Sustainable Europe Research Institute

Europe, Germany

Sustainable Europe Research Institute

Europe, Germany
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Birkmann J.,University of Bonn | Buckle P.,Coventry University | Jaeger J.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Pelling M.,King's College London | And 4 more authors.
Natural Hazards | Year: 2010

Disaster associated with natural hazards can lead to important changes-positive or negative-in socio-ecological systems. When disasters occur, much attention is given to the direct disaster impacts as well as relief and recovery operations. Although this focus is important, it is noteworthy that there has been little research on the characteristics and progress of change induced by disasters. Change, as distinct from impacts, encompasses formal and informal responses to disaster events and their direct and indirect impacts. While smaller disasters do not often lead to significant changes in societies and organizational structures, major disasters have the potential to change dominant ways of thinking and acting. Against this background, the article presents an analytical framework for distinguishing change from disaster impacts. Drawing from research in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, formal and informal changes after the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 are examined and discussed against the background of the conceptual framework. The changes examined range from the commencement of the peace process in Aceh, Indonesia, to organizational and legal reforms in Sri Lanka. The article concludes that change-making processes after disasters need to be understood more in depth in order to derive important strategic policy and methodological lessons learned for the future, particularly in view of the increasing complexity and uncertainty in decision making due to climate change. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Dunford R.,University of Oxford | Harrison P.A.,University of Oxford | Jager J.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Rounsevell M.D.A.,University of Edinburgh | Tinch R.,Iodine SPRL
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

Addressing climate change vulnerability requires an understanding of both the level of climate impacts and the capacity of the exposed population to cope. This study developed a methodology for allowing users to explore vulnerability to changes in ecosystem services as a result of climatic and socio-economic changes. It focuses on the vulnerability of Europe across multiple sectors by combining the outputs of a regional integrated assessment (IA) model, the CLIMSAVE IA Platform, with maps of coping capacity based on the five capitals approach. The presented methodology enables stakeholder-derived socio-economic futures to be represented within a quantitative integrated modelling framework in a way that changes spatially and temporally with the socio-economic storyline. Vulnerability was mapped for six key ecosystem services in 40 combined climate and socio-economic scenarios. The analysis shows that, whilst the north and west of Europe are generally better placed to cope with climate impacts than the south and east, coping could be improved in all areas. Furthermore, whilst the lack of coping capacity in dystopian scenarios often leads to greater vulnerability, there are complex interactions between sectors that lead to patterns of vulnerability that vary spatially, with scenario and by sector even within the more utopian futures. © 2014, The Author(s).


Fischer-Kowalski M.,University of Vienna | Krausmann F.,University of Vienna | Giljum S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Lutter S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Industrial Ecology | Year: 2011

This contribution presents the state of the art of economy-wide material flow accounting. Starting from a brief recollection of the intellectual and policy history of this approach, we outline system definition, key methodological assumptions, and derived indicators. The next section makes an effort to establish data reliability and uncertainty for a number of existing multinational (European and global) material flow accounting (MFA) data compilations and discusses sources of inconsistencies and variations for some indicators and trends. The results show that the methodology has reached a certain maturity: Coefficients of variation between databases lie in the range of 10% to 20%, and correlations between databases across countries amount to an averageR 2 of 0.95. After discussing some of the research frontiers for further methodological development, we conclude that the material flow accounting framework and the data generated have reached a maturity that warrants material flow indicators to complement traditional economic and demographic information in providing a sound basis for discussing national and international policies for sustainable resource use. © 2011 by Yale University.


PubMed | University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh, Iodine SPRL and Sustainable Europe Research Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Climatic change | Year: 2015

Addressing climate change vulnerability requires an understanding of both the level of climate impacts and the capacity of the exposed population to cope. This study developed a methodology for allowing users to explore vulnerability to changes in ecosystem services as a result of climatic and socio-economic changes. It focuses on the vulnerability of Europe across multiple sectors by combining the outputs of a regional integrated assessment (IA) model, the CLIMSAVE IA Platform, with maps of coping capacity based on the five capitals approach. The presented methodology enables stakeholder-derived socio-economic futures to be represented within a quantitative integrated modelling framework in a way that changes spatially and temporally with the socio-economic storyline. Vulnerability was mapped for six key ecosystem services in 40 combined climate and socio-economic scenarios. The analysis shows that, whilst the north and west of Europe are generally better placed to cope with climate impacts than the south and east, coping could be improved in all areas. Furthermore, whilst the lack of coping capacity in dystopian scenarios often leads to greater vulnerability, there are complex interactions between sectors that lead to patterns of vulnerability that vary spatially, with scenario and by sector even within the more utopian futures.


Lorek S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Spangenberg J.H.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2014

In 1992, one unambiguous result of the UNCED conference was the need for changing consumption and production patterns, with affluent countries taking the lead. 20 years later, at the 2012 UNCSD, little is left over and instead the "green economy" has been the theme pursued by the OECD, the EU and other countries. So the question needs to be answered if this is finally an attempt to put into practice what was promised 20 years ago, or another diversion from what needs to be accomplished. Sustainable development is still a convincing concept, if the original definition is taken, avoiding the confusion caused by partisan interests reinterpreting the concept. Focussing on human needs fulfilment and respecting environmental limits, it can still guide strong sustainable consumption. Green economy/green growth, on the other hand, is a new terminology for what is known since 40 years as ecological modernisation. It is indeed overdue, but with its focus on efficiency and innovation it cannot guarantee to fulfil the Brundtland sustainability criteria. A factor analysis based on the I = P*A*T formula demonstrates how optimistic the assumptions regarding future technologies must be to support the green growth concept. Consequently, the authors pledge for a pragmatic, risk avoiding approach by slimming the physical size of the economy. This requires 'strong sustainable consumption' (including production as resource consumption), which in turn requires a change of the societies' institutional settings (formal and informal, mechanisms and orientations). Finally some elements of a strategy towards this end are pointed out, with special emphasis on the role of non-governmental organisations NGOs. Through networking and advocacy they can both stimulate bottom-up action and mobilise the pressure necessary for the institutional changes which are needed to mainstream strong sustainable consumption. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Lorek S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Fuchs D.,University of Munster
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

This paper aims to link two debates and literatures at the cutting edge of sustainable development research and governance: sustainable consumption and degrowth. Interestingly, these literatures have only recently started to exchange and integrate insights, despite their similar interest in the fundamental systemic challenges to sustainable development. The paper argues that this lack of connection is due to a predominance of perspectives in sustainable consumption governance that focus almost exclusively on questions of efficiency gains. This "weak sustainable consumption" governance, however, is not able to address the challenges to sustainable development arising from overconsumption in general or the rebound effect and distributive issues in particular. In contrast, a "strong sustainable consumption" perspective provides a basis for a promising inquiry into the linkages between consumption and sustainable development as well as a fruitful exchange with degrowth. Specifically, it allows the delineation of relevant insights on the role of values in governance, obstacles to political reform, and promising political strategies for the degrowth debate and literature. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Jager J.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Rounsevell M.D.A.,University of Edinburgh | Harrison P.A.,University of Oxford | Omann I.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

Recent research has increasingly focussed on whether long-term policies for adaptation to climate change are robust given uncertainties about future climate change, technological advances and alternative socio-economic development pathways. The aim of this study was to examine whether adaptation responses are ‘robust’, by looking at whether they reduce vulnerability to climate and socio-economic changes for a selection of ecosystem services across scenarios and two spatial scales: Europe (EU27 plus Norway and Switzerland) and a case study in Scotland. Outputs of the CLIMSAVE Integrated Assessment Platform (IAP) for multiple land-based sectors were used to test whether clusters of adaptation options referred to as policy archetypes reduced vulnerability to climate and socio-economic change for ecosystem service indicators related to biodiversity, flooding, water exploitation, land use diversity, land use intensity and food provision. The results show that the People-based Adaptation archetype is the most robust. This is because it reduces vulnerability by increasing coping capacity (people learn and build networks) and not only by reducing the impacts of climate and socio-economic change. By allowing comparative levels of vulnerability to be explored across sectors and scenarios, the CLIMSAVE approach provides a flexible tool for decision-makers and other stakeholders to increase understanding of which mixes of adaptation measures are robust responses to climate change. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Bohunovsky L.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Jager J.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Omann I.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2011

The paper discusses the role of visions within sustainability assessment and governance for sustainable development in Europe. Currently, our societies (still) develop along an unsustainable path, which results in a number of persistent problems (climate change, loss of biodiversity, poverty, etc.). Integrated sustainability assessment (ISA) is one approach designed to initiate transitions towards sustainability. Visions of a sustainable future form an important part of ISA. These visions support the process of discussing how the transition from today's societies/systems to a sustainable future can be achieved. According to the principles of ISA, visions should be developed in a participatory way, thus including the ideas and perceptions of stakeholders, decision-makers, experts and/or citizens. The paper starts with an introduction of the concepts of visions and scenarios and describes exemplary methods for their participatory development. Then, the main concepts for integrated sustainability assessment in comparison with other impact assessments are discussed. The main body of the paper presents experiences in three projects (ARTEMIS, ALARM, ECOCHANGE) in which visions and scenarios of sustainable futures were developed with stakeholders. The paper concludes with lessons learned and suggestions for future applications for participatory scenario development. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Stocker A.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Omann I.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute | Jager J.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2012

Aim This paper identifies socio-economic driving forces of biodiversity change and analyses their political and economic dynamics by modelling socio-economic parts of three scenario storylines developed for the ALARM (assessing large-scale risks for biodiversity with tested methods) project. In the BAMBU (business-as-might-be-usual) scenario policy decisions already made in the European Union (EU) are implemented and enforced, but no additional measures are introduced. The GRAS (growth applied strategy) scenario describes a future world orientated towards economic growth and complete deregulation. And finally, SEDG (sustainable European development goal) is a normative scenario focusing on the achievement of sustainable development. Methods The GINFORS (global inter-industry forecasting system) model is applied to quantify the effects of different sets of policy measures representing the three scenarios. It allows investigation of the inter-relations between socio-economic driving forces and the state of the environment. Results The presented results for the 25 EU countries focus on the following variables: unemployment, material extraction, energy supply and CO 2 emissions. The lowest amount of unemployment is in the SEDG scenario, where it steadily decreases from 2005 to 2020. In BAMBU it falls to a level that is also below that of 2005. In GRAS, the number of unemployed people in 2020 is clearly over the value of 2005. The development of total material extraction from 2005 to 2020 is nearly stable in BAMBU, while it clearly increases in GRAS. Only in SEDG is there a reduction in resource use. None of the scenarios achieves a substantial reduction in energy use. However, the development of CO 2 emissions shows a decoupling from energy supply. For BAMBU there is a slight decline in CO 2 emissions over time, for GRAS they increase but with a slightly smaller growth rate than energy supply. In SEDG the emissions are reduced. The decoupling trends can be explained by a shift to more renewable energy sources in all scenarios, with the highest share in SEDG. Main conclusions The results indicate that a growth-oriented policy design, such as presented in the GRAS scenario, is not compatible with the conservation of biodiversity. Only in the SEDG scenario do the policy measures support the idea of a sustainable development, but in some respects they are still not ambitious enough. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Reisch L.,Copenhagen Business School | Eberle U.,CORSUS | Lorek S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute
Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy | Year: 2013

Contemporary food production and consumption cannot be regarded as sustainable and raises problems with its wide scope involving diverse actors. Moreover, in the face of demographic change and a growing global population, sus-tainability problems arising from food systems will likely become more serious in the future. For example, agricultural production must deal with the impacts of climate change, increasingly challenging land-use conflicts, and rising health and social costs on both individual and societal levels. The unsustainability of current arrangements arises from the industrialization and globalization of agriculture and food processing, the shift of consumption patterns toward more dietary animal protein, the emergence of modern food styles that entail heavily processed products, the growing gap on a global scale between rich and poor, and the paradoxical lack of food security amid an abundance of food. These factors are attributable to national and international policies and regulations, as well as to prevalent business prac-tices and, in particular, consumers' values and habits. The most effective ways for affluent societies to reduce the environmental impact of their diets are to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products (especially beef), to favor organic fruits and vegetables, and to avoid goods that have been transported by air on both individual and institutional levels (e.g., public procurement, public catering). In examining the unsustainability of the current food system this article reviews the pertinent literature to derive a working definition of sustainable food consumption, outlines the major issues and impacts of current food-consumption practices, and discusses various policy interventions, including information-based instruments, market-based initiatives, direct regulations, and "nudges." It concludes with a call for integrative, cross-sectoral, and population-wide policies that address the full range of drivers of unsustainable food production and consumption. © 2013 Reisch et al.

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