The pastoralist paradox revisited

workshopLand-use changes, political conflict, wildlife conflicts, population growth and climate change are some of the issues pastoralists in Kenya are faced with. CERE researcher Göran Bostedt returns to Kenya for a workshop on land tenure reform and focus group meetings with pastoralists.

In November 2018 CERE researcher Göran Bostedt revisited Kenya together with researchers from SLU, University of Gothenburg, and University of Nairobi, for a workshop in Nairobi on land tenure reform and the effects of climate change. The workshop was organized by a-research project financed by the Swedish Research Council jointly with FAO, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization.

During the stay in Kenya a questionnaire about land ownership and the capacity for climate change was tested through several focus group meetings with pastoralists in semi-arid parts of the country. (click on headline to read more)

The importance of wood energy

In many places, notably in rural areas in countries in economic transition, wood is the only affordable source of energy for heating and cooking. Despite its importance, wood energy is often under-used or misused, resulting in air pollution and the degradation of forest resources. Click on headline to read more
Photo of Francisco from UN-ECE

Wood Energy in the ECE region’ is a new publication released by the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE). The publication was presented by the editor and also new CERE Professor Francisco Aguilar at a panel hosted by the UN-ECE. The topic of discussion was how forests contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Francisco discussed the role that forests play in meeting SD goal 7 ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’. Wood energy is the most important source of renewable energy in the UN-ECE region. In many places, notably in rural areas in countries in economic transition, wood is the only affordable source of energy for heating and cooking. Despite its importance, wood energy is often under-used or misused, resulting in air pollution and the degradation of forest resources.

Are Swedish environmental taxes efficient, or is it just a greenwash of fiscal taxes?

The report on Svenskt NäringslivCERE’s Runar Brännlund comments on the report “Greenwash - An analysis of the efficiency of Swedish environmental taxes”. Since the report was released in Swedish it has frequently been used in debate articles around Sweden and it is now available in English. Main conclusions from the report show that developed forceful and effective tools for reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases are already in place. Runar therefore finds it somewhat of a mystery why relatively complicated and obvious ineffective additional instruments are put into place, read his comment. (Click on the headline to read more)

58 million SEK for digitalization of sustainable forestry

The forest industry and researcher will in the research program Mistra Digital Forestry together digitalize the forestry. Through smart digitalization, the program plans on researching how the forest can be used more efficiently with increased leniency.

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation will host the program that for the first four years will receive 58 million SEK. CERE will be represented via member Camilla Widmark.

To learn more, read the press release on The Swedish Forest Industries Federation “Nytt forskningsprogram för digitalisering av hållbart skogsbruk" (only in Swedish) published on November 1st, 2018.

Fly or use kicksled, the amount of greenhouse gas remains the same

On DN debate, October 29th, 18 researchers urge the universities to in the next five years cut their own emissions by half. CERE researches Runar Brännlund, Bengt Kriström, Magnus Lindmark and Tommy Lundgren finds this somewhat conspicuous. The 18 stresses the importance of university research be taken seriously, all the while their suggestion lack scientific legitimacy when it comes to how non-wasteful climate policy should be designed.

“With the trading system deciding upon the total amount of emissions in the EU, university employees can fly or use kicksleds, but it does not change the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Instead the CERE researchers recommend calling upon politicians and countries to reduce the amount of carbon credits in the EU.

Read the full reply from the CERE researchers ”De föreslagna klimatåtgärderna saknar vetenskaplig förankring” (Suggested climate measures lack scientific legitimacy) published October 31st, 2018.

Best PhD course awarded to Oben Bayrak

A new course/workshop on Behavioral Environmental Economics designed and organized by Oben Bayrak was awarded best PhD course from the Faculty of Forest Sciences. The course has, according to the prize committee, contributed to increase the attraction for the faculty graduate studies. Click on headline to read more
Group photo from the course

Two new doctors

Tharshini Thangavelu defended her thesis “Essays on Malnutrition, Savings and Preferences” on September 12th, 2018. Her thesis touches three different topics in economics, namely preferences, savings and malnutrition. Jinggang Guo defended his thesis “Economics Timber Production and Climate Change mitigation” on October 12th, 2018. Click on headline to read more

Increase in long-term welfare cost is ignored

Lars-Fredrik Andersson and CERE’s Magnus Lindmark explains on DN debate why the welfare can’t improve under current circumstances.

“As little as decreased taxes and a maintained publicly funded welfare is sustainable, as unreasonable is it to claim that welfare services can increase with unchanged taxes.”

DN Debate. “Politiker blundar för orsaken till välfärdens ökade kostnader” (”Politicians ignore causes for increased cost in welfare” only in Swedish) published October 13th, 2018.

The nobel winners from an IAM researcher’s point of view

kelly de bruin webThis is good news for the future of our planet, says Kelly de Bruin, associated member of CERE and Research Officer at The Economic and Social Research Institute on Ireland. The IPCC 1.5 degrees report, released a few days ago, warns for deep and immediate climate change action to limit severe climate impacts which makes models that describes the global interplay between the economy and the climate especially important.

The choice of William D. Nordhaus (Yale University) and Paul M. Romer (NYU Stern School of Business) as award winners for their work on sustainable growth comes as welcome news to us IAM researchers, Kelly de Bruin says. IAMs are highly criticised in the field of economics and we welcome this validation and acknowledgement of our research and the strides we have made in studying the complex issue of climate change in its entirety.

Romers work has developed a framework to model how economic decisions and market conditions determine the creation of new technologies. Investigating how knowledge can function as a driver of long-term economic growth, decoupling economic growth from emissions.
Nordhaus’ work has focused on integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis. Nordhaus developed the first Integrated Assessment Model (IAM), which is a quantitative applied model that describes the global interplay between the economy and the climate. His models integrate theory and empirical results from physics, chemistry and economics, where the full cycle from production to emission, to climate change and back to production through climate impacts is analysed.

Learn more about Kelly’s work

The birth of a new model

Forget 2 degrees! Plan for at least 2.7 degrees

Environmental economist wins economics prize

Professor William Nordhaus has been awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences 2018. The prize motivation mentions the development of the models DICE and RICE which, in an innovative way integrates economics and climate in a so called “integrated assessment model”. The models describe the interaction between economic activity and the climate. He has contributed with a lot more than what is mentioned in the prize motivation, e.g. “green accounting” from 1972 (“Is Growth Obsolete”) and a subsequent follow up (Nature’s Numbers, 1999). A very interesting essay combines the difficulty of interpreting GDP as a measure of progress with ideas on how to measure technological progress, ( Do Real-Output and Real-Wage Measures Capture Reality? The History of Lighting Suggests No). In this essay, he shows how the price of artificial light has been reduced to an insignificant fraction of what is was in 1800. This welfare improvement is very hard to properly account for in conventional GDP.

He has also estimated how much “inventors” actually receives from their ideas (see “Schumpeterian Profits in the American Economy: Theory and Measurement” ) and he early on criticized the predictions from the club of Rome model, and everything he said in the 70s about how bad these predictions will be, turned out to be true. Nordhaus receiving the price is probably somewhat controversial to some (even environmental economists), however it is gratifying that the importance of environmental economics is highlighted in this manner. Nordhaus has emphasized a basic tenet of environmental economics: the climate must be seen as a global public good and the solution to the climate issues must therefore also be global, via for instance a global tax on carbon dioxide or a global emission market.

Bengt Kriström & Runar Brännlund

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