Recent Submissions

  • Have climate policies accelerated energy transitions? Historical evolution of electricity mix in the G7 and the EU compared to net-zero targets

    Suzuki, Masahiro; Jewell, Jessica; Cherp, Aleh; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Elsevier Ltd., 2023)
    Climate policies are often assumed to have significant impacts on the nature and speed of energy transitions. To investigate this hypothesis, we develop an approach to categorise, trace, and compare energy transitions across countries and time periods. We apply this approach to analyse electricity transitions in the G7 and the EU between 1960 and 2022, specifically examining whether and how climate policies altered the transitions beyond historical trends. Additionally, we conduct a feasibility analysis of the required transition in these countries by 2035 to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5°C. We find that climate policies have so far had limited impacts: while they may have influenced the choice of deployed technologies and the type of transitions, they have not accelerated the growth of low-carbon technologies or hastened the decline of fossil fuels. Instead, electricity transitions in the G7 and the EU have strongly correlated with the changes in electricity demand throughout the last six decades. In contrast, meeting the 1.5°C target requires unprecedented supply-centred transitions by 2035 where all G7 countries and the EU must expand low-carbon electricity five times faster and reduce fossil fuels two times faster on average compared to the rates in 2015–2020. This highlights the insufficiency of incremental changes and the need for a radically stronger effort to meet the climate target.
  • Keeping the World’s Environment under Review: An Intellectual History of the Global Environment Outlook

    Bakkes, Jan; Cheatle, Marion; Mžavanadze, Nora; Pintér, László; Witt, Ronald G.; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (CEU PressBudapest - Vienna - New York, 2022)
    How do we take stock of the state and direction of the world’s environment, and what can we learn from the experience? Among the myriad detailed narratives about the condition of the planet, the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) reports—issued by the United Nations Environment Programme—stand out as the most ambitious. For nearly three decades the GEO project has not only delivered iconic global assessment reports, but through its multitude of contributors has inspired hundreds of similar processes worldwide from the regional to the local level. This book provides an inside account of the evolution of the GEO project from its earliest days. Building on meticulous research, including interviews with former heads of the United Nations Environment Programme, diplomats, leading contributing scientists, and senior leaders of collaborating organizations, the story is told from the perspective of five GEO veterans who all played a pivotal role in shaping the periodic assessments. GEO’s history provides striking insights and will save valuable time to those who commission, design and conduct, as well as critique and improve, assessments of environmental development in the next decade.
  • Air pollution analysis in Northwestern South America: A new Lagrangian framework

    Casallas, Alejandro; Cabrera, Ailin; Guevara-Luna, Marco-Andrés; Tompkins, Adrian; González, Yuri; Aranda, Juan; Belalcazar, Luis Carlos; Mogollon-Sotelo, Caroline; Celis, Nathalia; Lopez-Barrera, Ellie; et al. (Elsevier, 2024)
    This study examines the spatiotemporal variations of PM2.5, PM10, SO2, O3, NO, and NO2 concentrations in Northwestern South America (NWSA). We assess the efficacy of existing policies, identify underlying phenomena, and highlight areas for further research. Significant findings have emerged by analyzing reanalysis and in-situ data, employing the WRF-Chem model, and utilizing a new Lagrangian framework designed to overcome some drawbacks common to analysis of pollution Long-Range Transport. Wildfires in the first half of the year and volcanic activity (for SO2) in July–August contribute to over 90 % of the pollutant's advection, leading to high pollution levels in urban areas. SO2 volcanic emissions contribute to secondary PM, explaining the peak in PM concentrations in Cali in July. In the second half of the year, pollutant behavior varies based on factors such as city characteristics, vehicular-volume, air temperature, wind speed, and boundary layer height, and O3 is influenced by solar radiation and the NO/NO2 ratio. Diurnal variations of PM and NOx correlate with vehicular density, SO2 with industrial activity, and O3 depends on solar radiation. Trend analysis reveals decreasing PM10 levels except in three Cundinamarca cities and Cali suggesting the need to implement/evaluate control plans in those locations. Although data is limited, NO and NO2 levels show an increasing trend due to the rising number of vehicles. SO2 levels are decreasing, except in Cali, potentially influenced by the nearby industrial and polluted city of Yumbo. O3 displays a downward trend in most cities, except Bogotá, due to the NO/NO2 ratio favoring O3 increase. These findings provide a starting point for further research to deepen our understanding of NWSA air pollution. Such investigations are essential before modifying existing policies or enacting new ones. Collaborative efforts at the international, regional, and inter-city levels are crucial for effective air quality management.
  • Historical diffusion of nuclear, wind and solar power in different national contexts: Implications for climate mitigation pathways

    Vinichenko, Vadim; Jewell, Jessica; Jacobsson, Johan; Cherp, Aleh; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (IOP Publishing, 2023)
    Climate change mitigation requires rapid expansion of low-carbon electricity but there is a disagreement on whether available technologies such as renewables and nuclear power can be scaled up sufficiently fast. Here we analyze the diffusion of nuclear (from the 1960s), as well as wind and solar (from the 1980-90s) power. We show that all these technologies have been adopted in most large economies except major energy exporters, but solar and wind have diffused across countries faster and wider than nuclear. After the initial adoption, the maximum annual growth for nuclear power has been 2.6% of national electricity supply (IQR 1.3%-6%), for wind − 1.1% (0.6%-1.7%), and for solar − 0.8% (0.5%-1.3%). The fastest growth of nuclear power occurred in Western Europe in the 1980s, a response by industrialized democracies to the energy supply crises of the 1970s. The European Union (EU), currently experiencing a similar energy supply shock, is planning to expand wind and solar at similarly fast rates. This illustrates that national contexts can impact the speed of technology diffusion at least as much as technology characteristics like cost, granularity, and complexity. In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change mitigation pathways, renewables grow much faster than nuclear due to their lower projected costs, though empirical evidence does not show that the cost is the sole factor determining the speed of diffusion. We demonstrate that expanding low-carbon electricity in Asia in line with the 1.5 °C target requires growth of nuclear power even if renewables increase as fast as in the most ambitious EU’s plans. 2 °C-consistent pathways in Asia are compatible with replicating China’s nuclear power plans in the whole region, while simultaneously expanding renewables as fast as in the near-term projections for the EU. Our analysis demonstrates the usefulness of empirically-benchmarked feasibility spaces for future technology projections. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.
  • Energy as a weapon of war: Lessons from 50 years of energy interdependence

    LaBelle, Michael Carnegie (Wiley, 2023-06-07)
    The Organization of the Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) used oil as a weapon against Western countries supporting Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. From 2021, Russia used a similar strategy of restricting gas flows to Europe, while Europe later reduced Russia's market access. In these cases, there was economic and political damage. These examples show that energy is a weapon used to pressure sovereign states. Energy is a multidimensional resource that reflects broader ties within the political-economic system of international relations. This comparative study identifies four components that enable energy as a weapon: interdependence, energy security, neoliberal economics and sovereignty. Four key policy lessons emerge to improve energy security: (1) determine the acceptable limits of energy dependence, (2) acknowledge institutions and markets cannot deliver energy security outside their design parameters, (3) energy security requires addressing the entire value chain, and (4) energy is a weapon that threatens state sovereignty. The collapse of the gas trade between Russia and the EU creates instability and removes the pillar of interdependency; this now ushers in a new era.
  • Energy transition or transformation? Power and politics in the European natural gas industry’s trasformismo

    Szabo, John; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Elsevier, 2022)
    This paper explores how established natural gas interests responded to climate action in the European Union. Climate policy was initially not anticipated to reduce the role of natural gas in the energy system, if anything, many presumed that it would come to play a larger role. It was widely understood to be the transition fuel, entailing that it could substitute more carbon-intensive source-fuels, such as coal, as society decarbonises. This narrative complemented natural gas industry incumbents’ other forms of power, including their control over resources, infrastructure, and involvement in the policy-making process. Drawing on these, they presumed that their future was ensured in the shift towards a low carbon energy system. As the EU enhanced climate targets, incumbents were forced to adapt the fuel’s discourse according to the changing context. Incumbents deployed their material, organisational, and discursive power to extend the status quo and accommodate pressure to enact far-reaching change – a process Gramsci refers to as trasformismo. By tracing the natural gas industry’s response to climate action, this paper shows how incumbents draw upon their fuel-specific bases of power and it explores the importance of discourses in shaping the trajectory of the energy transition.
  • Fossil Capitalism’s Lock-ins: The Natural Gas-Hydrogen Nexus

    Szabo, John; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
    This paper investigates the hypothesis that power relations in the current, fossil fuel-based capitalist system allow the natural gas industry to appropriate the notion of a hydrogen energy utopia and substitute a natural gas-based vision for a renewable-based one. Although the uptake of hydrogen as a fuel is still in its infancy, the push to decarbonise natural gas-consuming regions has spurred action by natural gas industry actors to capture future markets. In doing so, they are able to maintain their capital accumulation practices based on unsustainable resource exploitation. This paper looks at how the domains of economic competitiveness, infrastructures, (geo)politics, and ideology all underpin the power of the natural gas industry to the detriment of their renewable competitors. The European Union is discussed in more detail, since this is the first region where ambitious climate policy targets and natural gas consumption collide.
  • Energy poverty and the role of institutions: exploring procedural energy justice – Ombudsman in focus

    Stojilovska, Ana; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2023)
    This paper aims to explore the role of institutions, and specifically of the Ombudsman, in creating and practicing policies with relevance to energy poverty as a case of procedural energy (in)justice in a European context, while refining procedural energy justice. It is empirically informed by studies about the Austrian energy utility-based Ombudsman and the independent Ombudsman in North Macedonia, countries with a low and high level of energy poverty, respectively. I highlight the unexplored institutional capacity of the independent Ombudsman to discover hidden institutional energy poverty drivers, and the utility-based Ombudsman to alleviate energy poverty, and contribute to a socially just energy transition. The energy market and social welfare system are important institutions co-shaping energy poverty, and the energy utility plays an especially relevant role in creating or preventing energy injustices. Procedural energy justice applied to energy poverty is about how institutions treat citizens over access to affordable energy, and how citizens are (dis)empowered by that relationship.
  • Environmental drivers and sustainable transition of dachas in Eastern Europe: An analytical overview

    Shkaruba, Anton; Skryhan, Hanna; Likhacheva, Olga; Kireyeu, Viktar; Katona, Attila; Shyrokostup, Sergey; Sepp, Kalev; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Elsevier, 2021)
    Dachas (collective gardens with summer houses in post-Soviet countries) is one of the most common features of peri-urban landscapes within the region that is the erstwhile USSR, with dacha conglomerates constituting half of the areas in the exurbs of major cities. In Belarus, Russia and Ukraine dachas largely preserved their original form and function. Arguably, they are at the turning point now, and can be further transformed sustainably if appropriate incentive structures will be created within national governance systems. The central objective of this study therefore is to understand the origin and transition of dacha’s form, process and function in terms of their environmental and social impact, as well as opportunities for transformative change towards sustainability under various governance conditions in the three countries. Building on field data from three suburban locations in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, as well as analysis of applicable regulatory frameworks and institutions in the three countries, we analysed social and behavioural background of dachas, management practices relevant to their environmental footprint, as well as governance frameworks, actors and power relations. Findings were further discussed in terms of governance barriers and solutions for sustainability transformation of dachas in a broader context of peri-urban transformation, and provide a comparative perspective across Eastern Europe. As such, none of the pathways have emerged as better than the rest in terms of sustainability. Variability of socio-economic and political contexts found in the region suggests that no “one size fits all” governance approach can be recommended. Any solutions paving the way for transformative changes would require proper information and knowledge systems with a smoother regulatory framework, and a purposeful restructuring of existing actor relationships.
  • Development of sustainable urban drainage systems in Eastern Europe: An analytical overview of the constraints and enabling conditions

    Shkaruba, Anton; Skryhan, Hanna; Likhacheva, Olga; Katona, Attila; Maryskevych, Oksana; Kireyeu, Viktar; Sepp, Kalev; Shpakivska, Iryna; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2021)
    We focused on the barriers to the implementation of enabling environments for sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Based on interviews and desktop research, we analyzed overall framework conditions in these countries as well as implementation practices in three cities. Our findings demonstrate that the main problem was the deficit of strategic foresight for urban development. SUDS are mostly promoted by NGOs and fueled by international donors, and this represents a major barrier to their implementation, as NGOs and ‘traditional’ epistemic communities are often not connected. Successful examples of SUDS are missing, often due to regulatory environments forcing SUDS development teams to take suboptimal decisions. In order to be taken seriously by key stakeholders SUDS need to appear in national policy documents. Furthermore, the overall successful implementation of SUDS needs robust governance frameworks while many structural issues are direct results of governance deficits.
  • Estimating the global technical potential of building-integrated solar energy production using a high-resolution geospatial model

    Molnár, Gergely; Ürge-Vorsatz, Diana; Chatterjee, Souran; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Elsevier, 2022)
    The building sector is responsible for about one third of the global final energy consumption and CO2 emission, thus it is desired to limit and replace building-related fossil energy sources to meet climate goals. In this context, the utilization of building integrated solar technology has proven to be a reliable and increasingly affordable alternative, however, there is still an immense potential remained unexplored. This study thus uses, a highresolution, geospatial energy supply model to estimate the useable building rooftop areas across 11 regions of the World, and calculates the corresponding global and regional potential of energy production of state-of-the-art rooftop PV/T collectors over a 39-year period. Our results demonstrate that solar PV/T energy production on residential and commercial/public rooftops has enormous global potential (47.5 PWh), with the possibility of doubling by 2060. The current magnitude of potential implies that about 60% of the suitable building rooftops could be installed with PV/T collectors to offset most of the local energydemand. Regarding the future trends we found that beyond the extended building stock in large economies (e.g., China, USA and EU), the newly-built commercial buildings of developing regions (e.g., Latin America and South Asia) are modeled to have key role in realizing the estimated potential over the next decades. Our study also focuses on the geographical, temporal and building-level characteristics of energy production and concludes that rooftops in the Middle East, South and Pacific Asia have the most favorable geographical exposure for capturing solar (dominantly thermal) energy by PV/T collectors. It was found to be especially valid for months during the warm season. In regions dominated by temperate climate, the energy generation is characterized by a second maximum before the warm season, due to the peak of electricity production. At the time of the production peaks and in general annually, irrespective to regions, PV/T collectors installed on single-family roofs and retails were estimated to have the greatest potential to supply green energy for the entire building and thus likely to balance the in-situ energy consumption.
  • How ecovillages work: more-than-human understandings of rentabilidad in Mexican ecovillages

    Morris, Olea; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Springer, 2022)
    This article highlights the emergence of intentional communities known as ecovillages (ecoaldeas) in Mexico, exploring how humans seek to design sustainable futures in part by re-making rural livelihoods. Ecovillages are inherently speculative ventures, or as Burke and Arjona (2013) note, laboratories for alternative political ecologies, inviting—and indeed, necessitating—the reimagination of human lives with greater consideration for the natural world. In this sense, such communities might be understood as “exilic spaces” (O’Hearn and Grubačić 2016), in that they seek to build autonomous and self-sustaining agricultural, social, and economic systems while also reflecting a stance of resistance to neoliberal capitalist structures. At the same time, communities may also remain dependent on connections to broader regional or global markets in diverse and interconnected ways. Understanding ecovillages as diverse and emergent “worldings” (de la Cadena and Blaser 2018), I ask how these experimental social ventures reckon with their connections to the very systems they are positioned against. To trace out how communities negotiate this fragile space, this article is concerned with how ecovillagers spend their time at work—particularly when it comes to managing relationships with and between more-than-human beings. Drawing on participant observation with ecovillagers and more-than-human others they work with, I explore how the concept of “rentabilidad” (profitability) is differently constructed. To this end, I highlight ethnographic examples where rentabilidad is purposefully reconceptualized with more-than-human lives in mind; such a shift, I suggest, hinges on ecovillagers’ individualized relations with the beings they (imagine themselves) to care for.
  • One Step Forward and Two Steps Back: Migration Policy and Human Trafficking in the Russian Federation since the Palermo Protocol of 2020

    Molodikova, Irina; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2020)
    The Russian Federation is the regional focal attraction point for labor from former Soviet Union (fSU) countries. It occupies one of the top five places in the world on number of labor migrants (about 9-10 mln. people) (WB 2017). The Majority (about 90%) are from fSU countries (MVD 2017). The free visa regime within the post-Soviet space is accompanied by difficulties in obtaining legal registration and work permits in Russia that turns many migrants into the situation of illegality. Russia has done a lot in terms of legal provisions to combat illegal migration and human trafficking by signing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and two Palermo Protocols against Trafficking in Persons and against the Smuggling of Migrants in 2004 and has made a lot of amendments to the Russian Criminal Code. In spite of all these efforts, the real situation with combating human trafficking is problematic. Russia has been an origin, transit, and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for labor and sexual exploitation to and from numerous countries mostly neighboring. How does Russian migration policy, particularly the propiska (registration system), create vulnerabilities for labor trafficking? An Inconsistent migration policy and it’s implementation in Russia produce roots for constant violation of migrants’ rights by local government administrations, employers, and by law enforcement bodies, creating irregular migrants vulnerable to human trafficking. This analysis shows how national anti-trafficking laws intersect with other domestic laws, including migration policies, and create new vulnerabilities for trafficking.
  • ‘Homeland farming’ or ‘rural emancipation’? The discursive overlap between populist and green parties in Hungary

    Lubarda, Balsa; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Wiley, 2020)
    In their attempts to associate the nationalistic ideology with speculative promises to emancipate the people from malevolent ‘outsiders’, right-wing populists often engage with rural and agricultural topics. Meanwhile, green parties, commonly associated with the progressive ideas of environmentally friendly agriculture, occasionally employ the binary logic of agrarian populism. This paper has three objectives. First, to identify the discursive features of rural (right-wing and agrarian) populism. Second, to examine how these discursive differences unfold in agricultural, party politics. Third, to examine the implications of overlapping ideas of populist and green parties for emancipatory rural politics. The study is predominantly based on the analysis of political discourses in Hungary: Jobbik (right-wing populist) and LMP (green party), while the agricultural discourse of Fidesz, the ruling right-wing populist party will serve as the background to the analysis. Particular attention is given to the aesthetic, symbolic, and material dimensions of land in discourse, including environmentally friendly farming and the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
  • BREMi—A New Tool for the Evaluation of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Management Effectiveness: Case-study in the Arab Man and Biosphere (ArabMAB) Regional Network

    Matar, Diane A.; Anthony, Brandon P.; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Springer, 2022)
    Scholars and practitioners have been striving to develop straightforward and effective tools to measure protected area management effectiveness (PAME). UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BR), with their unique functional and zonation schemes are monitored according to their compulsory 10-year Periodic Review (PR), which is useful for UNESCO’s evaluation purposes but lacks comprehensiveness and utility for adaptive management. Based on existing PAME methodologies, we develop and propose the first quantitative tool for the evaluation of BR management effectiveness, that would enhance and complement the currently used qualitative PR report, and serve the rapid evaluation needed for BR managers to monitor, evaluate, and adapt their management approach to achieve the three functions of BRs. The tool consists of 65 indicators, embodied within the 6 elements of the World Commission on Protected Areas Framework. We then tested this tool, named Biosphere Reserve Effectiveness of Management index (BREMi) to evaluate management effectiveness across the Arab Man and the Biosphere Reserve network involving 17 BRs spanning 8 countries of the Middle East and North Africa. BREMi scores ranged from 4.43 to 8.65 (on a scale between 0 and 10), with a mean of 6.31 ± 1.040. All indicators were considered valuable measures of progress by our respondents, as well as by independent experts. We discuss our findings in light of available literature concerning the Arab region and through the conceptual frames of adaptive management and resilience. Finally, we discuss where the BREMi tool would be most useful for BR management authorities in the iterative process of evaluation and adaptive management.
  • Electricity infrastructure and innovation in the next phase of energy transition—amendments to the technology innovation system framework

    Bettin, Steffen S.; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Springer, 2020)
    A new phase of energy transition makes auxiliary technologies such as energy storage and other flexibility options more important. Economic policy that aims to steer this transition needs to grasp the complex system dynamics underlying energy and society. This conceptual article gives an overview of energy technology innovation theories that exemplify the growing importance of flexibility for electricity usage. First, the article presents different conceptualizations of technology innovation and diffusion. Second, how energy systems are embedded in physical infrastructures and social power relations is shown with a brief history of electricity in contemporary industrialized societies. Third, energy innovation is discussed in context of challenges of the upcoming energy transition. Fourth, energy technology innovations are further contextualized in light of insights from political economy and energy social sciences. Finally, the discussed approaches are synthesized to amend the holistic technology innovation system approach for studying energy technology innovations such as energy storage.
  • Guayule as an alternative crop for natural rubber production grown in B- and Se-laden soil in Central California

    Bañuelos, Gary S.; Placido, Dante F.; Zhu, Hui; Centofanti, Tiziana; Zambrano, Maria C.; Heinitz, Claire; Lone, Todd A.; McMahan, Colleen M.; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Elsevier, 2022)
    The potential of growing guayule (Parthenium argentatum A. Gray) as an alternative crop for saline, boron- and selenium-laden soils in the Westside of central California was evaluated in both greenhouse and drainage sediment field experiments. In the greenhouse experiment, salt and boron (B) tolerance and selenium (Se) accumulation were evaluated in guayule accessions AZ-1 thru AZ-6 grown in saline soil and irrigated with simulated saline drainage water. The guayule accessions AZ1, AZ5, and AZ6 tolerated salinity and B levels better than the others. Consequently, AZ1, AZ5, and AZ6 were then planted in field sediment plots with slight salinity and moderate B levels. In both greenhouse and field studies, concentrations of Se, B, and Na in the leaveswere as high as 0.6–8 mg/kg dry weight (DW), 2000 mg/kg DW, and 17,500 mg/kg DW, respectively, in both experiments. In both experiments, concentrations of rubber and resin ranged from 4 to 14 w/w% in the stems, and applied salinity increased rubber and resin production in some accessions. This two-phase study provides additional evidence for guayule accessions (AZ1–6) as a promising rubber-producing crop that tolerates saline irrigation water in poor quality soils. In addition, guayule may be useful in the gentle phytoremediation of Se in poor quality soils or in soils irrigated with Se-laden drainage water.
  • Not Fit for 55: Prioritizing Human Well-Being in Residential Energy Consumption in the European Union

    LaBelle, Michael; Tóth, Géza; Szép, Tekla; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (MDPI, 2022)
    An analysis of the 27 European Union (EU) member states over the years 2000–2018 examines the relationship between residential energy use per capita and human well-being, measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). The EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ policy package to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may derail post-communist member states’ convergence (PCMS) to the same level of well-being of households in old member states (OMS). The aim of this article is to assess both the direct and indirect relationship between residential energy use per capita and human well-being. The findings indicate a direct connection in addition to the indirect effect between them. Therefore, reducing or leveling off residential energy consumption in PCMS will prevent human development convergence within the EU. The findings indicate the lack of convergence, because of the ‘Fit for 55’ policy package assumption of a decline of residential energy consumption in all member states could stagnate or lower HDI in PCMS and prevent policy implementation.
  • Paying for the Past: The Importance of Fulfilling Promises as a Key Component to Resolving Human–Wildlife Conflict

    Anthony, Brandon P.; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (MDPI, 2021)
    Damage-causing animals (DCAs) originating from protected areas which inflict damage on persons and property are particularly contentious when promises to satisfactorily address such conflicts, either by protected areas or other management institutions, are left unfulfilled. Human–wildlife conflicts (HWCs) of this nature can erode trust and if not adequately resolved, assure the maintenance of tense relationships between parks and neighboring communities. This paper, based on archival research, interviews and community focus groups, examines management responses to the long history of DCAs exiting the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. First, I document historical promises of compensation and the subsequent responses by conservation agencies to local communities to address these past injustices. Recent strategies to the DCA problem at KNP have been multi-faceted and include a wildlife damage compensation scheme initiated in 2014 which entails financial retribution given to affected farmers who have lost, and continue to lose, livestock to DCAs originating from the park from 2008 to date. I then present livestock farmers’ recent perceptions of DCAs, the compensation scheme itself, and proposed avenues for going forward. Despite continuing challenges in the process, I demonstrate that fulfilling promises is a key step to building relational trust and legitimacy and must be considered in similar contexts where protected areas and other conservation agencies are key actors in managing HWC.
  • Leader and citizens participation for the environment: Experimental evidence from Eastern Europe

    Centofanti, Tiziana; Murugesan, Anand; Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy (Elsevier, 2022)
    We examine two aspects of decentralized governance by conducting lab-in-the-field experiments in five villages in Central and Eastern Europe. We experimentally test the effect of (1) democratically elected local leader’s endorsement and (2) citizen’s participation in the choice of environmental public goods (EPG) on their voluntary contributions. Our design ties the voluntary contributions in the experimental public good game to restoring a real EPG, such as a public park. We find that citizen participation in the endogenous choice of the EPG significantly increases contributions, while the leader’s endorsement does not. Our results suggest that while the leader’s effect is unclear, participatory decision-making can improve access to public goods and increase the beneficiaries’ willingness to cost-share in rural communities.

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