Integrated toolbox for cross sectoral forward looking assessments and scenario’s

The transition of current linear production chains in the bio-economy to climate positive and circular production circles requires support by robust and integrated tools that are fit for purpose and able to show impacts at comprehensive aspects (environment, biodiversity, economic, social) and levels (spatial scales, time horizons), and for different stakeholders.

The focus in this project is on a WR model-based integral approach (toolbox), for forward looking, cross-sectoral assessments and scenario’s in the field of circular and climate positive society. Technical, economic, environmental and social processes and goals are examined together at different scales.

The broad range of goals are based on the EU bioeconomy strategy, Blue Growth, climate agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. A key challenge is the link between the micro level at which technological developments and consumer preferences can be better assessed, and the macro level at which employment, economic growth, food security, climate and biodiversity impacts are determined including rebound, leakage and substitution effects.

The toolbox will be further developed in 2021 with a focus on the integration of all the models included in this project. Specifically, based on the model comparison results of 2020 we will introduce feedback loops and iteration between some of the models to fine tune the calibration and the model assumptions taking stock of the complementary strengths of more specialised model such as Marine model, Animal model and Food safety.

This will be done by completing and deepening the two case studies, which started in 2020: Case I on the sustainability impact assessment of the production and the use of bio- versus fossil plastics, and Case II on the role of circular bio-economy approaches on the GHG emission (Dutch\EU) until 2050, showing impacts of climate change and various circular economy and mitigation scenario’s (technical change, management options, reduce food losses and waste, diet changes). In 2021, these two case will be extended and enriched both in terms of the scenarios and impact calculation. The latter is obtained by (1) inclusion of additional models to cover more impact domains such as Marin and Food Safety; (2) introduction of feedback loops and iterations for a better calibration of the more general models such as MAGNET , BIOSPACS and iCLUE; (3) linking the two bottom-up and to-down case studies. The latter will result in a third case study, Case III, in 2021, which builds upon the two previous ones, and will be undertaken to assess the “Transition to a climate-neutral EU by 2050”. Case III uses a broad integrated toolbox which covers not only agriculture, but also food processing, energy, chemicals and the marine fields.

The first two case study results will be prepared for in scientific journal paper as well as an online policy dashboard as a science-policy interface for a better outreach and valorisation. Case III, as a more comprehensive case study, will contribute to the European SciPOl (science policy interface) project of the Joint European Programming Initiative for Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE JPI).