The Sussex Energy Group

2016 Seminars

Autumn Term Seminars

20th September
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building G22
Chaitanya Kumar (Msc Energy Policy 2016 alumnus)
Notions of energy justice - examples from Bangladesh, India and the United Kingdom
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Energy justice is often used as an umbrella term for the various moral, ethical and judicial conundrums that the energy sector poses. Should we, for example, continue using coal for our energy needs when its detrimental impact on human health is well documented? Who are the beneficiaries and who pays the societal costs of using it? Who gets to make these decisions and how can we change that? Energy policy makers are, more than ever, being forced to confront the real and pressing challenges of energy justice. 

The speaker will introduce some of these questions using his recent paper titled - 'Corruption, crony capitalism and conflict: Rethinking the political economy of coal in Bangladesh and beyond', as the point of departure and offers a glimpse into the current literature on energy justice. Specific cases from Bangladesh, India and the UK will be discussed to better understand energy justice in practice. 

The speaker does not claim to have any definitive answers to these questions but is interested in working on how they can be better integrated into policy making. 

Bio

Chaitanya Kumar worked as a campaigner on climate change for 6 years in India. He has written extensively on energy and climate issues in the Indian subcontinent. Chaitanya has recently finished a course in Energy Policy at SPRU and is currently busy expanding his understanding of the fascinating world of energy.     

27th September
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Victoria Pellicer (Ingenio)
Rethinking climate change from social grassroots innovation for human development: the case of the renewable energy cooperative Som Energia
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Download the slides.

Abstract

There is no doubt that efforts already undertaken in order to address the challenges posed by climate change have not been fully successful, maybe due to how climate change is being perceived, interrogated and narrated from mainstream approaches. Our departure point is that it is relevant to pay attention to grassroots innovations, since they are developing significant alternative and complementary approaches to current visions. These bottom-up initiatives are contributing with new proposals, technologies, and new social arrangements; they are promoting informal learning and new values based on social justice.
To explore these processes we build an analytical framework that develops connections among ideas coming from three different fields: 1) grassroots innovation and socio-technical transitions literature 2) Human development approach, which helps us to build a framework based on people’s aspiration and normative values (equity, diversity, sustainability, participation, and empowerment). 3) Learning in social action, connected with creation of knowledge based on ethical values and global citizenship.
In the seminar we present the case study based on an alternative initiative for energy production and commercialization. It is the case of Som Energia, a national-scale green energy cooperative (Spain), which is contributing to a transformation on the governance of energy, promoting a democratic and responsible culture of energy consumption. The evidences shows us the potentiality of the framework proposed to recognise and explore grassroots initiatives connected with human development, and, consequently, connected with transformative pathways to combat climate change.

Bio

Victoria Pellicer Sifres is Research Assistant at the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Management (INGENIO),  a joint research institute of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Victoria’s academic background is a degree in Industrial Engineering, MSc in Policies and Process of Development; MSc in Development Aid and currently PhD candidate on Local Development and International Cooperation. Her fields of interest are grassroots social innovation; human development; critical perspectives of climate change and energy democratization.
Victoria has professional experience in the Energy and Development sectors, both in international agencies (United Nations Development Programme; Global Environment Facility; The UN Refugee Agency) and in the private sectors and in various civil society organizations. Currently she is professor in the Master of Development Cooperation in the UPV and researcher in the project “New perspective for rethinking climate change from social grassroots innovation: an approach from human development, learning and citizenship”. On a local level, she is engaged in active social participation in NGO and grassroots initiatives in Valencia (Spain).

4th October
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Heleen de Coninck (Radboud University)
Technology development and transfer in the Paris Agreement: taking account of innovation systems and capabilities
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Download the slides

Abstract

In December 2015, Paris Agreement was agreed, which provides a legally binding though not country-specific framework for climate action, both in mitigation and in adaptation. In Article 10, the provisions for technology development and transfer are laid down. This presentation gives a history of the technology negotiations within the UNFCCC, explains the decision and agreement in Paris from an innovation system perspective, outlines the likely consequences in terms of capabilities and the connections of Article 10 to other provisions in the Paris Agreement, and highlights areas where more is still needed if a climate-resilient economy is to stay within reach. 

Bio

Heleen de Coninck is associate professor in innovation studies at the Environmental Science department at Radboud University’s Faculty of Science. Before joining Radboud University in 2012, she worked for over ten years at the unit Policy Studies of the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). Her main field of work is climate change mitigation and policy analysis, in particular at the international level, and she has conducted research and consultancy for among others the European Commission, UNFCCC, UNIDO, UNEP, the World Bank and various governments and private sector actors. From 2002-2005, she was part of the Technical Support Unit of the IPCC Working Group III, where she coordinated the Special Report on Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage. From 2008 to 2012, she managed a group of researchers focussing on international climate policy, energy and development, and technology transfer, and acted as programme manager for ECN Policy Studies. She has worked in the European Union, the United States, China, Indonesia, India, South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique and Brazil, amongst other countries. Currently, Heleen is also the chair of Climate Strategies, a climate policy research network that aims to improve the linkage between climate policy research and the negotiations at the European and UN level.

Heleen graduated in Chemistry and in Environmental Science, specialisation climate change and atmospheric chemistry, from Radboud University. After her studies, she worked as atmospheric chemistry researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. In 2009, she finished a PhD on technology in the international climate regime at the VU University Amsterdam in collaboration with Princeton University in the United States and ECN. Heleen has lived in Germany, the United States, Mexico and The Netherlands.

11th October
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Laur Kanger (SPRU)
How do users contribute to (energy) transitions?
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Download the slides

Abstract

Although users have been gaining more and more attention in transitions studies, it is only recently that a more systematic understanding of their role has begun to emerge. Based on the work of Schot and colleagues, this lecture introduces the typology of user roles in energy transitions: user-producers, user-legitimators, user-intermediaries, user-citizens and user-consumers. The typology is illustrated on an historical case study of the US automobility transition between 1891-1964. The results show that user intervention remains crucial through all transition phases and is characterized by a specific pattern. However, more attention should be turned to the role of non-users in shaping transitions.

Bio

Laur Kanger is a Research Fellow in Sustainability Transitions Studies in SPRU with a background in Media & Communication (University of Tartu, MA) and Science & Technology Studies (University of Edinburgh, PhD). His current task is to contribute to two emerging projects: Deep Sustainability Transitions and Designing Innovation Policies for Transformative Change.

18th October
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Sara Budinis (Sustainable Gas Institute, Imperial College London)
Can technology unlock unburnable carbon? 
Energy and Climate Seminar Series 

Download the slides.

Abstract

To stay within the 2°C carbon budget, a very significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption is required. If we are to meet our carbon budget the majority of global fossil fuel reserves cannot be combusted: the unburnable carbon. The role of technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) may be critical in enabling a greater quantity of fossil fuel to be combusted within a low-carbon framework. However, the potential for CCS to alleviate the carbon constraint is still controversial and uncertain, with a number of studies reaching different conclusions. In May 2016, the Sustainable Gas Institute published its second white paper. This extensive review paper assesses the current state of knowledge regarding the ‘unburnable carbon’ issue, and provides clarity by quantitatively defining the potential role of CCS in unlocking the unburnable carbon over the next 35 years. The paper tackles some important questions such as:- What is the potential role of CCS in meeting the carbon budget? And how do we assess it? What are the current global storage capabilities?

Biography

Dr Sara Budinis is a Research Associate at the Sustainable Gas Institute, based at Imperial College London. Sara joined the Sustainable Gas Institute in May 2015 from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London where she was a Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellow from September 2011 to September 2014. Sara is a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Professor Nina F. Thornhill. The topic of her PhD is operation and control of centrifugal gas compressors, with a focus on carbon dioxide compressors. Her PhD project is part of the European Project Energy SmartOps (more information at: www.energy-smartops.eu/).

She received her BEng degree (2006) and MEng degree (2009) in Chemical Engineering and her MSc degree (2010) in Industrial Engineering from University of Genoa (Italy). She spent the first year of her MEng degree as Erasmus student at University College of London (UCL). She also worked as R&D Aerodynamic engineer in Ansaldo Energia since June 2009 until September 2011.

25th October
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Phil Johnstone (SPRU)
Understanding the intensity of UK policy commitments to nuclear power: the role of perceived imperatives to maintain military nuclear submarine capabilities
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

The UK Government has long been planning to build up to 16 GWe of new nuclear power – a proportional level of support unparalleled in other liberalised energy markets. Despite many challenging developments, these general nuclear attachments show no sign of easing. With many viable alternative strategies for efficient, secure, low-carbon energy services, it is difficult to explain these commitments solely in terms of officially-declared policy rationales. A variety of possible reasons are suggested for the persistent intensity of UK attachments to civil nuclear power. Each is taken here as a basis for systematic hypothesis testing. And one additional hypothesis is also interrogated that has hitherto been virtually entirely neglected – about maintaining national capabilities to build and operate nuclear propelled submarines.

To explore and test this idea, this paper analyses linkages between UK military and civilian nuclear sectors in terms of high-level policy processes around supply chains, skills and expertise. Especially interesting is the critical juncture between 2003-2006, when stated policy moved radically from nuclear power as ‘unattractive’ to calls for a ‘nuclear renaissance’. In this period, especially intense activity can be observed around UK nuclear submarine capabilities. Among many factors, we conclude it is difficult fully to comprehend the persistent intensity of official UK attachments to nuclear power, without also considering aims to maintain nuclear submarine capabilities. Yet this aspect is entirely undocumented anywhere in UK energy policy literatures. To acknowledge this, is not to entertain a conspiracy theory. It can be understood instead, in terms of more distributed and relational dynamics of power. Building on literatures in political science, we refer to this as a ‘deep incumbency complex’. Such an evidently under-visible phenomenon would hold important implications not only for UK nuclear strategies, but also the wider state of British democracy.

This seminar is based on a SPRU Working Paper co-authored with Emily Cox and Andy Stirling.

Bio

Phil Johnstone is a Research Fellow working on a three-year project on the Governance of Discontinuity in Technological Systems (DiscGo). Stemming from research on socio-technical transitions this project studies the under-examined ‘flip side’ to innovation – how technology governance can address the crucial task of disengaging from well-established socio-technical systems. The project is in collaboration with colleagues at the INRA in Paris, TSG in Dortmund and led by Stefan Kuhlmann in Twente. The Sussex case study is civilian nuclear energy, where the governance patterns of France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK will be examined.

Dr Johnstone is also the Tyndall Centre Coordinator for the University of Sussex, a leading research network on climate change and sustainability involving several Universities in the UK as well as one in China. Prior to joining SPRU he completed an MSc in Environmental Governance with Distinction at the University of Manchester, before completing a PhD on Public Engagement with Nuclear Power in the UK. Whilst writing up he worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher on the ESRCBiosecurity Borderlands project, and then the ESRC Visualising Climate Change project also at Exeter.    

1st November
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Abbas AbdulRafiu (CIED Visiting Fellow)
Institutional Framework: A driver for Policy Instrument for Low Emission Development in Africa
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

The aim of this presentation is to access the continental platform of institutional arrangement on Energy and establish linkages with Low Emission development strategies (LEDS) so as to help move forward the discussion on the implementation of the African countries Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs), towards a useful LEDS policy instruments. These assessments can play an important role in both the national, continental policy context and for the Global Partnership on LEDS.

It reveals that, at the national levels, low emission development strategy (LEDS) provide a new opportunity to consider clean Energy access and development in a more integrated, systematic and strategic way and at continental scale it galvanize the Low Emission Development Risk Capacity in Africa (LEDRCA). This can help to clarify the unique role of LEDS amongst the myriad of other existing continental strategies that countries submitted as INDCs in 2015 Paris Agreement, and thus provide insights on how a LEDS may be most effectively designed and used to promote economic development in Africa by Capacity assessment, Institutional setup, Identify actions, Identify gaps and barriers, Scenarios and modelling, Baseline and targets, as well as Policy and impact assessment.

Bio

Abbas is a Principal Scientist/Head Pollution Control at the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) in Nigeria.

He attended Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and University of Ado-Ekiti Nigeria, where he obtained his B. Sc. and PGDE respectively. He is presently in charge of pollution, Air Quality including climate change issues in the Agency. As one of the pioneer staff of this Agency, he was in the forefront in the developing and production of twenty four National Environmental Regulations which have been gazetted into law. Abbas’ role among others, is to ensure compliance to all international agreements, convention, treaties and protocols on environment which Nigeria is a signatory. Before joining the Agency he was an assistant lecturer at Kwara State college of education Ilorin, with extensive academic experience in research and teaching on industrial and environmental chemistry. His areas of expertise are among other things: Geographic Information System (GIS), climate policy analysis, Environmental & Social Impact Assessment and communication specialist with eleven years of experience.

Abbas' Fellowship at CIED is supported by:

Low Emission Development Strategy – Global Partnership (UK)

Overseas Development Institute (UK)

Climate Development and Knowledge Network (UK)

Africa Low Emission Development Strategy (AfLEDS) (Ivory Coast)

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) (Nigeria)

8th November
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Sarah Williams (Aldersgate Group)
Influencing energy and climate change policy: a view from Westminster
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Politicians like to talk about evidence-based policy making but tales from Westminster (such as reported demands “to get rid of the green crap”) suggest that this can be difficult to achieve in practice. For those outside of the Westminster bubble, routine political life and parliamentary procedure can often feel impenetrable. This seminar will explore the policy making process in the UK and how academic research can continue to effectively inform government ministers, MPs, Lords and civil servants.

Drawing on my experience of working in Parliament for the Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and for a policy organisation focused on the transition to a low carbon economy, I will discuss the current state of play of energy and climate change policy in the UK and upcoming areas for engagement. I will outline key examples of how academic research has directly informed the policy process and explore what lessons can be learned from when it has not, plus suggest some tips for effective engagement.

Bio

Sarah Williams is Public Affairs Manager at the Aldersgate Group and responsible for advancing the Group's policy priorities through engagement with politicians and civil servants. She joined the Aldersgate Group Secretariat in June 2015 as maternity cover for the Policy Manager. Sarah graduated from Balliol College, Oxford in 2008 and previously worked in Parliament as special adviser to Tim Yeo, former MP and Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee.

15th November
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Steve Sorrell and Florian Kern 
Energy transitions: how quickly can change happen?
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

This seminar will take the form of a debate. If the world is to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change, rapid transitions from high carbon to low carbon energy systems will be required. The question of how quickly change in energy systems can occur was recently discussed in a series of papers in the journal Energy Research and Social Science. The debate was kicked off by Benjamin Sovacool who questioned the conventional wisdom that transitions take decades or even centuries to unfold, and provided some empirical examples of much more rapid change. Critics like Grubler et alFouquet and Smil responded sceptically, arguing that historical evidence convincingly demonstrates that transitions are necessarily slow processes. Others like Kern and Rogge presented a more optimistic take on the issue, arguing that the ongoing energy transition is fundamentally different from previous transitions.

This debate will be kicked off by three short presentations: (1) summarising the article which started off the debate [unfortunately Benjamin is now unable to attend but his slides will be presented by Florian]; (2) Steve Sorrell raising some of the sceptical points made by Grubler, Smil and Fouquet; and (3) Florian Kern presenting the optimistic view, before opening up to the wider audience. 

Read the exchange:

Benjamin Sovacool (2016) How long will it take? Conceptualizing the temporal dynamics of energy transitionsEnergy Research & Social Science 13, pp.202-215.

Smil, V. (2016) Debating Energy Transitions: A Dozen Insights based on Performance, Energy Research & Social Science, 22,

Florian Kern & Karoline Rogge (2016) The pace of governed energy transitions: Agency, international dynamics and the global Paris agreement accelerating decarbonisation processes? Energy Research & Social Science 22, pp.13-17.

Kern, F. & Karoline Rogge (2016) The pace of governed energy transitions: Agency, international dynamics and the global Paris agreement accelerating decarbonisation processes? Energy Research & Social Science 22, pp.13-17

Grubler, A., Wilson, C., & Nemet, G. (2016). Apples, oranges, and consistent comparisons of the temporal dynamics of energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, 22, 18-25.

Sovacool, B. K., & Geels, F. W. (2016). Further reflections on the temporality of energy transitions: A response to criticsEnergy Research & Social Science22, 232-237.

22nd November
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Andrew Blowers (Open University)
The Legacy of Nuclear Power - What is to be done?
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

In all the arguments about the future of nuclear power, one fundamental issue seems to be overlooked – the inevitable and long-lasting legacy of radioactive waste, contamination and risk that it leaves for generations to come. Already this legacy is massive and will take decades to clean up.  Adding to this intractable and enduring problem by building more nuclear power stations should be economically and morally unthinkable. In his new book,The Legacy of Nuclear Power,Andrew Blowers, academic and activist, brings to life what the legacy means for our future and why. Itispublished at a critical time when the future of nuclear energy is high on the political agenda across the world.

Bio

Andrew Blowers OBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at the Open University. Over a long career he has been involved in the field of environmental politics and policy making as an academic, politician, government adviser, nuclear company director and prominent environmental activist. As a member of the first Committee on Radioactive Waste Management he was directly responsible for some of the UK’s policy on legacy waste. The Legacy of Nuclear Power brings together his varied experience and expertise and reflects his lifetime concern with the fate of nuclear communities now and in the future.

5th December
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building G31
Barbara Praetorius (Agora Energiewende)
Coal exit in Germany: creative destruction or managed gradual decline?
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Germany has set itself ambitious climate protection targets: -40% by 2020 and -55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The share of renewables in electricity consumption increased steadily to an estimated 34% (or 12% of final energy consumption, AGEB) by the end of 2016. Total greenhouse gas emissions, however, only declined by 27 percent compared to 1990, and it is unrealistic that the gap to meeting the -40% target will be closed until 2020 without shutting down a substantial number of coal-burning power plants. In consequence, Germany has experienced an unprecedented public debate on the role of coal in energy supply this year. This was (partially) triggered by the Agora Energiewende suggestions for a gradual decline in coal burning in the form of a societal process to seek consensus on a contract between regions, governments and industry on a gradual, transparent and foreseeable plan to shut down power plants and mining sites. The second major trigger is overcapacities in Germany and Europe, which themselves are (partially) the result of successful investment in renewables, and which lead to substantial economic pressure on existing power plants. I will address these (and other) triggers and their interaction in meeting – or missing – the climate policy targets in Germany. 

Bio

Dr. Barbara Praetorius is energy economist by training. Before joining Agora Energiewende, she was head of the division Strategy and Key policy issues of the German Association of Local Public Utilities (VKU) from 2008 until 2014. Prior, she has been Senior Researcher and Project Lead in the division Energy, Transport, Environment at DIW Berlin (the German Institute for Economic Research) from 1992 to 2008. At DIW, she headed an interdisciplinary team of scientists from different research institutes, with focus on the technical, organisational-political and behavioural innovations within in the power system. Dr. Barbara Praetorius studied economics and political science and received her doctorate at FU Berlin in 2000 with a doctoral thesis on the electricity market in South Africa. Her research has been published in the form of numerous books, papers and scientific journals both nationally and internationally, with a focus on economic and energy policy analyses, instruments, and strategies for the support of sustainable innovations and energy supply structures.

6th December
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee Building 115
Peter Geddes (DONG Energy) - POSTPONED TO NEXT TERM
The construction and cost of an offshore wind farm
Energy and Climate Seminar Seriese

Bio

Pete Geddes is Head of wind turbine installation at DONG energy, the world’s leading offshore wind developer. He graduated from Warwick University with a degree in Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology in 1994. Since then he has been continuously working in renewables and in large scale wind farm construction for the last 14 years.

Abstract

Peter will present the construction process of how an offshore wind farm is built, examining factors influencing costs and in particular look at the startling way in which costs have gone rapidly up and now downwards in the last 15 years.

Spring/Summer Term Seminars

2nd February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Sonja Klinsky (Arizona State University)
Transitional justice in the UNFCCC negotiations on Loss and Damage
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Geopolitical changes combined with the increasing urgency of ambitious climate action have re-opened long-standing debates about equity in the international climate arena.  Tensions about historical responsibility have been particularly difficult and have the potential to intensify as climate impacts and losses become more severe, and as developing countries face mounting pressure to take mitigation action. Resolving conflicts about the role of historical responsibility may be necessary to enable a global transition to a regime capable of facilitating the depth of collective action required.  This talk presents an alternative to burden-sharing and suggests that a transitional justice approach – in which the focus is on balancing efforts to address historically rooted injustices with a future-oriented collective direction and narrative – may have utility in the climate context.

Bio

Sonja Klinsky is currently an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. Her work focuses on the climate change policy, particularly in relation to questions of equity and justice.  This has included collaborative work with organizations such as the World Resources Institute and other policy-science interface organizations in order to develop concrete theoretically sound and politically relevant proposals for constructively contributing to climate equity negotiations.  She has also looked at the politics, formation and justice implications of domestic climate policies, largely cap and trade systems, and has done research on public understanding of climate change and sustainability, including on public perceptions of climate justice dilemmas.   

3rd February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Lucy Baker (SPRU)
The evolving role of finance in South Africa's renewable energy sector
SPRU Wednesday Seminar Series

Abstract

In the last four years, carbon-intensive, coal-dependent South Africa has become one of the leading global destinations for renewable energy investment. This investment can be attributed to the unprecedented take off of the country's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers' Programme (RE IPPPP), a bidding process for the procurement of privately generated, utility scale renewable energy, launched in August 2011. Asserting that energy must be studied within the broader economic, political and social forces in which it is embedded, I explore the fundamental role that different modes of finance have played in shaping South Africa's emerging renewable energy sector within the context of the country's unique system of accumulation characterised by its minerals-energy complex (MEC) (Fine and Rustomjee, 1996). I focus on finance and financialisation as growing features within the MEC. I further examine the tension or incompatibility between commercial demands for 'bankability', short-term shareholder value and impatient finance and RE IPPPP's unique requirements for community ownership of projects and the realisation of economic development criteria. I find that a reconfiguration of long-standing MEC actors, particularly in the realms of finance is taking place as they merge with new sources of foreign capital.

5th February
13:00 - 16:00
Jubilee 144
Catherine Mitchell (Exeter University)
Innovation and energy governance: lessons to be learned from New York State?
SPRU Friday Seminar Series

The seminar is followed by a Roundtable title tbc. Panelists: Raltisa Hiteva, Claire Carter, Matt Gross

Abstract

Some energy systems are changing rapidly as a result of a complex mix of economics, technologies, public policies, social preferences and more supportive governance. Other energy systems may be altering in some ways but fundamentally, in terms of ownership and practice, little has changed. New York is attempting to fundamentally restructure its energy system through something called the New York Reforming the Energy Vision (NY REV) – please see here for background http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/igov/new-thinking-reforming-the-energy-vision-an-update/   Germany on the other hand while making some alterations to direction, is pretty much following a steady-as-she-goes approach. What lessons are there to be learned for GB? 

Bio

Catherine Mitchell is Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Exeter. Previously she worked at the Universities of Warwick, Sussex and California, Berkeley. She holds a PhD from SPRU, Sussex University in Technology and Innovation Policy. Catherine holds an Established Career Fellowship with the EPSRC (2012-2016) on the relationship between innovation and governance, and led an ESRC/EPSRC interdisciplinary research cluster into Energy Security in a Multi-Polar World (2008-2013). She is on the Chair of the Regulatory Assistance Project; is on the Board of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, the Centre for Sustainable Energy, and is a Member of IPPRs Policy Advisory Committee. Catherine was a Lead Author in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, a Co-ordinating Lead Author of the IPCC’s Special Report on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation (published in 2011); and a Lead Analyst on the Global Energy Assessment undertaken through the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) published in 2012. She has served on several panels advising the government, including the Energy Advisory Panel (1998-2003), the Balancing and Settlement Code Panel (2008-2010), the Academic Advisory Panel to DECC for Electricity Market Reform (2010), and DECC’s Distributed Generation Advisory Panel (2012). She chaired the British Institute of Energy Economics in 2009-10, and has advised numerous national and international companies, NGOs and institutions on various aspects of the transition to a sustainable energy system.

9th February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Benjamin Sovacool (SPRU)
The Great Nordic Energy Transition: Insights for UK Researchers and Policymakers
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

The five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have aggressive climate and energy policies in place and have already emerged to be leaders in renewable energy. Denmark is renowned for its pioneering use of wind energy, Finland and Sweden bioenergy, Norway hydroelectricity and Iceland geothermal.  This presentation investigates the technological and policy pathways necessary for these five countries to achieve their low carbon goals. It argues that a concerted effort must be made to (1) promote renewable forms of electricity including bioenergy, wind energy, hydroelectricity, geothermal and solar; (2) shift to more sustainable forms of transport such as electric vehicles and biofuel; (3) further improve the energy efficiency of buildings; and (4) adopt carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies for industry. It concludes with implications for what such transition pathways mean for both energy researchers and energy planners. 

Bio

Prof. Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the School of Business, Management, and Economics, part of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.  There he serves as Director of the Sussex Energy Group and Director of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand which involves the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester. Professor Sovacool is the author of more than 300 refereed articles, book chapters, and reports, and the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of 18 books on energy and climate change topics, including those with MIT Press, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, and the Nature Publishing Group/Palgrave.  He has received or managed large competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, NordForsk, Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program of Denmark, and the Danish Council for Independent Research.  

16th February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Bianca Cavicchi
Are there sustainability limits to bioenergy development in Norway? Evidence from Hedmark county
Energy and Climate Seminar Series
 

Abstract

This presentation draws on the case of bioheat development in Hedmark County (Southeastern Norway). Hedmark is one of the few national hubs for bioenergy production. Although the sector has recently flourished, it can hardly upscale or diversify into new bioproducts. Current research and public/political debate attribute this to the hydropower lock-in and low price of biomass (for the suppliers). However, the study assumes that there might be multiple and complex feedback processes at play. The research questions are thus: ‘What are the feedback causal processes at play within the bioheat system? And which of them seem to foster or hamper its sustainable progress (i.e. economic, environmental and social outcomes)?’ The study will address the issue of sustainable bioheat development in Hedmark from a triple bottom line perspective (i.e. economic, social and environmental processes) and explore feedback causal processes that may hinder or foster it. The study draws on the systems thinking theoretical tradition and employs qualitative systems analysis, i.e. causal loop diagram. Raw data is collected through semi-structured interviews, public documents, statistical reports and relevant literature. Empirical findings (i.e. causal loop diagram) are the result of an iterative and reflexive process of data-matching and validation. 

Bio

Bianca Cavicchi graduated in December 2012 at University of Bologna, Department of Political Science, with a thesis on “Emerging Green Innovation Platforms. A comparative Study on Renewable Energy Policy in Emilia Romagna and Norway” (NILF Report 2013-1). In 2013, she worked as ‘researcher assistant’ and ‘higher executive officer’ on projects related to bioenergy and food safety at Norwegian Institute for Agricultural Economics Research. In February 2014, she has started her PhD project on Sustainable Bioenergy Development in Emilia Romagna (Italy) and Hedmark (Norway) at Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO, Norway) and Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, TIK (University of Oslo). The PhD is settled within a NIBIO’s project (i.e. TRIBORN) financed by the Norwegian Research Council. The PhD should be ended by February 2018. The PhD study is a comparative and exploratory case-study design, which aims to investigate the causal processes of bioenergy development that lead to unsustainable outcomes in the two case-studies. Sustainability is understood in the light of the triple bottom line approach (e.g. Elkington, 1998; Bryden et al., 2011) but its contextual understanding ensues from information gathered through semi-structure interviews with local, regional and national stakeholders. Additionally, the study uses public documents, statistical reports and relevant studies. The study draws on the systems thinking theoretical tradition (Checkland, 1981; Senge 1990; Richardson, 1991; Forrester 1968; Sterman, 2000) and qualitative systems analysis, i.e. causal loop diagrams (see for instance the work of Haraldsson 2000, 2004; Maani, 2002; Maani and Cavana, 2007; Spector et al., 2001; Cavana and Mares, 2004; Haraldsson et al. 2006).

17th February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Jochen Markard (ETH Zurich)
Complementarities: Chances and challenges for the energy transition
SPRU Wednesday Seminar Series

Abstract

The study of socio-technical transitions, in which sectors such as energy or transportation change fundamentally and along multiple dimensions, represents a challenge for existing frameworks in innovation studies. One of the issues is that transitions involve changes in a broad range of interrelated technologies. However, not only do technologies change but also they ways in which they interact and complement each other. Complementary interaction of technical and non-technical components is key for the provision of services such as energy supply, Missing complementary components in contrast may hamper the emergence of new technologies or negatively affect sector performance.

Therefore, it is vital to understand the implications of changes in complementarities in the course of transitions. In the presentation, I will introduce a framework to analyze complementarities and to understand their consequences for transitions. The framework consists of four building blocks: i) different relationships, ii) different components, iii) different purposes and iv) complementarity dynamics. Applicability of the framework will be illustrated with examples from the ongoing energy transition. Finally, I discuss so-called ‘complementarity bottlenecks’ and resulting challenges.

Bio

Jochen Markard works as a Senior researcher and Lecturer at the Group for Sustainability and Technology within the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics of ETH Zurich.In his research, Jochen studies the interaction of technology, actor strategies, politics, society and culture. A focus is on the emergence of new technological fields, which have a potential to contribute to larger societal transformation and sustainability transition. Jochen works with a range of different theoretical perspectives in search for theory development and complementary explanations of complex phenomena. He applies concepts from innovation and transition studies, management studies, science and technology studies, and political sciences.

19th February
13:00 - 16:00
Jubilee 144
Gordon Walker (Lancaster University)
Lancaster without electricity and practices without power: reflections on disruption, dependencies and demand
SPRU Friday Seminar Series

The seminar is followed by a Roundtable on ‘Learning from the making: consequences and politics of power cuts’.  Panellists: Sarah Royston; Nikki Fox; Sandra Pointel

Chair: Florian Kern

Abstract

On 5th December 2015 Storm Desmond swept across the North West of England, its rainfall streaming into already swollen rivers and into roads, homes and businesses across the region. In Lancaster the River Lune broke the record for the highest flow of water ever recorded in the UK, overtopping flood defences and flowing into, amongst much else, the main electricity sub-station for the City. Grid-bound electricity disappeared at 10.30pm on Saturday evening, remained absent for 30 hours, returned at 6.00am on Monday as over 60 generators were connected up to local substations, failed again over much of the City late afternoon, and eventually returned in a more permanent but fragile condition on Tuesday. The phalanx of generators stayed in place for about a week until full national grid supply was restored. This was an extended event, a ‘blackout’, a crisis, rarely experienced on a City scale in the UK. In this paper I provide some preliminary analysis of what can be learnt from the absence of normal electricity due to this instance of big technological system and infrastructural failure, drawing on my own reflections but also of colleagues in the DEMAND Centre and other parts of Lancaster University (which itself experienced a difficult case of crisis management). David Nye (2010) argues that ‘blackouts’ are carved out of the normal flow of time, a social experience creating ‘a new kind of social space’. They are revealing not just of normally hidden infrastructures (cables, substations, security systems, communication systems) but also of the creeping panoply of electrical dependencies, the ‘latent dysfunctionalities’ of the contemporary city and of the exercise of power through power. I will explore some of these ideas and particularly focus on what ‘blackouts’, and the Lancaster case in particular, can tell us about the constitution and patterning of energy demand. Starting from a conceptualisation of energy as a material ‘ingredient’ of everyday social practice (Shove and Walker 2014), I consider what happens when this ingredient is missing - when expected energy is not there in order to power technologies which are integral to doing things in particular ways, in particular places, times, sequences and synchronisations? How vital an ingredient is electricity for enabling which practices and for which practitioners, and what, now, are the key fragilities of systemic dysfunctionality? Where are the dependencies, adaptabilities, substitutabilities and vulnerabilities which differentiate the experience of disruption? And when the electricity grid as an ongoing technical achievement becomes unstable, what cannot be sustained and what becomes most important to secure? In starting to work through these questions I will also reflect on the nature of demand itself, which never went away during the blackout and returned strikingly intact in its aftermath as social order, social routines and normally followed space-time pathways were reinstated.

Bio

Professor Gordon Walker is Co-Director of the DEMAND Centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) at Lancaster University, funded by the RCUK Energy Programme. He has expertise on the social and spatial dimensions of sustainable energy technologies, sustainability transitions, sustainable social practices and cross cutting issues and theories of energy and environmental justice. He has led a series of multi-partner projects funded by UK research councils and government departments focused on the dynamics of energy demand, community energy, fuel and energy poverty, zero carbon housing, energy use in care settings, fuel poverty, renewable energy and public engagement and flooding and resilience. His books include ‘Environmental Justice: concepts, evidence and politics’ (Routledge, 2012) and as co-editor ‘Energy Justice in a Changing Climate: social equity and low carbon energy’ (Zed 2013).

 

23rd February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Walt Patterson
Electricity vs fire: the fight for our future
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

When you examine what we do and how we do it, we are clearly doing something wrong. Otherwise we would not be in such a mess. We are telling ourselves the wrong story about what we do. We need a better story about our human activities. The story we have come to believe is based on fire. We use fire all the time, every day and everywhere. But fire is causing us ever more serious problems, from local air pollution to global climate change. We take fire for granted, as though we had no alternative. But we do have. We can now do with electricity most of what we used to do with fire. Electricity - the right kind of electricity - can save us from fire. But we have to change our story.

Bio

Walt Patterson is a UK-based Canadian physicist and widely published writer and campaigner on energy. Patterson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and educated at the University of Manitoba. Patterson arrived in the United Kingdom in 1960. Trained as a nuclear physicist, Patterson has spent his life teaching, writing and campaigning. In 1972, he became Friends of the Earth's first energy campaigner (1972–78) at their London office. In 1984-5, Patterson acted as series advisor to the award-winning BBC drama series Edge of Darkness. Patterson has published fourteen books and hundreds of papers, articles and reviews, on nuclear power, coal technology, renewable energy, energy systems, energy policy, and electricity. Since 1991 Patterson has been a Fellow of what is now the Energy, Environment and Resources Programme at Chatham House in London. He is also a Fellow of the Energy Institute, London, and a Visiting Fellow of the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. He is chair of the Seoul International Energy Advisory Council and a founder-member of the International Energy Advisory Council.

26th February
13:00 - 14:30
IDS Room 221
Dario Kenner
How can the ecological impact of the richest 1% be reduced at a time of extreme inequality?
STEPS Centre & Centre for Global Political Economy seminar

Abstract

Recent research by Oxfam and French economists Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel indicates that the richest 1% of people in many countries, including the United Kingdom, have huge per capita carbon footprints compared to the rest of the population. The fact that richer people have a larger ecological impact is not that surprising. The question is what to do about it. Dario Kenner, who has recently published a working paper on the inequality of overconsumption, will talk about the difficulty in getting the richest 1% to reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Bio

Dario Kenner is an independent researcher who launched whygreeneconomy.org in 2013 as a space to share ideas on the policies that should be adopted to address climate change and biodiversity loss. He has extensive experience of working on the environment and in international development, including lobbying at UN climate change conferences and Rio+20. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University.

 

29th February
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G31
Irene Monasterolo
A hybrid System Dynamics – Agent Based model to assess the role of green fiscal and monetary policies
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

To meet the 2°C global temperature increase by 2050, the role of fiscal instruments e.g., a global carbon tax, is recognized. Still, there is uncertainty about the design of a green financial architecture and the effects of a carbon tax on growth, financial stability and inequality. We propose the εIRIN System Dynamics model with heterogeneous agents to simulate green fiscal and targeted monetary policies displaying their effects on firm’s investments, unemployment, wages and economic growth. Rooted on a balance sheet approach, the model is characterized by heterogeneous agents and sectors (households, banks, consumption and capital goods production, foreign sector, Government and Central Bank) that interact through a set of markets. The production function is based on a Leontief technology with no substitution of the three production factors (Labour, Capital, and non-renewable Raw Materials). We explicit an energy sector characterized by mining and extracting companies, renewable energy (solar, wind) and brown and green utility companies that contribute to energy production (capital goods and consumption goods) and is subject to import of fossil fuels to meet internal demand. Thus it impacts on consumption goods firm and commercial banks’ balance sheet, and on households’ income allocation choices. The simulations show that a green scenario based on the introduction of green sovereign bonds would bring benefits both for the real economy (unemployment, capital) and the stability of the credit market as a difference from a green scenario based on the introduction of a carbon tax. Also, the green bond scenario performs better than the business as usual, resource intense brown scenario. 

Bio

Irene Monasterolo is a development economist with experience in policy monitoring and evaluation, climate finance and stranded assets risk, complex system thinking applied to the analysis of coupled human-natural systems, green fiscal and monetary policies for financing the green economy, governance of evidence based sustainability policies, adaptation tools to build agricultural resilience to climate change. She has worked as a scientist in academia, as an economist for consulting companies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, and as a consultant for several Multilateral Development Banks such as the World Bank, European Investment Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. Currently, she is a post-doctoral associate at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future where she works at the development of a methodological framework to assess climate change risk of impact on financial and macroeconomic stability, and on food risk. She is actively involved in governmental and academic dissemination and publication, authoring both methodological papers on modelling sustainability using hybrid System Dynamics-Agent Based models embracing an evolutionary economics approach, and on best practices and lessons learned to inform governmental policy planning and implementation. Since October she coordinates the research area on Environment-Economics interaction of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy in collaboration with Prof. Tim Foxon.

1st March
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Paula Kivimaa (SPRU)
Energy services for improved building energy efficiency in Finland: taking an energy service company perspective on policy
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

The building sector and the built environment are one of the largest contributors to energy use worldwide and reducing energy use in buildings is slow. Thus, low energy transition in connection to buildings is an enormous challenge. Yet, in Finland, improved energy efficiency has traditionally received less focus in climate policy strategies than renewable energy. Since 2007, energy efficiency policies addressing buildings have gained force on both strategy and instrument levels– largely following the EU Building Energy Efficiency Directive and the goals for reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. Sixteen new policy instruments have been added between 2007 and 2014 in addition to revisions made in the building code

In the seminar, I analyse the potential of the policy mix in Finland in promoting disruptive change for low energy transition in buildings. I explore to what extent recent policy developments could be described as having destabilised the regime. In addition to providing an overall picture of the policy mix in the sector, I investigate the existing policy mix especially from a stakeholder perspective, because the perceived impacts of policies may differ from their intended outcomes. Companies providing integrated energy services for renovated and newly built buildings are selected as the key stakeholder group, as they are more borderline actors in the sector dominated by construction companies. 

Bio

Dr. Kivimaa is Senior Research Fellow at SPRU working for the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED). Her previous research ranges from climate, energy and environmental policy analysis from the perspective of innovation to  examining change and stability in energy and transport systems. Her current research interests include policy analysis from low-carbon innovation and transition perspectives as well as policy complementing approaches to support low-carbon innovation, such as  intermediation. She has a BSc in Environmental Science & Business Management (University of Westminster, 1997-2000), an MSc  in Environmental Technology (Imperial College, 2001-2002) and a PhD in Organisations and Management (Helsinki School of Economics, 2004-2008). Prior to joining SPRU she has worked for 12 years as a researcher in the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). She has since 2012 been Docent in the Department of Management and International Business at the Aalto University School of Business, Helsinki.

8th March
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Keith Barnham
Progress towards all renewable power supplies
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract 

The euphoria following the COP21 agreement has been replaced by realisation of the challenge the environmental movement faces to get the UK government to change its policies so as to achieve the carbon reductions necessary to fulfil the pledge it signed in Paris. This talk will report the latest evidence [1] from Germany and the UK that all-renewable electricity supplies based on wind, photovoltaic and biogas power are closer than many think. They are also reliable and lead to cheaper electricity. Setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation would be the fastest, safest and cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions. Given that the present UK government is unlikely to impose such limits I will suggest how they could be implemented locally. I will also discuss renewable replacements for natural gas. The final part of the talk will briefly discuss new technologies that could help accelerate this solar revolution in the future. In particular, high efficiency concentrator photovoltaics and an artificial leaf could make the generation of solar fuel possible from atmospheric carbon dioxide and sunlight on domestic rooftops.  

1)      Keith Barnham, Kaspar Knorr, Massimo Mazzer, “Recent progress towards all-renewable electricity supplies” Nature Materials, 15 (2), pp. 115-116, (2016).

Bio

Keith Barnham started his research career in particle physics at the University of Birmingham, CERN and the University of California, Berkeley. Mid-career, at Imperial College London, he switched to researching solar power after spending a year at Philips Research Laboratories in Redhill. His Quantum Photovoltaic group at Imperial developed a third generation solar cell with three times the efficiency of today’s rooftop panels. He is co-author of the only published study of the amount and destination of plutonium produced in the UK civil Magnox reactors. He is author of The Burning Answer: a User’s Guide to the Solar Revolution, (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2014).

11th March
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee 144
Robert Byrne (SPRU) and David Ockwell (Global Studies, Sussex)
Sustainable energy for all: innovation, technology and pro-poor green transformations
SPRU Friday Seminar Series

The seminar is followed by a Roundtable on ‘Pro-poor pathways of sustainable energy access’. Panelists: Chantal Naidoo; Lucy Baker; Martin Bell

Abstract 

Despite decades of effort and billions of dollars spent, two thirds of the people in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to electricity, a vital pre-cursor to economic development and poverty reduction. Ambitious international policy commitments seek to address this, but scholarship has failed to keep pace with policy ambitions, lacking both the empirical basis and the theoretical perspective to inform such transformative policy aims. In this presentation, we elaborate our claim that scholarship is failing policy. But, going beyond this critique, we identify ways in which a new theoretical perspective based on socio-technical innovation system building could redress this failure. We offer potential elements of this new perspective and, drawing on historical analysis of the Kenyan solar PV market, show how it could be operationalised for policy and practice. Finally, we outline an agenda for research, and for policy and practice, that arises from this new perspective. Although our argument is articulated in detail in a book to be published by Routledge in June 2016, we recognise that the work is only a beginning. In this regard, then, the seminar provides an opportunity for us to offer these ideas for critical review, and hope that others will engage with us in an endeavour to develop a useful academic contribution to the challenge of realising pro-poor pathways of sustainable energy access.

Bio  

David Ockwell is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Sussex. He is also Deputy Director (Research) of the ESRC STEPS Centre, a Senior Fellow in the Sussex Energy Group at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research) and a Fellow of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. David's teaching, doctoral supervision and applied policy work focuses on climate and energy policy with a particular emphasis on low carbon technology transfer and development, and on public engagement with climate change. Through this work he has provided policy advice to various inter-governmental organisations (including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, African Development Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat and OECD Environment Directorate) and governmental departments in developed and developing countries (including the UK, India and Chile).

Rob Byrne is a Lecturer in SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit) at the University of Sussex. With David Ockwell, Rob co-convenes the Energy and Climate Research Domain of the ESRC STEPS Centre. He is also a Research Fellow in the Sussex Energy Group and a Fellow of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Rob sits on the board of the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network and is a member of Climate Strategies. His research is focussed on sustainable energy access and poverty reduction, especially in East African contexts. Rob is also engaged in policy advice, including consulting with various bilateral and multilateral agencies and institutions such as DFID, DECC, the World Bank, the UNFCCC Secretariat and Technology Mechanism, and African Development Bank, amongst others.

15th March
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Chris Shaw (Climate Outreach)
Communicating climate change: pitfalls and opportunities
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Public engagement with climate change has long been a topic of interest to social scientists, civil society groups, and policy makers. Getting engagement right is becoming increasingly important given the urgent need to meet ambitious emission reduction targets. Yet the evidence from opinion polls and research indicates that public engagement initiatives have had little impact on levels of concern about climate change. Climate Outreach has over ten years experience of researching, developing and trialling climate change communication strategies for a range of clients. This seminar will draw on that expertise and knowledge to explain some of the reasons for these failings. Insights gained from the work of  Climate Outreach will be used to explore opportunities for more effective climate communication techniques.

Bio

Chris has ten years experience of researching climate policy and climate communications. In that time he has successfully delivered research projects for the Environmental Change Institute, The University of Nottingham, Sussex University and the Institute of Development Studies. He is an Associate of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and a Visiting Fellow at the Sussex Energy Group. His new book, ‘The Two Degrees Dangerous Limit for Climate Change: Public Understanding and Decision Making’ (Routledge) was published in October 2015.

 

4th April
14:00 - 15:00
Jubilee 117
Shapan Adnan
The political economy of green grabs: The roles of capitalist and primitive accumulation in climate change mitigation and adaptation
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

In this talk, I deal with the nature of the accumulative processes embodied in green grabs (Farihead, Leach & Scoones 2012) – understood as the appropriation of land and natural resources in the specific context of environmental processes and policy interventions. The latter subsumes climate change impacts and responses in terms of mitigation and adaptation - inclusive of instances of maladaptation or anti-adaptation (Sovacool & Linner 2016) - as well as ecotourism and conservation projects unrelated to climate change.

Land alienation can be direct or indirect, and can take place with or without the use of force (coercion), giving a fourfold typology of the nature of the mechanisms at work: direct-forced, direct-unforced, indirect-forced and indirect-unforced. The relevance of this broad typology to green grabs is illustrated with selected evidence from around the world, also serving to highlight the analytical diversity of land alienation mechanisms characterizing environmental processes and policy interventions.

The concepts of primitive accumulation (Marx 1976) and accumulation by dispossession or ABD (Harvey 2005) in the context of neoliberal globalization have been used by scholars to theorize green grabs (Kelly 2011, Benjaminsen & Bryceson 2012). However, in certain contexts, such usage appears to have been somewhat uncritical. For instance, it is necessary to differentiate primitive accumulation from instances of green grabs that may involve centralization and accumulation of capital, or no accumulation at all. It is also pertinent to identify causal interlinkages between these distinct accumulative processes, e.g. whether primitive accumulation is being driven by the needs of capitalist accumulation in setting up protected areas like eco-parks?

Moreover, the claimed environmental benefits of biofuels and other climate change mitigation and adaptation measures remain disputed and uncertain (White & Dasgupta 2010). This raises the issue of whether considerations other than the claimed benefits are driving particular instances of environmental policy interventions such as climate change mitigation and adaptation? More generally, whether science-society discourses are being used as pretexts or legitimizing devices for green grabs driven by other motives (McCarthy et al. 2012)?

Bio

Shapan Adnan has a BA (Honours) from the University of Sussex and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is currently an independent academic living in the UK. He has formerly been a faculty member of the National University of Singapore as well as the Universities of Dhaka and Chittagong. He has been a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford and continues to be an Associate of its Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme.  Shapan Adnan is a member of the international advisory board of the Journal of Peasant Studies and the international Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission. The topics of his research and publications extend across political economy, sociology, anthropology and development. His books include Floods, People and the Environment; Migration, Land Alienation and Ethnic Conflict: Causes of poverty in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh; and Annotation of Village Studies in Bangladesh and West Bengal.

5th April
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Francis McGowan (Dept of Politics, Sussex)
Brexit: Its impact on the UK and the EU’s Energy-Climate Policies
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Throughout the history of its membership of the EU, the UK has been important in shaping and limiting the Union’s energy and climate policies.  In other respects, UK policies in these areas have been “Europeanised”, a development welcomed by environmentalists and criticized by Eurosceptics.  Both groups consider that Brexit would allow a British government to abandon those policy commitments.  This talk considers whether such an outcome is likely and how different post-membership relationships would affect the evolution of policy in both the UK and the EU. 

Bio

Francis McGowan is a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sussex.  Prior to joining the Department he was a Research Fellow in the Sussex Energy Group at SPRU and a Researcher at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His current research focuses on European energy policies.

12th April
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Robert Sansom (Imperial)
The challenges of decarbonising space and water heating
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

More energy is consumed in the UK for heat than either transport or electricity and yet until recently little attention has been given to decarbonising heat to meet the UK's 2050 greenhouse gas targets.  The challenges are immense as over 80% of households in the UK use natural gas for space and water heating.  To achieve the UK's greenhouse gas targets will necessitate heat to be almost completely decarbonised and will thus require a transition from natural gas for heating to a low carbon alternative.  However, there is a lack of consensus over which low carbon heat technologies householders should be encouraged to adopt as projections of these vary significantly.  Initially heat pumps appeared to be favoured as there was a view that they offered a direct replacement option for gas boilers.  But subsequently, it became clear that heat pumps had a number of drawbacks and that other options warranted serious consideration. These include district heating but also the “re-purposing” of the gas network so that hydrogen can be used to replace natural gas.

This talk will identify the key challenges that need to be addressed in order to support the UK’s meeting its 2050 GHG targets.

Bio

Robert Sansom has nearly 30 years’ experience in the UK’s electricity industry. This includes power station operations and maintenance, engineering consultancy, networks (transmission and distribution), energy strategy, power project development, energy procurement and risk management. In November 2009 he left EDF Energy and subsequently commenced a PhD at Imperial College, London University investigating how the UK can decarbonise low grade heat for space and water heating.

Robert’s career started with the CEGB in 1979 and he then went into engineering consultancy with before returning to the CEGB where he specialised in generation planning economics. He then joined the South Eastern Electricity Board prior to its privatisation in 1989 and had a number of roles encompassing energy trading, generation and network infrastructure projects and strategy and regulation.  Robert joined EDF Energy in 2002 as Managing Director - Energy Portfolio Risk Management where his responsibilities included electricity and gas asset portfolio strategy, hedging and tariff strategy, regulation, energy policy and risk control. In June 2008 he was appointed Director of Strategy and Sustainable Development where he was responsible for EDF Energy’s corporate strategy and sustainability agenda.

He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and a member of its Energy Policy Panel.

19th April
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Anthony Probert (Bioregional)
One Planet living in the built environment
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Abstract

Bioregional developed the concept and framework of One Planet Living in 2005, after design and construction of the BedZED eco-village in South West London. Underpinned by ten principles of sustainability, One Planet Living has been used to plan and deliver development all over the world by local and national government, housebuilders, corporates, communities and events organisers. Brighton and Hove adopted One Planet Living in 2013 as a way to coordinate and communicate their sustainability plans. In this seminar, we will understand what One Planet Living is, how it was developed and what are its metrics, before looking at how successful it has been for the city, and how its application on international built environment projects can result in the formation of truly sustainable communities.

Bio

A specialist in developing sustainability plans for large built environment projects, Anthony works with businesses, developers and local authorities to plan and deliver green initiatives. In 2014, Anthony produced sustainability plans for large urban extensions to two of Finland’s biggest cities, Helsinki and Jyvaskyla. In 2013, he assisted Brighton & Hove City Council in developing the city’s sustainability action plan and now, working from our Brighton office, he supports its delivery. Between 2012 and 2014, Anthony managed the £1.4m Heart of Hackbridge regeneration project which has helped create a thriving, sustainable local centre in Hackbridge by improving the public realm and helping businesses to attract more custom and reduce their environmental impact. Anthony’s background is in sustainable construction. Before joining Bioregional, Anthony worked as a sustainability consultant with Phlorum, an environmental consultancy in Brighton. He led a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project developing a tool that evaluates the life-cycle carbon emissions of construction projects, now used by Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning department.

26th April
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Kirsten Firth (The Church of England, Msc Energy Policy alumnus)
Stewardship and living sustainably: addressing climate change in the Church of England

Abstract

The Church of England is a large complex organisation, evolved over centuries at the heart of the Establishment, and holding many of the treasures of the UK's national built heritage, along with schools, farmland and forestry.  It is spatially dispersed, and yet is listened to at the highest levels of national and international government, and can reach people across the world.  In July 2015, it issued the Lambeth Declaration, a wide-ranging call to faith communities to combat climate change and for a spiritual and cultural transformation. In the Church's own estate, the practical challenges of cutting carbon emissions include working in ancient buildings, a decentralised (and sometimes volunteer) administration, and the need to bring carbon reduction into the mainstream.

Kirsten Firth, Environmental Policy Officer, Church of England
Reading SPRU's Energy Policy for Sustainability MSc in 2014-15 was a turning point. After a career in social housing policy, tackling homelessness and housing supply in London local authorities, and delivering domestic energy efficiency projects, I became convinced that reducing our carbon footprint is the single top priority for the next decade - both in public policy and in our own lives. Outside work, I'm a member of Transition Town Lewes, leading on sustainability in the local Neighbourhood Plan, and also involved in a new initiative to plant trees to improve flood resilience.

3rd May
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee G22
Tim Chatterton (UWE)
Energy consumption from private motor vehicles – exploring a rich new dataset
Energy and Climate Seminar Series

Annual mileage readings for every private vehicle in the UK!  Linked to the location of the registered keeper!  What more could a researcher into transport and energy want?

Quite a bit more, as it turns out…. However, there is plenty of new and interesting analysis that is afforded by the public release of the UK motor vehicle inspection database.  The MOT (Motoring and vehicle Ownership and Trends) project (www.MOTproject.net) is a 4-year RCUK Energy Programme projects that, working with the Department of Transport, is examining the potential uses of this new dataset.  Through providing an estimate of annual mileage for over 30 million vehicles annually, and linking these to details of make/model, age, fuel type and engine size, it is possible to take an entirely new approach to the assessment of emissions and energy use from the private vehicle fleet.  By linking the data to the census area of the registered keeper, a new geography of emissions and energy use from transport can be developed.

This talk will describe the pros and cons of the dataset, and present a range of energy related analyses that have been undertaken using the dataset to explore social and spatial variations in energy demand from private vehicles and its relationship to domestic energy consumption.

Bio

Tim is a Senior Research Fellow in Energy and Environment at the University of the West of England.  He has spent 20 years working at the interface of science and policy across the fields of air pollution, climate change and energy.  His work also covers both social and physical sciences.  He was involved in managing the UK Local Air Quality Management programme in the UK for Defra and the Devolved Administrations for over a decade, and spent a year on an ESRC Fellowship based in the Department of Energy and Climate Change looking at “Individuals’ and Communities’ Energy Behaviours” (their title not his!). He has also been involved in a range of work internationally – both for the European Commission and in a number of developing countires.

7th June
13:00 - 14:00
Jubilee 118
Emily Tyler (University of Cape Town)
A complexity underpinning for domestic climate mitigation policy in South Africa

Abstract

Current approaches to climate mitigation policy worldwide are dominated by a modernist paradigm and tools.  These are argued as being insufficient for engaging with the socio-economic transformation that the climate mitigation challenge presents, particularly in a developing country context.  This paper explores the proposition that a complex systems approach may provide a more useful conceptual underpinning for understanding and developing domestic climate mitigation policy in a developing country context, using South Africa as a case study.

Framing South African climate mitigation policy as a system contextualised by, and radically open to, the broader South African social, technological, economic, environmental, physical and political system highlights the properties and mechanisms of complex social systems, thereby re-ordering policy priorities and leverage points.  But further, a complexity frame or paradigm is a radical departure from its modernist predecessor.  The complexity principles that underpin this frame suggest different entry points, foci and practices as being appropriate for the South African climate mitigation policy community.

Bio

An economist by training, Emily has worked on the climate change mitigation challenge since 2001, first in Europe and subsequently in South Africa where her development interest and perspective continues to shape her thinking and career path. Emily has predominantly worked as a consultant, to local and international civil society, the private sector, government and academia, both independently and in consulting firms and not-for-profit institutions.  Her focus has spanned carbon footprinting, corporate strategies, the Clean Development Mechanism, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, Low Carbon Development Strategies, national government carbon pricing policies and low carbon transition planning, energy policy, carbon budgeting and most recently, engaging complex systems theory and interdisciplinarity to approach mitigation in a development context.