Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

Menu
  • Home
  • Zoom Interactive Programme
Cliquer pour fermer

Thursday 9 July - 15:00-16:30 UPMC Jussieu - ROOM 105 - Block 24/34

4410 - Citizens and governments as drivers of cultural and political change

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): N. Blanc (Director of research CNRS, Paris, France), Y.C. Zarka (Université Paris Descartes-SHS-Sorbonne, Paris, France)

Convener(s): A. Pegels (German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany), S. Vigil (Center for Ethnic and Migration Studies, Liège, Belgium)

15:00

New norms and institutionnal practices towards radical political changes

Y.C. Zarka (Université Paris Descartes-SHS-Sorbonne, Paris, France)

Abstract details
New norms and institutionnal practices towards radical political changes

YC. Zarka (1)
(1) Université Paris Descartes, SHS, Paris, France

Abstract content

The theme of my lecture will be the relationship between cosmopolitical citizenship and political citizenship faced with climate change.  The questions considered will touch as much on general principles as on an examination of concrete examples of collective action in local and national contexts. In the age of the Anthropocene, the urgent and indispensable norms and modes of regulation to save our species have not yet been clearly formulated. The deep reasons for the gaps between diagnoses and action have their roots in various levels of the way in which societies function.

It is by mobilising the collective action of citizens in each state, as well as that of human beings as citizens of the world, that we shall probably find a large part of the answers. Our discussions will thus be situated on two levels: cosmopolitical and political.  We are in fact living in a time when political citizenship can no longer ignore the status of every individual as a citizen of the world; that is to say, our responsibility with regard to the present and the future of the earth and of the whole living world. 

15:15

The political economy of decarbonisation

L. Wilfried (German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany), T. Altenburg (German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany), A. Pegels (German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany), V. Georgeta

Abstract details
The political economy of decarbonisation

L. Wilfried (1) ; T. Altenburg (1) ; A. Pegels (1) ; V. Georgeta ()
(1) German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Sustainable economic and social development, Bonn, Germany

Abstract content

What and how we produce and consume is largely shaped by markets. However, markets fail to solve many of the environmental challenges we are facing. Therefore, we need governments to intervene, thus reclaiming the primacy of public policy in setting and implementing societal objectives. While safeguarding the sustainability of human life on our planet makes this kind of government intervention a highly normative undertaking, its economic case is strong as well – the success stories of such ‘green’ frontrunners as Germany and Denmark demonstrate the competitiveness potential of the new technologies.

However, as shown by decades of discussion on industrial policy, government intervention almost invariably brings about risks of political capture and government failure. Government intervention towards sustainability is thus not only governed by ethical norms, but also by politics. The risks of failure are magnified by the urgency and scale of today’s global environmental challenges, requiring particularly bold, comprehensive and well-orchestrated government intervention under high uncertainty. By highlighting lessons learned from practical cases of both success and failure, we show how these risks can be, and have been, managed. In particular, we submit that a broad-based social vision and contract need to be forged – supported by change coalitions and coupled with policy process safeguards, openness to policy learning, and an alignment of transformative policies with market mechanisms.

15:30

Urban narratives and collective mobilizations in the field of adaptation to climate change

N. Blanc (CNRS, Paris, France)

Abstract details
Urban narratives and collective mobilizations in the field of adaptation to climate change

N. Blanc (1)
(1) CNRS, LADYSS 7533, Paris, France

Abstract content

With the exception of climate skeptics who appreciate climate change only as a natural phenomenon to the exclusion of all human causes, climate change is not referred to nature. Climate change as a whole refers to an abstract scientific phenomena and/or a disruption of the natural order by human activities. Characterized by science, climate change involves a complex interpretative framework linked to a network of measurements, statistics and modeling, combined with scientific judgments about their relevance. It is therefore important to understand how these changes are part of the natural and built environments both in terms of representations and of social practices. We seek to address the interests of narratives regarding these issues, in particular, adaptation to climate change in urban space.  Our collection of city-dwellers stories in urban situations of various constraints and resource levels as well as the CSO narratives framing their action tells us about adaptation to climate change. The capabilities require to take into account both the constraints and the resources with which people have to live and operate daily to adapt to changes of various kinds. The important thing is that it is possible to develop a reflection on the capabilities from ordinary stories. This means to explore sustainable practices in everyday life. These practices will allow us to envision social invention of new forms of action support or resistance to normative injunctions in the field of adaptation to climate change. The problematic issue is to see if the exploration of capabilities through stories can be a path to a sustainable culture.

15:45

Reinvigorating International Climate Policy: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Non-state Action

S. Chan (German Development Institute, Bonn, Germany), H. Van Asselt (Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford, United Kingdom), H. Thomas (Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, United Kingdom), K. Abbott (Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States of America), M. Beisheim (German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin, Germany), M. Hoffmann (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada), B. Guy (Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, United States of America), N. Höhne (NewClimate Institute, Köln, Germany), A. Hsu (Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, New Haven, United States of America), P. Pattberg (VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands), P. Pauw (German Development Institute, DIE, Bonn, Germany), C. Ramstein (Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales, Paris, France), O. Widerberg (VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Abstract details
Reinvigorating International Climate Policy: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Non-state Action

S. Chan (1) ; H. Van Asselt (2) ; H. Thomas (3) ; K. Abbott (4) ; M. Beisheim (5) ; M. Hoffmann (6) ; B. Guy (7) ; N. Höhne (8) ; A. Hsu (9) ; P. Pattberg (10) ; P. Pauw (11) ; C. Ramstein (12) ; O. Widerberg (10)
(1) German Development Institute, Bonn, Germany; (2) Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford, United Kingdom; (3) Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, United Kingdom; (4) Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States of America; (5) German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin, Germany; (6) University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; (7) Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, United States of America; (8) NewClimate Institute, Köln, Germany; (9) Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, New Haven, United States of America; (10) VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; (11) German Development Institute, DIE, Bonn, Germany; (12) Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales, Paris, France

Abstract content

As countries strive to negotiate a new climate agreement in time for the Paris climate summit in December 2015, a different kind of climate politics is emerging as cities, regions, businesses, and civil society groups take mitigation and adaptation actions, independently and together with each other and with national governments and international institutions. In Paris, governments have an historic opportunity to develop a framework to catalyze, support, and steer these initiatives. Social science research highlights the need for a comprehensive approach that promotes ambition, experimentation and accountability, and avoids unnecessary overlaps. This contribution specifies the functions of and design principles for a comprehensive  framework for non-state climate actions that could build positive linkages and provide effective coordination.

Drawing empirical lessons learned from sustainable development governance (in particular 'Partnerships for Sustainable Development' and 'SD in Action'), we envisage a comprehensive framework as a long-term program to support, strengthen, and orchestrate non-state initiatives that contribute to international climate goals, targets and agreements.

Designing a concrete framework will not be simple, but current social science research on non-state action suggests three clear guidelines for that process. First, design and maintenance of the framework must be collaborative, and the framework itself must be jointly ‘owned’ by the UNFCCC secretariat and participating non-state actors and initiatives. Second, a comprehensive framework should include a global clearinghouse, bringing together existing sources of information. The clearinghouse should build upon existing registries maintained by a network of non-state actors in partnership with the UNFCCC. Finally, as climate actions are heterogeneous, the platform should combine low thresholds for inclusion with a layered structure that would provide increased visibility – coupled with increased levels of accountability – for particularly significant actions.

The road to Paris offers a unique opportunity to ratchet up ambition, mobilize action and engage more actors in climate action. Governments and non-state actors can create a robust, capable, and long-term comprehensive framework that orchestrates and supports non-state initiatives to contribute to internationally agreed climate outcomes, and that counteracts the inefficiencies of a fragmented governance landscape. Yet inpursuing this approach we need to avoid repeating the mistakes of previous frameworks.

 

 

 

 

 

15:55

Collective national and transnational action towards "green grabbing"

S. Vigil (Center for Ethnic and Migration Studies, Liège, Belgium)

Abstract details
Collective national and transnational action towards "green grabbing"

S. Vigil (1)
(1) FNRS Research Fellow, CEDEM University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

Abstract content

Land remains the most fundamental productive asset for the vast majority of populations in the Global South.  Agriculturalists’ pre-existing vulnerabilities are not only compounded by climate change impacts and lack of socio-economic assets, but also by large-scale land acquisitions that have risen since the convergence of multiple global crises (financial, environmental, energy & food) (Borras & Franco 2012).  If we were to compare the phenomenon to colonial times, the fact that climate change legitimises a large part of such acquisitions is a main novelty. Since the neoliberal turn, there is a widespread belief that the market is synonymous to development leading to the commodification of the ecological commons through so called “green” market solutions such as carbon trading, emissions offsets and biofuels (McMichael 2010).   Whilst the proponents refer to these transactions as “direct investment in agriculture”, highlighting their potential for agricultural modernisation, employment creation, local food security and “green” energy production, the retractors point to the various threats that these deals can actually pose to the environment, to local food security and to traditional livelihoods. Furthermore, such projects stimulate the industrialization of agriculture, which is at the basis of many of our environmental problems today.

Local communities and grass root organizations have protested in several countries around the world.  Yet, corruption, military intervention and landlessness are all factors which are creating obstacles for effective local collective action.  Land activists are still facing considerable threats of imprisonment and murder by corrupt governments that are aligned with corporate interests. Several local and transnational NGO’s and academics have been actively drawing attention to the social and environmental threats that these large scale land concessions can pose to already vulnerable communities.  Despite persisting obstacles to effective local collective action, the demands of transnational grass root organizations have been key in the development of international “good governance” norms. As a result of these pressures, multilateral organizations such as the WB, the EU and the FAO have developed codes of conduct and principles for responsible agricultural investment.  Transparent negociations, respect for existing land rights, sharing of benefits, environmental sustainability, and adherence to national trade policies, are the most frequently addressed challenges in order to attain “win-win” outcomes. All of them seem to suggest that good governance norms would diminish negative socio environmental impacts.  Yet, despite the well-intended rationale behind such principles, they still fail to question agro-industrial development per se, as if other possible development pathways, such as smallholder agriculture and family farming, would not be better suited to address our social and environmental challenges. In a world where climate change impacts are expected to considerably reduce the resilience of already vulnerable populations, there is a need to rethink our whole model of neoliberal development and to promote other types of investment asides from corporate investment. Furthermore, the voluntary nature of such principles makes the implementation process difficult, making it arduous or impossible to track down and penalize those who fail to follow such principles. Even in cases where such guidelines are legally institutionalised at the national level, practical implementation remains scarce or inexistent. The principles are still too vague in a context where governments and elites of developing nations often take the side of investors for purposes of personal enrichment or supposedly national development.  Drawing from fieldwork conducted in both Senegal and Cambodia, this presentation will shed light on the actions of citizens, NGOs and activists in pressuring governments and donors whilst shaping and contesting a model of development that has often resulted in further environmental stress and recurrent Human Rights violations.  Based on field evidence this presentation will highlight cases in which collective action has resulted in positive outcomes and cases in which local demands have remained largely overlooked.  The aim of this presentation will be thus to highlight the key variables that determine positive collective action outcomes as well as to underline the obstacles that persist in the implementation of socio-environmentally sustainable agricultural development projects.