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Integrated Multi-Model Projections of Australian Economic Activity, Resource Use and Environmental Performance: New Methods and Insights

Journal paper, in review

This paper outlines the novel analytical framework developed for the CSIRO Australian National Outlook, which provides integrated projections of Australian economic activity, resource use, and environmental pressures.  The unique framework links nine existing models representing global, national and sectoral economic and biophysical processes, with particular attention to materials- and energy-intensive activities that account for one quarter of Australian economic value and employment, but around three quarters of direct resource use and environmental pressures. The framework provides robust, national-scale projections that account for key interdependencies, with the detailed resolution and broad set of outcome metrics necessary for such novel assessment.

We find attention to economic structure and interactions between sectors is crucial to understanding resource use and environmental outcomes, and illustrate with several novel findings. Water demand and supply varies widely across scenarios, with desalination and water recycling supplying up to 56 per cent of water use by 2050, and accounting for up to 9 per cent of electricity use. Markets for ecosystem services could provide 30 to 40 per cent of ambitious national abatement, and reduce biodiversity extinction risks 10 to 25 per cent, but would require careful management of water interceptions. Stronger global greenhouse emission reductions could yield economic benefits to Australia before 2050, relative to moderate action. Integrated analysis is crucial to these insights, accounting for connections which would otherwise be neglected.


Steve Hatfield-Dodds, Lisa E. McKellar, Philip D. Adams, Timothy M. Baynes, Thomas S. Brinsmead, Brett A. Bryan, Francis H.S. Chiew, Jeffery D. Connor, John J. Finnigan, Paul W. Graham, Nicky Grigg, Ian N. Harman, Tom D. Harwood, Rebecca McCallum, David Newth, Martin Nolan, Ian Prosser, and Heinz Schandl

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