The convergence of different ideas, groups, or societies is the process by which they stop being different and become more similar

Making the unsustainable more sustainable requires convergence

The GATE Convergence meeting on 18th October 2023 was an international session where members shared updates on their various Transition projects.

We call this a “convergence” because it is more than a sharing of ideas. It is an opportunity to impart experiences, a linking of similarities and chance to debate opinions. 

All presentations delivered at Convergence 2023 were pre-recorded and are available to re-watch below. To see more Transition Engineering content visit our YouTube channel.

Daniel Kenning

This is why GATE exists; to bring about change towards sustainability by enabling professionals to effectively apply their expertise and imagination with the tools of Transition Engineering. The key is discovering a positive future vision of engineered systems that support a stable, flourishing society.

The Vision of GATE

Florian Ahrens

Engineering the transition of school transport to net zero carbon – The Transition Engineering Lab at Heriot Watt University in Scotland co-designed, developed, and tested a shift project to solve the wicked problem of fossil-free fair access to education for young learners together with a local primary school. The developed programme achieves that students learn how to change what needs change in their own way.

School Run to Net Zero Transition Lab

Jack Boulton

Jack is a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University looking into the decline of the global oil supply industry.

Oil Downshift Transition Lab

Paolo Cherubini

Paolo Cherubini is a post-doctoral research assistant at Heriot-Watt University, Orkney Campus, addressing the wicked problem of affordable, intermittent clean energy for residential households

Orkney Islands, an archipelago off the north coast of Scotland, are endowed with wind, wave and tidal resources. Renewable generation contributes, on a yearly basis, to more than 100% of the islands' needs. In real time, however, generation and demand are mismatched, leading to frequent curtailments and loss of revenue for generators. Electricity price is not linked to local availability of renewables, and tariffs are one of the highest in the UK, as well as the rate of fuel poverty.

The discourse on this Wicked Problem tends to get stuck on listing harms and planning for massive investments in more technology. Applying the Transition Engineering method, by taking stock of the simultaneous and opposing perspectives on the topic, we managed to identify the problem lying at the heart of the matter. Through workshopping sessions with stakeholders and researchers, it emerged that is the market-based system of electricity provision and associated regulations, "allows" the fuel poverty to happen, as an acceptable outcome.

From here, we are working on lines of research to incorporate essential energy services in the system of provision and a social gifting market scheme for sharing excesses across communities.

Net Zero Electricity with no Energy Poverty

Susan Krumdieck

One aspect of Susan's outreach work for GATE is to post articles on LinkedIn. In response to an article about the convergence of the sustainability diaspora to a corrective transdiscipline, a number of thoughtful people from around the world contacted her.

Susan asked them if they would like to serve on a committee and work to carry out a formative process and make a contribution to the field. The committee had an interesting interdisciplinarity. They met, discussed and deliberated a number of times over the course of a few months. The result is a clear statement of the fundamentals and first principles needed to move on to the next step in triggering the convergence for a corrective transdiscipline for transition to a sustainable economy, society and environment.

Insight for Convergence

Patricio Gallardo

Freight data is essential to support strategy development, investment analysis, and policy formulation. Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from freight transportation is an urgent priority. However, the availability of freight data limits our understanding of the freight task and the scope for long-term strategic planning.

Patricio delves into the challenges and outcomes of implementing a 'take stock' exercise. The aim is to gain a quantitative understanding of New Zealand's freight task and its associated carbon footprint.

Mapping the carbon footprint of heavy freight movements within New Zealand

Sam Murphy

Many studies that aim to identify emissions mitigation strategies for the dairy agriculture sector focus on single emissions sources such as methane from cows, fertiliser production and milk processing in isolation.  Transition Engineering encourages us to think big and ask better questions. Starting with examining the essential need that the dairy agriculture system meets allows us to explore solutions outside of business as usual. 

We have used Transition Engineering tools, including the InTIME method to structure our research approach. We then developed a Holistic farm system model to explore future concepts and scenarios for agriculture in Canterbury in terms of financial feasibility and emissions reduction potential. 

Our analysis highlights the enhanced resilience provided through diversification of production, as essential nutritional needs remain met while reducing the number of cows, the use of fossil-based fertilisers, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

GHGs mitigation in Agriculture

Luyando Mbozi

The presentation is about Zambia’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 2030 through energy emissions. It looks at the various types of energy sources currently used and the energy transition projects that have been currently been put in place to facilitate the process of reducing carbon emissions.

Energy Transition in Zambia

Johann Land

The use of fossil fuel and artificial nitrogen fertilizer in German agriculture is a wicked problem. The incumbent system allows access to nutrition, but relies on unsustainable fossil fuel.

Johann presents a study using the Interdisciplinary Transition Innovation, Engineering, and Management (InTIME) method for German agriculture systems with data from FAO and the German Ministry For Food And Agriculture.

The purpose is a rigorous analysis of the complex agriculture system and the development of feasible opportunities for sustainable carbon downshifting. The results are counterintuitive and demonstrate the necessity of a holistic approach to solve wicked problems. Strategic scenarios to achieve the results are developed and recommendations for policy implementation to ease the transition are examined.

Fixing Agriculture

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