The rate of Climate Change ,which has repercussions
for human and natural system well-being , is one of our major global challenges. The increasing trend of global
temperature over the centuries, as reported in various research studies, show that human activities (i.e. industries,
land use changes) absolutely affect the ecosystem equilibrium. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly carbon dioxide
and methane, which are emitted directly and indirectly from human activities are contributing to global climate
change. Thus, it is important to understand the coupling of human and natural systems to mitigate the effects of climate
change, which is a complex system.
According to various climate change studies, the sinks
of GHGs are atmospheric, terrestrial and water systems while the sources of GHGs are human-engineered systems and activities
(i.e. industrial production, land use changes). To really address our global environmental problems, we have to implement
environmental improvements in all anthropogenic activities. One approach to assess the status of our environmental
sustainability is by conducting a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which accounts the emissions from cradle to
the grave or cradle. This covers critically inventorying
and analyzing the emissions from extraction of primary resources (cradle) to disposal of wastes and residuals (grave)
and even back to cradle. If we know which stage of the supply chain or which materials
or substances contribute to major environmental emissions, we can improve our products or processes or replace toxic
raw materials to promote sustainable production and consumption.
Though we are now exploring the use of biofuels, wind,
solar & geothermal energy, and other renewable sources for our human consumption, these technological policies are
just ways to adapt to global climate change, which is in fact "business-as-usual" strategies. These do not
in a way address the main source of our environmental problem, which in fact, we, humans. Unless we change our thinking
and consumption patterns, human-environmental problems will continue to persist. We need to build
human-engineered complex systems that are aligned with the natural ecological carrying capacity (which is the main argument
of Industrial Ecology discipline) such as the pursuit of low carbon, resilient systems and economies.
The Research Group for Industrial Ecology and Systems Sustainability (IESS) at the University of Queensland
undertakes transdisciplinary, integrative, innovative research to develop practical tools for measuring and improving the
sustainability and resilience of products and processess which maximize resource and energy efficiency and minimize
ecological life cycle impacts. We focus on understanding the dynamic interactions fundamentally and holistically, drawing
on elements of systems analysis & engineering, industrial ecology, ecological engineering, process simulation and optimization,
network and complexity science and methods.
Please refer to our research pages for more information. We are interested to work with industries
We are working with various partners nationally and internationally.
Here is a selection of our research partners.
Working Group for Cleaner Production, University of Queensland, Australia
Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative (FBRI), University of Maine, USA
Environmental Sustainability Analysis Group, National Research Council, Canada
Research Network for Business Sustainability,
Institute for Industrial Production, University of Karlsruhe, Germany
FONA (Research for Sustainability),
Research Center for Life Cycle Assessment, National Institute of Advanced Industrial
Science and Technology, Japan
Environment and Sustainable Development Program, United Nations University, Japan