Author: Laila Mendy (Page 1 of 4)

Vårt Klimat: Med Mikael Karlsson

Världens forskare har levererat tusentals rapporter om klimatet samtidigt som tyckare sprider sina åsikter på nätet efter att ha läst en blogg. Här förklarar klimatforskaren Mikael Karlsson hur vi ska tänka när vi inhämtar vår kunskap om klimatet. Inspelat på Humanistiska teatern i Uppsala den 10 mars 2022. Arrangör: Institutionen för geovetenskaper vid Uppsala universitet.

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Sustainability Frontiers: Final Session

This is the final in a short blog series written by Laila Mendy about the Sustainability Frontiers conference.

Matthew Fielding moderated the final session between William Clark, Åsa Persson, Emily Boyd and Somya Joshi. The aim of the conversation was to discuss the five themes of the conference in relation to a recent publication by Clark and co-author Harley, which reviewed the first generation of sustainability science research. You can read this paper here.

Clark began with a short presentation of his work, which suggested that a core red-thread in sustainability science was nature-society interactions, which he described as existing within intertwined co-evolving systems. It is a solutions driven science, he said, where the goals of the research is not only to understand the interactions but to explore how this science and those understandings may be used to advance the diverse, contested and socially-determined goals of sustainability.

Another common thread, he found, was the issue of resources, emerging as the ultimate determinants of sustainable development. Sustainable development is measured by whether the base of resources are increasing or dwindling. Connecting resources and goals of sustainability science indicates processes of consumption and production, primarily towards the good life. However these processes are not operating without the agendas of the agents, actors, individuals, communities, firms, states and so on, also pushing certain directionalities. Though a belated entry into the sustainability sciences, these issues can be turned towards questions of power and how distributions of costs and benefits of nature-society interactions occur unequally.

These interests point back towards the institutions studying them and how the work they do might help or hinder these systems and often, Clark suggested, the outcomes of these institutional activities hold up the status quo and benefits incumbents. However, sustainability sciences are all working in complex adaptive systems that are shaped by persistent heterogeneity and novelty. Sadly this means that scientists can not predict them particularly well, which leads to the question about what useful advice sustainability science has to offer.

Well, it does have much to offer in terms of operational capacities, according to Clark. These are categorised below as the capacities to:

  • Govern effectively
  • Measure progress
  • Promote Equity
  • Adapt to shocks
  • Transform development pathways
  • Link knowledge with action

Each of these capacities are interlinked and intersect with the conference themes, Clark claimed, though hesitating on the Degrowth theme, which seemed to him more prescriptive than opening up discovery on the issue of economy and environmental impact.

Persson had several comments on the paper, based on what had been heard from the past two days. She first queried the idea of capacities in terms of by and for whom. The question comes from much of the discussion had in the first session on Decolonisation: who needs capacities? who already has them? and whose capacities are not counted or visible? This, she said, comes from the tendency in sustainability science to look at “we” in recommendations without specificity. It was time to be honest over responsibilities and the roles that we have.

Related to that, she was missing the concept of leadership in this synthesis. Looking back to Stockholm 50 years ago, individuals did play a role: leadership was considered as very important. Is this an issue sustainability fields are forgetting? That said, she pointed to ongoing projects into the role of influences in mobilising change – a new form of modern leadership, perhaps?

In response to Clark’s hesitation to fit the Degrowth theme into his synthesis, Persson asked whether economics was a part of sustainability or a different field. She acknowledged the work of donut economics, regenerative and care economics and how to bring them in to sustainability science.

Finally, she commented on the word “transformation”, which is on everyone’s lips these days. What is the risk of transformation becoming a new floating empty signifier not unlike sustainable development? And to what extent does the scale or transformation lead to delay? The challenge might appear to be so big so that responsibility can be diffused.

Boyd reminded the panel that much of the discussion over the past two days did not necessarily probe new areas, but rather were the result of decades of challenging issues and constraints within the practises of sustainability science. This was further challenged by how sustainability was being mainstreamed across the university and instrumentalised in businesses and governments. She echoed a point from the decolonial discussion: these issues can not become check boxes with a measurable set of indicators, but are more reflexive processes of inquiry.

Such a challenge might, she suggested, require a coming out of the academic ivory towers in response to the changing world. AI, geopolitics, polarisation and other forms of resistances are part of transformations and represent varied forms of values and knowledges and the new contexts within which science-making occurs. To what extent, then, are the processes in sustainability reinforcing inequalities by not accounting for these?

This conference, according to Boyd, has been an exploration from the Swedish perspective. In her presentation she highlighted some important questions that emerged within the themes of the frontiers of sustainability science. Listed below:

  • Decolonisation: unlearning the what and how, bringing in care ethics and the material aspects of what we study;
  • Resistance: the idea of presence and making familiar the unfamiliar;
  • Degrowth: how to approach the issue of decoupling;
  • Digitalisations: The new stories, fragmentations and speeds of change;
  • Imaginaries: Mindsets, structures, and moving beyond existing models of creativity to open up beyond the scientific silo.

Somya Joshi finished the panel with a short presentation explaining that “the joys of going last is that most of what you want to say has been said already.” For her, however, the most provocative theme appeared to be inequity. Whether in the Decolonial themed conversations, or in Degrowth, or the Imaginaries session, many questioned resource extraction through an anthropocentric mindset. Therefore, sustainability science must question the idea of resource.

A comment came to Clark from Joshi: According to the paper, at the heart of human capacity is innovation. Joshi, however challenges this in the context of digitalisation. Lowering the threshold to participation through social media, for example, is fantastic in one level. But the risks of misinformation, or powerful elites instrumentalising these technologies are too large to ignore. Who is wielding these tools? Who is weaponising them?

For Joshi, then, this concerned knowledge – and structures of knowing – and required a shift to nurturing empathy and action. She echoed a question posed in an earlier workshop: How can imagined collective futures turn into something people could collaboratively work towards.

Read more on page two by clicking below.

Sustainability Frontiers: Inner Transformation and Imaginaries

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about the Sustainability Frontiers conference, written by Laila Mendy. The first can be read here, the second post can be read here, and click here for the third.

Diego Galafassi curated the next session and explained how this session appeared to be cross-cutting, noting how the idea of the imagination and imaginaries had been brought up throughout conversations in the conference. Galafassi introduced the topic, shortly explaining that imagination and creativity is a real component and important skill for transformation. He was joined by panellists Myanna Lahsen, Henrik Karlsson and Lara Houston.

Myanna Lahsen began, following the same structure as the earlier sessions, with a five minute intervention into the theme from her own field. She probed the idea of the individual when it comes to inner transformations, suggesting that this is an important component but also a significant hurdle in societal change. As a cultural anthropologist by training, Lahsen explained that looking at who counts and where impact happens in democracies gives an indication that it is the economic elites, business-oriented organisations and interest groups who matter. So when it comes to the idea of inner transformation, scaling that is critical.

What may seem inner and private, she suggested however, is deeply social and political. This is where Sustainability science is struggling to work. There is a tendency to put faith into groups of people and assume that people will mobilise around an issue; scaling happens through the numbers. Social activism is assumed to be progressive, but we know this is not always the case. Little attention has given to how people come to know what they know in the first place. Lahsen argued that the political economy and market place of ideas is neglected in this field.

Lahsen then explained this issue in the context of mass media communications. Cognitive sciences show that repetition is needed to shape people and give them the ability to collectively frame an issue. This, arguably, is not understood as a power agent. Yet much of media is owned by the same groups who legitimise certain political issues through their own agendas. The example of Brasil was given, where the media was not recognised in terms of power. Addressing this gap is critical for social action: social marketing can lead to change, she said, without leaving the movements pushing an issue without support.

Henrik Karlsson followed with a presentation on the diversity in futures in literature and fiction. He started by plotting a matrix with general images of a desired future, prompted by his reaction to a Chinese participant in a Thai workshop who said sustainability is only possible with a strong leader. This table is imitated below:

Replicated from Karlsson’s presentation at Sustainability Frontiers.
The dotted arrow indicates “wishful thinking” from the West on the behalf of China’s future.

The figure above demonstrated how there is an assumption about what other (groups of) people might find desirable when discussing sustainable futures. He had assumed that China would move to the upper right quadrant. This began a search for the different forms of futures and what could be understood as desirable. Was it to maximise happiness? Human utility? Or perhaps it was about minimising suffering.

Asking different groups of environmental philosophers will get you different ideas on what means can be justified for the ends of sustainability futures, he explained. He quoted a Finnish philosopher, Pentti Linkola, whom Karlsson described as an eco-fascist for making the statement that “We still have a chance to be cruel. But if we are not cruel today all is lost.”

It was not only literature that had such provocative ideas of the future. Karlsson offered an image from a recent exhibition which probed the questions about whether the future needed us. The idea of human extinction, though, is not necessarily something he wants people to aim for when opening up ideas about alternative futures. Rather this was mentioned merely to provoke new ways of thinking about what wider possibilities could exist.

The final presentation came from Lara Houston who discussed creative practises for futures transformations. This included different forms of aesthetic, experiential, multi-sensory and embodied experiences to enable transformations to sustainability.

One exemplification of this, The Hollogram, was elaborated on in the presentation during which it was described as having enabled a collective imagining of sustainability transformations through expanding shared meanings and feelings. The experience demonstrated how knowledge politics can be misunderstood in sustainability sciences. The idea of empathy was brought up here in how it can be motivating for mobilising action towards sustainability during processes of change.

The impact was a transformation on the understanding of relationships, particularly of friendship. The experience had challenged cultures of financialisation, in which some forms of friendship can be considered transactional. The move away from these modes of relationships may, it was argued, lead towards a shift in more sustainable living.

In the plenary, Galafassi asked the panellists to think more on imaginations as a type of transformative capacity. Houston responded first by discussing imaginaries in the context of art installations. Imagination points towards an individual cognitive experience, but this is done within a shared collective. Lahsen had similar approaches, this time considered in terms of agency and obstacles in new technologies and media systems. There are ways to overcome obstacles to opening up ideas and capacities, such as public wisdom councils. Social marketing really works, but there is aversion to this. Polarisation is happening, but these technologies can be used for good: VR empathy, for example. See the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science for more examples. For Karlsson much of this discussion concerned interdisciplinary partnerships. He suggested that throughout history, academia has had better practises for moving across disciplines. These should be explored again today.

Sustainability Frontiers Conference: Degrowth

This blog is part of a short series written by Laila Mendy, PhD student at NRHU, as she attended the Sustainability Frontiers conference.

The third session of the day, and the topic of the second blog post, relates to postgrowth economics and the alternatives to GDP-focused growth mentalities. Below is a short summary of the panel discussion and reflections.

Mine Islar moderated a discussion between Eric Kemp-Benedict, Jennifer Hinton, and Giorgos Kallis. The session began with an introduction to the idea that degrowth, postgrowth and other “agnostic” ideas may have the potential to close the gap between economic interests and biodiversity. The panelists each presented their understandings of how to approach this potential and the implications of leaving the current economic system in place.

Eric Kemp-Benedict began by explaining how helpful he finds Kate Raworth’s idea of doughnut economics and how it frames human-nature relations in terms of human needs but more than that needed to survive, but enough to flourish. There are, he says, two questions raised by the doughnut framing. The first is “What political and economic systems are consistent with this?” and the second considers “How do we get there?”

GDP has been a useful but incomplete measure for politics and policy-making. Today we know that in many parts of the world people do not have enough to survive, let alone thrive. Meeting their needs, he argued, requires significant development of technologies that must be created, maintained and improved. On the other hand, there is research that demonstrates the limits to how comfortable and happy wealthier parts of the world live. In short, we have some places where people have not enough to live well, and others who have too much. This is coupled with the arbitrary nature of what is calculated within GDP, in terms of labour or work: home-based childcare is not, maintaining the home is not*.

Kemp-Benedict pushed the arbitrary nature of GDP, explaining that while employment rates and gas prices are of immediate interest to people, particularly in terms of inflation as it erodes wealth and steps into the political-economy dimension, stock market inflation is generally not of concern for most people, other than populating the 24 hour news cycle. Based on this assessment, GDP should not be replaced by another similar measure, but rather should reorient the question to understand what ways of living are consistent with sustainability. Political decision-making tools should reflect that reality, rather than this fairly arbitrary measure.

To the second question, he raised the issue of decoupling GDP from material throughput (and therefore environmental impact). If it can not be, then the only direction is through degrowth. However, this has not happened in the past as, seemingly, it is not politically palatable. Therefore, he concludes, other roots might be worth investigating to break the GDP material flow, including other political interventions.

Jennifer Hinton intervened here by explaining how most sustainability researchers approach the fields in terms of meeting needs now and into the future within the ecological boundaries of the planet. This approach, she says, does not clarify the role of the economy in sustainable society. We are living within the context of economic growth as the prevailing dominant narrative. Even in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), economic growth is a key measure of success. Economic growth is seen as necessary to lift people out of poverty, to produce technologies for reduction of environmental impact. There is, here, a profound assumption that society can decouple growth from environmental impact. But, Hinton stated, evidence points out that over the last few decades this has not occurred: the rich have been getting richer, the poor remain in poverty (in a global context) and there is, as of yet, no evidence that the economy can decouple from environmental impacts. By contrast as the economy has grown the environmental condition has worsened.

Hinton moved to the main thesis that economies should be reorganised to not drive for growth, and therefore the field starts with a post-growth ideology. She explained that there is more to postgrowth than degrowth, and gave examples from eco-feminism and ecological economics which pluralises the realm. How does it address sustainability, then, she asked?

Firstly, get rid the assumption that wealth equates happiness, needs could instead be emphasised. Secondly, money is a means not an end and should not be considered a measurement of success. Here she brought up the master servant binary: the economy must be relegated to servant. Third, is to consider methods for meeting needs outside of the market. Hinton gave examples of community sharing, swapping and mutual aid. Importantly, she summarised, postgrowth can entail higher levels of well-being, particularly when the harm of consumerism to both people and planet are understood.

Consumerism is not an instinctual aspect of human nature, she said in reference to the decolonial scholars from the first part of the day, but rather socio- and eco- justice is at the heart of postgrowth mentalities. In such a framing those who do not currently have access to all of their needs would be given the opportunities to increase their consumption, while those who currently live with excess would be required to learn to live with a lot less.

Hinton’s intervention finished with the suggestion that different proposals and interventions, which included democratic decision-making processes, material sufficiency, local production and consumption and share economies. These are concrete initiatives and seeds that exist, though at the margins or in the niche. Could these become mainstream? Well, she concluded, change in complex systems happens at nonlinear rates: “change is already underway, who knows when we might reach a tipping point?” she finished.

Giogos Kallis was the final panelist and pointed out that it had been 50 years since the book “Limits to Growth” had been published and that while many of their models and variables are since out of date – consider, for example, the computing power existing then in comparison to today – much of their models considered resources, food output, population growth rate and built a variety of scenarios. One of these scenarios was considered a business-as-usual future, where business growth and GDP growth would increase. This scenario is more-or-less, he claimed, what we have followed and lived through to today.

Kallis explained that the field of Degrowth finds similar patterns to those described in the Limits to Growth work. It finds that even taking into account the best possible efficiency increase, radically cleaner and greener technologies, these developments are not enough to keep us within the bounds of the system. Rather, they just postpone the inevitable collapse. The only stabilisation scenarios that the field of degrowth can develop considered the combination of technological improvements with the reduction of material output and population growth.

Despite the tricky conclusions from degrowth research, the more politically palatable models developed today, which are both used within the IPCC and in national roadmaps towards Net Zero around the world, add carbon reduction as a variable. Yet, without addressing continued GDP and population growth, they must be underpinned by the rapid development and widespread implementation of negative emissions technologies. This assumption, according to Kallis, however, has been dismissed as highly unlikely by climate scientists around the world.

At this point the panel ended and turned to questions from the audience. The first was directed towards Hinton and asked for more on the idea of turning money to a means from being the ends. Hinton argued that in today’s context money is a measure of success at multiple levels from the household income to GDP. However, money could become one of many means to satisfy needs. She nodded towards the idea of the 9 universal needs, including (but not limited to) subsistence, protection, leisure, freedom. These needs can only be met to some extent by money and material, and in the cases of freedom and leisure chasing money may be more harmful than good. Better means might be to invest in community development, take care of family bonds or connect with surrounding nature.

Kallis followed on from this answer, suggesting that we consider ideas from ecological economics. He proposed the analogy of measuring colour in kilos. However, Kallis was more pessimistic about the idea of change occurring: there is something powerful about monetary force in society, he said, and was not satisfied with the idea of a simple move away from money as ends.

Kemp-Benedict had the last word on this and echoed the idea of nonlinear rates of change, but pulled back to the idea of what creates money. When he hears about the idea of money as an ends, he considers the idea of debt in livelihoods and of monetary valuation. This discussion is about moving away from, what he argued, how money is created by providing loans underpinned by collateral and private property rights.

To pull this conversation into the ongoing work done at CCL regarding societal transformations to sustainable and fair fossil free futures, there are several interesting points. Firstly, each of these researchers agree that change is nonlinear and occurs within different temporalities. Kallis discussed the urgency of addressing climate change while Hinton admitted that societal changes are generally slower.

Secondly, there is the idea of something existing that does not particularly exist in the global level. These seeds and initiatives exist and are growing, yet global carbon emissions continue to rise, GDP continues to grow. Despite the emissions reductions measures within countries and some regions making some impact, on a global scale these are far from sufficient. I would also say that these economies do not exist in a vacuum. In Sweden there might be community share economies and clothes swaps, but this occurs within a society with a robust and growing housing market and loan inflation, and rapidly growing digitalisation.

The final intervention from Kemp-Benedict relates to my challenge of working to overcome delay in change. Processes of incumbency in the global economic structure, surely, would resist such niche efforts to change. Indeed, decades of research has discussed the different strategies used to resist regime change (see this paper, for example). And so too do these researchers sound pessimistic about the likelihood of such small and strongly resisted alternative economies coming to the mainstream.

Each of the researchers sound hopeful, without indicating how they imagine getting there. It almost seems careless or suspended beyond an attempt at answering this issue. I am reminded of Andy Stirling’s ideas of moving away from the idea of technocratic control to care in times of socio-technical transitions and change (See the STEPS center blog here). Perhaps, if such an approach is so common for those working in this field, the idea of overcoming delay is feeding too much into a narrative of control and therefore unhelpful in such rigid structures. Taking a more emancipatory-care approach could instead mean more to nurture the niche and allow change to emerge at its own pace.

*For more on this, the fourth Zennström Professor, Stefania Barca, initiated a project in 2021 addressing this exact issue. Read more here.

This blog is part of a short series written by Laila Mendy, PhD student at NRHU, as she attends the Sustainability Frontiers conference. Click here for part three on Digitalisation

Sustainability Frontiers: Decolonising Sustainability

This blog is part of a short series written by Laila Mendy, PhD student at NRHU, as she attended the Sustainability Frontiers conference.

Opening and Decolonial Perspective on Sustainability Science:

The day began with a demonstration of what much of decolonial scholars have been arguing for: by centring the perspectives and insights from decolonial scholars and indigenous researchers in the sustainability sciences conversation. Vasna Rasamar curated an panel discussion with Professor Lyla Mehta, Professor Bagele Chilisa, and Senior Lecturer Anna-Lill Drugge, all concerned with addressing what they see as a sustaining weakness of the sustainability sciences: the reproduction of colonial dynamics, practises and norms.

Rasamar began by asking each of the speakers to present what they consider to be an ongoing frontier in sustainability. These are summarised shortly below:

From Lyla Mehta: The term “Sustainability” came from German forestry management in the 1800s, which wanted to explore ways to continue resource extraction into the long term. From there it was consolidated and instrumentalised with – and alongside- other colonial practises of territory grabbing, othering and racialised categorisation, and removal of- and restriction of access to- indigenous peoples. Such practices adhere in much mainstream sustainable development today where, in the name of emissions reductions and conservation, indigenous and local communities continue to be restricted from living in their homes. Mehta highlighted instances of these in the REDD+ programme and other climate mitigation measures. In order to recognise that colonial practise is embedded in common socio-envionmental control mechanisms, there are three considerations to take:

  1. Firstly, seeking out hidden ways of knowing and being in this world. What knowledges and practises exist beyond the mainstream?
  2. Countering the narrative that unexploited land is waste. Grasslands, Mehta used as an example, are important contributors to biodiversity in South East Asia, and do not indicate wasted opportunity for afforestation or agricultural development
  3. To consider new ways of doing research: what are the assumptions underpinning much of what we problematise in development studies? Perhaps the grazing animal is contributing to soil health and the local eco-system.

Mehta concluded by explaining that decolonising sustainability science is also about looking at the institutions surrounding academia and considering how relationships and ways of working might be projecting harmful norms. Consider here, for example, the ways in which gender relations, power, race and ethnicity, sexuality, the languages spoken and – of particular relevance to the PhD student in Sweden today – the passports we hold. All these considerations implicate who might be invited to the discussion and how groups are convened.

For Bagele Chilisa the presentation considered how pervasive dogmas in Western thought were restricting people to see beyond certain assumptions of existence and reality. Building from what Mehta had initiated, Chilisa explained how decolonialism must address these dogmas in sustainability as understood in Western terms to not only open up for alternatives but to go beyond.

Firstly, Chilisa explained that Descartes and the idea of the individual could be pinpointed at the base of much practise and understanding in Western academia. The community and the people are forgotten: it is the individual that counts. Such an approach does not take into account the ways in which people are part of their community and part of the environment in which they live. This is problematic as teachings from the fields of Environmental Justice may not be heard beyond concern for the individual.

Secondly, the approaches to sustainability in Western academia can generally be categorised through four main approaches: the post-positivist turn to explain, predict and control; the conservative; the transformative; and the pragmatic.

Thirdly, that the environment is other-ised in Sustainability science, disregarding the essential embedded-ness of people and, therefore, discounting the valuable contributions that the environment can make towards knowledge creation.

Chilisa ended by asking open questions to the audience: what is development and for whom? What does it mean to live a good life? And, more fundamentally, how can we see and understand each other in a system that more and more pushes us as individuals?

The final speaker is Senior-Lecturer in Umeå, focusing on the Sami peoples. Anna-Lill Drugge, offered a similar list of three for the decolonial challenge in Sustainability science. Drugge’s approach focused more specifically on the experience of the Sami in Sweden, but might resonate with other peoples around the world.

The first insight looked at the exploitation of natural resources. Drugge explained that much of the green transition in Sweden poses the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy as the solution to the sustainability and climate issues. However, Drugge points out that too few reflect on which land and which natural resources are chosen in this transition. In the case of wind power, many of the potential areas of interest for development are on indigenous land. Despite the continued dependence on these areas for Sami livelihoods, development often goes ahead. Here, Drugge concludes, it is important to simply raise awareness of ongoing colonial structures in decision-making. Decolonialism is not possible if colonialism is not addressed first.

Secondly, the history of many research fields are problematic and foundational to ongoing conflicts today. Drugge explained that in recent history in Sweden the study of race biology categorised Sami people, separating the mountainous peoples from the forest peoples and contributing to existing conflicts to this day. Recognising the roots of today’s conflicts in historical processes of research was, for Drugge, another important insight for the decolonialism of Sustainability science.

Thirdly Drugge explained that the lack of knowledge meant these challenges will continue in to the future. Much Swedish knowledge of Sami people is based on stereotypes, due to a neglect on the subject in the national curricular. In the long run, these students will work in the green transition of tomorrow, which risk carrying and replicating colonial assumptions into the future.

The second block of the Decolonial session discussed questions posed by the moderator and the audience. The discussion mainly concerned concrete tools, approaches and methodologies to implement decolonial thinking in practise in academia.

Drugge began by admitting that doing is particularly challenging, but the first step is to acknowledge the field and work of indigenous scholars, particularly those whose work concerns relationships. These are not only important in sustainability and in relation to indigenous people, she suggested, but concern research ethics more widely.

Chilisa echoed this by explaining that many of the tools available can help communities and groups avoid the check-boxing so common in sustainability – think, why is the commissioner doing this study and will it actually be used? – and rather looks at the processes and intentions behind them.

Thirdly, Mehta cautioned against thinking in terms of a tool box and a check box, positioning decolonialism as an ongoing processes of self-awareness that should not be turned into another buzzword – not unlike what has happened to sustainability. That said, she went on to suggest methodologies from feminism for methods to raise the voices of the unheard and make visible the invisible, as well as practises from the field of Science and Technology Studies. Within the academic institutions themselves, it is making aware that power imbalances exist and continue to exist when those with the best of intentions can perpetuate inequality infrastructures.

In relation to my own doctoral work, much from this discussion has resonated with me. I am currently working on the idea of “overcoming delay” in the quest to reach Net Zero 2045 in Sweden. Considering recent review on the thirty years of political and scientific work done on climate change and the failure to bend the emissions curve, this feels like an important piece of work to contribute towards overcoming inertia and to avoid a tobacco industry-like conflict with climate policy-making. But there are deeper challenges in taking such a stance towards the future and towards the goal itself.

Firstly, the idea of overcoming delay towards a future assumes certain futures are viable and desirable, and that others are not. To overcome delay towards a certain future is, arguably, to depoliticise it. I think this is problematic because it questions the democratic nature of futures-making. With such an urgent need for emissions reductions, slowing down and questioning the idea of whose contribution towards such goals and targets is important. It indicates which voices are excluded and which injustices may be carried in to the future for the good of action on climate change?

Such a cause for concern in terms of time is strengthened by the implication of place in the goal of Net Zero itself. Climate neutrality indicates a necessary shift in infrastructure, which for Sweden may well mean a continued expansion of renewable energy development into Sami land. It also suggests that off-setting emissions beyond Sweden could perpetuate certain colonial mindsets about land access globally, its usage and whose claims to land are more important.

I am not sure how to reconcile the decolonial lens with the urgency narrative of climate action. However, the discussion this morning gave much food for thought on this conflict.

This blog is part of a short series written by Laila Mendy, PhD student at NRHU, as she attends the Sustainability Frontiers conference. Click here for part two on Degrowth

Sustainability Frontiers: Digitalisation and Sustainability Transitions

The fourth session at Sustainability Frontiers discussed Digitalisation and Sustainability Transitions, and will be the third in the series of blog posts about this conference written by Laila Mendy, PhD student at NRHU, Uppsala University. The first can be read here and the second post can be read here.

Somya Joshi moderated a conversation between Stefan Daume, Maja Essebo and Andrea Owe. Joshi introduced the hope and parallel concern about the relationships between technological development and innovation and the environment. She then invited each speaker to present their approach to this issue.

Stefan Daume began on the idea of digitalisation from the perspective of disruptive technologies and AI for Sustainability science. He pointed out the meta-quality of the conversation and how the online conference structure can facilitate fantastic connections around the globe more quickly and without attributed transport emissions.

Daume’s research spans the mature forms of technologies to the niche and cutting edge. He suggested that the internet acts as a mature tool for sustainability and pointed towards Greta Thunberg’s social movement enabled through the availability of social media. He considered open access research as another form.

To the more cutting edge innovations, he introduces the idea of AI, block chain and crypto. AI, he argues, has been around since the era of Alan Turing. Today’s machine learning, however, has the gigantic accessibility of computing powers available in the cloud. That said, these systems are not just virtual. He explained that there is an embodied and material element as these consume resources to run and are often designed to serve existing dominant interests.

The second intervention was given by Maja Essebo, who came from the point of storytelling and looking at how algorithmic technologies are not only disseminating stories but also storytelling themselves. A side note was given here, though, is that this is more about machine learning than AI.

Looking at the elements of storytelling you have character creation, the plot, events connected by relationships, place and more. Character creation is where machine learning technologies get particularly interesting. These technologies are interested in a group of people to understand what common characteristics occur within certain sets of the population. An example was given that individuals who liked KitKat pages were more likely to join anti-semitic hate groups. Such a connection would not necessarily be imagined by a human, but a machine noticed this trend.

Her conclusion was that algorithmic processes are performing character creation by noticing these trends and connections. But she is not sure how. These technologies are finding these connections in a black box. They are given input instructions such as “go look, go see, go search”, but how they solve that problem is not really clear. What the creator thinks is a fairly clear task can have wider interpretations by the machine.

There are two reactions from Sustainability scientists when they learn about the scale of stories these technologies are creating: interest and disgust. They might want to stay away from these technologies but, she concluded, the algorithms will not stay away from them.

The final presentation was given by Andrea Owe, who explained that the biases of humans are fed into AI. She started from the point that sustainability has complex socio-political associations and is more than a natural or technological issue. Much sustainability science is done from an anthropocentric approach, she claimed, which posits that humans are distinct and more important than the rest of the natural world. With that she argued that AI discourse needs to break away from those systems of thought.

Owe’s concern was that non-human animals and the natural environment is neglected in the field of AI ethics, which as of yet has mainly focused on the social implications of AI structures. The non-human is not considered in concepts of justice, but only appear to some extent as beneficiary of sustainability. This is a significant blind spot when developing AI for sustainability as it is neglecting how the environment is considered in those systems.

The presentation concluded by reiterating the concern in terms of environmental footprint: when selecting which AI to pursue a footprint might indicate that certain forms of AI should not be developed in the first place. This requires full and thorough life-cycle analysis during development stage. She finished by reiterating that while sexism and racism is perpetuated by AI and is, to some extent, being addressed, the abuse of nature must be addressed in research.

After the panellists presented their opening statements they were given the opportunity to respond to a number of questions. Much was said about the idea of agency in story telling: that it is not full agency, but that there are aspects within the black box issue. Daume continued by explaining that inbuilt biases certainly exist and in multiple forms including training data bias, transfer bias, and also interpretation bias by the people using the AI. Owe explained the challenge of interjecting ethics in systems we are still struggling to grapple with. She summarised in ways that echoed the decolonial scholars from the first session: ethics is not a to do list, and ethics washing is widespread. For ecological and environmental ethics in AI, the research is very new and underdeveloped.

A second theme of questions emerged from the audience Q and A which asked about whether – and how – AI can change human-nature relations. Owe pointed to incredible work being done by indigenous communities around the world who are developing their own AI based on their own data.

My own question was raised at this point, which concerned the reconciliation of technological acceleration with the degrowth of the economy. Owe suggested she was pessimistic about decoupling technological innovation from environmental impact. Essebo, however, offered a more optimistic framing, suggesting that these technologies can enable economic transitions at a more rapid rate. Daume reiterated this in terms of broadening access and participation but cautioned that the platforms on which these tools rely are provided for by companies who are not motivated by sustainability. They also, he said, have long been recognised for their emissions but there are now some transitions to more sustainable practices such as submerged data centres.

This was the third in a series of blog posts about the Sustainability Frontiers conference. Click here to read the fourth on Inner Transformation and Imaginaries.

COP26: Some progress, but not nearly enough

After the dramatic final hours of negotiations, the most important issues at COP26 in Glasgow have now been decided. The decisions have led to key steps forward in international climate policy, but they are not enough to achieve the climate goals. (This is a translation of the original Swedish-language post that can be found here)

When it comes to emissions reductions there are clear statements about the importance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, which in practice means a stronger interpretation of the goal from the Paris Agreement. Parties will now sharpen their NDCs more often and in coordination with the pact. Global emissions reductions of 45% from 2010 to 2030 has been quantified, agreed upon and included in the text. The use of coal and fossil fuel subsidies will also be reduced, a first for international climate agreements. The agreements reached at Glasgow also included the implementation of emissions trading schemes in line with the Paris Agreement.

In addition to the Glasgow agreement itself, known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, groups of countries have also agreed on measures relating to, among other things, methane emissions, deforestation and coal power. Several countries have also advanced their positions, the most significant being India’s commitments to Net Zero by 2070. Overall, there was a sense of cooperation and ambition in the negotiations.

These decisions and promises will, at best, mean that global warming will evidently reach at 1.8-1.9 degrees, according to preliminary calculations. This is a great improvement from what it looked like before the start of COP26 and even more so compared to when the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015.

But the progress is not nearly enough to meet the 1.5-degree goal. Emissions reductions must increase and at a significantly faster rate than currently anticipated. The UN decisions in Glasgow also rely completely on implementation at the national level, but this is of course always a given in international agreements. All countries must now do far more.

Implementation in nations and global regions also needs to occur with higher ambitions than that which is expressed in the agreement. For example, the language surrounding coal phase-downs and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and the agreement on emissions trading are clearly weak. Different countries have held up different issues. Coal and subsidies for fossil fuels need to be phased out completely. This is something that all countries can do without need of a UN decision. And rules for emissions trading can also be improved

On the issue of financing for both emission reductions and adaptation measures, more resources have been allocated before and during COP26. Most significantly new commitments have been made to double the financing for climate adaptation. The negotiations also led towards some steps forward to address Loss and Damage, the issue of compensation for climate damage in developing countries that arise even with climate adaptation measures in place.

But even on these points, the agreement is far from sufficient. The target of $100 billion in annual climate funding by 2020 has not been met. That figure is also a whole order of magnitude too little. There was also no effective process for dealing with the issue of Loss and Damage, let alone any financing to speak of. The countries that have the least impact on the climate are seriously affected, while those that primarily cause the damage are not prepared to pay the costs that arise.

It is clear that the Glasgow summit is a step forward. Yet it is also clear that the agreement was weakened on several key issues on the table. And it is even clearer that this progress is not nearly enough. There are plenty of reasons to be critical and, further, it is deeply unethical that developed countries do not offer more. That said, despite disagreements on several issues and despite some countries taking sides on individual issues, the world actually agrees on the importance of accelerating climate work.

Transforming the Future and Societal Metamorphosis

Ahead of the Climate Change Leadership Friday event in the COP26 Nordic Pavilion, titled “Fair Climate Transformation Governance”, Laila Mendy at CCL reflects on the concept of metamorphosis.

Climate change and the need for just societal transitions to low carbon economies are not a new topic for us here at Climate Change Leadership. We hear all the time about the importance of societal transition to mitigate severe climate change, but transition has not grasped the more transformative nature of rapid reductions in emissions and lifestyle changes needed to reach this goal. How, though, might we transform into something which has already been decided? We look to nature for inspiration: Metamorphosis.

Image of butterfly metamorphosis from Piqsels

Perhaps this transformation could be considered in terms of societal metamorphosis. We know the quantified end goals and limitations that we need to follow in our transformations, whether they are mainly guided by the science of planetary boundaries, of carbon budgets or science-based climate laws. Here in Sweden the present end goal of our societal transformation means reaching Net Zero 2045. But the act of transformation into this fossil free future has yet to be decided and described. Contributing pathways have been proposed by industry in Fossil Free Sweden, and midway targets have been committed to by the Swedish Government and parliament. But the collective gathering of roadmaps and pathways in order to frame and name this transformative process, itself, leaves something to be desired. Transformation infers an openness that does not quite fit in this context.

When it comes down to it, the inevitably important but still nitty-gritty debates over priorities and rates of mitigation are fiery, particularly when justice and equity principles are centred. Electric cars are an important solution, but the mining of cobalt for batteries have dangerous consequences for human rights (read more on Nature-based solutions are an option, but access and property rights within the broader implications of off-setting can be problematic. The responsibilities of wealthier countries, with higher cumulative emissions, to reduce emissions rates faster is likewise an issue for climate justice debates. For example in Sweden, whose Net Zero goal in 2045 is 25 years ahead of the goal recently declared for India, there is now pressure on the government to act faster. In essence, the process of societal transformation, like the metamorphosis of the butterfly, is a turbulent, bloody and challenging time guided by core principles and ends.

To stretch the metaphor further, metamorphosis is also the aspect which separates juvenile and mature specimens. They occupy different habitats and engage in radically different activities. Rejecting the categorisations of countries in as mature and juvenile, which is highly problematic in terms of climate justice and the historical responsibility of climate change, it is the separation that interests me. In the international climate politics sphere, the concept demonstrates how wealthier countries who may afford a quick metamorphosis have a responsibility to support developing countries with their transition or risk broadening a divide, continue to rely on fossil fuels and risk exclusion from the full potentials that new, green, technologies and 1.5 degree living might have to offer.

The open-ended term of “transforming the future” does not suggest an unknown future in the landscape of Net Zero, Fossil Free Sweden’s road-maps, and planetary boundaries. A metamorphosis, which describes a process of transforming into something already known, may offer a better description of the process ahead of us.

This reflection is written ahead the event Climate Change Leadership is organising at the COP26 Nordic Pavilion. Here we ask how societies may transform in order to fit within carbon budgets? The seminar describes Paris Agreement-based carbon budgets as a foundation for discussing the merits and shortcomings of various governance strategies, including potential COP26 outcomes, with a focus on social fairness and effectiveness in meeting climate targets. Key speakers include our own senior lecturer, Mikael Karlsson, and previous Zennström professors Doreen Stabinsky and Kevin Anderson. The event is facilitated by Jens Ergon and Isabel Baudish. Join us in CEMUS Friday 10.00 – 11.30 (CET) to watch the livestream or watch online here:

COP26: Kan vi världen enas om ett pris på koldioxid i Glasgow?

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English summary:

While the costs of climate change is considerable, countries continue to disagree about a standard rate on carbon emissions, write Daniel Lindvall and Mikael Karlsson. Current laws in Finland and Sweden demonstrate that a high tax can be effective in reducing emissions, but the average global rate in 2019 is recorded at only 2 dollars per tonne (compared to Sweden’s over 110 dollars). Some criticisms concern the unfair costs on developing countries or poorer populations.

Full translation to come.

The climate science every climate negotiator needs to know

New report breaks down ten key insights from Earth Systems Science that every climate change negotiator at COP26 needs to know. Read the noted bulletin, watch Johan Rockström’s presentation below, or read the full report:

  • 1.5 temperature change limit remains possible, but overshoot is likely. At a minimum we need a global reduction of 2 gigatons of CO2 per year ( or 5%) starting now. For a 66% chance of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees we need 4 gigatons reduction starting this year. Current annual rates are 42 gigatons per year.
  • Methane and Nitrous Oxide are worsening globally. Climate models suggest we need a rate of reduction of these gasses at the same rate as CO2. Paradoxically, air pollutants are currently cooling the planet or “camoflaging” some global warming.
  • We have entered the age of “Mega Fires”, a global warming amplifier.
  • Risk levels of tipping points have been lowered to between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming. Tipping points are thresholds of climate changes that lead towards cascading effects of climate change or irreversible changes in earth systems.
  • Climate justice is key: “The richest 1% must reduce emissions by a factor of 30, the poorest 50% can increase emissions by a factor of 3 to remain within the global carbon budget.”
  • Behavioural change includes not only electrification and transition of societies but also 1.5 degree lifestyles. Lifestyle and behaviour change is overlooked in negotiations.
  • Political sciences give insight into policy measures for carbon pricing that can increase and ramp up transition. Only 22% of global carbon emissions are covered by a price. (Read more on this)
  • Robust, resilient nature-based solutions are critical for the Paris Agreement, but off-setting measures should not be accounted for twice in carbon budgets.
  • Ocean protection is critical not only for limiting climate change but also for other conservation agendas. Oceans face multiple threats today.
  • Costs and benefits of mitigation need to account for the Health impacts of emissions and pollution today.

Read more about COP26

Can Glasgow reach an agreement on an emissions trading scheme?

This is a translation of the article posted on 2050. Läs på svenska här.

On Sunday, the annual COP26 climate summit began in Glasgow. For two weeks, countries from all over the world will negotiate solutions to reduce emissions in line with the goals set in Paris 2015. Daniel Lindvall, researcher at Uppsala Unversity, and Mikael Karlsson, senior lecturer at Uppsala University, and both scientific advisers to the 2050 rganisation, are present during the negotiations and comment on the discussions on Article 6 in The Paris Agreement.

One of the most important issues in the negotiations regards the application of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which is about emission reductions through trade and cooperation between countries. Essentially, it is about how one country may be enabled to take action in another country that lacks the resources to implement action itself. For example, emissions could be reduced through investments in renewable energy replacing fossil energy in resource-poor countries. It also concerns the creation of carbon sinks through afforestation or compensation for protecting forests from unsustainable use. The idea is that these measures are cost-effective, at least in the short term, and should be included in the calculations of the emissions reductions of the funding country.

The issue of cooperation and emissions trade has been discussed at virtually all climate summits and is both complex and controversial. A system of emissions trading was a central part of the Kyoto Protocol. Although this has been widely criticised for being ineffective, a similar mechanism was included in the Paris Agreement. This is regulated in Article 6, which includes both a market mechanism and rules on cooperation. But it is still unclear how the article will be applied and despite intense discussions at the climate summits in both Katowice and Madrid, the issue is not fully negotiated. It would of course be good to have a breakthrough in Glasgow, but there are still several difficult issues to solve.

Emissions trading is controversial
Firstly, parts of the climate movement and some climate change researchers are generally opposed to the idea of emissions trading. The criticism describes emissions trading as a form of climate confession where the sinner can pay for themselves through a carbon offsetting mechanism and then continue emitting as usual. Several companies that state that they are climate neutral – such as Google – do so by compensating for some of the emissions. The criticism is also that many of the measures that are financed and implemented as compensation are not effective. In the light of this discussion, there have been demands for “real” climate neutrality, which would mean that it would be impermissible to include compensatory measures in the countries’ national climate plans, or at least that the reduced emissions are not counted twice. Another part of the criticism is about how these measures can significantly delay the more costly transformative systems changes needed to reduce emissions.

At the same time, there is some research that shows that compensation can actually play an important role in societal transition, especially when new green technology is underdeveloped. During these periods of transition, it may be better for the climate for investments to be made in resource-poor countries where larger emission reductions can be achieved for a smaller cost. It is often easier and cheaper to reduce a tonne of carbon dioxide in a relatively poor and carbon-dependent country than in the opposite. A research study from the University of Maryland shows that an exchange of emissions in accordance with the meaning of Article 6 could save the countries of the world close to 250 billion US dollars per year. According to this study, emissions could be reduced by 5 billion tonnes per year or by a total of 50 percent by 2050.

However, this presupposes a functioning emissions trading, and there is still disagreement on several key issues. The issue that seems most difficult to solve concerns so-called double reporting. Both the country that pays for the measure and the country where the measure is implemented may want to take it into account. This is particularly problematic as several countries concerned are those that lack a developed climate policy with absolute goals and transparent reporting. There are also conflicts between some countries, such as Brazil and India, that do not want an overly strict regulatory framework and the EU, for example, that wants full clarification. Following the first day’s negotiations on Article 6, several hundred pages of text have been written, with a whole 373 parentheses where agreement could not be reached.

Transparency, Previous Actions and an Additive
There is also a discussion on whether previous actions in the system established by the Kyoto Protocol can be counted today. In addition, issues of transparency in the system as well as the assurance that the measures are appropriate and effective are of great importance. The measures included must also be additive, meaning that they would not have been implemented without compensation anyway. The latter is extremely difficult to work with.

All of these may appear to be technicalities, but are central issues because they have a major impact on individual countries’ climate plans. It is also important for the perception of climate justice, as several resource-poor countries are more affected by both the adjustment and climate change itself and thus require some form of compensation.

Who administrates this?
A challenge is also that a stricter regulatory framework could mean that some kind of international administration needs to be established that oversees and reviews the reporting. Some, however, believe that there is no need for bureaucracy around an emissions trade that is already underway and that is under development. With pressure from investors and consumers, more and more companies are paying to compensate for their emissions, while the system for reviewing, calculating and quality-assuring various measures has been developed. Moreover, the costs of compensation are expected to increase as demand increases at the same time as countries that reach closer to zero emissions will provide less and less scope for compensation. That all said, it requires uniform standards, which could be achieved by agreeing on the application of Article 6.

There is still hope
Although challenges remain, both the Chinese and US negotiating delegations have made hopeful statements that it is possible to create a functioning system of emissions trading and cooperation in Glasgow. For a large number of Swedish companies, this could be of great importance. There are therefore good reasons to monitor developments in the coming days.

Daniel Lindvall and Mikael Karlsson

Photo taken from Swedish article on 2050:

Read more about COP26

Klimatambitioner och COP26

Det som har i särklass störst betydelse för den globala uppvärmningen är hur mycket växthusgaser som släpps ut. Allt annat lika så ger ökade utsläpp ökad uppvärmning, och därmed ökad klimatförändring och ökad skada på samhälle och natur. Även om det är fullt möjlighet att skapa sänkor för koldioxid så behöver utsläppen minskas snabbt och rejält. Snart sagt varje scenario för samhällsutvecklingen som leder till att ambitiösa klimatmål med hög sannolikhet kan nås innehåller en nära nog fullständig minskning av utsläppen, även om stora sänkor skapas.

Mot denna bakgrund är det avgörande att alla länder i världen minskar sina utsläpp ytterligare. De mål och planer som finns dagsläget innebär en uppvärmning på omkring 2,7 grader, vilket är långt över Parisavtalets mål. Därför finns en stor förväntan på klimatmötet i Glasgow om att länderna ökar sina ambitioner. Länder och regioner med stora utsläpp – både totalt sett och per person – som USA, Kina och även EU har visserligen skärpt sina åtaganden inför Glasgowmötet men ambitionerna är fortfarande alldeles för låga.

Det största nyheter i Glasgow när det gäller klimatambitioner kom den 1 november, när Indien annonserade sitt nationellt beslutade bidrag (kallat NDC, nationally determined contribution). Siktet ställs in på nettonollutsläpp vid 2070. Begreppet nettonoll syftar på att utsläpp som kvarstår i exempelvis ett visst land vid ett visst årtal ska kompenseras genom åtgärder som binder koldioxid, eller genom att landet genomför åtgärder som minskar utsläppen på annat håll. Det är i grunden en bra idé, särskilt eftersom ambitiösa klimatmål förutsätter att stora mängder koldioxid i ökad grad binds upp under hela detta århundrade, men fel tillämpad blir nettotanken problematisk. En risk är att åtgärder som kan minska utsläppen skjuts på framtiden, en annan att de kompensatoriska åtgärderna inte är verksamma eller ändå skulle ha genomförts.

För att säkerställa att kompensationen inte blir dålig förhandlas regelverk om detta på Glasgowmötet. Det är ur klimatsynpunkt viktigt att förhandlingarna kan slutföras men ännu viktigare att resultatet blir bra.

Viktigast är dock att klimatambitionerna skärps. Inget är så viktigt för klimatet som minskade utsläpp.

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Klimatfinansiering och COP26

På det tidigare klimatmötet i Köpenhamn (COP 15) år 2009 fanns stora förhoppningar på en stark global överenskommelse om klimatet. Tanken var att komma överens om minskade utsläpp och En ram för minskade utsläpp var utlovad och Obama skulle som relativt nyvald president ge ny energi till en överenskommelse. Men mötet blev ett misslyckande.

Utfallet från Köpenhamnsmötet blev en text som kallas Copenhagen Accord. Den antogs aldrig och fick inte unisont stöd på konferensen, vilket annars är det önskvärda och vanliga. Överenskommelsen är inte legalt bindande. När det gäller klimatförändringen omnämns endast ett vagt formulerat mål om att hejda uppvärmningen vid 2 grader.

Däremot innehåller texten ett politiskt förpliktande löfte om ekonomiskt stöd till klimatarbetet i utvecklingsländer, först i form av 30 miljarder USD inom tre år, en siffra som ska ökas till 100 miljarder USD vid år 2020.

Det är denna finansiering som spelar en central roll på klimatmötet i Glasgow. Om löftet infrias kan det bli ett viktigt smörjmedel i förhandlingarna under kommande veckor. Om det inte infrias riskerar det motsatta ske.

Läs mer om COP26

Vad handlar klimatmötet i Glasgow om?

Toppmötet i Glasgow i Skottland handlar i grunden om hur länderna i världen ska samarbeta för att hantera klimatkrisen. Det som räknas ur klimatsynpunkt är storleken av de samlade utsläppen. Ju mer utsläpp, desto större global uppvärmning och klimatförändring. Varje kilo utsläpp som kan undvikas är en lönsam affär. Därför behöver världens alla länder utarbeta och genomföra planer för snabbt minskade utsläpp. Störst ansvar faller på de som har störst utsläpp idag och genom historien.

Men för att utsläppen ska kunna minska snabbt måste det ske rättvist och de rikare länderna i världen har sedan tidigare lovat att finansiera en del av de åtgärder som behöver ske i fattigare länder. Det är ganska självklart eftersom de rikare länderna står för merparten av utsläppen.

På tidigare klimatmöten har de flesta länder förbundit sig att minska utsläppen och de rikare länderna har, som en miniminivå, utlovat 100 miljarder dollar varje år i global klimatfinansiering (klicka för mer om klimatfinansiering). Målsättningen är att i bästa fall begränsa den globala uppvärmningen till 1,5 grader, något som världen enades om på klimatmötet i Paris 2015. Exakt hur ländernas genomförande av avtalet ska ske och redovisas är inte bestämt. På Glasgowmötet ska länderna därför förhandla fram ett regelverk.

Men trots stora positiva klimatinsatser på senare år störs förhandlingarna av att inget land har gjort den hemläxa som krävs för att klara Parisavtalet. Allvarligast är de rikare ländernas finansiering i skrivande stund till enbart omkring 80 miljarder dollar per år. Det skapar spänningar mellan de förhandlande länderna. Därför kan det politiska spelet runt mötet blir avgörande för resultatet.

Mötet kallas COP26 (Conference of the Parties, COP), vilket syftar på det 26:e mötet mellan parterna till FN:s ramkonvention om klimatförändringar.

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