Europe and the Global Green Economy

Europe leading the "Global Green Economy" ? : Rio +20

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The fragile agreement – seen as a positive surprise - on cutting carbon emissions reached at the end of 2011 in Durban, is widely held to have emerged thanks only to the vigorous efforts of the EU contingent. Europe proved itself, still, to be a key player. But can Europe now lead the way towards a genuinely sustainable, green, economy?

Questions on the table include: What are the new economic and social benefits of a green economy? Can Europe - and surrounding regions - afford a green economy if no binding UN agreements are reached on carbon emissions, labor rights or environmental protection? What economic and development sacrifices can, and will, Europe make in the quest for such agreements? What role shall be played by the E.U. in making this happen? How should Europe work with powerful countries such as the US, and China, and Russia? Are sanctions possible - and ethically acceptable - to ensure binding and meaningful agreements?


We invite students and scholars to enter the discussion by contributing their views on issues surrounding the conference. Interested participants should contact the Europaeum office with submissions.

Leaders on climate action meet to discuss proposed new coalition

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Reprinted from the Oxford school of Martin news


Leading figures from a range of countries and organisations committed to addressing climate change met last week to discuss a new coalition to kickstart action on the issue. The C20-C30-C40 coalition of countries, companies and cities is one of the recommendations proposed in Now for the Long Term, the report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations. During the same week, the Commission report was presented at France Stratégie (a unit within the French Prime Minister's Office), and productive discussions were held with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on the Commission's Fit Cities recommendation, and with the Secretary-General of the OECD, Ángel Gurría, on a range of Commission proposals.

Please read the entire article here

High-level global climate change MOOC for GUPES

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy Reprinted from University World News by Wachira Kigotho
The United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, has produced a 50-hour masters module climate change MOOC – massive open online course – that will be taught through the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability, or GUPES, and is expected to reach a large global audience. The plan to launch the new MOOC “Disasters, Ecosystems and Risk Reduction”, developed in collaboration with Cologne University of Applied Sciences and the Center for Natural Resources and Development in Germany, was announced on 23 June during the historic first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly held at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.“There is a high demand outside academia for training on environmental disasters and risks to ecosystems as a result of climate change,” Mahesh Pradhan, head of UNEP’s environmental education and training unit, told University World News.
Please read the entire article here.

Precious resouces : Water-Energy-Food Nexus (2)

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy Submitted on 01/07/2014 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Gaining a better understanding of how water is linked to energy and food production is critically important to mitigate international risks and foster sustainable development in the 21st Century. In May 2014, an exciting International Conference on Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus took place in Bonn, Germany. This ambitious Conference  brought together leading experts and policy makers from across the globe for an 'internal policy consultation process', with the aim of informing and influencing key actors into action so as to kick-start the development and implementation of 'strategies that jointly address water, energy, and food in a comprehensive nexus approach'. There were over 100 presentations on over 20 stimulating session topics ranging from 'The Water-Energy Nexus in Shared River Basins - How Hydropower Shapes Cooperation and Coordination' to 'Agriculture, Biofuels, and Watersheds: Nexus Governance Challenges at Local and Global Scales'.

Water-Energy-Food Nexus: a free insight into precious resources

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 29/05/2014 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Better understanding how water is linked to energy and food production is critically important to mitigate international risks and foster sustainable development in the 21st Century. Last week's International Conference on Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Bonn, Germany, saw almost a hundred presentations that have just been released to support policy makers, practitioners and researchers as they consider a nexus approach.


The presentations (available here) covered more than 20 session topics. Here are just 7 that reflect this broad spectrum of research and applications:



Is 692 a Lucky Number?

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 10/09/2012 by Sheena Miller, graduate student, Helsinki University 2011-13

Some are still applauding the 692 voluntary agreements made at the historic United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which recently t ended.  Combined, these agreements ambitiously aim to tackle manifold issues, ranging from gender empowerment and poverty to youth unemployment and access to clean water, are worth unimaginable amounts, estimated at some $513 billion US dollars.

It seems to me, a few of the agreements do indeed have impressive financial  support behind them. For example the Asian Development Bank along with eight additional multilateral development banks pledged to invest nearly $200 billion in the development of sustainable transport systems. The sheer size of these numbers reflects an unparalleled pledge from governments, civil society and the private sector to the fundamental principles at the core of sustainable development and economic well-being. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon even remarked “These huge numbers, [give] a sense of the scale and growth of investment going into sustainable development.”

Risks of climate disaster

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 09/08/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Two remarkable scientists have just written a short and sharp piece for the Financial Times on how our focus on the global economic crisis has totally eclipsed the issue of climate disasters.

They articulate why it'll be more devastating in the (not so) long term because of our societal inertia and invite the scientific community to join in the debat to make a change. You can also make one it by reading their enlightening call

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7563449e-dd56-11e1-8fdc-00144feab49a.html

Rio+20's Oceans for a sustainable 21st C.

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 30/06/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

When debating Earth' environments, Oceans and seas have too often been the forgotten ones for decades. In only 6 minutes however, Peter Neil, Dr. of the World Ocean Observatory, made a refreshing podcast on how Rio+20 addressed this major issue, and then replaced it into its global environmental governance context. Definitely worth listening.

You can find it below and explore through their website a whole under-explored dimension of our world's environment. A blue one. Enjoy. http://thew2o.net/world-ocean-radio

Rio+20: Third PrepCom and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)

Tags: Event Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Reprinted from UNCSD summary issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)-- United Nations Office

On 22 June 2012, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) adopted the outcome document titled “The Future We Want," and, following statements by governments, UN officials and Brazilian President Rousseff, the meeting closed at 8:41 pm. The final day of the three-day event opened with statements by 8 Heads of State and Government and 45 Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and heads of delegation. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among the speakers, and announced a partnership between the US and African nations, with US$20 million in funding, to unlock private financing for clean energy projects in Africa and beyond. In her closing statement, Brazilian President Rousseff pledged US$6 million to UNEP’s fund targeting developing countries, and will direct US$10 million towards climate change challenges in Africa, least developed countries, and SIDS. A similar pledge had been offered earlier in the meeting by Wen Jiabao, Premier of China, and total pledges of US$513 billion in funding were reported to have been committed by governments, the private sector, civil society and other groups in response to a call for voluntary commitments to achieve the Conference’s goals. In closing the Conference, Rousseff stressed that Rio+20 was the most participatory conference in history and was a “global expression of democracy.” She also said that Rio+20 has demonstrated multilateralism is a legitimate pathway to build solutions for global problems. In all, 12,000 individuals were reported to have registered to attend the official Rio+20 event and its 500 official side events, and another 30,000 participated in one or more of the up to 3000 unofficial parallel events that took place throughout Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At Rio+20, the green economy won’t save the planet. But green democracy will.

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Reprinted from The Commonwealth Advisory Bureau - Opinions series by Raj Patel and Martin Crook

Coverage of the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit has tended either to express exasperation at the futility of a single conference attempting to address multiple planetary crises or to bemoan the fact that, while laudable, the little that is being done comes too late. Both views are wrong. There is, in fact, a great deal being done in the environment’s name and much more of it will be pushed between 20–22 June in Brazil. Unfortunately, the central solution presented by policymakers – The Green Economy – will make matters worse. This concept, a way of putting a price on the use of natural resources previously considered ‘free’, is being touted as the only way to prevent future crises. In this Opinion, we explain how the green economy approach – relying as it does on the kinds of broken mechanisms that precipitated the current financial crisis – will only further incentivise the exploitation and destruction of the ecosystems on which we all depend. And while humans are accelerating the rate of species extinction, it is not too late to adopt the kinds of policies that have demonstrated success in combatting the global crises in food, energy and climate change. Policymakers at Rio+20 ought to look away from the greenwash, to the concrete proposals already enacted by social movements around the world. Their environmental solutions have the advantage of enfranchising the poor, transforming social relationships with nature and, most importantly when compared to the Green Economy approach, they actually work.

Click here to read the CA/B Opinion! http://www.commonwealthadvisorybureau.org/opinion.html

Children and Youth at the Rio+20 Conference

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 23/05/2012 by Mariana Spratley, European Studies graduate from IEP, Catholic University of Lisbon

Children and Youth is one of the Major Groups at the Rio+20 Conference. There will be an official preparatory event, the Conference on Youth for Rio+20 (aka Youth Blast), on 7-12 June, to prepare and empower the children and youth who will be present at the Conference. Numerous countries have also already chosen youth representatives to become part of their delegation.

This shows that indeed many positive preparatory steps are being taken, but the question will remain of how much voice will be given to the youth perspective and those who are so often called the planet’s future leaders. We will only be able to judge this in the aftermath of Rio+20, but, even though the focus will fall mainly on the current world leaders, the smartest move is to engage young people in the politics of sustainable development and to use the opportunity of a high-profile, prominent event to do so: to listen to their views and truly consider them as relevant contributors to the debate and include them in the decision-making itself. If the Conference is successful, participants will need to commit to specific goals and policies of which children and young people will be great beneficiaries, if not the greatest. It is necessary that they be seriously given an active role rather than a passive one.

Short summary of the Rio+20 preparatory negotiations

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Reprinted from The Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary byLangston James "Kimo" Goree VI, Vice President, Reporting Services and United Nations Liaison, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)-- United Nations Office

NOTE: The following short piece is an up to date summary of the latest rounds of preparatory negotiations in the run up to Rio+20, written by the Vice-President of the International Institute of Sustainable Development (the 'IISD', which monitores most UN environmental conferences). Definitely worth reading. - Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Outsourcing environmental politics: why environmental ombudspersons are not an obviously good thing

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Reprinted from —socialjusticefirst on 27/04/2012 by Joseph Markus

A blogpost on the Guardian website, written by Christopher Weeramantry, former ICJ judge, Ashok Khosla and Scilla Elworthy, makes the case for the appointment of environmental guardians. These ‘ombudspeople’—destined to form an element of the talks at the Rio+20 summit this June—will hold a mandate to promote sustainable development for future generations.

At face value this seems to present a good idea. Future generations, as such, don’t have a political voice. They have no lobbyists, no-one to protect their interests. This is very much in contrast to the other end of the spectrum, covered by the Heartland Institute and the insidious ‘Kochtopus’. The environmental ombudsperson could fill this gap and ensure that some concept of intergenerational equity features, to some extent, in global environmental policy-making. (Though, of course, when it comes to global warming, the younger generations will experience at least some of the anticipated fallout, so it isn’t entirely true that ‘the future’ has no voice. It’s just that the voice of youth is more usually ignored.)

A sustainable transition. Overcoming the crises from Rio to Rio and beyond

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 18/04/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Executive Director at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner was asked to deliver the Aurelio Peccei Lecture in Rome, 30 March 2012. the full version of the lecture “Learning to Live on Only One Planet—Towards the UN Summit in Rio” is available there, on the website Climate Science&Policy.

In substance, Achim Steiner argued that Rio+20 needs to be more than just economics and has to cope with fundamental barriers. A suite of persistent, evolving and emerging crises is becoming real and is going to affect our lives in the long term. To deal with subsidies is good in the short period but is not enough and we should focus on critical sectors of the economy such as human and natural capital, said Steiner. Starting from a question that was raised twenty years ago: did the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 fail? It did not; for Achim Steiner, it rather laid the foundations upon which a new generation of leaders must build something.

Taking the lead in the negotiations

Tags: Europe and the Global Green EconomyEurope and the Global Green Economy

Submitted on 15/04/2012 by Sijmen Groot, Leiden University Law and EU Studies graduate

The EU can only play a role in battling climate change (if that is possible at all) if it still exists in the future. Therefore the EU negotiators have to secure the interests of the EU Member States. That does not mean that the EU is there to frustrate the talks, on the contrary. The EU wants to show leadership, a good example and ‘a positive outcome for all in Rio’ (see here). The EU’s Environmental Commissioner Potočnik said that “Europe has the duty and the responsibility to take the lead at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June”(see here). Indeed, taking the lead is the best way of prioritizing one’s own interests.