Haste: The Slow Politics of Climate Urgency

Book edited by Håvard Haarstad, Jakob Grandin, Kristin Kjærås, and Eleanor Johnson: “It’s understandable that we tend to present climate change as something urgently requiring action. Every day we fail to act, the potential for catastrophe grows. But is that framing itself a problem?  When we hurry, we make more mistakes. We overlook things. We get tunnel vision.

  In Haste, a group of distinguished contributors makes the case for a slow politics of urgency. Rather than rushing and speeding up, he argues, the sustainable future is better served by our challenging of the dominant framings through which we understand time and change in society. While recognizing the need for certain types of urgency in climate politics, Haste directs attention to the different and alternative temporalities at play in climate and sustainability politics. Divided into short and accessible chapters, written by both established and emerging scholars from different disciplines, Haste tackles a major problem in contemporary climate change research and offers creative perspectives on pathways out of the climate emergency…(More)”

Democracy, Agony, and Rupture: A Critique of Climate Citizens’ Assemblies

Paper by Amanda Machin: “Stymied by preoccupation with short-term interests of individualist consumers, democratic institutions seem unable to generate sustained political commitment for tackling climate change. The citizens’ assembly (CA) is promoted as an important tool in combatting this “democratic myopia.” The aim of a CA is to bring together a representative group of citizens and experts from diverse backgrounds to exchange their different insights and perspectives on a complex issue. By providing the opportunity for inclusive democratic deliberation, the CA is expected to educate citizens, stimulate awareness of complex issues, and produce enlightened and legitimate policy recommendations. However, critical voices warn about the simplified and celebratory commentary surrounding the CA. Informed by agonistic and radical democratic theory, this paper elaborates on a particular concern, which is the orientation toward consensus in the CA. The paper points to the importance of disagreement in the form of both agony (from inside) and rupture (from outside) that, it is argued, is crucial for a democratic, engaging, passionate, creative, and representative sustainability politics…(More)”.

Access to Data for Environmental Purposes: Setting the Scene and Evaluating Recent Changes in EU Data Law

Paper by Michèle Finck, and Marie-Sophie Mueller: “Few policy issues will be as defining to the EU’s future as its reaction to environmental decline, on the one hand, and digitalisation, on the other. Whereas the former will shape the (quality of) life and health of humans, animals and plants, the latter will define the future competitiveness of the internal market and relatedly, also societal justice and cohesion. Yet, to date, the interconnections between these issues are rarely made explicit, as evidenced by the European Commission’s current policy agendas on both matters. With this article, we hope to contribute to, ideally, a soon growing conversation about how to effectively bridge environmental protection and digitalisation. Specifically, we examine how EU law shapes the options of using data—the lifeblood of the digital economy—for environmental sustainability purposes, and ponder the impact of on-going legislative reform…(More)”.

Handbook on Adaptive Governance

Book edited by Sirkku Juhola: “The interconnectedness of global society is increasingly visible through crises such as the current global health pandemic, emerging climate change impacts and increasing erosion of biodiversity. This timely Handbook navigates the challenges of adaptive governance in these complex contexts, stressing the necessarily compounded nature of bio-physical and social systems to ensure more desirable governance outcomes…(More)”.

Common Data Environment: Bridging the Digital Data Sharing Gap Among Construction Organizations

Paper by Yong Jia Tan et al: “Moving into the 21st century, digital data sharing is pertinent towards the construction industry technology advancement. Preeminent digital data sharing revolves around construction organizations’ effective data management and digital data utilization within the Common Data Environment (CDE). Interconnected data is the heart of the construction industry’s future digital utility. Albeit the progressive digitalization uptake, the absence of integrated digital data collaboration efforts due to working-in-silo facet impedes the Malaysian construction organizations capability to capitalize the technology potential at best. To identify the types of digital data and the potential of digital data sharing through Common Data Environment within the Malaysian construction industry, this study adopts thematic analysis methodology on five in-depth case study on CDE adoption among construction organizations. The presented case study further identified through snowball sampling method. The analysis reveals the three main data categories created by construction organization in CDE are graphical data, non-graphical data, and associated construction project documents. Findings further identifies eight potentials of CDE data sharing namely improved efficiency, productivity, collaboration, effective decision making, cost and time savings, security, and accessibility. Ultimately, this study presents insights and explorative avenues for construction stakeholders to transcend advanced technology maximization and boost the industry productivity gain…(More)”.

Data from satellites is starting to spur climate action

Miriam Kramer and Alison Snyder at Axios: “Data from space is being used to try to fight climate change by optimizing shipping lanes, adjusting rail schedules and pinpointing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why it matters: Satellite data has been used to monitor how human activities are changing Earth’s climate. Now it’s being used to attempt to alter those activities and take action against that change.

  • “Pixels are great but nobody really wants pixels except as a step to answering their questions about how the world is changing and how that should assess and inform their decisionmaking,” Steven Brumby, CEO and co-founder of Impact Observatory, which uses AI to create maps from satellite data, tells Axios in an email.

What’s happening: Several satellite companies are beginning to use their capabilities to guide on-the-ground actions that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

  • UK-based satellite company Inmarsat, which provides telecommunications to the shipping and agriculture industries, is working with Brazilian railway operator Rumo to optimize train trips — and reduce fuel use.
  • Maritime shipping, which relies on heavy fuel oil, is another sector where satellites could help to reduce emissions by routing ships more efficiently and prevent communications-caused delays, says Inmarsat’s CEO Rajeev Suri. The industry contributes 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Carbon capture, innovations in steel and cement production and other inventions are important for addressing climate change, Suri says. But using satellites is “potentially low-hanging fruit because these technologies are already available.”

Other satellites are also tracking emissions of methane — a strong greenhouse gas — from landfills and oil and gas production.

  • “It’s a needle in a haystack problem. There are literally millions of potential leak points all over the world,” says Stéphane Germain, founder and CEO of GHGSat, which monitors methane emissions from its six satellites in orbit.
  • A satellite dedicated to honing in on carbon dioxide emissions is due to launch later this year…(More)”.

Global Renewables Watch

About: “The Global Renewables Watch is a first-of-its-kind living atlas intended to map and measure all utility-scale solar and wind installations on Earth using artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imagery, allowing users to evaluate clean energy transition progress and track trends over time. It also provides unique spatial data on land use trends to help achieve the dual aims of the environmental protection and increasing renewable energy capacity….(More)”

Open Government and Climate Change

Paper by the World Bank: “The world needs more urgent and ambitious action to address climate change. Seventy-one countries have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury. Nevertheless, achieving decarbonization and adapting to climate change will require fundamental changes in the production of goods and services by firms and the consumption patterns and behavior of citizens. Climate change poses difficult challenges for policy makers, and three particular challenges make the open government principles of transparency, participation, and accountability especially important. First, countries often face the political challenge of credibly committing to climate action over the long term, in that they must commit to action over multiple electoral cycles if the private sector, households, communities, and public entities are to adopt new technologies and change behavior. Second, climate change requires coordination between government and nongovernment actors, as there will be winners and losers along the way and governments will need to work toward consensus to balance the outcomes. Third, governments have to translate promises into climate action. The principles of open government can be especially useful in tackling all three challenges by harnessing and ensuring citizen trust in government and in the legitimacy of climate-directed policy decisions. This note will show how the use of open government principles and mechanisms can make a notable contribution to climate change action. It provides examples of such measures as well as an inventory of existing good practices and tools, which can serve as a source of inspiration for policy makers and citizens alike…(More)”.

Data drives media coverage of climate refugees

Case study by Sherry Ricchiardi: “Data has become a springboard for journalists on the frontlines of the climate refugee crisis. It points them to weather emergencies in hot zones like South Asia and Central America and to humans facing misery and despair.

Jorge A., a Guatemalan farmer lost his corn crop to floods. He planted okra, but a drought killed it off. He feared if he didn’t get his family out, they, too, might die.

Jorge’s story was told in gripping detail in a data-driven investigation by ProPublica in partnership with The New York Times Magazine, exploring how changes in population patterns could lead to catastrophe. The “Great Climate Migration Has Begun,” presented as a visual essay, cited scenarios of how this crisis might play out.

The joint venture, supported by the Pulitzer Center, had an over-arching strategy: To model, for the first time, how climate refugees might move across international borders. The modeling informed the journalist’s findings and “possible general pathways for the future.”

“Should the flight away from hot climates reach the scale that current research suggests is likely, it will amount to a vast remapping of the world’s population,” wrote ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten, lead author for the 2020 series…

Journalists have taken a stand on how they cover the climate beat. Their view of what constitutes a “balanced news report” has shifted from “he said, she said” objectivity toward a “weight of evidence” approach. Mainstream media are giving climate skeptics less time and for good reason.

Researchers long had raised concerns that the media distorted scientific consensus on climate change by “false balance” reporting or “bothsidesism,” giving climate deniers too much say. Research by Northwestern University psychology professor David Rapp sheds light on the controversy.

During a co-authored study, experiments were conducted to test how people would respond when two views about climate change were presented as equally valid, even though one side was based on scientific consensus and the other on denial. Among the conclusions, “When both sides of an argument are presented, people tend to have lower estimates about scientific consensus and seem to be less likely to believe climate change is something to worry about.” A campus publication touted, “Northwestern research finds ‘bothsidesism’ in journalism undermines science.”..(More)”.

Behavioural Economics and the Environment

Book edited by Alessandro Bucciol, Alessandro Tavoni and Marcella Veronesi: “Humans have long neglected to fully consider the impact of their behaviour on the environment. From excessive consumption of fossil fuels and natural resources to pollution, waste disposal, and, in more recent years, climate change, most people and institutions lack a clear understanding of the environmental consequences of their actions. The new field of behavioural environmental economics seeks to address this by applying the framework of behavioural economics to environmental issues, thereby rationalizing unexplained puzzles and providing a more realistic account of individual behaviour.

This book provides a complete and rigorous overview of environmental topics that may be addressed and, in many instances, better understood by integrating a behavioural approach. This volume features state-of-the-art research on this topic by influential scholars in behavioural and environmental economics, focussing on the effects of psychological, social and cognitive factors on the decision-making process. It presents research performed using different methods and data collection mechanisms (e.g. laboratory experiments, field experiments, natural experiments, online surveys) on a variety of environmental topics (e.g. sustainability, natural resources)…(More)”.