Right-wing populist parties are already part of the governments of seven EU member states and are expected to make up a quarter of MEPs after the European elections in May 2019. In this episode host Martin Wall talks to the authors of an explorative study on the the voices and the weight of right-wing populist parties in the formulation of European climate policy.
Originally planned as a demonstration against fuel tax hikes, the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) revolts have sparked national and global debates. Some view the demonstrations as part of a rising anti-climate movement, while others draw parallels between the protests and demands for more climate action.
French environment minister Nicolas Hulot has resigned live on national radio in a surprise move that will come as a blow to president Emmanuel Macron’s green credentials. Nicolas Hulot had not made the French president aware of his decision to quit, he told radio presenters, adding his time in office had been an ‘accumulation of disappointments’.
The idea of a “new middle” or “third way”—a blend of neo-liberal economic doctrines and social policies that was supposed to overcome the dichotomy between mixed economy and free market paradigms—more or less dominated U.S. and European politics for the last two decades. But today, this centrist consensus has been upended by a wave of populist, nationalist parties. Many have won over their electorates by questioning the benefits of free trade and globalization (as well as the international institutions that espouse them), while pursuing expansionary domestic economic policies.
EU climate diplomacy is picking up momentum in 2018, focussing on the security implications of climate change. A number of pertinent steps serve to address the climate-security nexus as well as make advocacy efforts more systematic. The flurry of activities includes Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, the preparation of a parliamentary report on climate diplomacy, and a high-level debate at the initiative of foreign affairs chief Mogherini.
Climate finance is supposed to fund projects in developing countries that support the path towards limiting global warming to 1,5°C – a goal that was confirmed in the Paris Agreement in December 2015. For this it needs a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development as the statute of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) states. At the same time, projects funded under climate finance should not hamper development or lead to the violation of human rights. Climate finance can therefore not only focus on the environmental aspects of the investments funded, but also needs to be incorporated into the wider context of development, as i.a. the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are reflecting.
Despite six years of crisis in Syria, agriculture remains a key part of the economy. The sector still accounts for an estimated 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and represents a critical safety net for the 6.7 million Syrians – including those internally displaced - who still remain in rural areas. However, agriculture and the livelihoods that depend on it have suffered massive loss. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has now conducted the first comprehensive nationwide assessment on the cost of the war to the agriculture sector.
Diplomacy has an important role to play in creating an economy compatible with the target of staying below 2°C warming, agreed in Paris in 2015. At the climate conference in Marrakech (COP22) from 7 to 18 November 2016, dubbed the “implementation conference”, many new initiatives strengthened the impression that low-carbon transformation had gone mainstream.
After a change at the top, the U.S. stance on the environment is poised to take a drastic step back. In Europe, less liberal leaders are gaining momentum. Populist movements mushrooming all over the continent preach isolationism and reject hard facts as a pivot of the political agenda. Author Lou Del Bello argues that under this new, shifting political landscape, the climate movement needs to reconnect with the grassroots.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP), Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are organizing this seminar on Human Rights and the Environment, following the Advisory Board Meeting of the Environmental Governance Project (EGP). The four-year EGP is funded by SIDA and addresses challenges for developing countries in implementing environmental policies and integrating environmental and social concerns into broader sustainable development policy making.
Following last month’s United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, it is worth raising attention to the key challenges and opportunities that the urbanisation process imposes on peaceful development. In fragile contexts, such as urban areas which are already highly exposed to multiple risks (including climate change, disasters, chronic poverty, insecurity and population displacement), the converging effects of climate change and growing youth populations can severely affect security risks.
Assessing the positive impacts of climate action, an approach which considers the broad spectrum of social, economic and health benefits, has increasingly gained global recognition. This is due, in part, to the insightful work done by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. On this platform, Christian Friis Bach from UNECE noted on February 2016: “Taking into account such co-benefits can radically change the picture and demonstrate that action can pay off, not only in the long term, but also in the short to medium term.” With the Paris Agreement recently ratified by the European Union (EU), what is the potential of the benefits approach for achieving these new commitments in Europe?