Information and (random) thoughts on environmental governance

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Identifying Governance Strategies that Support Conservation Outcomes

pnas 29 March 2011

This week’s issue of PNAS brings an article on the performance of governance strategies in achieving three conservation outcomes: provision of ecosystem services, sustainability of resource use, and conservation of biodiversity. In the article, R. E. Kenward and colleagues develop an analytical framework that attempts to explain how economic, societal and ecological impacts of different governance strategies are influenced by three broad categories of variables : (1) initial capacity, (2) management priorities and (3) main processes and tools aimed at those priorities. Thirty four local and international case studies were used in the analysis. The findings support the benefits of adaptive management and the role of leadership. The conservation outcomes investigated were […] Continue Reading…

March 31, 2011   No Comments

Multilateral Governance in Large-scale Marine Systems

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The Reefs at Risk Revisited, a report by the World Resources Institute released late last month, warns of a “global coral crisis” with 75% of coral reefs currently in danger from overfishing, pollution and climate change. If these threats persist, it is estimated that more than 90% of reefs will be at risk by 2030 and nearly all reefs will be at risk by 2050.

At the centre of this “global coral crisis” is the Coral Triangle, a region regarded as the epicentre of marine life diversity – with 76% of all known coral species and 53% of the world’s coral reefs, where more than 100 million people depend directly on marine and coastal […] Continue Reading…

March 16, 2011   No Comments

Economic Incentives for Marine Conservation

The Economic Incentives for Marine Conservation guidebook, produced by Conservation International in collaboration with the Integration & Application Network of the University of Maryland, has just been released.

Incentives guidebook

The challenge of making conservation economically attractive is a critical hurdle for the creation and effective management of marine managed areas. This document describes three approaches to shaping incentives, project design and tool selection, and provides 27 case studies worldwide where incentives were employed in changing behaviour.
The guidebook can be downloaded at

January 20, 2011   No Comments

How Scientists Obscured the Truth on Global Warming

Photo by Sage Ross

Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, spoke recently at the University of New South Wales (Australia) on the ideas outlined in her book “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”. According to Oreskes, there is a disconnect between the state of scientific debate and the way it was being presented in the mass media, and perceived by the American people.  She suggests that confusion regarding climate science has been purposely disseminated for political reasons by people trying to confuse us.

You can listen to Naomi Oreskes’ public address on ABC Radio by clicking this […] Continue Reading…

January 9, 2011   No Comments

A Sourcebook on Property Rights and Collective Action for Sustainable Development

The CGIAR Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) has published its first Sourcebook on Property Rights and Collective Action for Sustainable Development.
The sourcebook is based directly on the experiences and lessons of CAPRi research from around the world. Its content is based on sound underlying research, but the presentation is simple, straightforward, and accessible. The objective of the book is to build capacity of research and development organizations to recognize the importance and relevance of CAPRi concepts and to apply the lessons and methods from CAPRi research to their work with communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders. It is our hope that it will serve not only as a relevant and practical guide for development practitioners, trainers, and […] Continue Reading…

January 6, 2011   No Comments

WikiLeaks, Climate Politics and Cancun

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The past few weeks have been “eventful” in the climate change arena. The whistle-blower group WikiLeaks exposed some obscure practices surrounding international climate negotiations (which have been called by some climate bullying, bribery, espionage, blackmail and dirty diplomacy).

The confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal how US and EU governments used money, threats and espionage to gain support, particularly from developing countries, for their “climate” agenda at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP 16) last year in Copenhagen. The objective of the US diplomatic offensive was to gain political backing for the controversial “Copenhagen Accord”.

The Copenhagen Accord is an unofficial document (that is, not adopted in the UN process), which serves many […] Continue Reading…

December 19, 2010   No Comments

Is Global Action the Only Solution to Climate Change?

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For many policy analysts reducing the threats of climate change requires an enforceable global treaty. But, global agreements have proven difficult to negotiate. Just remember the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) held last year in Copenhagen, which fell short of producing a meaningful outcome. Also, reaching a global agreement on climate change involves dealing with sensitive issues, such as the responsibility of developed countries for the current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, the “rights” of developing countries to pursue economic growth, and who should bear the costs for solutions. For that reason, an enforceable agreement involving the major emitters of greenhouse gases may take a long time to be reached.

Elinor […] Continue Reading…

November 7, 2010   No Comments

Video – How much could population trends influence climate?

Just a follow up note on my last post about the implications of population growth for CO2 emissions.  In the video below, Brian O’Neill explains his research, which shows that a slowing of population growth could contribute to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. See also the previous post for more information on the research, and link to O’Neil’s paper published in PNAS, last week.

October 20, 2010   No Comments

Effects of Population Change on CO2 Emissions

Image by Arenamontanus via Flickr

After being silent for nearly a month, I am back to blogging and now committed to write, at least, a new post every week.  This week’s post is on the link between demographic trends and CO2 emissions. Please feel free to leave your comment below.

Population growth has been affecting energy use and greenhouse gas emissions growth for the last several decades. The relation between demographics and carbon emissions seems to be obvious. As the human population grows so does the demand for energy; as more energy from fossil fuel is used, more greenhouse gases are produced. Energy demand and emissions can also be affected by a range of demographic dynamics, such […] Continue Reading…

October 17, 2010   No Comments

Elites and Institutional Persistence

Recent publication from UNU-Wider:

Particular sets of institutions, once they become established in a society, have a strong tendency to persist. In this paper I argue that understanding how elites form and reproduce is key to understanding the persistence of institutions over time. I illustrate this idea with a simple political economy theory of institutions and through examples from Liberia, the US, South Africa and Germany I show how elites influence institutions. To change institutions requires having an understanding of how reforms influence the preferences, capabilities and strategies of elites.

PDF version available here

September 20, 2010   No Comments