Our Common Future Under Climate Change

This week, Luc Hoffmann Institute researcher Carina Wyborn and fellow Fouad Khan will discuss their research at Our Common Future Under Climate Change conference, taking place from 7-10 July in Paris, France.

Nudging’ the city towards sustainability

With an increasing population living in the cities –which numbers are expected to double by mid-century– global initiatives such as the WWF Earth House City Challenge may help to catalyse the change needed to drive societies towards a more sustainable future.

These are the topics that our Luc Hoffmann Institute Fellow, Fouad Khan, will explore at his upcoming presentation at Our Common Future Under Climate Change conference.

“Unless we figure out a way to imagine urban living with significantly lower footprint, the climate change and associated problems will only worsen,” said Fouad in a recent interview with Our Common Future.

Fouad is working in the research project The Role of Cities in reducing the footprint of humanity; a Luc Hoffmann Institute project developed in partnership with WWF-Sweden, WWF Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) and IIIEE/Lund University, among other collaborators. This project seeks to advance the systemic understanding about cities urbanization processes, and incentivise their potential to design, develop, implement and replicate sustainable development practices.

Climate-ready adaptation for conservation

Transitioning to a more sustainable adaptive framework for conservation may require complementary governance perspectives and the explicit inclusion of issues such as culture and corruption, power and politics, resources and capacity.

Drawing on recent work in adaptive governance and long-standing development studies literature and practice, Carina Wyborn and Lorrae Van Kerkhoff will be discussing about policy and governance influences that support -or inhibit- transformational change for enhanced biodiversity adaptation pathways.

Carina is the research lead for our place-based conservation programme. The projects stemming from this programme use interdisciplinary research to investigate how the conservation community can adapt practices to respond to changing environments.

Example projects under this work-stream include:


Wednesday, 08 July 2015.

      Presenter: F.Khan – WWF Luc Hoffman Institute, Lund, Sweden.
      Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM
      Room: UPMC Jussieu – Amphi 15

      Session Title: Removing Barriers to Climate Change Mitigation at City Level

      Presentation Title:
      Nudging’ the city towards sustainability; analysis of leverage points for reduction of urban footprint

      Since 2010 the Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) has been encouraging cities to submit data on carbon reduction commitments, strategies and investments that allow assessment of urban governance vision and impact over the years, and has been collecting this data through the Climate Carbonn Registry. Cities meeting certain criteria of data availability and reduction commitment become Earth Hour City Challenge candidates and the most ambitious cities compete for the title Earth Hour Capital of the year. In the 2014 iteration of the challenge more than one hundred and sixty cities from seventeen are reporting on hundreds of reduction commitments and thousands of mitigation actions from all sectors of urban governance. As the primary habitats of human beings and one of the two most important governance units of our civilization along with the nation state, cities must take a leading role in the transformation towards sustainability and reduction of human footprint. However as complex systems, cities exhibit both, a behavioral inertia that is borne of the dense network of interactions between people, infrastructure and intangibles that define the city, as well as the ability to undergo a rapid transformation akin to a face change in complex systems when faced with the right intervention at the right leverage point. In order to navigate a successful transformation to sustainability, meet the relevant targets such as sustainable development goals and stay within the planetary boundaries while improving standards of living for the global poor, we need to identify these points at which a phase change can be triggered in urban systems; these would be the leverage points where large gains in footprint reduction can be obtained with minimum effort interventions. These high leverage points emerge from research in unexpected disciplines as well from investigations at the interaction of disciplines that do not traditionally converse as these points lie concealed in latent correlations. To identify these points thus a multi-disciplinary, consultative, framework approach is needed. The EHCC data has been analyzed to identify high leverage opportunities for reduction in urban footprint. The research uses the framework and data collected as an objective function to identify leverage points for maximizing footprint reduction using various strategies. Various stakeholders from practice and academia have been consulted to provide a survey of strategies for urban footprint reduction from various disciplines. This has included evidence collected from practical policy and technological implementations in the disciplines of transport, housing, waste management, local food production and energy, summary of theoretical and empirical findings from behavioural economics and psychology that can help devise policy interventions to ‘nudge’ citizen behaviour towards footprint reduction, and analysis of theoretical developments in the science of urban complexity that can inform identification of high impact leverage points. A framework has been developed and correlations explored using a preliminary network mapping exercise.

      Presenter: C.Wyborn – Luc Hoffmann Institute, ; L. Van Kerkhoff – The Australian National University
      Time: 4:30 – 6:00 PM
      Room: UNESCO Fontenoy – ROOM IV

      Session Title: Climate-ready adaptation for conservation and ecosystem services
      Expanding the horizons of governance for adaptation pathways: illustrations from protected areas management

      Presentation Title:
      Expanding the horizons of governance for adaptation pathways: illustrations from protected areas management

      The concept of adaptation pathways is expanding our ideas of governance for adaptation to include wider social and institutional dimensions of organisation, decision-making and implementation. This is captured by the “values-rules-knowledge” construct. Drawing on recent work in adaptive governance and long-standing development studies literature and practice, we propose that we can combine this construct with complementary perspectives to develop a more holistic framework for governance in examining transitions to more sustainable and adaptive development pathways. This expanded framework incorporates culture and corruption, power and politics, resources and capacity, and process and vision. We present this framework, and demonstrate its application through retrospective application to research on public land management in Colorado, USA, and prospectively to a pilot study on the Pacific island of Palau, specifically the Protected Areas Network (PAN) Fund. These illustrations suggests that the framework can be used as a device to help us identify ‘deeper’, more structurally-embedded influences that shape values, rules and knowledge, that support or inhibit transformational change, as well as some of the practical implications. Importantly, it also has the potential to alert us to crucial ‘blind spots’ in our investigations and analyses of governance for adaptation in the face of global environmental change, as well as to identify opportunities for institutional innovation.

Luc Hoffmann InstituteOur Common Future Under Climate Change