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EPRU brings ‘neutral’ view to Namibia mining question

The Namibian government is considering whether or not to open up its offshore phosphate deposits for dredge mining. But before it does so, it wants to make a careful and considered decision based on independent analysis of the likely impacts on the environment, and how other competing industries might be affected.


Government’s role in promoting tourism

Southern African states need to create the right policy, fight corruption and build infrastructure if they want tourism to thrive in their countries. By doing so, they will allow the economic development potential of the sector to trickle down to communities in a way that encourages inclusive and sustainable growth.


Private ecotourism can drive rural development

When ecotourism lodges employ people from within some remote communities in Southern Africa, they are often giving them their first permanent job. This highlights the importance of these staff being given adequate training as they fill their posts.


    Despite significant progress- improved or new Chinese reforms are needed

    The EfD policy day brought together researchers and policy makers in discussions on improving transportation and forest policies with a focus on the Chinese context. The country has experienced a dramatic increase in economic growth during the past decades. One consequence has been a veritable explosion in the number of passenger cars increasing from 23 to 120 million in only ten years. Problems of air pollution and congestion have followed.The morning session was held against this background with inputs from Professor Daoli Zhu, Associate professors Ping Qin and Haitao Yin and Mike Toman of the World Bank.


      Paris 2015 and beyond: Cooling the climate debate

      On October 29-30, 2015 ,Thomas Sterner, together with the French professor of economic theory and social organization at the Collège de France, Roger Guesnerie, hosted  the climate workshop "Paris 2015 and beyond, cooling the climate debate" where several of the world's top climate economists participated.


      Mäler Scholarship in Environmental Economics: Call for applications

      The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics is  announcing a new round of the Mäler Scholar competition. The institute is an international center of excellence at the interface of ecology and economics. It is based in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden and has a small staff of researchers who work on a variety of ecological-economics issues. The scholarship is intended for early-career researchers in environmental economics from developing regions of the world who already have a PhD or are currently enrolled in a PhD program and will finish within 1-2 years. Preference is given to researchers affiliated with EfD centers and the four regional environmental economics networks—CEEPA, EEPSEA, LACEEP, and SANDEE. Others are welcome to apply.  Deadline for applications is October 30.


      EPRU fellow takes top economics PhD award

      How will people behave as they’re faced with the challenges of climate change? Will they work together to cut carbon emissions, in the interest of the greater good, or will they act in their own self-interest? And how much of a gamble will people take as they grapple with how to cope with living in a world where extreme weather events become the new ‘normal’?


      Award winning dissertation, in brief.

      Dr Kerri Brick recently won the prestigious Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA) prize for the best doctoral dissertation submitted in 2014. The Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU) fellow, based at the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics, submitted a thesis based on four papers which explore how people might respond to different aspects of the challenges which climate change presents society.


      Rich get richer in Ethiopian forests

      Since the Ethiopian government has changed the nature of forestry related property rights in order to allow communities in south-western Ethiopia to harvest timber and other resources in state forests, these communities have benefited from increased income as they now sell timber, wild coffee and honey.


      EPRU associate scoops ‘young scientist’ award

      It was a spontaneous turn off her intended route through Oxford 17 years ago, and into a side street, that led geographer Gina Ziervogel into the lobby of a building that would become the institutional home where she gained her doctorate, and launched her into a career that recently landed her a top research award here in South Africa.


      African tourism: the ‘multiplier’ effect

      For every one person employed by certain high-end tourism lodges in southern Africa, seven people benefit from the downstream flow of that income. Meanwhile, staff employed in these sorts of ventures help grow the local economy by spending their wages at community stores where they do their grocery shopping. Or they drive secondary employment through hiring people for child care or to tend their livestock while they work. Or they’re sending their children to school.


      Tourism for development: being inclusive

      The immediate downstream benefits of tourism can be measured in clear economic terms for remote communities who have few employment prospects in rural Africa. But the social, environment, and political impacts are also key to driving ‘inclusive growth’ for such communities.


      NENRE Researcher gives a talk on Chilean TURFs

      Carlos Chávez gives a presentation in the context of a Workshop on Monitoring and Productivity of Chilean TURFs. The activity took place during June in the city of Puerto Montt, southern Chile, with the participation of leaders from more than 40 organization of artisanal fishermen, government officials, the National Fisheries Services, and the Chilean Judicial system.


      Small Kenyan hydro research gets global exposure

      The work by Mary Karumba, a doctoral researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Environmental Research Policy Unit (EPRU) in South Africa, recently received some international coverage when the Heinrich Boll Foundation (HBF) ran a column on the work she is doing in her home country.


      Social experiment with parallel currency

      A tattoo artist, a bread maker, a ‘spaza’ shop owner, and a hair stylist - all from the small town of Piketberg, in the wheat- and fruit-farming region about an hour’s drive north-east of Cape Town - have something unusual in common. And it’s all in their wallets.


        EfD well represented at EAERE 2015

        EfD was well represented during  EAERE21, 2015, in Helsinki Finland, last week. Our researchers participated in a wide range of sessions.One of the EfD organized sessions was the  Thematic Policy Session  on Energy and development: The role of clean cook stoves organized by Marc Jeuland (Duke), Gunnar Köhlin (University of Gothenburg).


        High profile Energy Workshop in Ethiopia completed

        A workshop, titled ‘Sustainable energy transitions in low and middle-income countries: lessons for Ethiopia’ was held on June 1st to 3rd in Ethiopia to explore the potential for a new EfD research program on the drivers and impacts of energy transitions.


        The importance of accounting for spillover effects in policy design

        Marcela Jaime recently defended her thesis: Essays on behavioral Economics and Policy Design. What it is about? My thesis is about unintended effects of behavioral and policy interventions and its effects on policy design. Unintended effects of policies, either positive or negative, are often referred to as spillover effects. Specifically, my thesis investigates spillover effects of monetary and non-monetary policy instruments for environment and natural resource management, in both developing and developed settings.


        Understanding gender relations crucial when dealing with the ”killer in the kitchen”

        Effective kitchen stoves that use less firewood and emit fewer greenhouse gases are both cheap and available to the rural population in many developing countries. But the demand for the stove is low. From his field study in Ethiopia, economist Sied Hassen at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, draws the conclusion that the bargaining power in the household is the key for understanding the adoption of more effective stoves.


        Tanzanian farmers are adapting to climate change

        Smallholder farmers in Tanzania, who have seen how climate change has altered rainfall patterns and pushed up temperatures, are adapting their farming methods to meet these shifting conditions. This presents an opportunity for the government there to tailor its policies to help farmers meet future farming challenges.


        EfD-CA Center Director Francisco Alpizar acknowledged for his participation in the first Encyclical of Pope Francisco on the Environment.

        Past Thursday 18th Pope Francisco released its long-awaited Encyclical on the Environment in which he warned against "suicidal" behavior of a global economic system. This same day a national news article acknowledged the participation of EfD-CA Center Director Francisco Alpizar in the Encyclical on the Environment. Alpizar was one of three Latin Americans who participated in the meeting held in May 2014 at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. To read the complete article please click Here (Spanish Only).


        Zim community sidesteps government middle men to reclaim hunting revenues

        Some rural communities in Zimbabwe are trying to get greater control of the income gained from hunting licenses, bypassing the regional government offices which have traditionally managed these revenues. And now, local economists want to understand if this is working to the benefit of the community, and if it’s enhancing their welfare.


        Wildlife: an income stream for rural Zimbabweans

        When poorer rural families in Zimbabwe are able to collect bushmeat, it may allow them to increase their household income through selling the meat within their communities. This means that if policies help support communities’ access to wildlife, these can address poverty and decrease the inequality gap in these areas.


        Farmers are willing to pay for irrigation

        How can charging money for something that was free be a good idea for poor farmers? It turns out that pricing irrigation water will help improve Ethiopian farmers’ efficiency in water use, increase agricultural and food production, and make the population less vulnerable to climate change. One unique contribution of environmental economists is that they collect data from the field and then calculate what natural resources are really worth.


        Rural people must deal with threats to drinking water

        People in Central America’s rural areas will face a 20 percent decline of drinking water availability by 2050, estimates show. EfD researchers are now collecting information from 8 000 households in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica. The primary aim is to map capabilities and obstacles for communities to adapt, and to provide community leaders tools and skills to respond to drier scenarios. EfD findings also support governmental adaptation policies.


        Research on energy use for poverty reduction reaches grassroots

        To make hydroelectric power work better in rural communities, EfD Tanzania researchers decided to have in-depth contact with the grassroots through community-based and civil society organizations. Findings from a study on management of the hydropower plants in the southern highlands region show that rural electrification has proven to boost farmers’ earnings: Electric power increases the processing and value addition of agricultural products, which helps farmers fetch premium market prices.


        Mixed strategy farming is best in face of climate change

        The South African node of the EfD network, the Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town is working towards influencing South African policy in four key areas: climate change, biodiversity conservation, marine fisheries, and energy. One of the recent studies identified mixed farming as a crucial strategy to adapt to climate change, particularly for small farmers.


        Subsidies delivered through the water tariff are not reaching the poor

        Like many water utilities across the globe, Nairobi City Water and Sewer Company implements an increasing block tariff. Recent research conducted by EfD Kenya, however, finds that the increasing block tariff implemented in Nairobi does not effectively target subsidies to low-income households. Estimates suggest that non-poor households receive over 80 per cent of the subsidies.


        Behavior change will improve air and public health

        Air pollution caused by wood-burning in homes for cooking and heating purposes is one of the most important environmental problems in Chile, affecting thousands of families and causing early mortality. EfD Chile researchers study families’ and producers’ economic behavior, and advise the government to incorporate effective economic incentives to design better pollution control policies.


        Putting a value to urban green spaces

        Cities in sub-Saharan Africa are growing fast, and with that, many are losing their urban green spaces. Placing a value on such urban spaces can motivate policymakers to prioritise conservation or restoration of natural systems which provide important environmental services and contribute to human wellbeing.


        EfD Ethiopia to be revamped into a new center

        Environment and Climate Research Center (ECRC) is a new research center established in the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) in partnership with the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD), and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The new research center will support green and climate-resilient development in Ethiopia as a knowledge backstop.


        EfD Kenya holds Research Day

        EfD Kenya recently held it's 2015 Research Day on 26th February at Hillpark Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. EfD Kenya and KIPPRA presented the organisations' ongoing research in the water, extractive minerals and climate change sectors.


        Greener Industry If Environmental Authorities Change Strategy

        Fewer industrial firms would violate environmental legislation and a higher number would adopt cleaner technologies if environmental authorities would focus their monitoring efforts on companies with the most environmentally damaging technology. At a societal level, such a strategy would mean less pollution at the same or a lower cost of monitoring, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg’s School of Business, Economics and Law.


        Fourth Workshop on Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Third Short Course to Policy Makers organized by Chilean EfD Center

        The EfD Chilean Center, Research Nucleus in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of Concepción, organized for the fourth time, a discussion workshop on the design of public policies on the use of natural and environmental resources. The objective of the workshop was to develop a scientific discussion to think about the state of the art in Natural Resource Economics and the Environment in Chile and contribute to maintain a long-run collaborative relationship with Policy Makers working in the areas of fisheries management, air pollution control and climate change.