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.