How to Use Socially Innovative Policy-Making for an Inclusive Energy Transition

Social innovation should accompany environmental policymaking. Policies will have little effect without the acceptance and understanding of the people directly affected by the changes. Much of the climate change discourse centers on wide-scale economic, social and cultural change – this rhetoric gives people little agency, leaving many feeling alienated.

Policies will have little effect without the acceptance and understanding of the people directly affected by the changes.

Social innovation in the context of the energy transition is a process of change in social interaction and the sharing of knowledge leading to – or based on – new environmentally sustainable ways of producing, managing, and consuming energy that address social challenges. There are many pioneering European cities applying socially innovative approached in local energy transitions with replicable approaches. Based on studies in such cities – the following nine practical recommendations are a red thread for any policy maker to follow when planning and implementing novel energy policies.

Recommendation 1: Build on existing engagement. Pro-environmental dispositions have been found to be important drivers of social innovations in the energy sector. This is the case irrespective of the actor involved, whether a citizen or a NGO. Connecting with individuals or groups with existing environmental engagement or taking a step further and develop environmental engagement in stakeholders is good way to build support.

Recommendation 2:  Welcome resistance. People often demonstrate resistance when faced with ambiguity, such as the financial ramifications of a new energy policy. It is important to acknowledge these concerns as valid and to be transparent about associated risks and costs. Identifying hesitant groups and involving them in trial periods and planning, can help alleviate concerns.

Recommendation 3: Be trustworthy. Trust in the abilities and good intentions of stakeholders and decision-makers is a key factor for the acceptability of new policies. A recent study[1] in France indicated very few people deny climate change (irrespective of their social status), but they do not trust institutions to be able to fix it. Participatory processes are a good way to strengthen trust, especially with disadvantaged groups suffering from energy poverty. Giving people opportunities to express concerns and fostering wider dialogue in order to avoid polarisation of opposing groups is important.

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How cities are reshaping streets to prepare for life after lockdown

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“If we all need to be healthy and move in a healthy way, there’s no better way to do that than to walk and bike, and providing the infrastructure to do that is absolutely key,” says Mike Lydon, principal at the urban planning and design firm Street Plans. “Traffic volumes will go back up. But it’s at this point where we get to decide in our cities how much of it we let back in, and to what degree it’s a guest.”

 

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‘Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy’ spells out capital’s plan to take on global climate crisis

BY OSCAR BOYD, The Japan Times

Tucked into the tail end of the decade was Friday’s release of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy,” which unveils a blueprint for achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

In the strategy, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government states that it recognizes a climate crisis and that the city “will implement concrete policies and effective measures,” such as making all buildings in Tokyo zero-emissions buildings and making all cars driven here completely carbon-free by the middle of the century.

 

 

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Download the document Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy

Vulnerable to climate change, ASEAN needs more investment into green infrastructure -ICLEI

This article was first published on The Scoop.

MANILA – Over the next five years, ASEAN will need US$157 billion in annual infrastructure investment, but projects need to be “climate-proofed” to mitigate the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Due to Southeast Asia’s geographical diversity — long coastlines, a large number of archipelagos, and heavily populated low-lying areas — the region has experienced a number of devastating weather-related disasters in the past decade, from hurricanes and flooding to wildfires and landslides.

In 2017, Thailand and Vietnam made the list of top 10 of countries most affected by extreme weather, both in terms of fatalities and economic losses, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2019.

But countries that are repeatedly affected by extreme weather disasters, such as the Philippines, also rank high in the long-term index, with single exceptional events, such as Typhoon Haiyan, having a lasting impact on the country’s economy and infrastructure.

“The analysis reconfirms earlier results of the Climate Risk Index: less developed countries are generally more affected than industrialised countries,” the report read.

“Regarding future climate change, the Climate Risk Index may serve as a red flag… in regions where extreme events will become more frequent or more severe due to climate change.”

The report claims that recent science has found “a clear link between climate change and record-breaking precipitation of 2017’s hurricanes”, suggesting that severe tropical cyclones will increase with every tenth of a degree increase in global average temperature.

“The question is, what can infrastructure do to help you make sure that increases in temperature are kept below 2°C from pre-industrial times?” said Rana Hasan, the Asian Development Bank’s Director of Economic Research and Regional Cooperation.

During a seminar in Manila last month, Hasan told media that experts remain concerned about the effect of temperature rise beyond 2°C.

“We are dealing with potentially dangerous situations li

As the ASEAN economy continues to grow rapidly, infrastructure projects need to be more sustainable and climate-responsive to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events, Hasan said.

“[We need] new types of infrastructure investment that can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, particularly in the areas of renewable energy,” he said, referencing a recent US$7.6 million loan from the ADB to to help build a 100-megawatt solar power park in Cambodia.

“Electricity and heat production is one of the leading sources of global greenhouse gas emissions as coal, natural gas and oil are burned for power.”

The transport sector is another industry which needs to see change by “reorienting the spending”, Hasan said.

“Rather than building more and more roads, you might consider public mass transit.”

Hasan noted that the effects of natural disasters and climate change pose a real challenge to the region’s development, and infrastructure needs to be stronger and more resilient to climate change.

“More planning needs to take place. Windspeed and typhoons are growing in strength — which means if we build infrastructure according to standards set 40 years ago, we might be left with typhoons destroying more of our infrastructure stock.”

The ADB said it wants to help ASEAN governments scale up their green infrastructure, and recently launched a new US$1 billion loan facility for investment into Southeast Asian projects.

Hiroaki Yamaguichi, director at ADB’s Transport and Communications Division for Southeast Asia, said that when mobilising investment, a difficult balance needs to be struck between development, sustainability and climate resilience.

“A lot of ASEAN countries are affected by climate change, and people are really concerned… Many of our cities are not livable now and it will be worse in the future, we need to do something before it gets worse.”