PSA Conference 2016

This year’s PSA Conference is taking place between the 21st and 23rd March, and will be held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.

VB04-Brighton-Pier

Image courtesy of Visit Brighton

PSA Environment will be hosting a drinks reception and meal at the Hop Poles pub, just five minutes’ walk from the Hilton. We will be arriving at 6pm for drinks, and have reserved tables for food at 7pm. Although the deadline for saving a seat at the meal has now passed, if you are interested in attending, please get in touch. We already have over 20 confirmed environmental politics specialists attending, so it should be a good one!

We’ll also be holding our AGM from 12.30-1.30 on Tuesday 22nd March in the Gloucester Room.

This year, we are pleased to have filled all six of our allocated panels at the PSA Conference, while three further environmental politics panels have been organised.

PSA Environment Panels at #PSA16:

Shale Politics and Policy in the UK

Room: Ambassador

Time: Tues 22nd March 09:30 – 11:00

Panel Chair: 

Professor Mathew Humphrey

Panel Members: 

Dr Jessica Andersson-Hudson

Dr Ashley Dodsworth

Professor Elizabeth Bomberg

Dr Hannes Stephan

Professor Paul Cairney

 

Party Politics and Climate Change Part I

Room: Ambassador

Time: Tues 22nd March 13:30 – 15:00

Panel Chair: 

Professor Robert Ladrech

Panel Members: 

Professor Neil Carter

Miss Fay Farstad

Dr Peter Christoff

 

Party Politics and Climate Change Part II

Room: Ambassador

Time: Tues 22nd March 15:30 – 17:00

Panel Chair: 

Professor Neil Carter

Panel Members: 

Professor Robert Ladrech

Dr Caroline Kuzemko

Dr Paul Tobin

Miss Fay Farstad

 

Nuclear energy: Still a contested energy source?

Room: Hilton Meeting Room 3

Time: Weds 23rd March 11:00 – 12:30

Panel Chair: 

Dr Paul Tobin

Panel Members: 

Dr Christiane Smith

Ms Shashi van de Graaff

Dr Antje Brown

Dr Phil Johnstone

 

Local Environmental Politics

Room: Buckingham

Time: Weds 23rd March 15:30 – 17:00

Panel Chair: 

Dr Marit Böker

Panel Members: 

Mr Robin Jervis

Dr Ros Hague

Ms Alice Hague

Mr Max Lempriere

 

Climate Policy and Sustainable Development

Room: Grand Consort Room

Time: Weds 23rd March 15:30 – 17:00

Panel Chair: 

Professor Robert Ladrech

Panel Members: 

Dr Lucy Michaels

Dr Matthew Lockwood

Professor Rosalind Wade

Ms Rebecca Willis

Additional environmental politics panels at #PSA16:

Reassessing Environmental Authoritarianism in China

Room: Hilton Meeting Room 4

Time: Tues 22nd March 13:30 – 15:00

Panel Chair: 

Dr Nele Noesselt (GIGA Institute of Asian Studies)

Panel Members: 

Dr Geoffrey Chun-fung Chen (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Mr Lukas Witt (University of Duisburg Essen)

Dr Thomas Johnson (City University of Hong Kong)

Dr Jinghan Zeng (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Dr Ying Miao (Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University)

 

Environment

Room: Hilton Meeting Room 2

Time: Tues 22nd March 15:30 – 17:00

Panel Chair: 

Dr Umut Korkut (Glasgow Caledonian University)

Panel Members: 

Miss Caroline McCalman (University of Sheffield)

Dr Paul Anderson (University of Warwick)

Dr Louise Reardon (University of Leeds)

 

Participatory and Deliberative Democracy & Environmental Politics Session 3: Democracy, Climate Change and Sustainability

Room: Surrey Suite 1

Time: Weds 23rd March 11:00 – 12:30

Panel Chair: 

Dr Alfred Moore (University of Cambridge)

Panel Members: 

Professor Graham Smith (University of Westminster)

Dr Marit Böker (Keele University)

Mr Wayne Foord (Queens University Belfast)

Pathways to sustainable development – can Africa take a lead?

According to Ugandan President Museveni , “Climate change is a new form of aggression against Africa and humanity in general” at the UN climate Summit in September 2014. He stressed that while Uganda and other African nations, were suffering the most from climatic disruptions, they were not the ones to blame.

There is no doubt that many African countries will be amongst the most hardest hit by the effects of climate change. Testimonies by a number of African leaders at the September 2014 UN summit illustrated this point. Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou talked about how a main water source in his country Lake Chad, is literally drying up; ‘The Sahel region is showing impacts of climate change. We have seen a decrease in rainfall and waterflows, increase in desertification and temperatures – Lake Chad has lost 90% of its surface area in 20 years’.

The President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz pointed out that ‘ 36 African countries are among 50 countries most impacted by climate change. Most of our citizens live off agriculture and animal husbandry and climate change has limited our ability to grow economically while harming the living conditions of our population.’ Museveni pointed out that ‘ this is not the fault of Africa. This is the fault of North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia.” This is backed up by recent research by ODI which reports that,’ government and household budgets in the poorest countries have been left to foot the bill for a threat that originates principally in richer countries’.

The Green Climate Fund does offer possible ways forward but so far many nations (including the UK) have failed to pledge any substantial amounts.

GCF

World leaders are strong on words but it is actions which count now and time is fast running out to stem the worst effects of our changed climate. The threats to global food security, economic prosperity and social stability are increasing all the time and it is the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable who are paying the price. Unlimited growth and consumption is not an option within the planet’s ecological carrying capacity as we need 1.5 earths to meet the demands we currently make on nature.

Nonetheless, the huge challenges for Africa present an opportunity for leaders like Museveni to chart a new path of sustainable development. In a forthcoming lecture for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Dr Fatima Denton, a lead author of the IPCC report and coordinator of the Africa Climate Policy Centre, is expected to call upon African countries to start using climate-change mitigation as a pathway for development. This would help African countries achieve energy security, stimulate industrial potential and transform its fragile and underperforming agricultural sector. Her presentation is likely to highlight the wide range of adaption initiatives that are already demonstrating technological innovation and strengthening Africa’s capacity to turn its climate challenges into development opportunities. According to the IPCC 2014 report, most African national governments are starting to plan for adaptation, disaster risk management and diversification of livelihoods though these efforts are not yet co-ordinated.

President Museveni recently highlighted the potential of the purchasing power of the African middle class to drive change. ‘The middle class in Africa is now of the magnitude of 313 million people which has boosted the purchasing power of Africa to US$ 2.5 trillion. This purchasing power is growing at the rate of 3.2% per annum. This growth and expansion of African GDP and purchasing power is in spite of inadequate roads, inadequate railways, inadequate electricity, etc’ (Museveni UN Climate summit 2014). If focused on sustainability, this purchasing power has the potential to unlock the creativity and enterprise of the region, however, it needs to be part of an alternative pathway to sustainable development which focuses on social and ecological justice.

But to what extent is this the case? The recent discovery of oil in Uganda has presented a mixed picture. Research by masters students at London South Bank University studied the effects of oil production in the Albertine region of Uganda and indicated that in fact many subsistence farmers and fisherfolk are actually being forced from their lands by expropriation by powerful interests. Poor literacy and educational levels mean that alternative jobs in the oil industry are not available for local people and the fragile local ecology of a vulnerable region is under threat from oil spills and flares. Community leaders fear social instability and rising conflicts of interest may further destabilise the area.

Yet this needs to be set against some very positive initiatives which are being led at the global level by organisations such UNEP and UNESCO and at the grassroots level by teachers’ organisations, universities, the National Environment Management Agency and local NGOs such as TreeTalk, African Rural Development Initiative and Kulika Education Trust.

African leaders like Museveni have a once in a lifetime opportunity to set a course to sustainability for the rest of the world to follow. In his UN speech Museveni proposed a fund to reclaim the forests and wetlands where they have been encroached on and also to reward those who are still protecting them. This needs the support of all world leaders – or humankind risks destroying our future life support system on this planet. Climate change may then indeed prove to be ‘not just a form of aggression against Africa but against all humanity’.

For a place at the annual Barbara Ward IIED lecture on November 20th featuring Dr Fatima Denton , please click here.

 

Ros Wade, London South Bank University,

wader [at] lsbu.ac.uk, @roswade1
*The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and are not designed to reflect the position of the PSA Specialist Group on Environmental Politics.  The Group encourages thoughtful and respectful reflection on the content in the comments section of the post.*