUDY
• The 'big hitters' : consumption of food and drink, passenger
transport, energy use and production of municipal waste

• Food recommendations
– Shift towards fresh unprocessed foods
– Increase consumption of organic foods
– Reduction in food waste at source
• Energy recommendations
– Requires dramatic shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable
energy in the domestic housing sector
– Large scale energy efficiency measures in existing stock
• Transport recommendations
– Car travel to be significantly reduced via demand management
– More sustainable alternatives provided
OUTCOMES: CARDIFF STUDY
• Air travel
– Massive impacts of air travel should be acknowledged in the
City's approach to economic development and tourism
– Methods sought to offset carbon impacts
• Physical developments
– Planning should consider lifetime ecological costs as well as
immediate impact on the footprints of waste, infrastructure,
energy and transport
• Waste
– Reduction at source
– Policies implemented to reduce paper and card and manage
compostables
CLOSURE
• The Ecological Footprint metric provides a vehicle to
both measure and communicate environmental
sustainability
• As a policy tool, however, it requires disaggregation into
consumption categories and/or policy relevant themes
• As one author suggests:
– “one cannot infer much on the basis of the EF alone, neither
what is the main problem nor what might be adequate policy
solutions to the problem. A decomposition type of approach is
needed, which distinguishes between population density,
consumption and production of goods and services (per capita)
and unsustainable land use associated with each type of good or
service. This implies a logical and complete system of multiple,
complementary indicators…”
– The EF is one of these
A note on water
• An estimate of the EF of water was included in the first
approximation
– SA is a water scarce country
– Policy relevant
– Estimated as reservoir catchment areas
• However, water is treated differently in the EF methodology
– Because, although freshwater is a natural resource and related to many
of the biosphere‟s critical goods and services, it is not itself a material
made by a biologically productive area
– I.e. Ecosystems do not create water in the same manner as timber, fish,
or fibre products
– Therefore, the Footprint of a given quantity of water cannot be
calculated with yield values in the same manner as a quantity of crop or
wood product
Ecological footprint by land type
Debtors and Creditors
How do countries compare?
Morocco Switzerland Tanzania

EF < BioC
Ecological Reserve
But BioC declining
rapidly
EF stable

EF >= BioC
Ecological Deficit
BioC decreasing
EF ~stable

EF > BioC
Ecological Deficit
EF increasing
BioC ~stable
Benefits of regional/city footprints
• Main aim of EF studies has been to raise public
awareness on sustainability and consumption
issues
– Good visualisation tool
– Aggregated sustainability indicator
• However, its use to support policy making is
increasing
– Monitor and manage natural capital
– Set targets and monitor progress, particularly where
the EF is disaggregated into consumption
categories/components
A Compound Approach?
• To demonstrate:
• Simple heuristic: Capetonians consumes
approximately 15% of the country‟s resources
while accounting for only 10% of the population
– The exception – Energy where Cape Town has a less
energy intensive economy compared to other regions
in SA (mining, minerals processing etc.)
– Biocapacity not scaled
Cape Town‟s EF (summary)
Crop Pasture Sea Forest Built Energy Total EF Biocapacity

EF South Africa 2006 0.38 0.23 0.05 0.17 0.05 1.35 2.30 2.0
(2003 data)
(pop: 45 Million)

EF Cape Town 2006 0.73 0.44 0.10 0.32 0.10 1.35 3.04

24% 14% 3% 11% 3% 44%

• Ecological deficit (3.0 – 2.0 = 1.0)


• Big contributors
– Energy 44%
– Food 41%
• And so can begin to engage policy makers