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C-EENRG receives Newton Fund grant to explore policies addressing the Nexus (Water-Food-Energy) in Brazil

last modified Dec 29, 2015 05:51 AM

Newton Fund gives grant to develop the BRIDGE Project - Building Resilience In a Dynamic Global Economy: Complexity across scales in the Brazilian Food-Water-Energy Nexus


Energy, water and food production and consumption in Brazil face important challenges. River flows and water reservoirs, including in dams, have record low levels and face scarcity, in a predominantly hydro-oriented electricity system. The productivity of the land in many regions is likely to change excessively with climate change due to significant expected changes in rainfall, affecting the viability of agricultural practices in the affected areas. The Brazilian economy is highly focused towards exporting agricultural products and food, with one of the highest shares of agricultural exports in the world, which makes it vulnerable to global economic changes. The profitability of some types of agricultural production, for instance meat and soya, is likely to evolve with the accelerated or fluctuating growth of consumption in several nations around the globe, which may incentivise excessive indirect land-use changes and environmental degradation. Increasing land productivity is possible, but it may need policy intervention.

These critical issues are tied to one another through the complex Food-Water-Energy (FWE) nexus. Understanding the nexus is key to sensible planning for improving the resilience of the Brazilian economy and environment to internal and global environmental and socioeconomic change. The BRIDGE Project will bring together over a period of three years partners in Cambridge (C-EENRG, 4CMR and Cambridge Econometrics), the Netherlands (Radboud University) and Brazil (UNISUL) to address the complex interactions underpinning the FWE nexus in order to assess and develop appropriate policy responses.

Although the project focuses on the case of Brazil, the knowledge and tools generated have wider implications and use, which are expected to illuminate sustainability transitions in other countries as well.