Information
  • Lead-organizer: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • 17:30 - 19:00
  • Date: 18 Jun 2012
  • Room: P3-3

Sustainable Energy, Food, Water & Oceans

Organizing partners

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
National Water Commission (CONAGUA), Mexico
OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden

Introduction

This side event will focus on four of Rio+20?s seven critical issues ? energy, food, water and oceans. It will review applications of nuclear technology to all four issues and present initial progress on integrated modelling to help devise mutually supportive policies for energy, food, water and oceans and avoid conflicting policies.

Nuclear technology is used to generate low-carbon electricity; to breed improved crops and reduce post-harvest losses; to map and manage ground water; as well as to assess and monitor climate change and pollution impact on oceans. Rio+20 will consider setting goals in these and other areas that integrate the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development. The interrelated nature of multiple issues suggests that an integrated approach to policymaking is needed. This side event intends to lead to a broader use of integrated modelling and mutually supportive sustainable development policies for energy, food, water and oceans.

Detailed programme

Sustainable Energy, Food, Water and Oceans: Making a Difference with Nuclear Techniques

Thematic focus

The side event will focus on four of Rio+20?s seven critical issues ? energy, food, water and oceans. It will review the application of nuclear technology to improving low-carbon electricity generation, food security, water management and our understanding of how oceans affect, and are affected by, climate change and pollution. It will also present initial progress on integrated modelling to help countries devise mutually supportive policies for energy, food, water and oceans.

Applications of nuclear technology to energy, food, water and oceans.

For energy, the side event will discuss nuclear power?s current and potential contributions to sustainable development. It will summarize prospects for nuclear power, taking into account changes in policies and projections following the Fukushima Daiichi accident. It will review the pros, cons and diverse investment situations that have led some countries and investors to invest in nuclear power and others not to.
For the countries now preparing to build their first nuclear power plants, the side event will identify steps that should be taken to introduce nuclear power safely, securely, economically and sustainably and review lessons that have been learned in nuclear power?s first half-century.Speakers: Ron Cameron, NEA and Hans-Holger Rogner, IAEA

For food, nuclear techniques are used to breed improved crops, including crops that facilitate adaptation to climate change. Nuclear techniques guide improved livestock reproduction and nutrition and are directly applied to control animal and plant pests and diseases. They are used to reduce post-harvest spoilage and infestation, leading to fewer losses, greater revenue for farmers and increased food safety. Isotopic techniques are applied for better soil and water management. Speaker: Minh-Long Nguyen, IAEA

For water, nuclear and isotope techniques are used to assess the size, location and replenishment rate of water resources and detect groundwater pollution. They thus support the development of sustainable water management strategies. Nuclear techniques are used to enhance water use efficiency in agriculture and to reconstruct past climates in order to improve understanding of the global hydrological cycle, climate science and the impacts of climate change on water resources. Speakers: Colin Herron, CONAGUA and
Pradeep Aggarwal, IAEA

For oceans, nuclear techniques are used to detect pollutants in coastal zones and the deep ocean, analyse their impacts on marine organisms and human health, and better understand key marine heat and carbon cycling processes. Nuclear techniques are used to study past climates using marine sources such as polar ice and to study ocean acidification and other climate change impacts on world oceans and marine ecosystems. Ocean acidification occurs as oceans absorb the increased carbon dioxide in the air. Acidification threatens marine ecosystems. Radiotracers are used to track its effects on ocean chemistry and marine life, to diagnose problems in ocean models and to orient future model development.Speaker: Maria Betti, IAEA.

Integrated modelling to help countries devise mutually supportive policies for energy, food, water and oceans
Momentum is building for agreeing at Rio+20 to goals that could focus actions by national governments and other stakeholders. A number of priority issues have emerged, including energy, water, oceans, and food. Without careful analysis of interactions between multiple goals, policies to advance some may have negative impacts on others. This side event will present initial progress on integrated modelling to help devise mutually supportive policies for energy, food, water and oceans and avoid mutually conflicting policies. Speaker: Mark Howells, KTH



Potential contribution to Rio+20 outcome

Progress on sustainable development will require efficient use of all available analytic and policy options. Nuclear techniques play an important role, enabling countries to conduct integrated resource assessments for the entire energy-food-water nexus. Because nuclear techniques cut across energy, food, water and oceans, the review of their potential contributions highlights the importance of integrating policies across issues so that the policies are mutually supportive, not mutually conflicting. The initial progress on integrated modelling introduced during the side event is intended to lead to broader use of such integrated modelling and thus more integrated, mutually supportive sustainable development policies for energy, food, water and oceans.
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