Sustainability Frontiers Conference: Degrowth
Futures / 22 February 2022

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…

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…

Sustainability Frontiers: Digitalisation and Sustainability Transitions
Futures , Just Transition / 14 February 2022

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…

Transforming the Future and Societal Metamorphosis
Futures , Just Transition / 11 November 2021

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. 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…

Incumbency and the Future in Climate Action Collaborations
Futures / 30 October 2021

What roles do large organisations play in climate action collaborations? What futures become possible? What does it mean for realising Sweden’s climate goals? Fossilfree Sweden had their Fossil Free Competitive conference earlier this week where they celebrated the follow up on their 22 roadmaps. The conclusion was made that industries had ramped up their efforts for emissions reduction, but that these still did not meet the required pace for transitioning in line with Sweden’s goal to be Net Zero by 2045 (read more here). You can watch the conference in full here: Incumbency Leadership: A challenge for transforming the future? The roadmaps have been discussed in terms of futures orientations before and it was concluded in a recent study that the “Techno-Optimist” and “Ecological Mordernisation” perceptions of the future were far more popular for political parties and industry leaders alike (read more here). More radical imaginaries, such as “Systems Change” and “Technological Disruption” were far less common. Their findings further indicate how more ambitious goals for climate action are stilted by a difficulty envisioning a future beyond fossil-dependence, let alone radically transformed futures beyond capitalism. The idea of incumbent agenda-setting climate action, particularly under such a term as “Fossil Free…

Democracies that fail to act on climate change face ‘existential’ threat

Daniel Lindvall is interviewed by Thomson Reuters News foundation. Read the full article here. The interview is about a new paper Daniel has written with IDEA about “Democracy and the Challenges of Climate Change“. Daniel Lindvall presented his paper at the IDEA webinar earlier this week, where the findings indicate that democratic countries’ failures to act on climate change can lead towards an existential threat to their democratic institutions. New ways to engage the public with democratic participation in climate change policy development is key to counter these risks. As Daniel Lindvall claims, scientists and scientific expertise do not hold all the answers and experiences and perspectives from the public can be used in the democratic process. You can watch the IDEA webinar here:

Artikel om framtida generationers rättigheter
Futures , Government / 21 October 2021

Daniel Lindvall, forskare i Klimatledarskap, har skrivit artikeln Demokratin inför klimatkrisen. Kan framtida generationers fri- och rättigheter säkras?, för kommitten Demokratin 100 års framåtblickande antologi om Sveriges demokrati och dess olika aspekter. Läs artikeln här Artikeln beskriver hur demokratins fortlevnad är nära förbunden med dess förmåga att snabbt få ner utsläppen av växthusgaser och att han[1]tera olika klimatkonsekvenser. Att värna demokratin är också att värna om klimatet och framtiden. Vi har redan fått känna på jordens reaktioner på människans utsläpp av växthusgaser – värmeböljor, skogsbränder och översvämningar. Detta i kombination med stigande havsnivåer och förlusten av biolo[1]gisk mångfald kommer att påverka hela vårt samhällssystem och vår existens. Det handlar bland annat om en generations[1]överskridande orättvisa, men också om hur demokratin kan användas för ett långsiktigt beslutsfattande.


Find recorded lectures, podcasts and reports with members of the Climate Change Leadership initiative. Follow our youtube channel for talks and events with the Climate Change Leadership initiative at Uppsala University. Follow the CEMUS youtube channel for associated talks and events. Find resources and reports for climate justice and Just Transition here. Find resources and reports for the Swedish Carbon Budget work here. Find resources and reports for the work on universities and education here. Föreläsning: ”Laggards or leaders (bromskloss eller ledare); Paris, 2°C & the role for Sweden” av Kevin Anderson. Den hölls på Hotel Lysekil den 9 mars och publik var människor som hade samlats för att protestera mot Preems utbyggnad av oljeraffinaderiet i Lysekil. Dagen efter deltog Kevin Anderson som vittne i Mark- och miljööverdomstolens förhandlingar om Preems ansökan om utbyggnad. Mars 2020. Seminarium: Fossilfri välfärd och negativa utsläpp – vision, kollision eller tomma ord? Den 11 februari 2020 samlades forskare och beslutsfattare för att ta sig an dessa två centrala idéer i den aktuella klimatpolitiken: fossilfri välfärd och negativa utsläpp. Isak Stoddard, doktorand hos CCL och NRHU, var med i panel diskussionen. Report: Internationalisation and Sustainability The report below provides a brief exploration of the relationship…

A Green New Deal Beyond Growth
CEFO , Futures , New Posts / 6 November 2020

On the 3rd of November Riccardo Mastini joined the CEMUS research Forum via zoom. He started off with a very appreciated talk followed by a nice and interesting discussion. The talk is available below: Riccardo summarizes the talk as follows: The emerging political discourse of the Green New Deal postulates the need for an active role of the State in the economy to drive the ecological transition by deploying the power of public investment and coordination. However, a truly transformative Green New Deal must also move beyond the ‘growth paradigm’ by decreasing energy and material use in affluent countries, decommodifying the basic necessities of life, and democratizing economic production. The paper, with the same name as the talk, is available here Riccardo is a PhD Candidate at Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is a policy advisor for the international campaign Green New Deal for Europe. He is also a member of the academic collective Research & Degrowth and of the international network Wellbeing Economy Alliance. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn. Helena Fornstedt, Coordinator Cemus Research Forum

Low carbon energy narratives and futures in Africa: Dissonant times?
CEFO , Futures , New Posts / 21 October 2020

On the 20th of Oct 2020, Yacob Mulugetta had a seminar at the CEMUS research Forum, titled “Low carbon energy narratives and futures in Africa: Dissonant times?”. Mulugetta is Professor of Energy and Development Policy at University College in London and among many other things he was Coordinating Lead Author of the Energy Systems chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report. It was a very interesting talk and it raised many questions which led our discussions to last well into lunch. Professor Mulugetta’s talk is available here: You also find his own summary of the talk below: It is widely recognized that energy production and use is both a key reflection of the socio-economic landscape as well as a major driver of the climate challenge. Africa finds itself at the heart of a momentous global energy and climate conversation. The energy and development reality across the region evokes deep emotions about the importance of doing something about the scandal of energy poverty. As if this was not complex enough, there is a call for the region to chart out a new and responsible energy pathway: one that does not impact on the global climate system….