Upcoming seminars 2018

 

Nov. 13 (Tuesday): Is policy integration the answer to effective delivery of public goods? Insights from a review of Scottish Environmental Policy Instruments. by Dr Kirsty Blackstock (The James Hutton Institute)
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cumming room, Irvine Building
Abstract:
 Land managers are stewards for Scotland’s natural assets, including biodiverse habitats supporting different species; soils; and both ground and surface water. Through their management, land managers affect how these natural assets deliver multiple services, goods and benefits for both their businesses and wider society. These land managers are expected to know and understand the complex environmental policy landscape in order to comply with regulations, take advantage of incentives and access advice and guidance. In general, land managers seek clarity on their obligations in order to manage their land for their commercial interests whilst also meeting societal expectations and legal requirements. Therefore, coherent and aligned land management policies on biodiversity, water and soil are important drivers of the delivery of public goods on privately managed land.

Our research, funded through the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2016-21, has assessed if and how environmental policy instruments currently interact. We selected a sample of ten policy instruments covering both compulsory and voluntary instruments, ensuring that these instruments were implemented in all regions and land use classes in Scotland. Using document analysis and in-depth interviews with individuals who designed or implemented these instruments, we were able to assess both the current situation and perceptions of what could or should change in the future. Whilst none of the instruments overtly conflict, our research exposed the considerable effort that is currently invested in instrument design to try to maximise complementarity and avoid unintended consequences. Despite these efforts, the suite of policy instruments can still appear complicated and confusing from the ‘outside’. Furthermore, there are some natural assets, such as soils or types of biodiversity that are not particularly well addressed by existing instruments.

Participants identified opportunities to further align policy instruments through coordination (informal joint working) or integration (formalising joint instruments or delivery). Realising these opportunities offers the potential for land managers to better deliver multiple benefits and to make policy delivery more effective. However, there are debates regarding how much coordination is beneficial before delivery becomes too complex; and how to ensure that coordination or integration reduces, rather than amplifies, the existing individual policy implementation challenges (e.g. ensuring uptake, effective monitoring etc.). The paper will finish by considering what our research adds to the deliberations around ‘public funding for public goods’. We will consider why there seems to be more appetite for coordinating existing instruments than formal integration; and how the enthusiasm for partnership working expressed by our participants might translate into more effective outcomes for natural assets.

(Blackstock K.L., Juarez-Bourke A; Maxwell J.A., Tindale S. J., and Waylen K.A)

Nov. 20 (Tuesday): Energy justice and normative uncertainties. by Dr Behnam Taebi (Department of Values, Technology and Innovation; Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management; TU Delft
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cummin room, Irvine Building
Abstract: Most of energy justice literature rest on the assumption that there an acceptable normative conception of justice that could guide the development of future energy systems. That assumption is problematic, because situations are conceivable with several morally defensible, yet incompatible conceptions of justice. I call this normative uncertainty, that is, when there is no unequivocal right or wrong answer to the normative question of what justice entails. In this paper I argue that the energy justice scholarship could benefit from a richer normative underpinning of the notion of justice by acknowledging the issue of normative uncertainties.My argument builds on the distinction that Rawls makes between the concept and conceptions of justice. Let me illustrate this with an example. When proposing a new nuclear waste site, it is often easily accepted that we should consider the distributional impact both within and between generations. This is also often reflected in the national legislations and international agreements on nuclear waste disposal. There is, thus, an agreement about the concept of distributive justice, but different morally acceptable conceptions of what this just distribution entails (both in terms of the unit and the patterns of distribution) are conceivable. Agreement on the (relevance of the) concept of distributive justice leave the questions of what levels of radiation protection we should guarantee for the present and future generations unanswered.I define normative uncertainty in energy justice as situations in which there are different partially morally defensible but incompatible conceptions, or when there is no fully morally defensible conception of justice. I will distinguish between evolutionary normative uncertainty (when one does not know which moral norm would apply to an energy technology, because both the technology and moral views could evolve), theoretical normative uncertainty (when different ethical theories would respond differently to the question what justice entails), conceptual normative uncertainties (when different ethically relevant concepts that contribute to energy justice such as values could be prioritized or interpreted differently) and epistemic normative uncertainties (when there is incomplete knowledge about fundamental phenomena, or different interpretations (with different moral implications for what justice means) are possible of the same body of knowledge. This will provide for crucial insights towards normative underpinning of the discussions on energy justice.
Nov. 27 (Tuesday): EEEP & GOSSIP seminar: Changing Times: The political economy of the UK since 1945. Prof. Martin Chick (School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh)
Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cumming room, Irvine Building
Abstract: This seminar examines the main shifts in the role of U.K. governments in allocating investment resources in the years since 1945. A broad reading of investment is taken, to include not just fixed capital investment in nationalised industries, infrastructure and housing, but also in terms of investment in human capital as seen in education and, to a lesser extent, health. Throughout the seminar, the concern is to point up the changing use made of the concept of time in shaping approaches towards the finance, provision and pricing of investment resources.

 

Past seminars

 

EEP Seminar Series 2018

 

Oct. 23 (Tues.): Tinkering with turbines: experimental spaces, material frictions, and decentralising energy in Scotlandby Dr Annabel Pinker (The James Hutton Institute)


Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cumming room, Irvine Building

Abstract:
This paper builds on literature exploring the entanglements between socio-political life and energy to consider how alternative, more decentralized arrangements of electricity production might affect how humans relate to one another and to non-human worlds, or trouble existing formations of power and governance. In particular, it considers how two distinct modalities of local engagement with energy schemes at radically different scales – first, a Scottish peninsula’s 40-year experiment with off-grid micro-wind turbines and, second, local attempts to disrupt/reconfigure plans to build a controversial commercial windfarm on the Isle of Lewis – rely upon ethical processes for their material and political operation. I argue that energy decentralization – the gradual, multi-scalar reconfiguration of infrastructures and power relations implied by moves towards greater local involvement in energy production, distribution and use – necessitates an ethical mode that disrupts fixed moral claims and assertions of ‘the public good’ in favour of the creative negotiation of the emergent material, social and political frictions implied by energy transition.
Annabel Pinker is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2015-18) at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. She completed her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2010, and her subsequent research has explored decentralisation, political experimentation, and emerging forms of state power in Peru. Her current research concerns the material politics of renewable energy and energy decentralisation in Scotland.

Oct. 17 (Wed.): ECRG/EEEP seminar: The eutrophication states of Jakarta Bay, Indonesia: from ecological to societal problems (2001 to 2017)by Ario Damar (Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia)


Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cumming room, Irvine Building

Abstract: Eutrophication states of the most eutrophied tropical embayment in Indonesian waters was studied over the period of 2001-2017 in Jakarta Bay. There was a clear gradient of dissolved inorganic nutrient concentration, showing very high values in the river mouths and steeply decrease down the bay. This shows clear evidence of anthropogenic eutrophication has been occurred in this tropical coastal embayment. There is no significant change in nutrient concentration (except nitrogen), phytoplankton biomass and thus eutrophication level during the last 16 years period (between 2001 to 2017), showing relatively stable but extremely high nutrient pollution level in Jakarta Bay. Eutrophication level analysis resulted high level of eutrophication in the bay. Hyper-eutrophic level is always pronounced along the near-shore part of the bay, for then decreases to eutrophic level in the middle of the bay and mesotrophic class in the outer part of the bay. Algae bloom and hypoxia becomes a regular phenomenon which leads to mass mortality of fish in this bay which lead to some economic loss of the community. Local government of Jakarta City has been focusing efforts on combating this situation by setting up a 10 years clean river within the city. Waste water treatment have been installed at some points and law enforcement actions have been implemented. Economic loss of fish mass mortality in Jakarta Bay regularly occurs is being topmost topic to be studied, as well as economic loss of tourism retarded situation due to plankton bloom.
Dr Damar is a marine biologist with an interest in coastal ecosystems. For more on his work see: https://scholar.google.co.id/citations?user=IPJwUa8AAAAJ&hl=en. He is visiting Tobi this week, hence the different day/time/location to usual seminars.

Oct. 9 (Tues.): Reflecting on personal and professional energy stories in energy demand research. by Dr Sam Staddon (School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh)


Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cumming room, Irvine Building

Abstract:Abstract: As researchers involved in projects to reduce energy demand within buildings we may differ in our discipline, approach and epistemology; however we all share in common our experiences of energy demand within our own homes and workplaces. This paper centres on our status as ‘insiders’ in the research we conduct, exploring its potential impact on the stories of energy we tell through our research. The paper considers ways in which we may craft more creative stories of energy demand by being reflexive researchers, seeking out the ‘productive moment of friction’ where universalising science meets particular personal experiences. Perspectives on the value of so-called ‘anecdote’, along with issues of representativeness are discussed. Ultimately the paper argues for greater recognition of and more explicit attention to the relationship between the stories of energy we experience in our own lives, and those we tell through our research. It does so in the hope of encouraging an acceptance of the partiality of all knowledge, a practice of pluralism, and thus opportunities to move beyond dominant discourses in policy, industry and academia of what is necessary in order to reduce the demand for energy in our buildings.

Oct. 2 (Tues.): Fair Shares or Token Gestures: understanding community benefit payments from renewable energy development. by Dr Sandy Kerr (International Centre for Island Technology, Heriot-Watt University, Orkney Campus)


Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: George Cumming room, Irvine Building

Abstract:Abstract: It is increasingly common for renewable energy projects to make financial, or in kind, payments to local communities. These arrangements are variously described as ‘benefits payments’ or ‘compensation schemes’. Similar approaches are now being recommended for other forms of development with potential to engender opposition from local communities (e.g. nuclear power and fracking). While such payments are common, the level of payment, the institutional frameworks involved, and the nature of discourse, varies greatly. Existing literature has sought to record, rather than explain, the diversity of arrangements. To a large extent this diversity is rooted in the power dynamic between developer and community. Three UK case studies are used to highlight the diversity of arrangements, meanings, and power balances, within benefits arrangements.

May 1 (Tues.): Investigating the preferences of remote beneficiaries for sustainable tourism development: the case of Fiji. by Dr Tiziana Luisetti (principal environmental economist, Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas))


Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building

Abstract: Distinct cultural heritage and unique environment are some of the comparative advantages of Small Islands and Developing Countries (SIDS) which attract large numbers of visitors every year. Fiji is one of the most tourism-dependent SIDS in the world. Heavy reliance on tourism activities can become a major threat to Fiji’s biodiversity and impact important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, prevention of coastal erosion, water cycling, cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic values.We explore the motivations of remote beneficiaries’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for sustainable tourism in distant destinations like Fiji, but also the type of value – existence, use, bequest – remote beneficiaries attach to distant coastal and marine ecosystems. We investigate if this value is consistent with economic theory and if preferences of different beneficiaries’ groups diverge.We designed and implemented a Choice Experiment (CE) with a representative national sample of 800 UK citizens in November-December 2017. The CE has been designed using a Bayesian D-efficient sequential design with starting priors based on a pilot survey administered to 180 UK citizens and on the ongoing survey.Preliminary results show interesting differences in preferences for coastal ecosystems between those who visited and not visited a tropical island before: non-users seem to consider all the natural ecosystems presented in the choice cards as equally important, with a slightly more weight given to the iconic coral reefs, whereas users have stronger preferences for corals and mangroves. For both groups, the main motivations of WTP for sustainable tourism relate to the eco-friendly management of tourist accommodations and the possibility to access the host communities. Also, preliminary results seem to show that respondents have a positive discount rate. These findings highlight that potential remote visitors hold both use and non-use values, and suggest a relevant role of previous experience and possibly other latent individual factors in identifying the importance of ecosystems services and management options. Our results can have several policy implications for the implementation of sustainable tourism in SIDS.

May 9 (Wed.):  Immigration and development before the ‘Age of Mass Migration’: Ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia, 1784 to 1931.  by Dr Matthias Blum (Queens University Belfast) 

Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Seminar Room, Observatory

Abstract: This case study contributes to the ongoing debate on the effects of immigration by illustrating that skilled immigration can foster economic development even when immigrants do not directly induce industry development or introduce growth enhancing institutions. We analyse long-term effects of skilled immigration of ethnic Germans on literacy and development in Yugoslavia. After a series of Habsburg-Ottoman wars during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, large areas in Central and South Eastern Europe were devastated and required re-population. Underpopulated regions were colonised among others by ethnic Germans who immigrated primarily in the eighteenth century into modern-day Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, and parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Exploiting this natural experiment in an instrumental-variable approach, and utilizing data we collected from the Yugoslav population census of 1931, we identify causal links between immigration, human capital accumulation and economic development across 378 Yugoslav districts. In a first step, we exploit variation in war-related depopulation during the period 1495 to 1773 to identify a causal link between the presence of ethnic Germans and literacy rates. In a second step, we exploit the presence of ethnic Germans to identify a causal link between literacy and a series of development indicators. We find that regions with higher intake of ethnic German settlers in the eighteenth century show more white-collar employment, more employment in industry and services, and lower employment in agriculture in 1931.

April 3 (Tues.): Costs and benefits of peatland restoration in Scotland. by Dr Klaus Glenk (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)) 

Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: tbc

Feb. 20 (Tues.): Why is the policy process failing for Hinkley C. by Prof. Stephen Thomas (Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy, University of Greenwich

Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: The UK nuclear power programme is misconceived and failing badly. The promises on which it was based have proved false. Costs have escalated 5-fold, implementation is a decade late and massive public subsidies have been granted to prevent its collapse. Yet the normal mechanisms that would ensure such a failing policy would not be implemented have failed. The presentation will examine what the role of the Parliamentary process, interest groups, the public and media and the civil service has been. It will examine the need for an ‘exit’ strategy and review the continuing attraction of nuclear power to governments.

Jan. 30 (Tues.): The effect of people’s values on preferences in water governance: A case study from the Upper Paraguay River Basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil.  by Dr Christopher Schulz (University of St Andrews)

Time: 13.00-14.00
Venue: Forbes Room, Irvine Building
Abstract: A growing body of research suggests that people’s values may be important predictors for their preferences in water governance. However, this assertion is rarely tested empirically. The present study summarises the results of the first large-scale quantitative study on the link between public preferences in water governance and people’s values in Latin America, based on data from a representative sample of the general population collected in a household survey in the Upper Paraguay River Basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil (n=1067). Structural equation modelling is applied to represent the clusters of values, or ‘value landscapes’, that shape attitudes and preferences in water governance, in this case, for or against the construction of the highly controversial Paraguay-Paraná Waterway across the Pantanal wetland in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Results demonstrate that opponents of the waterway share a value landscape composed of closely related self-transcendence values, democratic governance-related values, and ecological and cultural water values, whereas supporters hold self-enhancement values, economic governance-related values, and economic water values. Beyond this individual case study, our findings may explain the protracted nature and seeming impossibility to resolve environment vs. development conflicts more broadly.

 

EEP Seminar Series 2016-2017

 

April 12 (Wed.): Stated Preferences for Conservation Policies under Uncertainty: Insights on Individuals’ Risk Attitudes in the Environmental Domain.  by Dr Michela Faccioli (The James Hutton Institute)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

March 6 (Mon.): Official opening of the Hamilton Room. Presentation: Wealth and Social Welfare by Dr Kirk Hamilton (Emeritus Lead Economist of the Development Research Group of the World Bank & Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science)

Time: 1pm – 2pm welcome & lunch, 2pm – 3pm seminar by Dr Hamilton
Venue: Observatory buildingWe are pleased to be welcoming Dr Kirk Hamilton for the official opening of the Hamilton Room at the St Andrews Observatory. The event will begin with an informal lunch served at 1pm, followed by a presentation by Dr Hamilton from 2pm to 3pm.Kirk Hamilton is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. Formerly Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of The World Bank, his current work focuses on the theory, measurement and policy uses of measures of national wealth, as well as the economics of climate change.Dr. Hamilton is co-author of The Changing Wealth of Nations (World Bank 2011), World Development Report 2010 Development and Climate Change, and principal author of Where is the Wealth of Nations? (World Bank 2006). Previously senior research fellow at the UK Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, he has researched and published extensively on growth theory and the economics of sustainable development. He also served as Assistant Director of National Accounts for the government of Canada, where his responsibilities included developing an environmental national accounting program. His degrees include a PhD in Economics and MSc in Resource and Environmental Economics from University College London, as well as a BSc from Queen’s University at Kingston.Abstract: Social welfare measures the discounted sum of current and future wellbeing, and national wealth (produced, natural, human, intellectual, and institutional capital, and net financial assets) is what underpins it. This idea has its origins in questions about the sustainability of economies extracting finite resources – the Hartwick Rule was the answer to these questions. I present the extension and elaboration of these ideas to show that we now have (i) tools to measure net wealth creation, and (ii) policy rules that can ensure that social welfare increases over time. Increasing social welfare should arguably be the overarching policy goal for government.

February 15 (Wed.): Connecting environmental humanities: developing interdisciplinary methods. by Professor Gavin Little (Stirling Law School, University of Stirling)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 
Abstract: There is now a consensus that the potential contribution of the humanities to environmental debate and decision-taking is significant. Drawing on the experience of the Royal Society of Edinburgh research network in the arts and humanities ‘Connecting with a low-carbon Scotland’, the paper focusses on how to realise this potential by developing a cross-humanities collaborative research method. This has two key objectives: (1) to enable participating disciplines to articulate their own contributions to pre-identified issues; and (2) to develop interdisciplinary humanities narratives on these issues. The knowledge which emerges can then facilitate interdisciplinary working between the humanities, STEM subjects and social sciences, and be of value to environmental decision-takers.

February 22 (Wed.): Personality, happiness, and economic preferences. by Dr Christopher Boyce (University of Stirling)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 
Dr Boyce is a happiness and wellbeing researcher and Research Fellow at Stirling Management School. His research crosses the boundary between Economics and Psychology, with particular focus on personality and income effects on subjective wellbeing. For further information about Christopher’s research, and his personal endeavours in sustainable and mindful living, visit his website here .Abstract: There is a long research tradition of trying to understand key determinants of economic preferences. One focus for understanding economic preferences has been on traditional economic factors, such as income and education, but to what extent are economic preferences also shaped by psychological factors such as happiness and personality? Here I will present research exploring (a) how personality predicts how individuals react to changes in economic circumstances, such as income changes and unemployment, and (b) whether happiness and personality predict preferences for environmental outcomes. Our research suggests that the use of personality psychology would improve the accuracy of economic models by incorporating individual specific reactions and has the potential to instigate a second wave of behavioural economics.

February 1 (Wed.): Labelling effects and energy use at household level: the case of the UK winter fuel payment and the energy performance certificate. by Dr Mirko Moro (Stirling Management School, Universtiy of Stirling)

Time: 2.30pm 
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

Summary: Dr Moro is Senior Lecturer in the Division of Economics and director of the MSc in Energy Management at the Stirling Management School. His research in applied economics links the quality and use of the environment to issues of behaviour, health and wellbeing. In this seminar, Mirko will discuss energy use at the household level with reference to the UK winter fuel payment and energy performance certificate.

November 2: Examining the link between flood experience and climate change engagement. by Charles Ogunbode (School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews)

Time: 12.30-1.30
Location: Observatory Building, Seminar Room

Summary: Research suggests that ‘proximizing’ climate change (i.e. making it more immediate, relevant and real) could help promote pro-environmental action and mobilize public support for relevant policies. Highlighting the links between local weather events and global climate change has specifically been proposed as a potential strategy to bring seemingly distant climate change impacts home. This recommendation is typically backed with references to a number of studies that have reported that personal experience of extreme weather events, that are attributable to climate change, is linked to increased risk perception, concern and willingness to act pro-environmentally. However, the evidence of this purported link has been mixed in instances where researchers have attempted to establish the relationship between objective measures of extreme weather experience and climate change engagement. In this talk, I will discuss the results of my attempts to reproduce the supposed positive effects of flood experience on climate change perceptions in two online experiments, as well as findings from some secondary analyses which suggest that the effects of flood experiences are not equivalent for Liberal and Conservative political sub-groups within the UK population.

October 26: Energy Policy and Law in the U.S. by Edward Flippen (McGuire Woods Law Firm)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room 

October 12: What Caused the Agricultural Revolution? by David Maddison (Department of Economics, University of Birmingham)

Time: 2.30 pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room

Summary:
Explanations of changes in agricultural TFP around the time of the agricultural revolution typically consist of a purely narrative account. Often these accounts present a timeline of key innovations or a discussion of the achievements of great agricultural pioneers. This threatens to give the impression that the agricultural revolution was mainly about purposive R&D activities. Using data drawn from a variety of sources we estimate agricultural TFP over the period 1690-1914. Applying causality tests appropriate for analyses involving nonstationary data we show that changes in the volume of agricultural output and the length of the canal network precede changes in TFP. By contrast measures of purposive R&D, the dissemination of knowledge and the extent of enclosure do not precede changes in TFP. Our findings appear to confirm the importance to the agricultural revolution of learning-by-doing and Smithian growth i.e. improved transport infrastructure facilitating regional specialisation.

September 19: Employing CGE modeling to wealth accounting and sustainability. by Koji Tokimatsu (Environmental Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Time: 1pm
Venue: Observatory building, seminar room