Ideals, practices, and future prospects of stakeholder involvement in sustainability science

This paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences evaluates current stakeholder involvement (SI) practices in science through a web-based survey among scholars and researchers engaged in sustainability or transition research. It substantiates previous conceptual work with evidence from practice by building on four ideal types of SI in science. The results give an interesting overview of the varied landscape of SI in sustainability science, ranging from the kinds of topics scientists work on with stakeholders, over scientific trade-offs that arise in the field, to improvements scientists wish for. Furthermore, the authors describe a discrepancy between scientists’ ideals and practices when working with stakeholders. On the conceptual level, the data reflect that the democratic type of SI is the predominant one concerning questions on the understanding of science, the main goal, the stage of involvement in the research process, and the science–policy interface. The fact that respondents expressed agreement to several types shows they are guided by multiple and partly conflicting ideals when working with stakeholders. We thus conclude that more conceptual exchange between practitioners, as well as more qualitative research on the concepts behind practices, is needed to better understand the stakeholder–scientist nexus.

Weblink to the paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/11/20/1706085114.short

GCF Working Paper 2/2017a:
Framing 1.5 C – Turning an investment challenge into a green growth opportunity

*This is a slightly amended version of GCF Working Paper 2/2017.

Our new working paper wants to contribute to the special report on the impacts of average global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will produce in 2018. In contrast to a classical perspective on climate policy, which focuses on costs, our paper proposes a win-win framing: The 1:5C scenario should be seen as an opportunity for the world to achieve a Great Transition to green growth. Read more

A climate stress-test of the financial system

An article, published in the journal “Nature Climate Change” on March 27th 2017. The authors, Stefano Battiston, Antoine Mandel, Irene Monasterolo, Franziska Schütze and Gabriele Visentin, have developed a “climate stress-test” of the financial system. The analysis looks beyond the fossil fuel and utility sector, by including energy-intensive sectors as well as indirect effects, and it differentiates between different types of investor.

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GCF Working Paper 1/2017:
Green investment and coordination failure: An investors’ perspective

The goal to keep global warming well below 2°C can only be achieved if private investors shift capital from brown to green infrastructures and technologies. In this working paper, we present a game-theoretic perspective on the transition from brown to green growth. We perceive investment for mitigation as a coordination problem of selecting among multiple equilibria. We discuss how uncertainty in such a “green investment game” could be reduced in order to coordinate actors on the Pareto-superior equilibrium. Read more

GCF Working Paper 3/2016:
Price Dynamics Via Expectations, and the Role of Money Therein

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by Gesine A. Steudle, Saini Yang, Carlo C. Jaeger

A Green Investment Impulse for Europe – 12 Recommendations for Green Growth and Successful Energy Transition

The transformations in various sectors required for the energy transition pose major challenges to political, economic and civil society actors: business models need to be reoriented and new technologies developed or implemented. Sustainable decarbonisation, which requires the success of the energy transition, also requires high levels of public and private investment which is difficult in times of weak economic growth in Europe. At the same time, there are opportunities for companies to engage in new markets with green business models. In addition, new players are emerging, for example due to digitization processes. In the course of a changed actor landscape, new possibilities for cooperation are being created that can enable green growth and simultaneously support the energy transition. Read more

Adaptation requires overcoming social conflicts

A Perspective article, published by the Global Climate Forum in the journal Nature Climate Change, highlights that overcoming social conflicts associated to shared resources will be key in adapting to the impacts of climate change. The article shows that decades of research on the commons, resources belonging to or affecting entire communities and most well-known through the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom, has accumulated promising ways forward for societies to overcome such conflicts. Read more

A Green Corridor for Europe – Connecting the EU and the Balkans

The history of Europe is strongly and often dramatically interwoven with that of the Balkans. Presently, the nexus between Europe and the Balkans is acquiring new relevance due to sluggish growth and rising regional disparities across Europe, to diverging national interests exacerbated by the migrant crisis, and to the prospect of the Chinese “one belt, one road” initiative reaching South-East Europe. This report investigates the possibility of a Green Corridor linking Europe and the Balkans through a multimodal infrastructure for the transport of people, goods, energy and information. As a first step, the present background paper looks at the Western Balkans in this perspective. We show that this region is faced with enormous development challenges, including a population whose skills hardly match the needs and opportunities of the present world economy, a very low, sometimes even negative savings rate, weak and sometimes dysfunctional institutions, and more. We then show that infrastructure investments are badly needed in the Western Balkans, be it for transport of people and goods, of information and of electricity. Next, we survey the considerable toolbox that the EU has developed to intensify cooperation with this part of the Balkans. Against this background, two things become quite clear. First, the Green Corridor idea looks both necessary and feasible. And second, to really make a difference, this kind of infrastructure investment can and should target the greater Balkans, including not only the Western Balkans, but also Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. Along these lines, it can offer the Western Balkans a badly needed future of stability and prosperity.

Weblink to the report: https://globalclimateforum.org/fileadmin/ecf-documents/pdf/Microsoft_Word_-_Green_Corridor_Study_GCF.docx.pdf

GCF Working Paper 2/2016:
Concepts of Stakeholder Involvement in ScienceEvidence from Sustainability Research

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by Jahel Mielke, Hannah Vermaßen, Saskia Ellenbeck

GCF Working Paper 1/2016:
The Possibility of Green Growth in Climate Policy Analysis Models – a Survey

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by Sarah Wolf, Franziska Schütze, Carlo C. Jaeger