"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives"

Abba Eban
"Then I say the Earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its right no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its existence"

Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)
SPECIAL SESSION: Challenges and Solutions for More Sustainable Urban Systems: Perspectives from Latin American Cities and Beyond
Session resume:

More efficient, sustainable, and cleaner urban systems are one of the most strategic necessities in realizing scenarios that limit global temperature increases to at most 1.5°C. Based on projections for cities in a 1.5 degree scenario, urban CO2 emissions will need to peak by the year 2020 and rapidly reduce thereafter by the year 2030 towards reaching average net-zero emissions by mid-century. In C40 cities, which includes Rio de Janeiro, such reductions will need to be at least 26% and 69% by the year 2030 when compared to the emission levels of 2015 and those of the business as usual scenario, respectively.

As the venue of the 1st Latin American SDEWES Conference, the city of Rio de Janeiro is continuing its leadership for sustainable development since the Earth Summit with Vision Rio 2065 (Visão Rio 500). This guiding strategic framework provides the target of attaining carbon neutrality by the 500th anniversary of the city. Under the theme of attaining a green, sustainable, and resilient city, Rio de Janeiro envisions to be a global benchmark for sustainability, including the Guanabara Bay, and increase the penetration of green districts with the use of renewable energy. Currently, Rio de Janeiro has also become the first city in a developing country to join the international efforts of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance.

This Special Session will bring leading researchers from multiple disciplines in sharing research results that analyze challenges and/or propose solutions in support of more sustainable urban systems in Latin American cities and beyond. Within this integrated scope, this Special Session will provide a platform for disseminating original research results on urban energy modeling, urban renewable energy and/or energy efficiency solutions, transit-oriented urban planning, water and municipal solid waste management, urban metrology, air, water, and soil pollution prevention due to urban resource flows, as well as cross-sectoral approaches to address the climate, energy, water, and food nexus in the context of urban systems. In addition to districts, university campuses, research institutes, airports, and ports will also be upheld as strategic assets for more sustainable cities. Tools for benchmarking urban systems, including the composite indicator of the Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES) Index, which has been applied to world cities, including Brazilian cities, will provide an international comparison and outlook for the future.

Prof. Şiir KILKIŞ
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK)
Ankara, Turkey
Dr. Şiir KILKIŞ is alumna of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Faculty of Civil and Architectural Engineering, and Georgetown University, where she graduated magna cum laude as the gold medalist in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. She is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the SDEWES Center. In her interdisciplinary research work, she developed and applied a SDEWES Index to benchmark cities, ranked international airports and airlines, analyzed sustainable campuses, and deployed a novel net-zero district concept for the pilot project of the Östra Sala backe district in Uppsala Municipality in Sweden. She also developed the Rational Exergy Management Model (REMM) to provide guidance to curb CO2 emissions in the built environments of the future. Her research foci centers on integrated energy system analysis, net-zero targets, exergy mapping, and benchmarking studies. She is now Associate Professor in Energy Systems Engineering and Senior Researcher at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) with specialization in sustainable urban systems and transition management for sustainable development. During her nine year work experience at TÜBİTAK, she contributed to national policies on science, technology and innovation, coordinated the Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmap, organized high level meetings, and served as a delegate to the UN. Dr. KILKIŞ also led R&D and innovation study visits on behalf of TÜBİTAK to Singapore, China, Brazil, and India. She is lecturer of the “Energy Economy” and “Energy Policy” courses within the Energy Engineering Graduate Program at Başkent University and “Sustainable Development” at the Middle East Technical University Earth System Science Graduate Program. She is actively involved in the International Energy Agency Annex 64 on “Optimised Performance of Energy Supply Systems with Exergy Principles.” Dr. KILKIŞ is the author of numerous SCI publications, a chapter on “Green Cities and Compound Metrics Using Exergy Analysis” in the Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology, and co-author of a book on Cogeneration with Renewable Energy Systems.

Invited papers (3)


Benchmarking the performance of cities across energy, water and environment systems
related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.