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  • A comparative study of water-related issues in the context of hydraulic fracturing in Texas and Spain
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-12-28
    Regina M. Buono, Beatriz Mayor, Elena López-Gunn

    Shale gas development has been heralded as a game changer that has had, and will continue to have, repercussions for energy scenarios around the world, and natural gas has been hailed as the transition fuel to a low carbon future. Shale gas production—made feasible and economical by advances in hydraulic fracturing—offers a solution in the face of increased demand, instability in key producing regions, and societal aversion to the risks of nuclear energy. This “golden future,” however, has come into conflict with increasing concerns over water. This paper examines policy and regulatory frameworks around hydraulic fracturing in Texas and Spain in order to consider the trade-offs—particularly at the expense of water security—that may occur as decision-makers pursue improvements in energy security. We compare regulatory, institutional, and cultural contexts in order to understand and evaluate the robustness of these frameworks to prevent the reduction in water security as a consequence of the pursuit of energy security. Paucity of data is discussed. We also consider questions such as disclosure of information to the public about water use or the chemical composition of frac fluids and public opinion about hydraulic fracturing. Lessons are drawn that may assist policymakers who seek to guarantee water security while pursuing energy security.

    更新日期:2017-12-31
  • Globalization and the water-energy-food nexus – Using the global production networks approach to analyze society-environment relations
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-12-15
    Martin Franz, Nicolas Schlitz, Kim Philip Schumacher

    The interrelation of the water-energy-food nexus and processes of globalization has to be understood thoroughly in order to address socio-economic inequalities and environmental change. However, unravelling the complexities of the water-energy-food nexus in the context of globalization poses conceptual and empirical difficulties. Economic globalization, e.g. through transnational trade and foreign direct investment, results in a global conjunction of actors, interests and impacts, strongly affecting patterns of resource extraction and environmental degradation, and local capabilities for its governance. In environmental economic geography, the global value chain and global production networks approaches have proved useful for the analysis of interrelations between governance structures, value, institutional contexts, and modes of resource consumption. In this paper, we discuss the potential of the global production networks approach to analyze society-environment relations in the context of the water-energy-food nexus and processes of globalization. To make our argument, we will use the case of manure and digestate, which results from meat and bioenergy production in the Oldenburger Münsterland, the center of livestock farming in Germany. The region is Germany’s best developed agribusiness cluster, which is integrated into a transnational network of animal producers, feedstuff producers and meat processors. And it is also home to many biogas plants and several market leaders in bioenergy technology, strongly related to the livestock husbandry business. The case is an example of the three-way-mutual interactions among food, energy and water. The analysis will combine the perspective of the water-energy-food nexus with the analytical categories of the global production networks approach to provide a nuanced understanding of the socio-environmental implications of the global integration of a regional agri-food production cluster.

    更新日期:2017-12-15
  • Sustainability transitions in developing countries: Stocktaking, new contributions and a research agenda
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-12-11
    Ulrich Elmer Hansen, Ivan Nygaard, Henny Romijn, Anna Wieczorek, Linda M. Kamp, Laurens Klerkx

    An increasing number of studies have analysed the scope for, and the barriers to, transitions toward sustainability in the context of developing countries building on analytical perspectives from the sustainability transitions literature. This paper introduces a special issue on sustainability transitions in developing countries, which takes stock of this emerging field of research and presents new empirical research that contributes to further advancement of our understanding of the conditions in which sustainability transitions are likely to take place in developing countries and what is involved in these transformative processes. This introductory paper presents the five papers contained in the special issue. The first paper comprises a review of the existing literature on the subject, and the other four papers present new empirical research. The key findings of the papers are discussed in relation to previous research in the field specifically related to four crosscutting themes: (i) global-local linkages and external dependencies; (ii) stability and non-stability of regimes; (iii) undemocratic and non-egalitarian nature of regimes; and (iv) nurturing the development of niches versus the execution of individual projects. The introductory paper concludes by presenting a research agenda, which aims to provide promising avenues for future research on sustainability transitions in developing countries.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Portugal and Chile: Longing for sustainable forestry while rising from the ashes
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-11-20
    Susana Gómez-González, Fernando Ojeda, Paulo M. Fernandes

    The recent catastrophic wildfires in Portugal and Chile shared similar features, not just because they developed under extreme weather conditions but also because extensive forest plantations were involved. Dense forest plantations of flammable pine and eucalypt species favor the development of high-intensity large fires, threatening people and the forest industry sustainability under increasingly frequent and severe drought events. Preventive land-use planning and cost-effective fuel management are key elements of sustainable forestry. Understanding the fire ecology context prior to plantation establishment is also crucial for the success of fire management planning. Although the forest industry has contributed to the economy of these countries, improved regulation and science-based management policies are strongly needed. Fuel treatment strategies can be optimized by risk-based modeling approaches, and should be mandatory in wildland-urban interfaces. The tragedy caused by these wildfires is an opportunity to change towards more sustainable landscape arrangements that reconcile ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, and protection from life-threatening wildfires.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Knowledge, attitudes and practices of climate adaptation actors towards resilience and transformation in a 1.5°C world
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-11-15
    Alark Saxena, Kristin Qui, Stacy-ann Robinson

    The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement signifies the commitment of the international community to limit global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and further to 1.5°C. To prepare for increasing temperatures, climate adaptation actors are prioritizing climate resilience- and transformation-based activities. There is, however, limited understanding of actors’ knowledge of and attitudes and practices towards these global temperature targets and concepts. Using the case of Caribbean small island developing states, we qualitatively analyze in-depth interviews with 35 climate change donors and project implementers. We find that most actors are aware of the 2°C and 1.5°C targets but that all are pessimistic about their achievement. Project implementers do not have a clear way to incorporate these targets into their adaptation projects. We also find that there is no uniform understanding of ‘resilience’ and ‘transformation’, though actors commonly define ‘resilience’ as the ability to ‘bounce back’ from extreme events and note ‘transformation’ as requiring the disruption of current socio-economic and political systems. Actors are further pessimistic about achieving resilience goals within short programming and funding cycles. Our study highlights the need for the global temperature targets to be urgently translated into the design and implementation of adaptation projects. We also highlight that the concepts of resilience and transformation are top-down and donor-driven, and that there is a need for donors to facilitate the creation of a shared vision of these concepts across all stakeholders.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Sustainability transitions in developing countries: Major insights and their implications for research and policy
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-09-01
    Anna J. Wieczorek

    Sustainability transitions literature is a rapidly growing and influential field of research. It argues for a radical change of systems providing human needs. Being triggered by the negative implications of the Western post-war model of development, major transition frameworks such as multilevel perspective, strategic niche management or transition management have been widely used to clarify and motivate socio-technical transformations in mainly more economically developed world. Because of their sustainability appeal, however, transition perspectives began to be applied in developing countries. This paper takes stock of and systematises the theoretical insights from this application. Using systematic review method of 115 publications released in the last decade, the paper discusses novel methodological and conceptual lessons around: experimentation and upscaling; stability, change and power; regime uniformity; contextual forces; path-dependence; transnational linkages; normative orientation and other aspects. Although the identified insights confirm the middle range character of the transition theory, they force some reflexivity and raise new research questions for both contexts. The paper also identifies a few policy implication for international organisations, donors, governments and civil society organisations.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • NGOs fostering transitions towards sustainable urban sanitation in low-income countries: Insights from Transition Management and Development Studies
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-08-30
    Mara J. van Welie, Henny A. Romijn

    Globally, 756 million people in urban areas have no access to improved sanitation, while the urban population is increasing rapidly. Providing toilets has often not been a sustainable solution because of failure to link them to the necessary service infrastructure. Resolving urban sanitation problems in low-income countries requires innovations in approaches covering infrastructure, technology, social embedding, financial mechanisms and cost recovery. This paper explores the potential challenges and contribution of NGOs in facilitating new, integrated solutions to urban sanitation problems that address the entire sanitation chain, promising better social, financial and environmental sustainability. A case study of a sanitation project initiated by a large Dutch NGO is presented, using reconstruction of project documentation and interviews with project stakeholders. The analytical framework combines elements from Transition Management (TM) with insights from process approaches to development projects and community development. The choice of the TM concept is motivated by the notion that the new NGO approaches could be conceived as efforts to initiate a sustainability transition process in urban sanitation, whereas its complementation with insights from the development studies domain answers to the need to attune a TM-based framework to participation in the socio-institutional context in low-income countries, to understand the progress of governing transition processes in informal, low-income settings. This context requires special attention for capacity-building and creation of organizational structures in poor local communities. The case study shows that this entailed specialised groundwork, with which the NGO laid a crucial foundation that enabled transition frontrunners to act. Simultaneously, this focus on bottom-up empowerment created challenges for the NGO in effectively involving the right frontrunner actors who could put pressure on incumbent societal structures and institutions. We conclude that transitions in low-income contexts require extra attention to local empowerment and institution building to lay the required foundations for a locally rooted transition process. Development NGOs like the one in our case study have the skills to do this, but need to learn how to combine these with additional necessary competences to facilitate systemic change.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Nexus narratives and resource insecurities in the Mekong Region
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-08-30
    Louis Lebel, Boripat Lebel

    Several global narratives around resource insecurities have reached the Mekong Region. In the latest reincarnation, experts, bureaucrats and businesses have called for greater attention to a water-energy-food nexus. It is not clear however, if they are talking about the same thing, with the same purpose or that decision-makers are listening. The purpose of this study was to identify the key features of nexus narratives globally, and then analyze how they are being used in the Mekong Region. We used the Narrative Policy Framework to explore narrative content and strategies, and Cultural Theory to help identify policy beliefs of competing coalitions in a mixed-methods analysis. Increasing resource scarcity, which undermines security, was a shared setting in all nexus narratives. Individualist and Hierarchist narratives tend to de-politicize the nexus by promising solutions from innovative businesses and free markets, or through technocratic and managerial control of resources and the environment by bureaucrats. Egalitarian narratives identify victims and villains to re-politicize the nexus around themes of justice and human security. Nexus narratives were used to support and oppose hydropower, irrigation and biofuel development, with Individualist narratives consistently being the most pro-development. Nexus narratives have been widely adopted by international organizations and foreign experts working in the Mekong Region; however, with a few exceptions, they have as of yet had little direct influence on national policy or plans. Several possible reasons are discussed, including limitations of the concept itself.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • The rise and fall of foreign private investment in the jatropha biofuel value chain in Ghana
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-08-26
    Ivan Nygaard, Simon Bolwig

    The article draws on the multi-level perspective (MLP) and global value chain (GVC) frameworks to analyse the drivers and trajectories of foreign private investment in biofuel production in Ghana. It is based on a narrative of the evolution of a niche for jatropha production in Ghana in the period 1995–2016 including company case studies. The factors analysed relating to MLP are alignment of expectations, network formation, and learning and knowledge sharing, and those relating to GVC are chain structure, governance, ownership, and access to land and capital. High entry barriers for creating a new agriculture-based value chain for global biofuel markets, i.e. high volume requirements, high capital needs, and market risks contributed to the collapse of the jatropha sector in Ghana. A low level of learning and knowledge sharing between jatropha actors in Ghana, alongside weak public R&D support, reduced access to technical and managerial information. Confirming previous GVC research on biofuels, policy and NGOs had a stronger influence on the jatropha value chain than in typical agricultural chains. Moreover, global drivers and the strategies and capabilities of foreign investors can strongly influence the development of a new biofuel value chain in a developing country. The latter points complement previous research on jatropha, which highlights politico- economic factors such as land tenure, regional and local power relations, and the interests of donors and NGOs. The study exemplifies a non- evolutionary niche development that goes beyond the European experiences of industrial niche development on which the MLP framework was first established. The importance of investors and policy at different levels of the value chain illustrate the synergies in combining the MLP and GVC frameworks in research on energy transitions in developing countries.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Transitions in water harvesting practices in Jordan’s rainfed agricultural systems: Systemic problems and blocking mechanisms in an emerging technological innovation system
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-08-24
    Gregory N. Sixt, Laurens Klerkx, Timothy S. Griffin

    This study identifies systemic problems and opportunities for transitions in water harvesting − a water conserving agricultural practice − in the context of a developing country pursuing greater agricultural sustainability. We utilize a combined and enriched functional-structural technological innovation system (TIS) analysis to identify systemic problems in the water harvesting TIS in rainfed agricultural production systems of Jordan. Results indicate Jordanian water harvesting TIS development is hindered by three principal blocking mechanisms: 1) inadequate financial resources to support innovation; 2) lack of a common vision across government ministries; 3) institutional problems that inhibit legitimizing the technology. These challenges are caused by interlocking systemic problems, which indicate the need for integrated policy approaches and interventions. Our analysis reinforces the concept that in developing countries, donor interventions should be centrally considered because they play a role in influencing priorities throughout the system and in supporting TIS development. Donors can counteract TIS development and contribute to directionality problems that favor one form of the technology over another, which gives insufficient protection for the water harvesting TIS until markets for technologies form. This would require more effective coordination between different donors’ efforts to develop critical mass in TIS development. We also show that cultural institutions and interactions between formal and informal land tenure laws play a significant role in causing an erosion of trust in the government and counter efforts to promote and engage farming communities in water harvesting activities and innovation. This requires recognition that, in developing countries, informal institutions may have the same status as formal institutions.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Governance of the water-energy-food security nexus: A multi-level coordination challenge
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-08-12
    Claudia Pahl-Wostl

    The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus is increasingly perceived as promising approach to overcome governance failures in dealing with complex and interconnected resource management challenges. Are such expectations warranted and what is required to mobilize the transformative potential inherent in this approach? The paper addresses these questions and argues in favour of developing a nexus paradigm which guides processes of purposeful design and of self-organization of nexus governance systems. Such a paradigm could be anchored in addressing water, energy and food security from a nexus perspective if such a security concept is appropriately defined and operationalized. To develop the argument, governance challenges arising from the different logics of the concepts of water, energy and food security are addressed with a definition for WEF security from a nexus perspective. An analytical framework using a network and ecosystem services perspective is introduced. The power of the approach introduced is illustrated for a typical case to identify coordination failures and persistent sustainability problems but as well leverage points for transformative change. The paper concludes by elaborating on the transformative potential of the SDGs and on the role of a WEF nexus approach in realizing such a potential.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-07-31
    David C. Rose, Nibedita Mukherjee, Benno I. Simmons, Eleanor R. Tew, Rebecca J. Robertson, Alice B.M. Vadrot, Robert Doubleday, William J. Sutherland

    Scientific knowledge is considered to be an important factor (alongside others) in environmental policy-making. However, the opportunity for environmentalists to influence policy can often occur within short, discrete time windows. Therefore, a piece of research may have a negligible or transformative policy influence depending on when it is presented. These ‘policy windows’ are sometimes predictable, such as those dealing with conventions or legislation with a defined renewal period, but are often hard to anticipate. We describe four ways that environmentalists can respond to policy windows and increase the likelihood of knowledge uptake: 1) foresee (and create) emergent windows, 2) respond quickly to opening windows, 3) frame research in line with appropriate windows, and 4) persevere in closed windows. These categories are closely linked; efforts to enhance the incorporation of scientific knowledge into policy need to harness mechanisms within each. We illustrate the main points with reference to nature conservation, but the principles apply widely.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • How to make biodiversity knowledge compelling? The case of mosquito control implementation in the Camargue (France)
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-05-17
    Fanny Guillet, Laurent Mermet

    Despite the expressed desire for ‘evidence based policy’, especially in the environmental field, many policies seem to ignore available knowledge and to put aside scientific evidence. The science–policy interface, therefore, has abundant examples showing that knowledge production and decision-making processes should be analysed together. In this regard, we address the question of how biodiversity scientists could participate in social and political negotiation so that scientific biodiversity knowledge becomes evidence. We use the use of Bti for mosquito control in the Camargue, South of France, as an empirical case study to examine the place of biodiversity in the decision-making process and the role of scientists supporting biodiversity conservation. We demonstrate that to become evidence, scientific knowledge has to be widely adopted by stakeholders. In that context, biodiversity scientists have to keep demonstrating impacts on biodiversity to maintain the controversy opened. They also have to propose and eventually test alternative solutions. Combining actor-network theory and strategic analysis, our approach encourages social scientists to adopt case-based long-term field studies to contribute to reflections by biodiversity scientists as they struggle to make their work impact biodiversity policy.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Sustainability transitions in the developing world: Challenges of socio-technical transformations unfolding in contexts of poverty
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-04-10
    Mónica Ramos-Mejía, Maria-Laura Franco-Garcia, Juan M. Jauregui-Becker

    The transitions to sustainability approach has proved to be useful for academics, policy makers and practitioners to understand and promote socio-technical transformations, often aiming at climate change alternatives in European countries. However, little attention has been paid to the limitations of using frameworks such as the Multi-level perspective and the Strategic Niche Management approach in the developing world. Here, countries exhibit a mixture of well- and ill-functioning institutions, in a context of market imperfection, clientelist and social exclusive communities, patriarchal households and patrimonial and/or marketised states. In order to explore such limitations, we have used an institutional framework documented in the development studies literature, which describes three types of institutional settings: ‘welfare’, ‘informal security’ and ‘insecurity’. This institutional analysis shows that (1) the context for innovation in developing countries is a loose scenario where the concepts of ‘pockets’ or ‘layers’ can be useful; (2) the characteristics of the institutional setting shape in several ways the quality of the niche structuration processes that create and unfold. Our rationale and illustrations call for bringing the poverty alleviation agenda into sustainability transitions studies in developing countries. We propose areas of further reflection attempting to inspire future research pathways.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
  • Reflexive strategic action to consolidate a research–NGO partnership during science–policy interactions
    Environ. Sci. Policy (IF 3.751) Pub Date : 2017-04-04
    Audrey COREAU

    Ecology researchers are increasingly willing to be involved in conservation policy-making processes. However, such processes are driven by complex negotiations between numerous stakeholders. The wish to engage is therefore not enough for ecological scientists to conduct effective science–policy interactions with respect to their conservation goals. The capacity for scientists to influence such negotiations also depends on their understanding of the strategic context, which involves complex cooperation and opposition dynamics among the stakeholders. Reflexive strategic action, an approach derived from the management sciences, can help develop collaborations between social scientists and ecologists that provide both (i) prime field observations on the involvement of scientists in policy-making processes and (ii) a support to scientists in their actions, by increasing their awareness of the strategic context in which they are embedded. In this study, an action research approach was developed within the context of a partnership between an ecology research team and a conservation NGO. The partnership aimed to design a new science–management interface for Mediterranean biodiversity conservation. The action research project was based on reflexive strategic action and focused on how such a partnership could strengthen the capacity of both partners to influence biodiversity conservation policies. While the relationship between the research team and the conservation NGO seemed to be based on a tactical pragmatism, both partners identified the need for a more effective advocacy coalition. Strategic reflexivity brought a number of insights to the partners and helped them collaborate towards their conservation goals. Ultimately, the increase in reflexivity brought by the social sciences is more likely to be useful when all those involved – social scientists, ecology researchers and conservation NGOs – share the same normative perspective on conservation goals.

    更新日期:2017-12-14
Some contents have been Reproduced with permission of the American Chemical Society.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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