Tag Archives: Frank Biermann

The “Ctrl+Alt+Del” of Global Change Sciences

This is one of those important things that seldom make the headlines. While climate change science has received considerable public attention, especially since the controversies around the IPCC scientific assessments, another fact is seldom, if ever, acknowledged – that  a number of international global change programmes are reorganizing to better match the increasing need for policy-relevant, integrated sustainability science.

The Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) as an example, has been reorganizing its work the last years, to better integrate the natural and social sciences and acknowledge the non-linear features of global change. This integration is to be developed by a range of ESSP associated research programmes and projects, including (prepare for an alphabet soup….) DIVERSITAS, IGBP, IHDP, WCRP,GCP, GECAFS, GWSP , GECHH, START and MAIRS. This paper lays out the thinking behind the ongoing reorganization.

One important change under the ESSP, and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change, is the reorganization of the previous programme Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC, lead by the international institutions legend Oran Young), into a new initiative: the Earth System Governance Project (ESG). The ESG, lead by Frank Biermann in Amsterdam, aims to study the role of multilevel governance, institutions and actor-networks in dealing with global environmental change, and includes several international research centres.

In addition, the International Council for Science (ICSU), in partnership with UNESCO and the United Nations University, is launching a new international initiative based on the insights and framework provided by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS). PECS ambition is to address the following question: ‘how do policies and practices affect resilience of the portfolio of ecosystem services that support human well-being and allow for adaptation to a changing environment?’. PECS will provide scientific knowledge to the newly launched “IPCC-like” Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). An article published in PNAS in 2009, lays out the thinking behind the PECS programme.

So, if you ever get the question “where are the scientists that will help save the world”, the answer is easy: it’s ESSP, PECS, DIVERSITAS, ICSU, IPBES, ESG, IHDP, IGBP, WCRP,GCP, GECAFS, ….

Global Governance and Planetary Boundaries

by Victor Galaz (twitter.com/vgalaz)

The Stockholm Resilience Centre hosted a small scientific meeting in mid-March entitled “Planetary Boundaries, Multiple Global Crises, and Global Governance”. This meeting was the first governance follow up of two recent publications dealing with the possibilities of global scale, rapid and interacting global environmental crises previously featured in this blog [here and here].

A number of internationally renowned scholars contributed to this meeting, and you can meet many of them in these short videos produced by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Meet Frank Biermann (IVM, Netherlands) as he explores the challenges posed to global environmental governance; Derk Loorbach (DRIFT, Erasmus University, Netherlands) as he elaborates on the role of transition management for understanding resilience; Karin Bäckstrand (Lund University, Sweden) as she discusses the link between democracy and global environmental governance; and Jeremy Allouche (IDS, UK) as he explores the link between environmental scarcity and conflict.

Derk Loorbach

Jeremy Allouche

Karin Bäckstrand

Frank Biermann (external link)

New Issue of “Global Environmental Politics”

Interesting new issue of Global Environmental Politics out now.

1. Terrorist Threats to the Environment in Iraq and Beyond. By: Al-Damkhi, Ali Mohamed; Al-Fares, Rana Abdullah.

2. Accounting for Difficulties faced in Materializing a Transnational ENGO Conservation Network: A Case-Study from the Mediterranean. By: Botetzagias, Iosif; Robinson, Prue; Venizelos, Lily.

3. Framing Anthropogenic Environmental Change in Public Health Terms. By: Stevenson, Michael A.

4. UNEP in Global Environmental Governance: Design, Leadership, Location. By: Ivanova, Maria.

5. Preparing for a Warmer World: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees. By: Biermann, Frank; Boas, Ingrid. Global

6. Militarization and the Environment: A Panel Study of Carbon Dioxide Emissions and the Ecological Footprints of Nations, 1970-2000. By: Jorgenson, Andrew K.; Clark, Brett; Kentor, Jeffrey.

7. Shifting Tides in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Fishery: The Political Economy of Regulation and Industry Responses. By: Havice, Elizabeth; Campling, Liam.

8. The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment. By: VanDeveer, Stacy D.

9. Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity. By: DiMento, Joseph F. C.

10. Comparative Environmental Regulation in the United States and Russia. By: Henry, Laura A.

Part I. What is “Adaptiveness” – Really?

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Will the term “adaptiveness”  be able to integrate the diverse perspectives that exist within the field of sustainability science and environmental politics and policy?Listen to Frank Biermann (IVM, Netherlands) as he presents the 2009 Earth System Governance conference and research agenda, and explores some of the major research challenges ahead. Listen also to Melissa Leach (STEPS, United Kingdom) as she elaborates the need to understand adaptiveness as a long-term process to deal with multiple change and uncertainties.  And listen to Louis Lebel (Chiang Mai University, Thailand) as he explains why deliberation and inclusiveness are two major issues to consider in our attempts to understand how to adapt to the challenges of the future.

Comments and reflections?  Join the discussions now!

Frank Biermann

Frank Biermann

Phone interview with Frank Biermann. What is “adaptiveness” and which are the key challenges for research on adaptiveness? Frank Biermann is professor of political science and of environmental policy sciences at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is also the chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Earth System Governance Project.  Interview Frank Biermann [11 min]

Melissa Leach

Melissa Leach

Melissa Leach is Professorial Fellow at IDS and leader of the Knowledge, Technology and Society (KNOTS) team, Melissa Leach has since 2006 directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre. She originally trained as a geographer (MA Cambridge) and social anthropologist (PhD London). Over the last twenty years she has been closely involved both in ethnographic fieldwork, speaking four African languages, and in extensive interdisciplinary research. This has engaged anthropology with historical, ecological and science and technology studies approaches, as well as working with foresters, agricultural and medical scientists.

Interview Melissa Leach [7 min]

Skype-interview with Louis Lebel. Why is deliberation and inclusion important when we try to understand the adaptiveness of socities? Louis Lebel is the Director of the Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Science, Chiang Mai University (Thailand), and member of the Earth System Governance Project Scientific Steering Committee. [Sorry about the poor sound quality!]

Louis Lebel

Louis Lebel

Interview Louis Lebel [6 min]