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Posts Tagged ‘policy’

Mapping Global Climate Action

Posted in Models, Tools by Jessica Bird on October 25th, 2012

Source: The Climate Institute

Screenshot from the Global Climate Action Map website

An initiative of the Climate Institute, the Global Climate Action Map is an interactive tool for exploring what countries around the world are doing in terms of policy action on climate change. It’s a great way of learning about how governments are addressing issues such a renewable energy and emissions targets, carbon pricing, energy efficiency, forest and farming emissions, and emissions standards.

From the Global Climate Action Map website:

Aim: All major emitting countries are implementing policies to reduce emissions, drive clean energy investment and improve energy efficiency. This is driven by a range of factors including the need to reduce local and global air pollution, avoid environmental degradation, improve energy security and build new industries and employment opportunities. This map, while not exhaustive, seeks to provide a summary of high-level national actions on climate change.

Purpose: While countries representing over 80 per cent of global emissions have now committed to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions, the current commitments on the table mean the world is still heading for 3-4 degrees of global warming. Current national policies are a foundation to build upon, but more cooperation and increased ambition is needed to truly address the challenge.

Visit the Global Climate Action Map to explore the map yourself.


Funding small-scale solar projects for widespread gains

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on May 3rd, 2012

Photo by Rajiv Patel (Rajiv’s View) via flickr CC

From “Solar rooftops sought in poor communities” by Bernice Yeung:

San Diego is home to more than 2,600 solar residential rooftops – more than any other California city – but in the neighboring lower-income community of National City, there are only about a dozen.

A bill before the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce this month seeks to equalize renewable energy installation in the state by promoting small-scale solar rooftops in the disadvantaged communities. The bill targets neighborhoods with high unemployment rates and those that “bear a disproportionate burden from air pollution, disease, and other impacts from the generation of electricity from the burning of fossil fuels,” the bill said. Bill author Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Mountain View, said the legislation would create jobs and build “cleaner, safer, and healthier neighborhoods.”


The legislation would require the state to install enough systems to produce 375 megawatts of renewable energy – or about 1,000 small-scale projects – in disadvantaged communities between 2014 and the end of 2020. Utility companies are required by a 2011 state law to achieve a 33 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2020. The renewable energy systems supported by Fong’s bill would take the form of rooftop solar installations on apartment complexes and commercial buildings, and each project would be limited to producing 500 kilowatts of power, a project the size of a typical Costco rooftop. Advocates say passage of the bill could improve both the health and economy of these low-income communities.

Through a program known as “feed-in tariff,” the owner of the solar panels would be able to earn revenue by selling back unused energy to the local utility company. Additionally, the bill promotes the hiring of local workers to install the solar panels. And because reliance on carbon dioxide-emitting power plants used during periods of high energy demand – called peaker plants – could be decreased with an increase in renewable energy creation, there are health implications to the bill, said Strela Cervas of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, which sponsored the legislation.


Read the full article by Bernice Yeung on California Watch.

Climate Challenge: Play the game

Posted in Models, Tools by Kate Archdeacon on December 14th, 2011

Climate Challenge: Earth’s future is in your hands

A game where you are president of the European Nations. You must tackle climate change and stay popular enough with the voters to remain in office.

Play the game.

(It’s a bit confusing but the help button gets you through) 

About the game:

Currently there is a growing consensus amongst climate researchers that Earth’s climate is changing in response to man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The main debate amongst scientists is focussed on the amount of climate change we can expect, not whether it will happen. With the current level of debate in mind, the BBC decided a game might be a good introductory route into climate change and some of the issues this creates for governments around the world. The producers’ primary goal was to make a fun, challenging game. At times it was necessary to strike a compromise between strict scientific accuracy and playability. For this reason, Climate Challenge should not be taken as a serious climate change prediction. Wherever possible, real research has been incorporated into the game. This document describes the scientific sources used to create Climate Challenge and some of the compromises made by the producers. These sources are a good starting point for someone interested in learning more about climate change. This document also describes some of the compromises the producers made for the sake of playability.

Game focus and aims

Apart from the primary goal of creating a fun game, Climate Challenge’s producers aimed to:

  • give an understanding of some of the causes of climate change, particularly those related to carbon dioxide emissions.
  • give players an awareness of some of the policy options available to governments.
  • give a sense of the challenges facing international climate change negotiators.

Players must respond to catastrophic events caused by climate change as well as natural and manmade events, which may or may not be linked to climate change. This aspect of the game is meant to give some idea of what could happen as the Earth’s climate changes and also introduce the unpredictable nature of some natural events.

Information Technology Supporting Transparent Future Food Policy

Posted in Movements, Opinion, Tools by Kate Archdeacon on May 13th, 2011

Source: Projects To Finish Someday via Sustainable Cities Collective

From “Information Technology: Coming to a Food Policy Near You” by Mari Pierce-Quinonez:

There are currently dozens of smartphone and internet apps designed to bring good food to tech-savvy consumers. You can now type in your location, the type of food you want and immediately get both directions to the best restaurant to go and the story behind the food they’re serving.  If buying food in bulk to cook at home is more your thing, beta versions of a wholesale purchasing app is now available by invitation.  Or if you want to grow your own, there are applications to aid you in planning your garden, sites to find a yard if you don’t already have one, and mobile apps with maps to fruit-bearing trees on public property.  But the food system is more than foodies finding their next fix: the modern tech-movement goes beyond consumer-oriented apps.  Food advocates and academics are using technology to connect the food system dots and are making good food policy decisions easier.

In the past, federal policymakers kept track of their own program-specific data: how many acres of farmland they had preserved, the nutrition status of the US population, the amount of vitamin D available in a particular type of milk.  By moving everything online and opening this data up to everyone, all sorts of sophisticated policy recommendations can be made.  The USDA’s Food Environment Atlas was released last year to much fanfare for the interactive maps that could show the state of the national food system.  Much more exciting was the fact that this data was all available for download, and the site continues to act as a datahub for food policy advocates.  Advocates and technophiles are using this data to produce reports and visualizations that help rally support as they begin to mobilize around the 2012 farm bill.


Read the full article by Mari Pierce-Quinonez over on Projects To Finish Someday.

Making Cities Flow: Integration & Infrastructure

Posted in Models, Opinion, Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 3rd, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future

Image: fsse8info via flickr CC

From “How to make a city flow” by Matt Kaplan & Anna Simpson:

Cities never really sleep. Even in the small hours, before commuters surge from their homes onto the roads, the things they need for the day ahead are travelling to and fro: groceries from the countryside; water down the pipes; electrons through cables; news down the wire.

In many cities, all this ebb and flow is like a relay race without proper teams: there’s no real coordination, and so the baton keeps falling between the runners. The people responsible for public transport don’t speak to the ones distributing the food; the energy providers don’t communicate with the information experts. Delivery vans make a one-way trip and come back empty; leftovers from the canteen travel, at best, to composting sites, and at worst, to landfill – while fresh and processed food is brought in from far away.

The daily frustrations of city dwellers asides, this failure to think and plan across different sectors means we waste everything from energy, food and water, to money, time and space – all critical resources that no city with a burgeoning population has to spare. By 2040, two in every three people on the planet will be living in urban areas, and providing them all with the bare necessities – never mind a seat on the bus – will be a huge challenge.

It may seem a way off yet, but less than 30 years isn’t much time in which to make major changes to infrastructure that – in some of the bigger cities – has been around for centuries. Where do we start, and whose job is it anyway? In an effort to help get things started, Forum for the Future has launched ‘Megacities on the Move‘, a new initiative in partnership with the FIA Foundation, Vodafone and EMBARQ (the sustainable transport centre). It’s set out six key priorities for action to ensure the smoothest flow of people and resources.


Read the rest of the article by Matt Kaplan & Anna Simpson – the section reproduced here is less than a quarter of it!


The UK’s Role in Protecting our Future Supply Chain: Transcript

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on December 10th, 2010

Image: jurvetson via flickr CC

Caroline Spelman, UK Environment Secretary, outlines the government’s aim to maximise food productivity in an environmentally sustainable way.

The UK’s role in protecting our future supply chain, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK,  6 December 2010.  This speech was given at the conference Food Security 2010 – Making Food Security Work: Matching supply to demand. The conference was held at Chatham House, London, and the paper is available on their website.


“This year is ending as it started, with heavy snow on the ground and speculation – both in the media and the markets – about the consequent rise in food prices. This January, cauliflowers turned to pulp in frozen ground, forcing consumers to turn to imports at £2 apiece. The price of parsnips and carrots rose by as much as 30% in some shops and, in Ireland, 6,000 acres of potatoes went un-harvested. Fast forward to early summer and the NFU warned that the driest first six months in this country in nearly 70 years would hit grain production particularly badly. While late summer brought a Russian ban on grain exports in the face of drought and wildfires – which in turn helped drive up prices globally.

Significant as these events were, they took place within a wider context with even more serious implications for us all. The Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, Sir John Beddington, has warned us of what he calls the perfect storm – of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources which could threaten stability within the next 20 years. The food price spikes of two years ago were caused by a combination of factors colliding at the same time – poor yields due to climactic conditions, high energy prices, export restrictions, currency fluctuations and low global food stockpiles among them.

Some of these factors were entirely outside the control of governments, markets and food producers. But many of them were not. Many of them were the result of longer term underlying and predictable causes – causes we have an even better understanding of today. And with that understanding, I believe, comes the responsibility of government to encourage suppliers, manufacturers and producers to take the steps they needed to mitigate against these factors.

We need to start now – building into our whole supply chain the capacity, the resilience and the sustainability we will need to feed a projected world population of over 9 billion people by 2050. As we said in our Structural Reform Plan, this Government’s priority is to support and develop British farming while encouraging sustainable food production. This involves helping build capacity both in the UK and globally – because it is on the global stage that the impacts of crises are played out. This is about the whole food chain, and about supporting this Government’s priorities on trade, green jobs and growth and development. It is not about the UK battening down the hatches and dreaming of splendid agricultural isolation – trade is a critical part of ensuring the UK’s food security. We need to meet both our own needs and those of the wider world and cooperation internationally is the only meaningful way to do this.” Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK.

Read the full transcript for more on strategy, goals, technologies in developing countries, EC policies, and resource pressures.


Climate-change affordability: Economic study

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on November 19th, 2009

Source: Environmental Research Web

Image: D Sharon Pruitt via flickr CC

From “Climate-change policy is affordable after allby Liz Kalaugher

Climate policy is cheaper than most economic studies have suggested. Indeed it is affordable without causing any disastrous effects on our economies. That’s according to Jeroen van den Bergh of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  “I wasn’t satisfied with the dominant economic approaches, notably cost-benefit analysis of climate policy,” van den Bergh told environmentalresearchweb. “In addition, I had the feeling that many important arguments, including very down-to-earth ones, were being left out of the debate on climate policy. I decided therefore to list all the relevant alternative perspectives on the cost of climate policy I could come up with in a single paper.”

Writing in Climatic Change, van den Bergh details twelve new angles on climate policy cost that haven’t received any attention so far. He believes that cost-benefit analysis isn’t appropriate for climate change policies as it’s hard to be certain about the costs of climate damage, to put a cost on the value of a human life, or to handle scenarios that have a small probability of taking place but would have a high impact, including irreversible changes such as a slow-down of the global thermohaline circulation, or the collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.  The studies tend also to neglect the impact of climate change on human conflict, biodiversity, economic development and human populations. Cost-benefit analyses carried out to date have come up with a wide range of estimates for climate costs. Instead van den Bergh prefers to assess the cost of a reasonably safe climate policy.

“If it can be argued that a safe climate policy means considerably lower net costs than the absence of such a policy, it is rational to be in favour of such a policy,” he writes. “This represents a kind of cost-effectiveness combined with precaution, given the uncertainties involved, aimed at avoiding extreme damage costs due to climate change.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Take the train: BBC Worldwide bans short-haul executive flights

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 28th, 2009

Source: GreenRazor, the GreenPages Newsletter

Paper plane_dmitri krendelev_flickrCC_Att_SA
Image: dmitri krendelev via flickr CC

From “BBC Worldwide bans short-haul executive flights” by James Murray, BusinessGreen, 02 Oct 2009

Staff at BBC Worldwide have been banned from taking domestic and short-haul flights as part of one of the most wide-ranging green travel programmes yet attempted in the UK. Executives have been told they can only fly when travelling by train adds more than three hours to the journey. The edict, from the BBC’s commercial arm, means that staff have to take the train to all domestic locations, as well as European cities as far afield as Strasbourg, Amsterdam and Bordeaux.

In addition, they must formally explain why a meeting cannot be held using one of the company’s five videoconferencing suites before they can book a long-haul flight.

“For some people it has been a bit painful,” admitted David Halford, head of ethical sourcing and environmental policy at the company. “But we consulted with the baird {sic} before we introduced the policy and took the view that if we are really serious about cutting emissions it will be painful at times.” The company’s environmental department also undertook a study of all journeys taken in the year prior to introducing the policy and found that switching to the train would save the organisation money. “One of the complaints was that rail travel would be more expensive than flying, but we analysed the data from an entire year and that was just not the case,” said Halford.

Read the full article.

Research on climate change policy in The Journal of Environment & Development

Posted in Research by fedwards on November 19th, 2008

A new issue of The Journal of Environment & Development has recently been published and is available online: 1 December 2008; Vol. 17, No. 4. Topics include a range of research based on climate change politics in places such as Germany, China, California and Japan. Click here to access the table of contents.

The thin green line

Posted in Research by Devin Maeztri on November 12th, 2008

This abstract was recently listed on Australian Policy Online. To see the original document visit The thin green line: Climate change and Australian policing.

The thin green line: Climate change and Australian policing
Anthony Bergin and Ross Allen / Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Posted: 24-10-2008

This report examines the implications of climate change for Australia’s police forces and officers. It is written by Anthony Bergin and Ross Allen. The report has a number of recommendations including the creation of an information hub and the development of risk assessments of the locations that will be most affected by climate change as part of a multi-agency strategic approach to climate change adaptation.

To read the full document download The thin green line: Climate change and Australian policing.