Alexander Mueller - Soils for Development

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Information about Alexander Mueller - Soils for Development

Published on January 20, 2014

Author: Sustainablefoodtrust


SOILS FOR DEVELOPMENT TRUE-COST ACCOUNTING IN FOOD AND FARMING London, 04. Dec. 2013 Alexander Müller Senior Fellow Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam/Germany

Economics of Land Degradation I (source: ELD)

Economics of Land Degradation II (source: ELD)

Land degradation. Some simple figures: • 24 billion tons lost by erosion (wind and water) • 3.4 tons per person a year • In some areas of Somalia up to 100 tons/ha and year • Erosion costs every person 70 per year globally • 490 Bill USD year • THESE COSTS DO NOT APPEAR IN THE CURRENT ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS

Agricultural systems at risk (source FAO, SOLAW report)

The ANTHROPOCENE • Humans alterations on nature and the effects of these actions have reached a new quantity and quality • We are living in the ANTHROPOCENE (Paul Crutzen) • “Humanity is acting now as a quasi-geological force on a planetary scale that will qualitatively and irreversibly alter the natural Earth System mode of operation ― should business-as-usual be pursued”. (Nobel Laureate Symposium “Sustainability – A Nobel Cause, 2007) • Fertilizers and Phosphorus – Can we repair or hide land degradation?

Trends in Fertilizer use Tilman et al., 2002 FAO SOLAW 2011

Cordell et al 2009

Phosphorus: a critical element in food security • Is an essential element for any living organism and it cannot be substituted • A very low efficiency in phosphorus use along the chain: The input of P from mining amounts to around 24 Mt, people on the planet only eat around 3 Mt P • And around 10 -12 Mt from mined P are transfered to the sea! • „..planetary boundaries for eutrophication of freshwaters by P have alreaqdy been surpassed.“(de Haes et al. 1997) • Will there be enough P in future and what are the costs???

Outlook2050/80: provisional nutritional outcomes (global averages/aggregates) (source: FAO, outlook) undernourished % of population with kcal/person/day % million >2700 >3000 % million 2005/07 13 844 57 28 9 570 2050 4 330 91 52 15 1400 2080 2 150 98 66 21 2000 obese

The „Energiewende“ in Germany as an example of a sueccessfull transformation 11

The „Energiewende“ started back in 1986! „To invent a future without nuclear energy“ has started after Chernobyl  A process of 35 years! „Bipartisan consensus“ in the German Parliament in 2011 Already back in 2001: Red-Green coalition decided to phase out nuclear  However, a „Partisan decision“ 12

Feed-in tariffs photovoltaics in Germany 13

Negative electricity prices (Energy Exchange) – Example June 2013 14

Conditions for a successful „Energiewende“ When weighing up the goal conflicts, careful consideration must be given to the following criteria: climate protection security of supply economic and financial viability, also taking into account social aspects competitiveness, research and innovation, and avoiding one-sided import dependencies for Germany. (Ethics Commission on a Safe Energy Supply) 15

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