Emily Boyd

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The Climate and Development Knowledge Network has a new report on research co-authored by Dr Emily Boyd on an experimental project in Maputo, Mozambique on participation and planning for climate change.

“Giving each citizen a voice is essential to developing the potential of local communities to both engage with climate change information and to catalyse action for climate change.”

maputo-market-jamesstapley-freeimagesMozambique is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, in particular those of hydro-meteorological origin such as floods, drought and cyclones. Since 1970, Mozambique has been hit by 34 cyclones or tropical depressions and five major flood events, which have had dramatic social and economic consequences.

The project ‘Public, Private, People Partnerships for Climate Compatible Development (4PCCD) in Maputo, Mozambique, developed participatory planning methods to foster partnerships between actors within different sectors in order to tackle climate change through actions in specific locations in Maputo. The objective of the project was the creation of partnerships that could integrate climate change concerns fully, while at the same time addressing directly the concerns of local residents.

You can read the report here.

The Authors

The authors of the paper are Vanesa Castán Broto, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London, London, UK; Emily Boyd, University of Reading, Reading, UK; Jonathan Ensor, University of York, York, UK; Carlos Seventine, Fundo Nacional do Ambiente (FUNAB), Maputo, Mozambique; Domingos Augusto Macucule, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique; and Charlotte Allen, Independent Consultant, UK. The team prepared the learning paper as part of a learning programme on subnational climate compatible development facilitated by CDKN and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.

About Emily

You can read more about Dr Emily Boyd at her staff profile page.

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Peter McManners low resDoctoral researcher Peter McManners has had his paper ‘Reframing Economic Policy Towards Sustainability’ published in the International Journal of Green Economics. This reports conceptual research at the interface between macroeconomic and environmental policy, applying the concepts of sustainability and resilience. A key observation is that the dialogue about sustainability over recent decades has failed to reduce the threat that human activities pose to the global ecosystem.

Peter proposes that the time has come to question deep-rooted assumptions, including the role of economics. In this paper, priorities are re-examined and principles developed to be able to build a sustainable economy. It is argued that sustainability economics is subservient to society’s higher objectives and is about control and balance, rather than laissez-faire free markets. A new definition and conceptual model for sustainability is proposed that is closer to reality than the traditional models having cornerstones of ‘culture’, ‘land’, ‘population’ and ‘energy’. Using this model allows economic policy to be repositioned in support of the needs of society and compliant with effective stewardship of the ecosystem to deliver a resilient economy operating within planetary limits.

Peter McManners is a doctoral researcher in his third year supervised by Emily Boyd and Steve Musson.

McManners, P.J. (2014) Reframing Economic Policy Towards Sustainability, International Journal of Green Economics, Vol. 8, Nos. 3/4, pp 288-305.

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Geography students studying ‘Resilience for Sustainable Development’ had a change from their normal lecture format recently and instead played a game. This wasn’t just for fun though, as ‘serious gaming’ is becoming a popular way of sharing complex information with a range of potential users and giving them opportunity to discuss its use. The students played CAULDRON, a game developed by members of the ACE-Africa project (University of Reading (Parker, Cornforth and Boyd) and Oxford University) together with the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre, who have lots of experience designing games to communicate climate information. This game was developed to present the science of extreme weather event attribution in an accessible way, and provide space for discussion about whether it could be used in climate policy.

CAULDRON stands for Climate Attribution Under Loss and Damage: Risking, Observing, Negotiating. This reflects the fact that loss and damage due to extreme weather events is occurring all over the world and people are taking an interest in whether this is due to climate change. Negotiations are also currently taking place to work out how to address this loss and damage under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The game gives players the chance to experience having to make decisions under uncertain climate risk, something many people have to do in reality every day. They also have to analyse changes in risk with only limited data and deal with the difficulties of negotiating with other players with different interests.

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The game began with players given the role of farmers who had to plant crops each season. They were each given beans to symbolise their crops and a ‘rainmaker’, which was a small pot containing a dice, to shake to determine their rainfall each season. Players who had good rains gained more beans, while those with drought years lost beans. Some players ended up in crisis with too few beans to be able to plant, so had to try and strike up deals with fellow players to be lent beans so they could keep playing!

Climate change can affect the probabilities of extreme weather events occurring, so for the next part of the game players were given new rainmakers. Some of these contained dice with increased probability of drought which would ruin crops, but players didn’t know which! Suddenly, there seemed to be more droughts happening and more players getting into crisis.

Players try to figure out their best farming strategy

Players try to figure out their best farming strategy

For the next part of the game, players became scientists. Using new rainmakers as ‘climate models’, they produced more statistics to help them work out whether their risk of drought had been altered by climate change. How trustworthy were the results provided by their models though?

Players became negotiators at the UN climate negotiations for the final part of the game. They had to work out how they were going to deal with the fact that some players had collected more beans than others. Some players had been acting as developed countries and so, along with fewer losses, they had greater historical emissions. Were they to blame for losses in the developing countries? After much debate, each group managed to come up with an agreement that all players were happy to sign. However, some players did say they felt they had been bullied into making agreements and noted that the develop countries were denying that climate change had happened at all! Solutions presented to address the loss and damage at the end of the game included clearance of debts that had accumulated between players, rules on farming strategies that would be used in the future, and agreements on transfer of beans for when players got into crisis. With such a range of ideas diplomatically expressed, maybe we have uncovered some of the negotiators of the future!

A spokesperson reads out his region's signed agreement to address loss and damage

A spokesperson reads out his region’s signed agreement to address loss and damage

 

By the end of the game, all the players said their knowledge of extreme event attribution had been improved. One player said their understanding had been improved ‘by creating a situation where extreme events had ‘real’ consequences and a political ‘reality’’. This is the key feature of participatory gaming, that players can experience the emotions involved and have to act under uncertainty rather than just learning about it theoretically. Furthermore, it provides insights into the challenges of climate negotiations and the inequality between developing and developed countries, along with the difficulties in separating the impacts of climate change from other factors.

This has been just one of the many times the CAULDRON game has been played, which have included players from sectors ranging from climate science to civil society. Each time the game has prompted lively discussion about event attribution science and dealing with the impacts of climate change and demonstrated that ‘serious gaming’ can be an effective, but also fun, way of sharing climate research.

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Professor Emily Boyd and Dr Chuks Okereke have contributed chapters to a new book, ‘Successful Adaption to Climate Change – Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World’ which has been awarded ‘Outstanding Academic Title of 2014’ by Choice Review.
The Award
Choice Review: Outstanding Academic Title of 2014 Successful Adaptation to Climate Change Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World, Routledge edited by Susanne C. Moser and Maxwell T Boykoff.  The Choice Review identifies the best scholarly titles and abstracts, in 2014 featuring 690 titles in 54 disciplines and subsections. Emily Boyd is lead author on Chapter 12 ‘Building Climate Resilience: Lessons of Early Warning in Africa’. Chuks Okereke is co-author on Chapter 5 ‘REDD+ and Social Justice: Adaptation by Way of Mitigation?’
The Book
The book Successful Adaptation is described as follows: “This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking volume, with surprising insights. Of the many books on climate change, this one really hits on the essentials of “What are we going to do about it?” and “Why haven’t we done anything yet?” It focuses primarily on issues in the social science arena, addressing adaption to climate change and how societies and policy makers are wrestling with what to do about ecological issues, but also the societal hurdles and reasons why, for the foreseeable future, not much is probably going to happen. The compendium of articles covers such topics as social justice and adaption, trade-offs in maintaining (or not maintaining) biodiversity, media representations of climate adaptation, risk reduction, baseline assessment, and what some societies and countries are already doing to adapt to a changing climate. This work will make readers think and realize that although addressing climate change is complicated, achieving workable solutions is even more complicated. Well-written and engaging reading for both social and physical scientists working on or interested in climate change or associated issues. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general audiences. –B. Ransom, formerly, University of California, San Diego
 

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Emily-BOYD_1608_wProfessor Emily Boyd is attending a high level meeting on Forests, Climate Change and Development in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales and The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, The Rt. Hon Edward Davey MP at the British Academy, London today.

The deforestation and degradation of the world’s forests accounts for as much as 20% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions: indeed, recent science shows that if tropical forests were a country, its emissions would be ahead of the European Union and not far behind China. Deforestation and degradation also cause significant biodiversity loss and damage to the livelihoods and wellbeing of forest-dependent peoples, as well as reducing regional water availability by disrupting climatic patterns. More encouragingly, and as the New Climate Economy report demonstrates, the policies needed to address deforestation, degradation and land use change are increasingly well defined, cost effective and make strong political, development and economic sense. And forest landscape restoration – in addition to reducing deforestation and degradation – represents a major opportunity to make further and much-needed global greenhouse mitigation gains in addition to creating a new source of sustainable rural livelihood opportunities.
The UN Secretary General’s Climate Leaders Summit in New York in September 2014 catalysed bold and increased commitments from Governments, NGOs and the private sector to protecting and restoring the world’s forests, building on the leadership of Brazil and other forest nations over recent years. 2015 represents a critical year for forests, both in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in terms of the UNFCCC negotiations for COP21 in Paris. The London meeting – set to take place three days after a Forests Session at the World Economic Forum in Davos – will provide a high level opportunity to take stock of progress made since New York and further to advance the partnerships underway between donors, forest countries, civil society and the private sector intended to fulfil the commitments made at the Summit and in other contexts. It will also see the publication of The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit’s new synthesis report entitled: ‘Protecting and Nurturing Tropical Forests in the 21st Century: a holistic perspective’.

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A University of Reading-led project to help people in Mozambique ‘green’ their urban neighbourhood and make it more resilient to climate change has won a United Nations award!

The project in Maputo, Mozambique, co-led by Dr Emily Boyd, from our Geography Department, has been announced (6 November 2013) among 17 inspiring projects as 2013 Lighthouse Activities under the Momentum for Change initiative of the United Nations.

Climate change is increasingly having an effect on communities across the globe, but its effects in poor urban areas in Africa are often particularly extreme. Increasing risk of coastal flooding, heat waves and extreme rainfall could put the safety and livelihood of millions of people at risk.

The project’s aim was to help the community have more of a say in government and business plans for urban development. Since being implemented, local people have started a new community recycling centre, cutting down on litter, helped clean and maintain drainage channels to prevent potential flooding problems, and now have a stronger voice in urban planning and development decisions.

Dr Boyd said: “An exciting finding from this work is the evidence that local residents, including relatively uneducated citizens, both want and are capable of handling information about the climate, when it relates to their own experiences of problems such as flooding.

“By getting active involvement of people, literally at street level, we have shown the importance of helping people to speak up about the problems they are facing from a changing climate. This helps to compel government institutions and businesses to take action. By empowering individuals and showing them the important role they play, we have seen an effective way to motivate people to help change their communities for the better.”

The project was jointly undertaken between academics from British and Finnish  institutions, with involvement from the University of Reading, University College London, University of York, FUNAB and Aalto University.

Lighthouse Activities and the Momentum for Change initiative are spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat, to shine a light on the groundswell of activities underway across the globe towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient world.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said: “The 2013 Lighthouse Activities are true beacons of hope, demonstrating what happens when innovation and passion come together to address the biggest challenge of our time.

“There are thousands of examples of people taking action to address climate change all over the world. The Lighthouse Activities highlight some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change, which I hope will inspire others to do the same.”


For more information, please contact Sarah Marchildon, Communications Officer, United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, at smarchildon@unfccc.int or +49 228 815 1065.

For media information from the University of Reading, please contact Pete Castle, University of Reading press office, at p.castle@reading.ac.uk or +44 (0)118 378 7391.

Visit unfccc.int or momentum4change.org

Momentum for Change on Facebook

Momentum for Change on Twitter

 The 2013 Lighthouse Activities were selected by a 16-member, international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

The 17 activities will be showcased at special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland (11-22 November).

Interested stakeholders can interact with the activity representatives during two social media discussions ahead of the climate conference. A Twitter chat took place on 6 November from 16:00 to 16:30 (CET).
Participants can comment using the hashtag #m4c. A Google Hangout will take place on 13 November.

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