Power relations and overcoming vested interests
Economics in arguing on nuclear energy: the saga of the EPR reactor in Finland, France, and the UK
Authors: Markku Lehtonen
Abstract: Public debate on nuclear energy has until recently been largely dominated by topics such as accident risk, energy security, and radiation-related environmental and health risks. Controversies over the economic viability of nuclear energy has, by contrast, to a large extent remained an exclusive domain of “accredited”, “official” experts. This paper examines the increasing weight and the changing forms of economic argumentation in the discourses of various actors participating in public debate around nuclear power. The paper focuses in particular on the way in which economic argumentation concerning the EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) has evolved in Finland, France and the UK since the launching of the technology at the end of the 1980s. The analysis concentrates on the key turning points in the debate, changes in argumentative strategies, roles of various economic experts, and the types of economic thought advocated by the different protagonists.
Power Analysis in Environmental Decision-Making – A Case Study of Urban Waterfront Development
Authors: Judit Gebert, István Szentistványi
Abstract: Our paper examines the power structures in local environmental decision-making. We address the following questions: how do the existing power relations influence the opportunity of using a resource and the opportunity of taking part in environmental decision-making? What are the dynamics of these structures when environmental decisions are at stake? Our theoretical basis is the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen. We argue that the capability approach needs to be supplemented in order to integrate a natural dimension. Therefore we synthesize a capability model with Elinor Ostrom’s general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. First, we develop an analytical framework to investigate power relations. Second, we evaluate a case study: urban waterfront development in Szeged, Hungary using qualitative research methods.
Key trade-offs within a policy mix for resource efficiency
Authors: Henning Wilts, Bettina Bahn-walkowiak, Nadja Von Gries
Abstract: The European Commission states that “continuing our current patterns of resource use is not an option“. Against the background of an often wasteful use of natural resources, the European Union has named resource efficiency as one out of seven flagship projects to pursue its so-called Europe 2020 strategy considering resource efficiency a top policy priority. But so far neither the business tools of integrated environmental management nor classic environmentally policy tools are able to deliver such strategic changes and any policy formulation for resource efficiency however is still at a very early stage. Based on an on-going research project called “Policy options for a resource efficient Europe” (Polfree) this paper analyses potential policy instruments and their interdependencies in a policy mix for resource efficiency. It focuses on fundamental trade-offs in such a mix and identifies three generic challenges based on an empirical analysis of 27 specific instruments.
Energy transitions and revolutions
Authors: Marina Fischer-Kowalski
Abstract: What was the relation between the transition to fossil fuel use and the occurrance of social revolutions? We use long term time series data for the transition from an agrarian biomass-based energy regime to a fossil fuel based „industrial“ energy regime for a number of countries. Some of these countries staged a revolution, other countries made a more continuous transition. However, we find every social revolution we could identify happened exactly in the very early phase of the energy transition. This observation holds for historical events as different and distant from one another as the UK revolution in 1642 and the Chinese revolution in 1949. We will be able to present a more sophisticated statistical analysis of the critical phase and discuss how far our findings have something to say about the next transition away from fossil fuels.
Structures, impact and deficits of national policies for resource efficiency and waste management
Authors: Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak, Nadja Von Gries, Henning Wilts
Abstract: This paper explores institutional and political factors impacting on waste and resource management. It looks at the progress made to date in order to tackle the challenges enunciated by the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe and identifies political, institutional and (infra)structural barriers in national systems that hinder a better performance of resource efficiency. The empirical analysis of resource policy and waste management regimes and their characteristics in 4/10 EU Member States points to large unexploited potentials as regards innovation and particularly eco-innovation and related investments. The different institutional set-ups and target systems in the countries as well as the diversity in policy choices depicts goal conflicts and strong policy incoherencies and a general uncertainty how to approach a transformation to improved resource and waste management. Conclusions call for better coordinated policy mixes at national level and more coherent governance at EU level.
The Organic Farming Strategy in Vorarlberg. Towards a socio-ecological transformation?
Authors: Vivien Lunda
Abstract: The Agriculture Strategy 2020 “Organic Farming Vorarlberg – regional and fair” is presented as best practice example towards a sustainable local food system in Austria. In interplay with the local government this process is not only fostered through bottom-up approaches, but even supported by top-down engagement. The Agriculture Strategy is the result of collective action where key actors brought in their different perceptions over local, sustainable agriculture.
This paper analyses the potential of the Agriculture Strategy to foster a socio-ecological transformation towards a local food system by questioning in what ways existing structures are challenged through reflexive and critical actions and in how far underlying values and beliefs are negotiated between actor groups. In the framework of an institutional analysis and narrative policy analysis relevant actors, institutions and structures, their relations and role are identified. Expert and stakeholder interviews of involved actors give insight into sites of resistance and hegemony.
Winners and Losers: Application of the Politicised Institutional Analysis Framework to Market-based Conservation Schemes in Kenya
Authors: Juliet Kariuki, Susan Chomba, Regina Birner
Abstract: Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES) and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) create new institutions to deliver conservation outcomes. However, little attention has been directed to the historical and political dimensions influencing their design and implementation. This research aims to address this gap by studying two schemes from Kenya to which we apply the Politicized Institutional Analysis and Development Framework. Qualitative approaches including Netmap, key informant and in-depth intra-household interviews were employed. Results reveal elite capture and historical land appropriation affect access to and decision-making over resources under newly established institutional arrangements. However, Free Prior and Informed Consent, affirmative action and contractual arrangements enhance participation. Without such mechanisms, gender and power inequalities are reinforced. We suggest that where weak informal mechanisms to address conservation challenges exist, contractual approaches be adopted. In the long run, systematic collaboration with institutions beyond the conservation landscape may enhance social and environmental outcomes.
The Power of Numbers, Gender Dynamics, and Community Forestry Groups
Authors: Bina Agarwal
Abstract: This paper argues that the power of numbers and implicitly shared interests can, in themselves, go a long way towards improving outcomes for the disadvantaged in community efforts to protect the commons, although a conscious recognition and collective articulation of shared interests (e.g. forms of social solidarity) could further enhance effectiveness. The shift from implicitly shared interests to their collective expression, however, will require an engagement with group composition and intra-group dynamics. The paper examines within-group dynamics through the prism of gender and class. Drawing on the author’s primary fieldwork and empirical results on community forestry groups in South Asia, it demonstrates that a critical mass of ‘women-in-themselves’ can make a notable difference even without a ‘women-for-themselves’ social consciousness. It also explores how horizontal linkages across local groups, and their vertical representation via forest federations, can enhance impact beyond the local.
Quantifying patterns of resource use transformations and ecological distribution conflicts.
Towards a better understanding of environmental conflicts in Turkey: Political ecology meets societal metabolism
Authors: Begum Ozkaynak, Cem Iskender AYDIN, Pınar Ertor-Akyazı, Irmak Ertor, Willi Haas, Andreas Mayer
Abstract: This paper explores the remarkable spectrum of environmental conflicts in Turkey and aims to link them to the country’s societal metabolism based on a fieldwork undertaken as part of the EJOLT map of environmental injustices. This is done by analysing 51 well-known cases in Turkey and then contrasting them to Turkey’s biophysical and socio-economic data for the period between 1960-2010. The cases were selected to illustrate critical issues in environmental conflicts in Turkey, and do not aim for statistical representation. While many of the reported cases focus on water conflicts, several are about mining activities and infrastructure projects, and others address energy production. Although limited, the compilation and analysis of these cases provides a basic, yet crucial step toward informing public debate in Turkey on the structure of growth, the transformation of material and energy use, and the distribution of risks, benefits and costs within the development and environment nexus.
Global providers and consumers of metals – an analysis of trade patterns
Authors: Anke Schaffartzik, Andreas Mayer, Nina Eisenmenger, Fridolin Krausmann
Abstract: Metals are strategically important resources within industrialized and industrializing societies and their extraction and processing is linked to environmental burdens and social conflicts. No other minerals are distributed as unevenly not only in terms of extraction but also consumption. We present material flow accounting data on the extraction, imports, and exports of metals between 1950 and 2010, tracing the changing global patterns and the role of individual countries therein. We identify a shift in metal extraction from the early industrialized to the emerging economies. Using waste rock, i.e., the non-metal portion of the extracted gross ore, as a proxy for environmental pressure associated with mining, we find that the shift in mining activities corresponds to a shift in environmental pressure. Based on the physical trade data, we discuss material expressions of (neo-)extractivism. We provide a biophysical perspective on metal extraction and trade and their contribution to the socio-environmental mining conflicts.
Socio-environmental liabilities of coal mining in Cesar, Colombia
Authors: Andrea Cardoso
Abstract: Open-pit coal mining in Cesar, Colombia increased by 74% between 2000 and 2012, generating environmental and social damages unacknowledged by multinational mining companies and the state. This study aims to identify and value socio-environmental liabilities from coal mining at different stages of the coal life cycle. To identify socio-environmental liabilities, interviews were conducted and environmental mining conflicts were analyzed. To estimate monetary values, data were linked to existing literature on costs associated with damages. Results show that the economic values of socio-environmental liabilities per ton of extracted and exported coal are higher than the market price of coal. The socio-environmental liabilities arise from pollution, public health deterioration, water table depletion, land and ecosystem services losses, damages from transportation and shipping, and coal reserve loss. A comparison with studies in China and the United States indicates that values increase when public health impacts and climate change on global scale are included.
Towards successful resistance: An assessment of contemporary mining conflicts
Authors: Begum Ozkaynak, Beatriz Rodriguez-Labajos, Cem Iskender Aydin
Abstract: To provide evidence-based support for successful EJ-activism, this paper sets out to assess the constituents and outcomes of contemporary socio-environmental mining conflicts by using a collaborative statistical approach to the political ecology of mining resistance. We analyse the experience of EJOs that pursue environmental justice in mining conflicts by combining qualitative and quantitative methods – including statistical analysis and social network analysis – to understand both the determinants of such conflicts, and the factors that configure environmental justice ‘success’ and ‘failure’. The empirical evidence covers more than 350 mining cases around the world from the EJOLT (www.ejolt.org) dataset, enriched by an interactive discussion of results with activists and experts. Using network analysis, the study also looks at the nature of relations among EJOs and corporations in mining conflicts and discusses ways to develop a more resilient activist network towards EJ success.
Legal Institutions and Ecological Economics
Human action and the law – implications for environmental policy
Authors: Arild Vatn
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to discuss the importance of the law as a way to change environmental action through: a) clarifying the historical role of the law in environmental policy; b) discussing different interpretations of the way the law influences human action, and c) clarifying the role of the law regarding the present ‘turn to the market’ in environmental policy. The main emphasis is on b) and c). Regarding b) I elaborate on two different interpretations – i.e., understanding the law in cost-benefit/calculative versus deontological terms. Research points towards the latter being very impor¬tant for making the law function effectively. Regarding c) it is observed that the law is crucial for making the ‘the turn to the market’ effective. Hence, there is a potential conflict here as the market supports the cost-benefit logic. This conflict is analyzed both theoretically and using data from various markets for environmental services.
Developing EU nature conservation law for green economy
Authors: Suvi Borgström
Abstract: This paper contributes to the discussion on developing regulatory frameworks to provide enabling conditions for green economy. The context of this study is EU nature conservation law. The paper focuses on assessing legal instruments, rules and principles as well as underlying values of EU nature conservation law from the perspective of green economy. The analysis reveals whether the legal support needed to deliver green economy in the context of biodiversity conservation can be achieved through incremental changes at the surface level of law, or if more or less radical rethinking of underlying principles, concepts and values of nature conservation law is needed. As a conclusion the paper proposes utilization of wider array of legal techniques, re-interpretation of strict provisions of Habitats and Birds Directives, and development of legal principle(s) to provide guidance on how to improve legislation and interpretation of legal rules in order to provide foundation for green economy.
European Union and United States environmental laws and the ecosystem services framework
Authors: Claas Meyer, Bettina Matzdorf
Abstract: The paper shows if certain ideas related to the ecosystem services framework could be found in existing US and EU environmental policies, as e.g. a focus on ecosystem capacity, the identification of social values and benefits, and the consideration of trade-offs among different environmental objectives. Basically, we analysed the main water and biodiversity acts. In particular, we looked at the US National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the US Federal Water Pollution Control Act (CWA), the EU Directive on the conservation of wild birds (BirdsD), the EU Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora (HabitatsD), and the EU directive for establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy (WFD). To interpret the legal documents, we asked if the conditions of an ES-driven policy could be subsumed under environmental laws. The law analysis was complemented by qualitative interviews. The interpretation of the major water and biodiversity acts showed that only some terms and ideas of existing environmental law correspond to ES framework related ideas. We argue that the existing design of the law is rooted in different histories and targets of the various policies. We discuss how a focus on the ES framework could influence environmental law development and application.
The contribution of legal institutions to achieving a sustainable development
Authors: Volker Mauerhofer
Abstract: This paper aims firstly to provide a conceptual overview on the two main objectives of international environmental law that should be addressed when modifying it and subordinated law in a more sustainable direction. This first aim is addressed based on ongoing research on ‘3‐D Sustainability’, a concept providing decision‐making support for priority setting between environmental, social and economic dimensions within sustainable development. The two main objectives identified within this aim are to stay by means of international environmental law within the ecologically sustainable scale and to legally define flexible trade‐off mechanisms, which in a more sustainable way deal with conflicts among the three sustainability dimensions. Secondly, the paper strives to identify ways to further strengthen the application of the existing international law in this respect. Thus, several innovative mechanisms within international law are identified that overcome current implementation deadlocks, without necessarily changing the existing law.
Getting there from here: viable frameworks for planetary problems
Can climate compatible development provide an alternative development pathway for the global south?
Authors: Lisa Ficklin, Lindsay Stringer, Susannah Sallu, Andrew Dougill
Abstract: In this paper we compare and contrast the opportunities and challenges, motivations and resistance to creating an alternative climate compatible development (CCD) development pathway in Tanzania and Swaziland. The research presented draws from semi-structured interviews conducted with national policy makers, and stakeholders in the NGO and private sectors working at and across multiple levels. This paper presents data about the conceptualisation and framing of climate change and development issues in two country contexts. It analyses how CCD rhetoric is provoking questions and debate about the definitions of adaptation, mitigation and development in policy and by extension the coherence of these definitions between institutions, policies and financers. Consequently, the impact this has on the opportunities and challenges presented by a CCD development pathway is analysed and important future research is identified
Frames on food and nutrition security: media analyses in Flanders, Italy and UK
Authors: Tessa Avermaete, Stefano Grando, Ana Moragues Faus, Gianluca Brunori, Natalia Brzezina, Luca Colombo, Terry Marsden, Maryam Rahmanian
Abstract: The public perception of Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) in Europe is shaped by insights and believes on the drivers and vulnerabilities of the food system performance and its resilience. Recently, there is a growing body of work on FNS framings that aims to gain an in-depth understanding of narrative formation and its policy implications. This paper presents a cross-country analyses of FNS frames in Flanders, Italy and UK. The research is based on media analyses in these countries, in the period 2007-2014. We focus on eight frames: the ecological frame, the free trade frame, the quality frame, the social frame, the solidarity frame, the sovereignty frame, the technology frame and the wholesomeness frame. This research contributes in countering the regressive fragmentation and aggregation currently framing conventional FNS approaches.
Living with limits - and the reality of achieving change
Authors: Tone Smith-Spash
Abstract: Starting from the concept of limits and boundaries, I discuss some problems related to the recent “quantitative turn” in the limits debate, including epistemological issues, the limits discourse and the social consequences of quantification. I argue that to uphold the basic ontological assumption of environmental limits, we need to move from a narrow concept of quantified biophysical limits to a conception of limits as a relation between the natural environment and human society. This also includes a conceptualisation of social reality and developing a social ontology for ecological economics. The paper makes the case for why a radical and socially oriented ecological economics needs to engage more thoroughly with social and political theory. The belief in the role of quantified indicators is an example of the tendency to base strategies for change on unqualified assumptions instead of on social research.
The Leverage Potential of the Common Agricultural Policy for creating Sustainable Agro-ecological systems: Conflicting system goals and intervention points
Authors: Julia Leventon, David Abson
Abstract: Here we outline a systems thinking approach to intervening in complex social-ecological systems in order to steer them to more sustainable development trajectories. We identify specific system properties or ‘leverage points’—places in complex systems, where a small shift can lead to fundamental changes in the system as a whole. We differentiate between most readily altered but relatively weak or ‘shallow’ leverage points (include changing system parameters and strengthening feedback loops) and the more difficult to change, but potentially more influential ‘deeper’ leverage points such the power to self-organize system structures and the mind-set from which the system itself arises. Secondly we use this leverage points framework to assess the recent CAP reforms. Using two German case studies, we assess the extent to which the relative shallow interventions in the reformed CAP align with, inhibit or enable sustainable, multilevel governance of European agro-ecological systems.
The Population Variable in Resource Economics
Authors: Roger Martin
Abstract: Conclusions of research projects commissioned and supervised by the author from Masters’ students in 2014: * Population Growth, Housing ‘Shortage’, Greenfield Loss: Had the population become stable in 1994, all 125,000 homeless households could have been housed by end 1995, on 5,200 ha of brownfield land. Since then, 26,400 ha of farmland, and 3,600 ha of greenbelt have gone under housing; while homelessness still remains acute. *The ‘Ageing Crisis’ Myth: The average total public cost of a child from conception to tax-paying is £261,000; while the average total public cost of an old person from retirement to death is £225,000 – about 16% lower. .*Reduce Carbon by Ending Unwanted Births: the average mitigation potential of family planning is $3.23 per carbon tonne abated – 60% lower than alternative energy and forestry options. *GDP up, per capita GDP down: Every 1% of population growth reduces GDP per capita by 1.15%.
The global carbon budget: a conflicting claims problem
Authors: José Manuel Giménez-Gómez, Jordi Teixidó, Cori Vilella
Abstract: Despite global environmental governance has traditionally couched global warming in terms of annual CO2 emissions (a flow), global mean temperature is actually determined by cumulative CO2 emissions in the atmosphere (a stock). Thanks to advances of scientific community, nowadays it is possible to quantify the “global carbon budget”, that is, the amount of available cumulative CO2 emissions before crossing the 2oC threshold (Meinshausen et al., 2009). The current approach proposes to analyse the allocation of such global carbon budget among countries as a classical conflicting claims problem (O’Neill, 1982) i.e. a bankruptcy problem. Based on some appealing principles, it is proposed an efficient and sustainable allocation of the available carbon budget from 2000 to 2050 taking into account different environmental risk scenarios.
Extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for impacts and risks related to higher-end European scenarios
Authors: Simona Pedde, Kasper Kok, Paula Harrison, Brian O`Neill, Kristie Ebi
Abstract: In spite of high-end scenarios being increasingly plausible, potential climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities (CCIAV) studies face two major limitations: understanding uncertainty in long-term socioeconomic changes and oversimplification with single scale approaches. A key aspect in understanding the potential consequences of high-end climate change is the exploration of uncertainty in long-term socioeconomic futures in the form of alternative scenarios. In this study, we argue that the flexible design of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) can be regionally extended to produce sub-global socioeconomic storylines for application in CCIAV studies for Europe and Scotland. The downscaled European SSPs feature an innovative participatory approach and build on the global SSPs that are used as boundary conditions. In addition to assessing challenges and opportunities associated with SSPs for sub-global extension, this study aims at generating a set of internally consistent qualitative and quantitative elements, and integrated storylines for Europe and Scotland.
Is it what you measure that really matters? Alternative economic and well-being indicators in Canada
Authors: Jeff Wilson, Anders Hayden
Abstract: Many critics of conventional approaches to economic growth have demanded alternatives to Gross Domestic Product as an economic and well-being indicator. Some advocates of alternative indicators argue that they are key to shifting societal priorities away from economic growth and toward sustainability, equity, and well-being. Is this actually the case in practice? What are the necessary conditions for alternative indicators to have a major impact? This paper examines the experience in Canada (as part of a comparative project including Britain and Bhutan). We argue that the impact of alternative indicators has been minimal to date especially in regards to influencing public policy. The case of Canada, and other nations, suggests that the use of new indicators is best seen as one product of political efforts and social movement struggles to bring other values into decision making, rather than as the transformative force that will cause a change in societal priorities.
Cost-shifting success or ‘fuel’ for activism? The case of food banks in the Global North
Authors: Aaron Vansintjan, Nicolas Kosoy
Abstract: In ecological economics, research on externalities (or cost-shifting) has often focused on extractive industries and toxic waste sites. Yet cost-shifting also occurs when industries ‘dump’ excess resources, such as surplus food, onto poor communities. What happens when a form of cost-shifting (food surplus dumping) can provide de-commodified benefits (food donations) for impoverished people? Relying on an institutional analysis of the history of food banks in Canada, this study reveals how food bank volunteers process industrial food waste, taking on the costs of the food industry, while they may also use food surplus as ‘fuel’ for anti-poverty activism. This both confirms and complicates the cost-shifting thesis, showing that externalities may at times be used to fund ‘environmentalism of the poor’. It also suggests that wealth redistribution is not enough to address cost-shifting practices; ‘nested institutions’ are necessary to manage and regulate resources and externalities.
Conceptions of justice in socio-environmental conflicts. A framework proposal and application to Madagascar.
Authors: Jean-Marc Douguet, Vahinala Raharinirina, Philippe Roman, Martin O’Connor, Joan Martinez-Alier
Abstract: The analysis of socio-environmental conflicts is widespread and it crosses disciplinary boundaries. The ecological economics approach provides an account of the material reasons for increasing conflicts, through the study of societies’ metabolism. Local conflicts are thus related to global lifestyles and consumption patterns. Particular attention is also paid by ecological economists to valuation languages. We use insights from grassroots movements to devise a framework for analysing justice dimensions in environmental conflicts, and we propose a framework which is usable by actors involved in such conflicts.
We propose a framework (called the Representation Rack) which preserves the multidimensionality of environmental justice applied to case studies in Madagascar. In a first step, we define six environmental inequality criteria. In the second step, we propose to use a tool, called the Deliberation Matrix, in order to express, for different case studies, from the point of view of stakeholders, the various principles of (in)justice.
Expropriation as Injustice: Seeking for Transformative Pathways in Expropriation in Water Management of Turkey and India
Authors: Ramazan Caner Sayan, Andrew Allan
Abstract: Deeming expropriation in environmental management as a particular expression of social justice awakens the necessity to analyse the procedural issues embedded in policy processes. Expropriation processes in environmental management encompass numerous injustices related to resettlement, rehabilitation and compensation. In this paper, we argue how expropriation issues can be linked to the concept of environmental justice. Whilst recognising that expropriation issues can be analysed within a broader environmental justice understanding, consisting of distributional and recognitional justice and capabilities approach, our focus will be on the procedural issues bound to the expropriation process, which should be transformed to redress the socio-environmental consequences of this process. Accordingly, we use this framework of procedural environmental justice, and undertake a comparative analysis of expropriation cases of Turkey and India in their water management demonstrating how procedural inequalities are produced and cause injustices, which can be overcome by transforming the procedures pursued in the expropriation processes.
Social impacts of biodiversity offset projects
Authors: Cécile Bidaud
Abstract: Biodiversity Offset is a new mechanism by which development project compensate for its negative environmental impacts by conserving or restoring another area. If the focus of biodiversity offset projects mainly rests on the conservation, they might also have social impacts. This paper highlights this point through a case study of a mining company which represents the biggest investment ever in Madagascar. The first activities of this biodiversity offset project are to reduce the anthropic pressure on the forest, therefore have great impact on local livelihood. Those projects also help the peasants to intensify agriculture in order to enhance the local livelihood.
Based on a recent field investigation (October 2014 to June 2015), this presentation will develop on the positive and negative impacts of this biodiversity offset project on local community. The issue here concerns environmental justice as biodiversity offset are focusing on forest conservation while imposing changes for local livelihood.