Blogs and Think Pieces by Keyword - Green economy
- Including Working Class People in the Transition to Sustainability (20 Dec 2018) | Karen Bell
According to the IPCC, we need to take urgent and effective action on climate change to prevent irreversible damage to our planet and its ability to sustain us. What is it that stops a critical mass of people from coming together to advocate for environmental and social justice, as well as to make personal choices that will benefit the environment? Karen Bell explores the notion of environmental classism, or how divisions between different social classes undermine a sense of common purpose, and how to ensure that working-class people can be better included in the transition to sustainability.
- “As Time Goes By…”: The Hidden Pitfalls of the Just Transition Narrative (14 Jun 2018) | Tadzio Müller
Rapid climate action is urgently needed to put the world on track for limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Leading scientists suggest that we need to bend the emissions curve significantly by 2020 if globally agreed temperature goals are to remain attainable. So is the Just Transition debate just a waste of time? This piece takes a critical look at pitfalls in the ongoing discussions.
- The Energy Transition in India: Creating Decent and Inclusive Green Jobs for All? (7 Jun 2018) | Joachim Roth
Around the globe, the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is accelerating. The economics behind this trend are simple to understand: between 2010 and 2017 solar, wind and renewable energy prices have fallen precipitously. In fact, they have fallen so fast that many of these technologies are now on a par with, if not more competitive than, fossil fuels. Although the benefits of cheaper and cleaner energy are undeniable, it is important to consider the many social and political challenges that need to be addressed if green transitions are to be effective and equitable. This think piece looks at the case of India to discuss how green jobs can become more decent and how to manage change in states that have depended on fossil fuels for their growth.
- The Urgency of a Just Transition in New Zealand (24 May 2018) | Sam Huggard
New Zealand is about to embark on a transition to a low-carbon economy. It’s one of the most important transitions we will make, and it has to be done well. Our lives literally depend on it.
- Just Transition(s) and Transformative Change (3 May 2018) | Dunja Krause, Joachim Roth
Tackling the imminent impacts of climate change will take a profound transformation that is able not only to accelerate decarbonization but also to overcome entrenched inequalities that leave people who least contributed to climate change at the greatest risk from its impacts. Linking the concepts of Just Transition and transformative change could present a progressive way forward.
- Lessons Learnt and Guiding Principles for a Just Energy Transition in the Global South (3 May 2018) | Thomas Hirsch
A Just Transition is needed across the globe — but most discussions so far focus on the Global North. We want to break this silo and propose a set of guiding principles for a Just Transition with a particular focus on the Global South. These principles could serve as a shared value base for building new Just Transition alliances, covering a broad range of stakeholders, including civil society.
- A Just Transition Must Include Climate Change Adaptation (16 Apr 2018) | Romain Felli
Some effects of climate change — such as extreme weather, including droughts or flooding — are unavoidable, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Adapting to these effects, rather than suffering them, is a necessity. Trade unions should be more aware of climate change adaptation, and should include it when they bargain with employers or the state.
- Introducing the Just Transition(s) Online Forum (16 Apr 2018) | Edouard Morena
The Just Transition(s) Online Forum is an initiative of the Just Transition Research Collaborative that collects stories on the Just Transition to low-carbon development. Bringing together a range of experts working on different aspects of this transition, it showcases different case studies, narratives and approaches to the Just Transition and their implications for equity and social justice.
- Just Transitions as a Process with Communities, not for Communities (16 Apr 2018) | Rebecca Shelton
Societal transitions towards a new energy regime are underway in order to shift society back towards a more sustainable state of functioning. However, this pathway is not without trade-offs and equity challenges, related not only to the future distribution and production of energy from renewable energy sources, but also for communities that have supported the prior energy regime.
- Who Deserves a Just Transition? (16 Apr 2018) | Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
If a productive, equitable outcome for all workers is the goal of a Just Transition, then we must look beyond the immediate impacts on fossil fuel workers and consider who else may be vulnerable. Failing to put equity considerations first can result in Just Transition policies that ignore the people most in need of support.
- (Re)claiming Just Transition (16 Apr 2018) | Dimitris Stevis
We have recently entered a period of deep contestation over the ownership and meaning of Just Transition. It is, therefore, important to think about it systematically so that we can, at the very least, differentiate initiatives that co-opt and dilute its promise from initiatives that contribute to a global politics of social and ecological emancipation.
- Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Which Way for the Informal Economy? (23 Jul 2012) | Fredrick Otieno Dawa, Mary Njeri Kinyanjui
This think piece argues that the informal economy should be included in discussions on green economy. The informal economy represents three-fourths of non-agricultural employment in sub-Saharan Africa, making it an important component in the social, economic and political arenas in Africa. The authors draw on a case study on the informal sector in Kenya, known as the Kamukunji Jua Kali cluster, to make their case. The cluster is an initiative by subaltern groups that supports rural agriculture, creates jobs, recycles industrial waste and has an association that runs its own affairs. It is an example of how the informal economy in Kenya is linking social and environmental concerns. The likelihood that this sector will persist requires rethinking the informal economy in terms of community economies that secure livelihoods, cultural identity and employment while moving toward green economies more generally.
- The Social Side of Biofuels in Brazil, India and Indonesia (20 Jul 2012) | Mairon Bastos Lima
The move away from fossil fuels towards cleaner fuels such as biofuels has been seen by some countries as an opportunity to both increase energy self-reliance and create an additional market for agriculture. However, the social implications remain understudied. This think piece, based on extensive field work in Brazil, India and Indonesia, looks at what this process means for social equity, especially for vulnerable groups, and whether biofuels could be an effective way to tackle rural poverty.
- Green Economy: The New Enemy? (11 Jul 2012) | Peter Utting
This viewpoint reflects on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), known as Rio+20, held in June. It looks at, among other things, the reactions to the idea of green economy, one of the conference’s main themes; the role of corporations; and the positioning of equity and justice in the sustainable development agenda.
- Sustainable Agricultural Innovation Systems (SAIS) for Food Security and Environmental Protection (17 Jun 2012) | Christina Bodouroglou, Diana Alarcón
The twin perils of global food insecurity and environmental degradation necessitate expanding resources and fostering innovation in agriculture to accelerate food production in a sustainable manner, while also supporting poverty reduction. Achieving this will require increased recognition of the centrality of small-scale farming, short-term humanitarian action, and longer term policies for sustainable agricultural innovation systems (SAIS).
- Equipping Democracy to Deliver Sustainable Development (16 Jun 2012) | Halina Ward
Environmental and social challenges like climate change are accelerating faster than the ability of current forms of democracy to cope. This think piece raises four challenges faced by democracy in dealing with climate change. First, there is a need for long-term thinking to ensure that actions are taken now to forestall the risk of possibly extreme climate change. Second, politicians tend to prioritize economic growth over societal goals where progress is difficult to measure. Third is the challenge of retaining and nurturing an active commitment to vibrant democracy while allowing expertise—and science—space to offer insights and inform policy. And finally, climate change demands a globally coordinated response. If democracy is to survive and thrive, it will likely have to outperform any currently or potentially competing political system in relation to such challenges.
- Gender in the Green Economy (15 Jun 2012) | Candice Stevens
In the absence of appropriate social policies, the green economy may exacerbate existing gender inequities to the detriment of overall sustainability. As workers, women are being excluded from the green economy due to gender-segregated employment patterns and discrimination. As consumers, women are more likely than men to buy eco-friendly products but they have limited purchasing power. As citizens, women are crucial to good governance in the green economy but have little influence because very few women hold management positions in both public and private sectors. The author suggests policies that would assure a fuller role for women, including putting female empowerment at the centre of development assistance programmes that aim to promote the green economy in developing countries; mandating business to adopt family-friendly practices to increase women’s participation in green jobs; giving women special skills training to work in the green economy; and enacting quotas to get more women onto corporate boards and in top-level management positions in industry and government to increase their influence over the shape of the green economy.
- Transforming Extractive Industries in the Philippines: Locating Spaces for People’s Participation in Mining Policies (31 May 2012) | Marie Joyce Godio
Many in the Philippines consider mining an important industry that generates employment, taxes and foreign exchange earnings. But such economic potential is not translating into the well-being of local communities. More often than not, resource extraction is associated with social conflict and environmental degradation. The 1995 Philippine Mining Code requires environmental monitoring and includes provisions for public consultation. According to the author, however, these processes are often mired in corruption; a lack of transparency and consultation means that the communities most affected are deprived of their right to determine how best to use their resources and the freedom to define their own development.
- Driving Green Jobs through Rural Renewable Energy Systems (8 May 2012) | Carola Kantz, J.R. Siegel, Kathrin Bimesdörfer
Green growth is being touted as a way to reconcile economic growth and sustainable development. However, as this think piece demonstrates, there is a gap in the assessment of data and knowledge with regard to employment and labour conditions. Using a rural off-grid electrification initiative in Bangladesh as an example, the authors aim to build awareness about employment and job conditions, and suggest indicators of social dimensions.
- The Social Dimension of Carbon Trading: Contrasting Economic Perspectives (24 Apr 2012) | Pascal van Griethuysen
This think piece combines insights from ecological economics, critical institutional economics and property economics with neoclassical environmental economics to offer an alternative theoretical interpretation of carbon markets. From this heterodox perspective, carbon trading is seen as an institutional innovation created for meeting both the interests and constraints of the industrial capitalist mode of development.
- The False Dichotomy Between Economy and Society: Implications for a Global Green Economy (6 Mar 2012) | Leisa Perch
One of the assumptions about green economy is that it will lead to poverty reduction and equity. Since several mainstream arguments for going green are largely economic, the structural changes and incentives envisaged are also largely economic in nature. However, green economy must do more than provide more employment opportunities. To "go green with equity" will require social sustainability principles such as (i) preferential access for the poor and vulnerable to new jobs, green microfinance and green infrastructure; (ii) adaptable social protection mechanisms which mitigate the impact of environmental and disaster risk and also provide income support for green consumption by the poor; and (iii) a rights-based approach which tackles fundamental structural inequalities such as land rights and tenure for women in Africa and Asia.
- Green Economy and Beyond – Case Studies in Guangzhou, China (31 Jan 2012) | Chen Jinjin
China's rapid economic growth has led to a gap between urban and rural development, environmental pollution and the marginalization of traditional farming. Two cases in Guangzhou in Guangdong province, southern China—a government programme and a non-governmental initiative—show how the local government and the public are trying to connect the green economy agenda with other sustainable development objectives, including poverty reduction, food security and social protection.
- Civil Society Engagement in the Green Economy Debate (25 Nov 2011) | Edouard Morena
More than just including the voices of civil society actors and coalitions, the “green economy” debate must take into account the diversity of understandings, interactions and values that characterize the struggle for a unified civil society response.
- Biofuels and Food Security: Green Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (22 Nov 2011) | Chike Jideani, Chinney Kennedy-Echetebu, Chizoba Chinweze, Gwen Abiola-Oloke
The inclusion of biofuels as part of the green economy agenda jeopardizes the immediate and long-term food security of many regions in the developing world. In sub-Saharan Africa, rising food prices, land grabs, and precarious and informal labour conditions are key social threats linked to the emphasis on biofuel production. UNEP defines a green economy as “one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”. Yet the inclusion of biofuels as part of this green economy agenda ignores ecological realities as well as the social dimensions of food insecurity.
- Emerging Governance in the Transition to a Green Economy: A Case Study of Public Sector Food Procurement in Brazil (8 Nov 2011) | Kei Otsuki
Changes in public sector food procurement in Brazil have improved not just the quality of school meals; they have led to a reduced ecological footprint and a more engaged civil society. In this article, Kei Otsuki explores the processes of decentralization and localization that have taken place in Brazil since 1997 through the lens of food procurement. The case demonstrates how an active civil society can lead the charge for better, more sustainable and locally supportive practices.
- The Great Lie: Monoculture Trees as Forests (20 Oct 2011) | Raquel Nuñez Mutter, Winnie Overbeek
2011 marks the “International Year of the Forest” and it calls for a shift in our understandings of forestry management. Top-down, market-oriented, approaches which have seen monoculture plantations flourish and the lives of forest peoples uprooted, often under the guise of initiatives such as REDD, are not sustainable. We need to recognize that “sustainable development” is not simply compatible with biodiverse plantations or the lives and traditions of forest peoples; it is deeply dependent on them.
- A Fair Green Economy: Framing Green Economy and the Post-MDG Agenda in Terms of Equity (7 Sep 2011) | Alison Doig, Erica Carroll
In the next few years the global community must address the dual crises of global poverty and global environmental degradation. As the international community develops a successor to the MDGs and at the same time aims at a global green economy, it is essential to recognize the role of inequality in perpetuating high levels of global poverty and undermining attempts at environmental sustainability.
- “We Have to Correct the Errors of our Ancestors”: Policy Implications of Environmentalism and Gender in Intag, Ecuador (7 Sep 2011) | Linda D'Amico
A community in Ecuador has found ways to improve its livelihood and well-being through ecologically responsible actions. Responding to local manifestations of global crises, community members have developed creative solutions that balance economic, social and environmental concerns.