Energy Cities proposition 09 - Know the territory’s metabolism so as to optimise local potential and reduce the impact of human activities on the ecosystem

Knowing our territories’ resources and flows

2014

Energy Cities l’association européenne des autorités locales en transition énergétique

Energy Cities is a network of more than 1,000 cities in 30 different countries. Convinced that energy transition is more than a question of renewable energy or advanced technologies, Energy Cities proposes to use resources in a reasoned way, to strengthen local participation and to improve the quality of life in a democratic Europe. In 2014, the network presents 30 proposals for the Energy Transition of Territories.

They are a source of inspiration to think and act differently. To finally turn the page on unsustainable practices that lead us into energy, climate and perhaps economic and social dead ends.

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Energy Cities proposition 09 - Know the territory’s metabolism so as to optimise local potential and reduce the impact of human activities on the ecosystem

The problem at hand

The ecological footprint indicates that we would need three planets to satisfy our resource needs. The biosphere cannot absorb our emissions. It is impossible! International conferences regularly come to this conclusion, leading (or not) to the development of policies.

This situation will not improve as long as we keep considering a macroeconomic “financial accounting” system. A “cost accounting system” is needed at the territorial level to understand how territories mobilise and transform the biosphere’s resources and how they use and transform energy, water and materials. It is also necessary to know what flows are crossing the territories and what is recycled. We have started counting water and waste, followed by energy, emissions and discharges at territorial level. But we are still too often unaware of the local or imported resources we use. We do not know what is circulated, lost, exchanged or transformed in our territories.

That is what is called the “metabolism” of territories.

Proposal

Know the territory’s metabolism so as to optimise local potential and reduce the impact of human activities on the ecosystem.

The objective is to implement adequate information and communication systems for locating and quantifying flows crossing the territory. This will help reveal systemic optimisation potentials between water, energy and material flows. Synergies between them will enrich the territory and will reduce resource predation as well as the impact on the biosphere..

Conditions for success

  • Giving more importance to the impact of territorial activities on the ecosystem, not only in terms of resources, but also of discharges and emissions.

  • Being willing to make the most of water, energy and material flows crossing the territory in order to boost the local economy.

  • Allocating adequate human, financial and technical means so as to make the most of territorial metabolism which should be viewed as a resource.

Références

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