Climate change is expected to be catastrophic for survival in this planet, if we do not undertake immediate provisions. Need for water, energy and food will increase. Nexus is a new concept which advises to consider these elements in a single strategy as soon as possible. This is not just an idea. It is a necessity!
Water, energy and food. Life, continuity and wellbeing. Lack of thereof? What we all fear. The situation is alarming and requires simultaneous and universal awareness. The future? Increasing population number. Increasing food demand. Increasing agricultural activity. Increasing water demand. Increasing global energy consumption. If we continue on the same path, we will witness another catastrophic increase, that of environmental pollution. Planet does not offer as much as humanity will need.
Data published from international organizations are evern more alarming.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO until 2050 food production will have to increase with 60 percent more. Global consumption of energy is expected to increase with 50 percent until 2030 and water usage for irrigation will increase with 10 percent until 2050. Reasons? Increasing number of the population, continuous movements, economic development, international trade, urbanization, diet diversification, technological and cultural changes and also climate change.
Our society needs to turn from sustainable agriculture, climate smart and environmentally friendly.Compeletely different from today’s agriculture!
Source FAO Water, Energy and Food security are interrelated
Today agriculture is responsible for the exploitation of limited resources and environmental pollution. Agriculture is responsible for 70 percent of water usage and 30 percent of usage of global energy. Main agricultural activities consumer approximately 20 percent of energy, while food processing and transportation consume approximately 40 percent of global energy.
Two of the main agricultural activities which require more energy are agricultural production and processing. Preservation and processing activities of meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and edible oils consume high quantities of energy. But also in other sergmebts within the agriculture sector, in the production of drinks or food it is consumed a big quantity of energy for heating processes, which function based on petroleum and biomass. Drying and cooling, post harvest processes and processing require intensive use of energy. Production of pesticides and manufactured fertilizers and as well as direct inputs such as diesel for tractors and tillage or energy for operating irrigation systems need lots of energy.
Source FAO What does Food Security depend upon?
The lack of practices which efficiently use energy in the agriculture and food sector has polluted the air with approximately 1,100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. United Nations emphasize the need of efficient energy use in the agricultural sectors as the most important provision to be taken for decreasing the negative effects.
In a report from 2011 FAO calculates the pollution from greenhouse hases from agricultural activities to be 9.7 Gigatons, 2/3 eof which come from the products which are re caused by primary agricultural production.
But accurate comparative data is stil insufficient because energetic consumption and analysis of pollution is still concentrared solely in the food sector. Conventional statistical data cannot define the proportions of energy consumption or greenhouse gases of the sectors of transports or industry that can be attributed to the food sector.
Issues related to the consumption of water from this sector has been addressed and their solution requires immediate provisions in a global level. Big projects on water infrastructure, which encourafe the production of hydroenergy can have a synergic impact. But this would happen on behalf of agricultural and ecological systems and would encourage social phenomena like movements of the population.
Nowadays still the analysis of energy and agriculture nexus is incomplete. There are many reasons for that. Subsidy measures which often hide energy costs, lack of funds for decreasing greenhouse emissions from the agricultural and food sector or the lack of international cooperation are just some of the reasons.
The lack of advisory and consulting services constitutes a major obstacle for the successful implementation of improvement measures in the field of sustainable energy in the agricultural and food economy. Improved financing possibilities or the technical feasibility by themselves are not sufficient, as long as they are not accompanied by technical advice, as in regards to business and operating models.
Integrated international strategies, technical assistance and actions to raise awareness are the immediate provisions that need to be undertaken today, in order to have the possibility to still use these limited resources tomorrow.
Renewable Energy- Albania’s challenges
The Progress Report of the European Union for Albania, published in 2014, states that the energy sector in Albania is still fragile and depending from hydro resources, with high level of loss. The report states that during 2015 Albania should focus on the approximation of its legislation with the Third Package for Energy of the EU, which foresees the absorption of new investments, creation of an energy market model, according to EU standards and also the creation of the foundations to guarantee the economic rentability of the energetic sector.
The action plan for sustainable energy, which aims to secure within 2020, approximately 38 percent of energy from sustainable sources, has not been yet finalized. In May 2014, Albania approved the law on renewable energy, which will partly come to power in January 2015. The legal provisions which aim to eliminate the barriers of licensing and authorize investments in renewable energy and connect producers of renewable energy with the network, are still pending, waiting for the approval of the Law for the Energy Sector and its bylaws.
In the meantime the project for Energy Efficiency is still being drafted. The lack of financial resources and the ambiguity of the specific roles institutions play in the process of energy efficiency inhibit the application of the national action plan for energy efficiency. The second national plan for energy efficiency is being drafted.
The issue of renewable energy in Albania is still in its first steps towards a very long and important journey, crucial for future safety.