Publications round-up: climate policy, living sustainably, carbon floor price, engagement with nature
A round-up of recent sustainable development publications highlighted by our partner, the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN). For more news on sustainable development research and publications, join the network and receive regular SDRN mailings.
In this round-up:
- The evaluation of climate policy: theory and emerging practice in Europe (UEA/VU research paper)
- RESOLVE conference presentations and blogposts
- Hot Air: The Carbon Floor Price in the UK (IPPR report)
- Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment in England (Natural England report)
Read about more recent publications and research in the latest SDRN bulletin…
Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the VU University Amsterdam have published a new meta-analysis of the emerging patterns of policy evaluation undertaken in relation to climate change policy.
The paper examines policy evaluation undertaken in different parts of the European Union, and shows that a ‘culture of evaluation’ seems to be spreading, with an eightfold increase in the number of reports produced between 2000 and 2005. However, the authors examined 259 evaluations, and found that 80 per cent were uncritical and take existing policy goal ‘as given’. The authors assert that
“The most striking finding of our analysis is just how undeveloped and unsystematic are most current evaluation practices. Great efforts have been made to inform and understand policy making procedures in Europe, but most policy evaluation remains piecemeal and non-consultative.”
The ESRC Research group on Lifestyles, Values and the Environment (RESOLVE) held a conference on the 15th June 2011 on the topic of ‘Living Sustainably: values, policies and practices’. The presentations from this conference are now available online at the Resolve website.
Some of the presenters at the conference were also invited to write blogposts for the Guardian website, including Tim Jackson (Director of RESOLVE and Author of Prosperity without Growth), Rob Hopkins (Transition Towns, author of The Transition Handbook).
The UK government has proposed that it will introduce a ‘floor price’ for carbon, which will be levied as an additional tax on the carbon content of fuels used for power generation in the UK, and implemented in a way that supplements the price of carbon set in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
This report from IPPR examines several key questions about the design of the carbon floor price as it is currently proposed. It explores whether the carbon floor price will lower carbon emissions in the UK and in Europe; if it will inspire enough investor confidence to act as a useful policy lever; and whether the implementation of the carbon floor price will have any unintended consequences.
Particular areas of concern are highlighted, including the possibility of the floor price increasing fuel poverty and reducing the attractiveness of low-carbon investments. The report outlines several possible solutions to problems with the scheme.
Natural England has published the second annual report on the findings of the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) Survey. The survey was commissioned to help policymakers understand how people use, enjoy and are motivated to protect the natural environment.
The survey found that the English adult population participated in an estimated 2.49 billion visits to the natural environment in 2010/11. This represents a 13 per cent decrease on the estimated 2.86 billion visits taken during 2009/10. The largest decreases were recorded amongst those aged 16-24, people in the DE socio-economic group, and those from the BME population.
The report also found that the more frequently people visit the natural environment, the more likely they are to appreciate it and to be concerned about environmental damage. Frequent visitors are also more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours such as recycling and preferring to buy seasonal and locally grown food.
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) is an initiative funded by both Defra and the Department for Transport, and is coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute in London.
SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK government’s objectives for sustainable development.
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