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Poudel S.,Forum for Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform for Development FORWARD | Kotani K.,School of International Relations
Climatic Change | Year: 2013

A rapid change in climate patterns potentially driven by global warming is considered to be greatest threats to agriculture. However, little is known about how the change in climate concretely affects agricultural production especially in Nepal with respect to seasons and regions of different altitudes. To examine this issue, we seek to empirically identify the impact of climatic variation on agricultural yield and its variability by utilizing the data of rice, wheat and climate variables in the central region of Nepal. The main focus is on whether the impacts vary across seasons, altitudes and the types of crops. For this purpose, we employ a stochastic production function approach by controlling a novel set of season-wise climatic and geographical variables. The result shows that an increase in the variance of both temperature and rainfall has adverse effects on crop productions in general. On the other hand, a change in the mean levels of the temperature and rainfall induces heterogeneous impacts, which can be considered beneficial, harmful or negligible, depending on the altitudes and the kinds of crops. These results imply that adaptation strategies must be tailor-made in Nepalese agriculture, considering growing seasons, altitudes and the types of crops. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


News Article | August 29, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

A new study of European countries has found that countries with strong commitments to nuclear energy are making slow progress when it comes to their climate change targets. The new study, published in the journal Climate Policy and authored by researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies, showed that progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources has been higher in countries without nuclear energy or in countries with plans to reduce their existing nuclear capacity. On the flip-side, countries with nuclear energy or those intending to hold onto their nuclear capacity are making slower progress, and have been lagging behind in implementing wind, solar, and hydropower technologies for the purpose of reducing carbon emissions. The authors of the study note that “it’s difficult to show a causal link” between the two factors, but nevertheless “the study casts significant doubts on nuclear energy as the answer to combating climate change.” “Looked at on its own, nuclear power is sometimes noisily propounded as an attractive response to climate change,” said Professor Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University of Sussex. “Yet if alternative options are rigorously compared, questions are raised about cost-effectiveness, timeliness, safety and security. “Looking in detail at historic trends and current patterns in Europe, this paper substantiates further doubts. By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive.” The study divided European countries into three roughly equal size groups: The resulting analysis found that countries in Group 1 had reduced their emissions by an average of 6% since 2005, and increased their renewable energy sources to 26%. Countries in Group 2 did even better, reducing emissions by 11% and growing renewable energy to 19%. Group 3 countries, however, only managed a 16% renewables share, and average emissions actually increased by 3%. Unsurprisingly, given its size and past renewable energy successes, the United Kingdom is described as a “mixed picture.” Emissions have dropped by 16%, but only 5% of the country’s energy is coming from renewables — among the lowest in all of Europe. The authors behind the research conclude that “the gigantic investments of time, money and expertise in nuclear power plants, such as the proposed Hinckley Point C in the UK, can create dependency and ‘lock-in’ — a sense of ‘no turning back’ in the nation’s psyche.” “The analysis shows that nuclear power is not like other energy systems,” said Professor Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy and Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex. “It has a unique set of risks, political, technical and otherwise, that must be perpetually managed. “If nothing else, our paper casts doubt on the likelihood of a nuclear renaissance in the near-term, at least in Europe.” “As the viability of the proposed Hinkley plant is once again cast into doubt by the May government, we should recall that — as is true of nuclear fallout — nuclear power’s inordinate expense and risks extend across national borders and current generations,” said Lead author Andrew Lawrence of the Vienna School of International Relations. “Conversely, cheaper, safer, and more adaptable alternative energy sources are available for all countries.”   Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  


News Article | September 5, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

A new paper in the journal Climate Policy, co-authored by researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies suggests that, among European countries, strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets. The paper shows that the most progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources – as set out in the EU’s 2020 Strategy – has been made by nations without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it. Read the press release on the paper. Among the positive and negative reactions to the paper, a number of people have disagreed with the authors’ analysis – including Stephen Tindale and Suzanna Hinson – in a blogpost for the Weinberg Foundation website. They argue that in the Climate Policy paper, the categories of pro- and anti-nuclear are too broad and do not compare like with like; and that reduction of greenhouse gases and promotion of renewable energy are – wrongly – presented together as a single objective. And they ask: “Does it matter whether greenhouse gas reductions are achieved through expansion of renewables, or through other measures?” The paper’s authors, Andrew Lawrence of the Vienna School of International Relations, Professor Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy and Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex, and Professor Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University of Sussex, have responded to the criticisms in a piece on the Sussex Energy Group website. As well as addressing the question about categories, they suggest that which technology is chosen – renewables or nuclear – is an important choice, including for reasons of cost and the longer-term impacts of nuclear waste or accidents. Read the response: Rethinking the carbon efficacy of nuclear power: A response to critics What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments boxes below.


News Article | August 22, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found. A new study of European countries, published in the journal Climate Policy, shows that the most progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources -- as set out in the EU's 2020 Strategy -- has been made by nations without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it. Conversely, pro-nuclear countries have been slower to implement wind, solar and hydropower technologies and to tackle emissions. While it's difficult to show a causal link, the researchers say the study casts significant doubts on nuclear energy as the answer to combating climate change. Professor Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University of Sussex, said: "Looked at on its own, nuclear power is sometimes noisily propounded as an attractive response to climate change. Yet if alternative options are rigorously compared, questions are raised about cost-effectiveness, timeliness, safety and security. "Looking in detail at historic trends and current patterns in Europe, this paper substantiates further doubts. "By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive." The study divides European countries into three, roughly equal in size, distinct groups: They found that Group 1 countries had reduced their emissions by an average of six per cent since 2005 and had increased renewable energy sources to 26 per cent. Group 2 countries, meanwhile, fared even better on emissions reductions, which were down 11 per cent. They grew renewable energy to 19 per cent. However, Group 3 countries only managed a modest 16 per cent renewables share and emissions on average actually went up (by three per cent). The UK is a mixed picture. Emissions have been reduced by 16 per cent, bucking the trend of other pro-nuclear countries. However, only five per cent of its energy comes from renewables, which is among the lowest in Europe, pipped only by Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands. The team say that the gigantic investments of time, money and expertise in nuclear power plants, such as the proposed Hinckley Point C in the UK, can create dependency and 'lock-in' -- a sense of 'no turning back' in the nation's psyche. Technological innovation then becomes about seeking 'conservative' inventions - that is new technologies that preserve the existing system. This is, inevitably, at the expense of more radical technologies, such as wind or solar. Professor Benjamin Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy and Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex, said: "The analysis shows that nuclear power is not like other energy systems. It has a unique set of risks, political, technical and otherwise, that must be perpetually managed. "If nothing else, our paper casts doubt on the likelihood of a nuclear renaissance in the near-term, at least in Europe." Lead author Andrew Lawrence of the Vienna School of International Relations said: "As the viability of the proposed Hinkley plant is once again cast into doubt by the May government, we should recall that -- as is true of nuclear fallout -- nuclear power's inordinate expense and risks extend across national borders and current generations. "Conversely, cheaper, safer, and more adaptable alternative energy sources are available for all countries."


Rong F.,School of International Relations | Victor D.G.,School of International Relations
Energy Policy | Year: 2011

China has emerged as a leader in coal liquefaction. While the country's abundant coal resources and acute concerns about oil security help explain China's interest in liquefaction, the driving forces for this industry are complicated and policy has been inconsistent. Since 2006 Beijing has tried to slow down the development of liquefaction; even as China has become more dependent on imported oil, the central government has been wary about the large impact of liquefaction technologies on scarce resources such as water. However, local government officials in coal rich areas have strong incentives to pour investment into the technology, which helps explain the uneven development and policy. The future of coal liquefaction will depend on how these forces unfold along with major Beijing-led reforms in the Chinese coal industry, which is closing smaller mines and favoring the emergence of larger coal producing firms. Those reforms will have mixed effects on liquefaction. They temporarily contribute to higher prices for coal while over the longer term creating coal companies that have much greater financial and technical skills needed to deploy technologies such as coal liquefaction at a scale needed if this energy pathway is to be competitive with conventional sources of liquid fuel. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Conca K.,School of International Relations
Global Environmental Politics | Year: 2012

This essay examines some of the reasons for the upsurge in interest in regional approaches to global environmental challenges. One reason is a growing sense of obstruction and drift at the global level. With the rate of formation of new global environmental agreements lagging, with many existing agreements seemingly stalled, and with the momentum of global summitry having faded, regions may seem a more pragmatic scale at which to promote the diffusion of ideas, the development of institutions, and social mobilization for change. Beyond political pragmatism, there are also conceptually interesting-if still debatable- arguments that regions hold promise for strengthening global environmental governance. The regional scale may offer superior conditions to the global for common-property resource management-although the historical track record seems mixed at best, and formidable barriers to collective action remain. Regions may be more conducive to promoting norm diffusion-although the causal direction appears to be more strongly global-to-regional than vice versa. However the conceptual promise of the regional scale plays out in practice, there is also a compelling ethical argument for a regional focus, as mitigation failures at the global level condemn particular locales to formidable challenges of adaptation. © 2012 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Boer H.,School of International Relations
Global Environmental Politics | Year: 2013

Governing carbon stored in natural and human-managed ecosystems is an emerging area in global climate politics. Many developed and developing countries are devising and implementing a range of reform programs that aim to reduce emissions and increase sequestration in the land use, land use change and forestry, and agricultural sectors. In developing countries, mitigation programs and projects on the ground have accelerated under the global program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The article applies a governmentality framework to analyze these policies and programs as forms of administrative, economic, and deliberative rationalities and associated technologies. What emerges in the analysis is that governing is conducted through common technologies including policy instruments and rules, stakeholder engagement processes, and the application of the same technical monitoring and carbon accounting methodologies. In the case of REDD +, there has been strong emphasis on the introduction of market and incentive approaches, but the major reforms have focused on government regulatory programs and building technical and administrative capacity. Importantly, this is allowing national and sub-national governments to extend their authority across all aspects of the reform agenda, which poses significant challenges for reducing forest loss in developing countries. © 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Falkner R.,School of International Relations
Energy Research and Social Science | Year: 2014

Energy is central to the survival and prosperity of human society, which explains the social sciences' interest in energy production, consumption and distribution. The emergence of the global environmental agenda in the second half of the 20th century gave rise to a distinctive research literature on how energy systems and global environmental protection are interconnected. The threat of disruptive climate change, in particular, has thrown the spotlight on the central role that energy plays in shaping the future relationship between human society and its natural environment. This article provides an overview of how the study of global environmental politics (GEP) has shaped energy research in the past and how it contributes to defining the future energy research agenda. It provides a brief review of the emergence of GEP within the discipline of International Relations. It identifies three core conceptual lenses that are central to the GEP research agenda: (i) the study of environmental impacts and ecological limits; (ii) the notions of sustainability and sustainable development; and (iii) the concept of global environmental governance. The article then maps the emerging energy research agenda from a GEP perspective, focused on climate change as the predominant concern and framing of contemporary GEP scholarship. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Jinnah S.,School of International Relations
Global Environmental Politics | Year: 2011

The entrée of climate change politics to the center stage of international relations has been accompanied by broad range of strategic linkages, which have produced various institutional interactions. This special issue takes stock of the wide range of ways that international regimes are strategically linked to climate change politics. We do this with a view to better understand both how climate change is shaping the global environmental political landscape, and is being shaped itself through strategic linkages to regimes both within (i.e. forests, biodiversity, asheries, and deserti acation) and beyond (i.e. security and human rights) the environmental realm. The contributions that make up this special issue explore when, how, and by whom regime linkages should be pursued, how linkage politics are affecting regime development and function, and in turn how these changes are shaping the evolution of global environmental politics and problem solving writ large. © 2011 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Kahler M.,School of International Relations
Asian Economic Policy Review | Year: 2010

Asia's growing economic weight in the world economy is unlikely to produce substantial changes in global economic governance. National economic capabilities are not easily translated into influence over governance outcomes or institutions. Governments must deploy strategies of engagement with key institutions; incumbent powers will attempt counterstrategies. Coalition-building within and outside the region confronts substantial obstacles that reduce Asia's bargaining leverage. Asian preferences over institutional design and policies are unlikely to diverge from the status quo. A more pessimistic scenario includes resistance to global surveillance, spillover from other issue-areas, and defensive regionalism that undermines global institutions. © 2010 The Author. Asian Economic Policy Review © 2010 Japan Center for Economic Research.

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