Laurent Lambert

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

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.

Turning water utilities green, à la World Bank

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

Submitted on 13/04/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

The World Bank published last year an interesting report entitled TURNING LATIN AMERICA’S WATER UTILITIES GREEN: LESSONS FROM SPAIN. For me, this was a highly controversial title for what it is.

The authors argue that Spain is“at the forefront of water management strategies that address both climate change and efficiency (…)(due to) the country’s first hand experience with climatic shifts.

They explain Spain’s achievements by a combination of internal factors (“the severity of drought periods and the inadequateness of management approaches in the 1980’s and 1990’s resulted in rivers running dry and cities, in risk of evacuation, requiring emergency supply from water tankers”) and an external driver of change: “the European Union’s emphasis on responding to climate variability has also played an important role in spurring the development of institutional structures to facilitate adaptation and mitigation plans in Spain.”

Climate change as a catalyst for change or as a threat to environmental governance?

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

Submitted on 03/04/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Getting close to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, we can observe that many debates approach the environment through the specific perspective of climate change. The European University Institute is by the way organizing soon a workshop with a title that says a lot about this situation: ‘The dominance of climate change in environmental law: taking stock for Rio+20’.

This dominance could have unanticipated negative consequences because of the relative neglect of equally important environmental issues such as biodiversity and endangered species protection, the fight against deforestation and desertification, developing sustainable agriculture practices, etc. All these problems are inter-connected and consequently require an integrative and coherent environmental global governance to be solved.

Using skype, or ash clouds in the sky? New perspectives for the green debate

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

Submitted on 23/02/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

In this post and the next one, I will give an opinion on two thought-provoking posts. One wondering if travelling to foreign countries for environmental events is not incoherent, the other inviting us to (re)consider geo-engineering technologies (in this case ash clouds) to avoid climate change catastrophes.

Before entering the battlefield of environmental ideologies and politics, I should clearly state that even if the following opinion may seem polemical, my approach is peaceful and actually stems from works in environmental diplomacy. This approach implies looking for new perspectives to what is often presented as irreconcilable positions, generally over disputed natural resources, here over conflicting green doctrines.

Something generally ignored but capital for our debate is that, for roughly twenty years now, two specific camps of environmentalists have been waging a war of ideas over what should be the green economic paradigm.

Will your next job be truly green? It may depend on you

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

Submitted on 13/02/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

A recently published UN study shows actually that most young people interviewed in developing and industrialized countries were very keen on working in the green economy. The report's conclusion states that:

"Participants identified emerging opportunities for youth employment in new types of jobs in the fields of information and communication technologies (ITCs), social networking and environmental sustainability (“green jobs”). Many young people reported that their ideal job is to work in – or to create – green jobs for the future." 

I believe that critically debating the green economy is very important. Interestingly, many of us are interested in this professional field though it is still very poorly defined, leading to many inconsistencies. We naturally label as a 'green job' developing renewable energies. But can we also consider 'clean coal' (i.e. a technology that decreases the pollution emitted by burning coal) as a green industry, while its development competes with the one of renewable energies, which are radically more environmentally friendly than coal

Rio+20: reinventing hope?

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

Submitted on 30/1/2012 by Laurent Lambert, Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
Europaeum Research Director for 2012 Prague Workshop and for 2010 Paris Workshop

Love it or loath it, yet another world summit to save the world will take place in May. We Europeans, more than any others, should be used to it now. For the last three years, we’ve had an incredible proliferation of 'last-chance summits': to save the climate or perish in Copenhagen, to save our banks from collapse then, or more recently to save Greece and the Euro currency - in an interminable series of emergency meetings. The problem is, that we have not solved once and for good any of these issues.

The Copenhagen accord proved to be a failure; the Euro remains fragile; and, to say the least, Greece is still in a precarious situation. Only our banks – already back to old greedy ways, short returns and obscene bonuses – appear to have successfully escaped the danger zone. A truly debatable outcome, in other words. So, at a time of multiple crises, can we, Europeans, truly afford a new summit? (the 72 hours of G8/G20 twin summits in Canada cost roughly € 762,5 million, half of it for security cover alone!) The answer is - surprisingly - yes. For two main reasons.

Cancun climate agreement on the need to show off any outcome?

Tags: Politics and Economics of Climate ChangePolitics and Economics of Climate Change

Submitted on 12/12/2010 by Laurent Lambert, DPhil Cand. - St Antony's College, University of Oxford:

Joyful faces, loud and prolonged applauses, people congratulating one another, we really could enjoy nice images from Cancun’s ending negotiations recently. Apparently, a ’climate deal’ has finally been reached in Cancun. Great! But, what’s his name actually?

Well, there is no real name for it. It is not a new protocol, agreement or accord that would be comprehensive, or legally binding. There is instead a ’package’ (the UNFCCC’s term). From a diplomatic perspective, one can only be intrigued or even alarmed that the UN climate negotiations have gone through a gradual process of declining ambitions. From a legally binding Protocol in Kyoto, it went through an 'Accord’ in Copenhagen last year (so a sort of non-binding declaration of intention), to now reach the state of ’Agreements’ in Cancun. Agreements? That is generally what diplomats use when they do not reach any better stage in the negotiations, a treaty or accord for instance. So following this creative but honestly frightening diplomatic trend, we may wonder what’s up for next year? A Johannesburg 'promise'? A COP-17 ’statement of possibilities’? Or a South-African ’talk’?