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Hunt GT Minister for the Environment Regional cooperation towards ending Asia-Pacific rainforest loss by , media release, 13 November , accessed 1 November , www. The state of the application of ecosystems services in Australia. Ecosystem Services UN United Nations Indigenous perspectives on biodiversity. IMOS national reference stations: a continental-wide physical, chemical and biological coastal observing system. Bioplatforms Australia NSW Government Scaling up green bond markets for sustainable development: a strategic guide for the public sector to stimulate private sector market development for green bonds, Climate Bonds Initiative, London.

Creating shared value: how to reinvent capitalism and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Partnering Indigenous ecological knowledge with scientific methods and facilitating access to specialist data were significant steps in monitoring and managing biodiversity in remote areas of northern Australia.

We manage our land and sea. We work with our Traditional Owners. We protect our cultural sites and heritage. We maintain our springs and coastline. Collaboration and sharing of knowledge resulted in a management plan that incorporates natural, cultural and social values, and recommends using both western science and traditional techniques for managing freshwater ecosystems Dobbs et al. This case study highlights the benefits of high-level public-sector funding, and the importance of applied research to traditional land and sea management for natural and cultural heritage places.

Ecosystem valuation that recognises the need for a resilient environment and the cost of degradation has the potential to become a valuable component of management. Since , there have been significant efforts at national and international levels to improve valuation of, and accounting for, ecosystems, and more broadly the environment—and to incorporate these values into national economic accounts and decision-making.

Adaptation to climate change: tools and methods

Having a clear understanding of the implications of economic growth for the environment and the contribution of different sectors of the economy to particular environmental problems enables better analysis of environmental policy and management practices. This understanding requires reliable and accurate ways of organising and presenting information that shows the links and interactions between the economy and the environment.

Environmental—economic accounts provide information and an improved understanding on a range of issues, including:. There are several Australian efforts to develop environmental—economic accounts and ecosystem accounts:. As the development and testing of environmental—economic accounting at national and subnational levels continue, this system is likely to provide more consistent and comparable information to support a better understanding of the links between natural capital and other parts of the economy, and the consequence of changes in natural capital on the flow of ecosystem services to society.

A range of innovative approaches are being developed by individuals, businesses and communities that may lead to further decoupling of economic activity from environmental impact. For example, efforts to reduce food wastage in cities, recycling, step changes in energy-efficient technologies and the growing use of digital technologies all suggest that Australia has the opportunity to develop innovative approaches to growing the economy as well as sustaining the environment. Fortunately, Australia has strong academic and scientific research institutions, and a growing information, communication and technology sector.

The pace of technological change, particularly in the fields of information, communication, nanotechnologies and biotechnologies, is unprecedented. Emerging new technologies, including cost-efficient renewable energy, mobile communication and big data, are facilitating collaborative and effective solutions. The European environment in a wider perspective. Environmental-economic accounting: Victorian experimental ecosystem accounts, version 1.

Australian system of national accounts, , cat. Natural Capital Coalition Australian environmental economic accounts, , cat. Tracking to an interim update of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions projections, DoE, Canberra. BoM Australian Bureau of Meteorology Water in Australia , BoM, Melbourne. This site is a major undertaking to improve the usability of SoE information. We are grateful for the support of users in our ongoing efforts to improve SoE reporting.

Please report problems with the site via our feedback page. We, the authors, acknowledge the traditional owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community; we pay respect to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.


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Having difficulty reading? Main menu. Policies, tools and approaches that are potentially changing the outlook Overview Historic Content you are reading content from a previous reporting year. Policies, tools and approaches that are potentially changing the outlook Integrated policy approaches For many years, the Australian Government has recognised that decisions made today about infrastructure, health, energy, transport, heritage, water management, fisheries, agriculture and biodiversity have lasting consequences for future generations. It is based on the view that health is not merely the product of healthcare activities, but is influenced by a wide range of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental determinants of health.

The initiative focuses on working across government to better achieve public policy outcomes, and simultaneously improve population health and wellbeing. Australia and neighbouring countries in Asia and the Pacific are increasingly cooperating on better solutions for major common subregional and regional environmental issues.

For example, in , Australia along with other members of the Asia—Pacific Rainforest Summit, agreed for the first time to a regional commitment to reduce rainforest loss Hunt The approach UNEP c proposes: a more strategic allocation of resources to green sectors and the greening of brown sectors which rely on petrochemicals for economic growth more sustainable consumption efficient, cleaner and safer production greater equity in outcomes through public policies related to production and consumption.

Improving knowledge through better monitoring and data collection Since , our environmental knowledge base has improved significantly, including the information and data on which to assess the state of the environment and make environmental decisions. Improving decisions and action through better knowledge Although better monitoring and data collection are crucial, it is important to recognise that improving our knowledge base is not an end in itself. Improved knowledge can contribute to all stages of management, by enabling managers to: identify opportunities to create shared-value or win—win environmental and economic opportunities better target actions to protect or remediate the environment learn from other similar projects, sectors or jurisdictions adapt management depending on progress during a project provide project feedback to future projects, or other sectors or jurisdictions.

Improved measures to account for ecosystem values Ecosystem valuation that recognises the need for a resilient environment and the cost of degradation has the potential to become a valuable component of management. Environmental—economic accounts provide information and an improved understanding on a range of issues, including: patterns of consumption of natural resources by industries and households relationships between consumption of natural resources and gross value added by industry relationships between the value of natural resources and consumption patterns of depletion of natural resources and its effect on the environment ABS c.

Countries working in the partnership have been compiling accounts for natural resources such as forests, water and minerals, following SEEA, as well as experimental accounts for ecosystems such as watersheds and mangroves the Natural Capital Protocol, developed by the Natural Capital Coalition, which is a framework to help generate trusted, credible and actionable information to support better business decisions by including specific consideration of how the business interacts with natural capital Natural Capital Coalition There are several Australian efforts to develop environmental—economic accounts and ecosystem accounts: The Australian Bureau of Statistics, both by itself and with partners, has produced environmental accounts since Victorian Experimental Ecosystem Accounts Eigenraam et al.

Models have been developed to represent the current levels of ecosystem flows and to predict the change in ecosystem flows resulting from changes in land use and management. This information, originally designed to assess the most effective management interventions, can also be used for the purposes of ecosystem accounting. The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists developed a model set of Australian Regional Environmental Accounts, which measure the condition of environmental assets in several natural resource management regions.

The approach focuses on physical measures of the condition of environmental assets; it does not directly assess ecosystem services or flows Sbrocchi et al. Innovation to further decouple the economy from the environment impact A range of innovative approaches are being developed by individuals, businesses and communities that may lead to further decoupling of economic activity from environmental impact.

Overview: Policies, tools and approaches that are potentially changing the outlook. On this page. Dr William Jackson Chief author. Ms Alex Rankin. The discourse affects the content of global governance arrangements, which can even be privatized as carbon traders seek to escape international governmental authority see Paterson's chapter.

Market logic extends too to offsets, whereby polluters can compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions by paying somebody else, for example, to plant trees that will absorb an equal quantity of emissions. What actually happens at ground level in countries where there is weak monitoring capacity is another matter entirely. Unlike conventional markets where one party of the transaction can complain, or at least never transact with the other party again, both parties in offset transactions have every incentive to give misleading information to the public on the real number of trees planted and their actual effectiveness in p.

Again, complexity rules. But whatever their consequences for mitigation, new kinds of climate markets present many opportunities for traders to become wealthy, becoming a constituency pushing for further marketization see Spash's chapter. National governments are embedded in market economies that constrain what they can do, and the social realm is often limited by economistic frames and discourse. However, markets are not necessarily just a source of constraint.

Markets are made up of producers and consumers who might themselves change their behavior in ways that reduce emissions. The most important producers here are large corporations. Why might they change their ways?

John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, and David Schlosberg

Corporate responses to the challenge of climate change have been highly variable see Pulver's chapter , and there is little reason to suppose a significant number of corporations will play a leadership role if governments do not. The only corporations that do have a clear financial incentive to take the risks of climate change very seriously are insurance companies. This is especially true of the big reinsurance companies with potentially high exposure to damages caused by extreme weather events.

The high hopes once vested in insurance companies by some analysts Tucker on this score seem so far to have produced little in the way of comprehensive action. A decarbonizing economy would of course have to involve changes in patterns of consumption, whether induced by government policy and price increases, or chosen by consumers through changing mores. Such basic individual and broad cultural changes that affect consumption have been promoted by a variety of social movements, religious actors, and celebrities. Many environmental organizations focus on consumer behavior—from the individual level up to the decarbonization and transition of towns and regions—both as a source of direct change and as a clear economic and political statement.

Luke also insists we understand the dangers of such forms of such behavioral control, even if it does look green. At any rate, changing consumer habits are no substitute for coordinated collective action. In a world where the legitimacy of public policies and other collective actions rests in large measure on the democratic credentials of the processes of their production, it matters a great deal what publics think, and what actions they consequently support, or are willing to p. Initially, many climate scientists, policy makers, and activists thought that the key here was simply getting publics to understand the facts by providing information the point behind Al Gore's documentary film An Inconvenient Truth , for example.

Yet as Moser and Dilling point out in their chapter, just providing information normally has little impact on behavior. Most people get their information via the media, but as already noted there are structural features of mainstream media the reporting only of controversy, which requires two opposing sides that are problematic when it comes to communicating climate change. Thus there remain many failures in public cognition of the complex phenomena attending climate change see Jamieson's chapter.

Public opinion polls often show that people do care, and do want something to be done see Nisbet's chapter ; but there is no necessary urgency.

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In practice, many issues of more immediate concern and which impose far fewer burdens of cognition trump climate change when it comes to for example voting behavior. Information, scientific or otherwise, is often processed through the lens of existing beliefs formulated in areas of life remote from climate science. Those beliefs can be very powerful, for better or for worse.

Religious beliefs are particularly important in this respect see Kearns's chapter. Publics should not however be understood as simply mass publics, which are problematic when it comes to mastering complex issues simply by virtue of their mass nature. Publics of this sort can be found at many levels: local, national, transnational, and global.

They are organized in many different ways, ranging from community groups to the translocal solidarity identified by Routledge in his chapter to global networks of activists depicted by Lipschutz and McKendry in their chapter. Concerned publics almost by definition are geared for action in the way mass publics most of the time are not. But the extent of their influence in the face of structural political forces and powerful recalcitrant actors remains highly uncertain. Increasingly, concerned publics advance a discourse of climate justice. The political philosopher John Rawls once famously proclaimed that justice should be the first virtue of social institutions.

Itself disputable, that ideal remains a distant aspiration when it comes to climate change. Considerations of justice have often been marginalized in favor of economic efficiency and aggregate welfare in public policies and intergovernmental negotiations. Yet climate justice does inform policy debates and positions taken in negotiations, as well as political activism. The debate around climate justice has revived an argument within justice theory about the adequacy of proposing principles for ideal situations of the kind Rawls himself proposed.

The alternative task for theory involves addressing major pressing and concrete social and political problems, concerning human rights, poverty, and now the changing climate. Increasingly, justice frameworks are being used in the development of climate policy strategies. The fact is that existing vulnerabilities will be exacerbated by climate change. The costs of climate change and the unintended effects of some policy responses to it will not be evenly distributed, and we need, at the outset, some way to measure the vulnerabilities to be experienced in such an unequal way see Polsky and Eakin's chapter.

Many of the direct costs of climate change itself will, as Mendelsohn points out in his chapter, be felt by the poor in developing countries. Those costs are sufficiently severe to undermine human security in terms of rights and basic needs see Barnett's chapter. Climate change can have many substantial direct impacts on human health, and many secondary impacts if health problems undermine the adaptive capacity of social systems see Hanna's chapter. Many indigenous communities, already living on the margins, are particularly vulnerable see Figueroa's chapter.

These people are of course those with the least political power in global politics in general, and when it comes to climate change in particular. They may have justice on their side, but that alone will not give them an effective voice. Environmental ethicists and climate justice theorists have examined the moral challenges that attend climate change, and what ought to be done in response.


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  7. Beyond the science, the economic arguments, the policy differences, and the actions and frames of the various actors in the climate change drama, lies a normative dimension of the crisis. Emerging norms of justice may play a number of roles in regulating the relationships of the whole range of human actors as they confront climate change. As Gardiner in his chapter summarizes, questions of justice concern the procedures around which decisions are made, the unfairness of the distribution of existing vulnerabilities to climate change and the fair distribution of benefits and burdens in the present and near future see also Baer's chapter , the extent and nature of our obligations to both those within and outside our own country international or cosmopolitan justice , responsibility to future generations or intergenerational justice—see Howarth's chapter , and even the potential injustice done to nature itself.

    For example, the concept of international justice takes nations as its basic unit of ethical considerability—and as such, national governments can deploy this discourse when it suits their interests to do so. So developing countries can point to the history of fossil fuel use on which developed countries built their economies, such that fairness demands that it is the developing countries that should shoulder the burden of mitigation.

    The response on the part of the wealthy countries is that for most of this history, their governments had no awareness that what they were doing could change the climate, and so ought not to be held uniquely responsible for future mitigation. Effective global action on mitigation could benefit from taking a more cosmopolitan approach to justice, one in which people rather than nations are the subjects of moral considerability and responsibility see discussions in chapters by Harris, Baer, and Gardiner.

    Here, obligations of justice surpass those owed only to those in our own country. Given global climate change, such nationalist limits begin to look irrelevant—as our individual actions affect people outside our own nations, our obligations exceed those borders as well. In this light, rich consumers in China have a global climate responsibility equal to that of rich consumers in the United States. Pragmatically, as Harris points out, if it introduced measures to restrict the emissions of its own rich, China would then have more credibility in international negotiations when it asked the US cut its emissions.

    This is just one example of how ethical considerations could have real practical importance. The larger point is that while the discourse of climate justice can be put in the service of those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, it can also facilitate resolution of collective problems.

    Negotiating a context defined by concerned publics, experts, lobbyists, and structural limits on what they can do, governments can choose to act on climate issues. Some of them already do. Dealing with major climate change issues has however never been a part of the core priorities of any government. Of course environmental policy has been a staple of government activity especially in developed countries since the s. But it remains the case that the environment is not core business in the same way that the economy is.

    Governments acted swiftly and with the expenditure of vast sums of money in response to global financial crisis in —9. They have never shown anything like this urgency or willingness to spend on any environmental issue. The difference is easily explained: the first concern of any government in a market economy is always to maintain the conditions for economic growth, which normally also means maintaining the confidence of markets in the government's own operations Lindblom The second concern of most governments in developed countries has been to operate and finance a welfare state see Gough and Meadowcroft's chapter , which itself is predicated upon continued economic growth.

    The core security imperative of government—protection against external threats—has p. Failure on one of these core priorities has the potential for swift catastrophe for any government, be it in terms of fiscal crisis and punishment by voters at the polls, or in the case of security erosion or even loss of sovereignty. Failure when it comes to climate change, where the risks, burdens, and benefits are distributed in complex fashion across space and time, does not yet mean anything at all comparable in the immediacy of its consequences for government.

    While none of them performs adequately, some national governments do perform better when it comes to climate policy than others, though this variation is not easily explained see Christoff and Eckersley's chapter. The surprising development here is that the UK has shown signs of trying to break the mold.

    In stark contrast to its counterparts in the United States and Australia, the leadership of the Conservative Party in the UK has decided to try to appeal to green voters. In the face of the failure—or in the US in the s the blatant refusal—of national governments to substantively address the issue, subnational governments US states such as California, regions, cities, and localities have in many cases adopted policies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases see the chapter by Bulkeley.

    However, while insisting on the importance of subnational action, even its most ardent enthusiasts would not see it as a substitute for effective national and international policy action. Despite its seeming refusal to countenance any infringement on its sovereignty of the sort that agreeing as part of a global process to cut its emissions would connote, China could decide to make substantial unilateral cuts see Schreurs's chapter. Chinese policy for the moment remains dominated by the economic growth imperative, but some of those exasperated by the kind of stalemate so common in liberal democratic states think that Chinese style authoritarianism might be capable of more decisive action.

    However, actually implementing such decisions amid complex circumstances may prove beyond the capacity of authoritarianism,. However, when it came to the Copenhagen Accord, China dropped the G77 for which it had been a spokesman in favor of a G2 deal with the United States. The governments that compose the G77 generally stress their right to very conventional forms of economic growth that may themselves do little for their rural poor.

    What could induce national governments to do better? Aside from international agreements of which more shortly , there is some scope for reframing climate issues in ways that would make effective national government action more likely. That reframing might involve recognition of the security dimension of climate change. Climate change can, as Gilman et al. Security could also refer to the basic security of human needs, as argued by Barnett in his chapter.

    A security framing does mean emphasizing threat and so fear, in a way that Moser and Dilling in their chapter have identified as problematic in moving public opinion. And as a comprehensive frame for climate issues, it probably makes most sense for the United States—a global superpower with security interests in all parts of the world that could therefore be affected by impacts of climate change that are only locally catastrophic.

    In this light, mitigation might actually be an economically profitable option. This particular reframing has been adopted most extensively in the coordinated market economies of northern Europe and Japan , and as Hajer and Versteeg point out in their chapter, can now also be found very prominently in international negotiations on climate change. But as they also note, there can be a large gap between discourse structuration and discourse institutionalization, where the discourse adopted actually conditions the content of public policies.

    A more radical reframing would see national governments adopting resilience rather than economic growth as their core priority see the chapter by Adger et al. Neither coordinated collective action nor discursive reframings can stop at the national level. Climate change involves a complex global set of both causal practices and felt impacts, and as such requires coherent global action—or, at a minimum, coordination across some critical mass of global players.

    Without such coordination, there is substantial p. Enough players doing this will of course result in little in the way of effective action. Such is the status quo. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was established in to organize negotiations that eventually involved just about all the world's states. But Kyoto failed to deliver much in the way of actual reductions. The world's largest emitter, the United States, did not ratify the agreement, which imposed no obligations at all on developing countries.

    So at the time of writing, the world's two largest economies and largest emitters, the USA and China, are not covered by Kyoto. These are also two of the states that cling most tightly to a notion of sovereignty that cannot be diminished by global governance. Even those states that did ratify the Protocol generally fell far short of the commitments they had registered. What happened at the eleventh hour in Copenhagen was that G was supplanted by G2. China and the United States, two of the most problematic participants in the prior negotiations and when it comes to the very idea of global governance in general, produced a Copenhagen Accord with no binding targets for anyone and no enforcement mechanism for the weak targets that were proclaimed.

    While most countries agreed to take note of the Accord, few did so with any enthusiasm, or with any intention to do anything much in consequence. Our authors disagree about the best response to this kind of disappointment, and the very weak international climate regime that it leaves in place. Biermann suggests a number of ways to strengthen the regime, including the establishment of a World Environment Organization on a par with the World Trade Organization, a strengthening rather than abandonment of the UNFCCC itself, and a stronger institutionalized role for civil society organizations many of which push for stronger action on the international stage.

    Young suggests institutionalization of fairness principles of a sort that would induce more serious participation from China and key developing countries. China would then have more credibility when it demanded that developed nations commit to more effective emissions reductions. Young also suggests more attention to intersections with other regimes such as that for international trade in a way that would induce more mitigation, and perhaps an enhanced role for effective minilateralism—negotiation among a small number of key parties.

    Climate Change and Society: Approaches and Responses - Oxford Handbooks

    While at first glance this looks exclusive, that could be ameliorated to the degree representatives of those likely to suffer most from climate change are also at the table. While these and other ideas for its improvement are being canvassed, Paterson in his chapter points out that what is happening in practice is that the international climate p. Whether in the context of internationally agreed targets and timetables or outside such agreements, emissions trading and offsets grow in prominence, to the point they are poised to dominate global climate governance. This may well continue whether or not such use of markets is ultimately effective in containing climate change.

    Analysis of the global climate regime might focus on particular deficiencies and proposals for reform, but it is also worth taking a step back to consider the whole idea of a comprehensive, inclusive, negotiated, global approach to climate change mitigation. Perhaps that is asking more than the international system is capable of delivering. The first three of these concerned only security; the fourth added economics. While comparisons are sometimes made between climate change and war e. Perhaps we need to think in very different terms about the coordination of a global response.

    It would involve attending to the roles that stakeholder communities, shared norms, evolving discourses, local practices, and regional agreements, could play—while not necessarily renouncing global negotiation in its entirety. The problem is that the pace at which the mechanisms it identifies could change and take effect in positive fashion may be too slow to match the pace at which climate change is arriving. In addition, governance mechanisms need to be anticipatory rather than reactive when it comes to future change.

    Governments are not used to acting in this kind of way; nor do more diffuse governance mechanisms necessarily compensate. The complexity of the issues of climate change and society means that an element of arbitrariness is inescapable when breaking down the whole into component areas of scholarship, and then ordering those areas.

    The interconnections are many and strong. There are few independent subsystems of scholarship with significant findings that stand on their own. Responding effectively to the challenges of climate change will require coordination of efforts across different ways of looking at the problems. Understanding all the social dimensions of climate change requires us to embrace these complexities and interrelationships.

    Nevertheless, publishing the contributions between covers requires putting them in a linear order. We have chosen to do as follows. Complexity means that a range of perspectives and discourses can be brought to bear in both the history of climate change and the rest of this Handbook. The climb up the scientific agenda took place over a century. The climb up the political agenda was slow, but eventually reached a point where climate p.