Elsa joined the Institute for Sustainable Futures in early 2015, with experience working on natural resources and climate change projects within research, non-government organisations and the private sector in Australia and Asia.
At ISF Elsa works across the areas of resources, energy, food systems and international development. She has been involved in several projects developing future scenarios, including for resource demands for renewable energy, employment impacts for energy technologies and the transition to 100% renewable energy for Australia. Elsa is a key researcher in the Wealth from Waste Cluster collaboration, a three-year, A$9m research program led by ISF that is identifying opportunities to progress resource productivity towards a circular economy for the metals sector in Australia. Elsa was a key organiser of the World Resources Forum Asia-Pacific held in June 2015, which brought together local and regional experts in sustainable resource management.
Before joining ISF Elsa worked with an NGO in Vietnam on a capacity building project on climate change, land rights and community forest management. Prior to this Elsa worked as an analyst for a carbon management consultancy, providing technical advice on carbon markets, carbon footprint methodologies and undertaking research on the social and environmental impacts of carbon mitigation projects. Elsa’s broader research interests include social equity in natural resource management and land use change, climate change mitigation and global markets for resources and carbon.
Watari, T, Nansai, K, Nakajima, K, McLellan, BC, Dominish, E & Giurco, D 2019, 'Integrating Circular Economy Strategies with Low-Carbon Scenarios: Lithium Use in Electric Vehicles.', Environmental science & technology, vol. 53, no. 20, pp. 11657-11665.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Electrification of the transport sector will support its decarbonization, yet significantly change material requirements. This calls for an integrated modeling approach internalizing metal demand-supply dynamics in low-carbon scenarios to support the Paris agreement on climate change and sustainable material circulation. Here we develop a step toward the integrated simulation of energy-materials scenarios by unifying a stock-flow dynamics model for low-carbon scenarios using linear programming. The modeling framework incorporates lithium supply from both mines and end-of-life (EoL) recycling for projected use in electric vehicles on a global basis. The results show that supply constraints, which could become apparent from around 2030 in the case of current recycling rates (<1%), would impede the deployment of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), leading to the generation of an additional 300 Mt-CO2 of emissions for vehicle operation in 2050. Another important finding is that increasing the recycling rate to 80% could substantially relieve restrictions on the introduction of BEVs without requiring primary supply from natural deposits far beyond historical rates of expansion. While EoL recycling is important from a long-term perspective, an EoL-oriented strategy has little effect on the short/medium-term (such as to 2030) lithium demand-supply balance because of exponential demand growth and long living batteries. Importantly, findings in this study emphasize the necessity of tackling climate change and resource circulation in an integrated manner.
Watari, T, McLellan, BC, Giurco, D, Dominish, E, Yamasue, E & Nansai, K 2019, 'Total material requirement for the global energy transition to 2050: A focus on transport and electricity', Resources, Conservation and Recycling, vol. 148, pp. 91-103.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019 The Author(s) Global energy transitions could fundamentally change flows of both minerals and energy resources over time. It is, therefore, increasingly important to holistically and dynamically capture the impacts of large-scale energy transitions on resource flows including hidden flows such as mine waste, as well as direct flows. Here we demonstrate a systematic model that can quantify resource flows of both minerals and energy resources under the energy transition by using stock-flow dynamics and the concept of Total Material Requirement (TMR). The proposed model was applied to the International Energy Agency's scenarios up to 2050, targeting 15 electricity generation and 5 transport technologies. Results indicate that the global energy transition could increase TMR flows associated with mineral production by around 200–900% in the electricity sector and 350–700% in the transport sector respectively from 2015 to 2050, depending on the scenarios. Such a drastic increase in TMR flows is largely associated with an increased demand for copper, silver, nickel, lithium and cobalt, as well as steel. Our results highlight that the decarbonization of the electricity sector can reduce energy resource flows and support the hypothesis that the expansion of low-carbon technologies could reduce total resource flows expressed as TMR. In the transport sector, on the other hand, the dissemination of Electric Vehicles could cause a sharp increase in TMR flows associated with mineral production, which could offset a decrease in energy resource flows. Findings in this study emphasize that a sustainable transition would be unachievable without designing resource cycles with a nexus approach.
Dominish, E, Retamal, M, Sharpe, S, Lane, R, Rhamdhani, MA, Corder, G, Giurco, D & Florin, N 2018, '"Slowing" and "narrowing" the flow of metals for consumer goods: Evaluating opportunities and barriers', Sustainability (Switzerland), vol. 10, no. 4.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 by the authors. Metal resources are essential materials for many consumer products, including vehicles and a wide array of electrical and electronic goods. These metal resources often cause adverse social and environmental impacts from their extraction, supply and disposal, and it is therefore important to increase the sustainability of their production and use. A broad range of strategies and actions to improve the sustainability of resources are increasingly being discussed within the evolving concept of the circular economy. This paper uses this lens to evaluate the opportunities and barriers to improve the sustainability of metals in consumer products in Australia, with a focus on strategies that "slow" and "narrow" material flow loops. We have drawn on Allwood's characterisation of material efficiency strategies, as they have the potential to reduce the total demand for metals. These strategies target the distribution, sale, and use of products, which have received less research attention compared to the sustainability of mining, production, and recycling, yet it is vitally important for changing patterns of consumption in a circular economy. Specifically, we have considered the strategies of product longevity (life extension, intensity of use, repair, and resale), remanufacturing, component reuse, and using less material for the same product or service (digitisation, servicisation, and light-weighting). Within the Australian context, this paper identifies the strategies that have the greatest opportunity to increase material efficiency for metal-containing products (such as mobility, household appliances, and personal electronics), by evaluating current implementation of these strategies and identifying the material, economic, and social barriers to and opportunities for expanding these strategies. We find that many of these strategies have been successfully implemented for mobility, while applying these strategies to personal electronics remains the...
Grant, ML, Dominish, E, Carrard, N, Bui, L, Ha, H, Nghiem, T & Willetts, J 2016, 'Reducing or increasing inequalities? The role of private water enterprises in rural Viet Nam', Development Bulletin, vol. 77, no. August 2016, pp. 31-36.
Extreme inequalities are recognised as being detrimental to
human rights and economic development (Stiglitz 2012),
and in response, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
has explicitly included addressing inequalities as one
of the 17 Global Goals. In order to reduce inequalities an
integrated approach across multiple dimensions of human
development is required, including access to safe water.
This research investigated stakeholder perceptions of
rural piped water services in Viet Nam to better understand
issues of equality, access and affordability. It asked the
question: can poor households access piped water services
provided by small scale private enterprises in rural Viet
Nam? This question is important because little is known
about whether or not poor households access piped water
services, related issues of affordability of connection fees
and tariffs, and other potential barriers. It is also important
because private enterprises are increasingly providing piped
water services in Viet Nam, supported by incentives from
Government and international donors including some civil
society organisations (CSOs)
Giurco, D, Dominish, E, Florin, N, Watari, T & McLellan, B 2019, 'Requirements for minerals and metals for 100% renewable scenarios' in Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals: Global and Regional 100% Renewable Energy Scenarios with Non-Energy GHG Pathways for +1.5C and +2C, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 437-457.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© The Author(s) 2019. This chapter explores the magnitude of the changes in patterns of material use that will be associated with the increasing deployment of renewable energy and discusses the implications for sustainable development. In particular, this chapter focuses on the increased use of lithium and cobalt, metals which are used extensively in battery technologies, and silver used in solar cells. Consistent with the strong growth in renewable energy and electrification of the transport system required in a 1.5°C scenario, the material requirements also rise dramatically, particularly for cobalt and lithium. Scenarios developed for this study show that increasing recycling rates and material efficiency can significantly reduce primary demand for metals.
Dominish, E, Briggs, C, Teske, S & Mey, F 2019, 'Just transition: Employment projections for the 2.0 °c and 1.5 °c scenarios' in Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals: Global and Regional 100% Renewable Energy Scenarios with Non-Energy GHG Pathways for +1.5C and +2C, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 413-435.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© The Author(s) 2019. This section provides the input data for two different employment development calculation methods: The quantitative analysis, which looks into the overall number of jobs in renewable and fossil fuel industries and the occupational analysis which looks into specific job categories required for the solar and wind sector as well as the oil, gas, and coal industry. Results are given with various figures and tables.
Teske, S, Pregger, T, Simon, S, Naegler, T, Pagenkopf, J, Van Den Adel, B, Meinshausen, M, Dooley, K, Briggs, C, Dominish, E, Giurco, D, Florin, N, Morris, T & Nagrath, K 2019, 'Methodology' in Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals: Global and Regional 100% Renewable Energy Scenarios with Non-Energy GHG Pathways for +1.5C and +2C, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 25-78.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© The Author(s) 2019. A detailed overview of the methodologies used to develop the 2.0 °C and 1.5 °C scenario presented in this book. Starting with the overall modelling approach, the interaction of seven different models is explained which are used to calculate and developed detailed scenarios for greenhouse gas emission and energy pathways to stay within a 2.0 °C and 1.5 °C global warming limit. The following models are presented: For the non-energy GHG emission pathways, the Generalized Equal Quantile Walk (GQW)method, the land-based sequestration design method and the Carbon cycle and climate (MAGICC) model. For the energy pathways, a renewable energy resources assessment for space constrained environments ([R]E-SPACE, the transport scenario model (TRAEM), the Energy System Model (EM) and the power system model [R]E 24/7. The methodologies of an employment analysis model, and a metal resource assessment tool are outlined. These models have been used to examine the analysis of the energy scenario results.
Two of the biggest global challenges for food security – phosphorus scarcity and climate change – are threatening farmers' livelihoods, agricultural productivity and environmental health. Sri Lanka's agricultural sector is comprised largely of smallholder farmers, where rainfed rice is often a staple of the diet. Climate change projections indicate rice yields could drop by 40%, affecting the majority of farmers and increasing poverty levels by up to a third. At the same time, fertiliser subsidies, which represent 2% of government spending, are currently being scaled back in a country that is dependent on fertiliser imports. This exposes farmers to future price fluctuations like the 800% phosphate fertiliser price spike that occurred in 2008. The goal of this collaborative research project is to contribute to building food system resilience to climate change and phosphorus scarcity in Sri Lanka, through adaptations from farm-scale through to policy-making. This report presents the first phase of the project investigating the capacity of smallholder farmers, policy-makers, industry and other food system stakeholders in Sri Lanka to adapt to these twin challenges, via a participatory, integrated, rapid vulnerability assessment framework.
Dominish, E, Florin, N, Giurco, D, Corder, G, Golev, A, Lane, R, Rhamdhani, A, Reck, B, Graedel, T, Sharpe, S, Edwards, M, Benn, S & Brooks, G 2017, Australian Opportunities in a Circular Economy for Metals: Findings of the Wealth from Waste Cluster, Sydney, Australia.