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Why does society need environmental research? HENVI Science Days 7.-8.4.2011 by Mind Map: Why does society need environmental
research? HENVI Science Days
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Why does society need environmental research? HENVI Science Days 7.-8.4.2011

Tarja Halonen : Sustainable development in the global politics with the reflection to local: An example of Baltic Sea

how to build bridges between different disciplines (science , policy)

we do not need to redefine the concept. Implementation is the problem

global panel on sustainability: seeking consensus between the three dimensions of sustainability

more emphasis on the social dimension: empowerment of women

'global sustainability is not possible without sustainability on the nation-state level'

what will the leaders of the nation-states do?

partnerships between business sector and civil society organisations

the system is so fast; you cannot just wait for the initiatives from governmental organisations

The case of improving the state of the Baltic Sea: we need individuals, private sector, businesses, government, NGOs --> we cannot do it alone

Improvements have happened: St. Petersburg wastewater system

Biggest remaining challenge: agriculture

We do not need any more Baltic Sea organisations. Implementation is the problem

We must intensify our regional cooperation

Next Baltic Sea Action Summit meeting in Russia

The role of science: connecting the dots - building bridges

Prof Don Wuebbles: The Science of Climate Change: The Challenges Facing Humanity

"The Science is Clear: Climate change is one of the most important issues facing humanity"

There is strong scientific agreement on this

Leadership is lacking

Scientific evidence: three independent analyses of temperature record 1961-1990 (trends in close agreement)

The warming is not uniform, not do we expect it to be

Conditions today appear to be unusual in the context of the last 2000 years

even when taking into account the Medieval warm period and Little Ice Age, the changes we see today are unlike anything before

Finland: the last decade was the warmest in history

Symptoms: sea-level rise, increase in heavy downpours, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing season, lengthening ice-free season in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, changes in river flows, plants blooming earlier, animals, birds, fish moving northward

Natural factors affecting climate: variations in the Earth's orbit, variations in the energy received from the sun, stratospheric aerosols from energetic volcanic eruptions, chaotic interactions in the Earth's climate (e.g. El Nino)

They do not explain the changes we have seen recently

Human factors influencing climate: changes in atmospheric CO2, changes in aerosol particles from burning fossil fuels

Why does the earth warm?

Natural causes, The greenhouse effect, 100% natural, sustains life on earth, keeps average temperatures at 12.8 C instead of -29 C

Human causes, Enhanced greenhouse effect

Strong evidence that the current changes are human-induced

Natural processes do not account for observed 20th century warming after 1965

'We have moved outside the range of historical variation' (referring to table: 800 000 year recorod of carbon dioxide concentration)

Future temperature rises expected to rise at an unprecented rate (estimates: 2.5-6 C)

Extreme weather events become more common

Heat waves


Warmer and dryer summers

Winter storm tracks

The impacts are vast on many sectors

Water resources

Energy supply and use




Human health


Both mitigation and adaptation are important

We choose our future

A commonly heard myt: modern wealth is due to to subsidy of cheap fossil fuel.

Environment Councellor Jaakko Ojala: Climate Change- world's problem no 1?

Identifying agents of change

Local level example: women, Key role in solving societal problems related to energy consumption, deforestation, burning of vegetation, population growth and economic growth, EQUAL ACCESS to knowledge, resources, technology, planning and decision-making --> effective mitigation of climate change at the local level

20 20 20 by 2020

GHG emissions by 20%, EU prepared for 30 % emission reduction?

Increase renewable energy 20 %

Increase energy efficiency by 20 %

Share of biofuels to 10 %

Roadmap towards low carbon Europe 2050

Main target: 80 % EU-wide emission reduction by 2050

Intermediate targets, 40 % reduction by 2030, 60 % reduction by 2040

Emission reductions are possible! Case: Finland

But still below the Kyoto target!!

Be part of the solution!

Global, comprehensive climate regime is the answer!

"Ensuring that there are no free-riders in the system'

Comment to Jaakko Ojala's speech. Markku Kulmala, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

There are not just three dimensions of sustainable development (society, economy, environment)

The fourth dimension is science, knowledge and innovations

The climate system is a system of interactions

The difficulty is that everything is related to everything in climate, and humans are now part of that system

Levels of cooperation





Formula for facing challenges: U x V x C x F < R

U (understanding), V (vision), C (capacity to change), F (feasible

Human beings are resistant to change

Prof. Markku Kulmala: The sum of understanding, vision, capacity to change and feasible plans need to be larger than humans resistance to change.

Comment to Jaakko Ojala's speech. Prof. Jyri Seppälä

Local example of Carbon Neutral Municipalities project

Five Finnish municipalities act as laboratories by working to curb their GHGs ahead the EU schedule

Kuhmoinen, Mynämäki, Padasjoki, Parikkala, Uusikaupunki

These municipalities are small and have minor impact on Finland's GHGs

BUT: they can act as pilots of providing concrete solutions

Uusikaupunki is a forerunner, Improved the image of Uusikaupunki, Increased viability - new companies and residents, A new green business sector has created new jobs, Clear cost-benefits for the town - about 120 000 €/year due to energy savings, Children and young peoples are the most eager action groups!!

Why do these municipalities act?, Energy costs will be rising in the future, Local resources can be utilized in reducing energy costs (biomass, wind, geothermal heat, water), Energy efficiency are good investments; payback is competitive with low risk, Environmentally friendly products can provide economic benefits

A big message for our society, The bottow-up approach !!!, Climate change mitigation can offer 'win-win-win' situations

How to put scientific results into practice?, This is the problem.

Professor Markku Ollikainen: Baltic Sea - challenges for science and politics

"The Baltic Sea countries provide an excellent example of international cooperation for marine environment in the world"

"The Baltic Sea is like an ill man suggeting from multiple diseases"

We have done much for the Baltic Sea; however, our policies are inefficient. Our scientific basis are still inadequate, and we do not currently make full use of existing knowledge.

Key problems of the Baltic Sea


Decline of the marine biodiversity

Increasing oil accident risks

Increase in toxic pollutants

Important modiyinf factor: climate change

All these problems share the same features

Need for international cooperation

A great number of private polluting agents

Uncertainty about environmental impacts

Need for more scientific knowledge

Difficulties in formulating policies

The role of the hydrography of the Baltic Sea

Stratification of water, hypoxia; water ezxhange with Atlantic OCean

Transfer of surface water implies the transfer of nutriens

The vicious cycle of eutrophication

The role of social institutions

It is a common property resource; the sea is owned by nobody and everybody

Countries are free to pollute and no one can legally preevent them from doing so

Sovereign states have no supranational obligatory body; they reduce nutrient only if they want to

Asymmetries between countries

The loads of polluters (Poland, Russia) flows to other countries (Finland, Sweden), Polluters do not find eutrophication a big problem, Polluters profit from not purifying nutrient loads

Policy challenge: How to overcome this asymmetry?

Science challenge: How to provide sensible knowledge for policy making?

Policy analysis framework of the Baltic Sea

Ecological model of the Baltic Sea, The basic block of analysis, is of UTMOST importance!!

Abatement costs of nutrients: minimum cost functions

Benefits from abatement: citizens' valuation of changes in the marine environment

Behavioural hypotheses, What happens in international negotiations?

Making the policy model work

Policy challenge: How do we make a binding, self-enforcing agreement?

We ask first: How well do the BSAP and alternative, hypothetical cost-efficient agreement account for the asymmetry?

We ask then: What sort of steps are needed to overcome asymmetries and to reach a binding agreement?

Nice table on transfer on nitrogen between countries. Ollikainen & Honkatukia 2001.!!!(Find original source!!!)

An illustration of nutrient transfer

Good case: Poland reduces 62400 tons N (BSAP)

Bad case: Polish agriculture expands and N loads increase by 159 000 tons making 96 000 N tons net increase

Lesson: countries are very much inderdependednt.


Poland: 66 % of P reduction and 49 % N reduction

Poland, Russia and the Baltic states: 95 % of P and 66 % of N

Denmark & Sweden: high N reduction targets

Costs and fairness? total costs (€) vs. costs/capita in watershed (€) vs. costs as a % of GDP, e.g. Lithuania costs as a GDP: 1.86. A LOT! Since e.g. Nokia's share of Finnish GDP is 1.6 --> tells a lot about the importance

Improvements?, Share the costs more evenly. Use side payments to countries bearing high costs., The benefits accreu from the resulting nutrien reductions in the sea water within each country

BSAP is NOT a cost-efficient solution

Proposals: 1) Description of the transfer of nutrients 2) Measurement of abatement costs 3) Policy responses of multiple private agents 4) value of the marine environment 5) understanding of international cooperation

Cecilia Lundholm: Environmental Learning: Insights from research (Stockholm Resilience Center)

Research on environmental learning

In the empirical part, the following parts were researched; what kind emotions/values, lissues for relevance, and what does it mean to be in the classroom

Increasingly, attention has been centred at emotions in emotional research

Different aspects of values

What is objectivity - what is subjectivity

What is an opinion - what are facts?

Solutions to environmental problems are political - how to deal with that?

The important of relevance in learning

Interest increases when the topic is relevant to the person involved

Negotiating viewpoints

What is topical, what is controversial

Situations of diferent viewpoints are very significant in learning processes

The role and purpose of environmental education

Individual, business, government

We need policy actions to achieve real action with individual choices

KAB K--> A--> B (knowledge, attitidunial change, behaviour)

The sum of individual actions = collective action & big change

No linear and causal links

Prisoners dilemma, sucker effect

Knowledge, values and behaviour

Knowledge of what?

Values (and altruistic goals)

Individual action or supporting collective change?


Price and environmental degradation

The environment and economics: ethical reasoning

Aspect of the individuals

What are norms and values are prevalent in society, How do they affect the way we do things

Behavioural sciences incorporated into environmental education

Take a case problem and think what tools are needed in socity/worldwide to address it

Professor Robert Frodeman: Making Environmental Research Sustainable

Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity

future institutional expressions of knolwedge

Knowledge vs. confusion. More knowledge might increase confusion

Aristoteles ethics: does not handle ethics

Problem of further scientific research: do we need more of the research? We end up arguing about research

We have increased our knowledge of climate change, at the same time we have increased our ignorance

Climate change has become a spiritual issue.

Do we have the will to make hard decisions?

The standard model (Pielke and Byerly, (1998)

Definition of post-modernity: separation of religion, culture, science, society

We never quite achieved modernity because of this

Is it possible of knowledge to have no particular outcome?

Are there facts beyond reasonable debate?

Are facts separate from values?

Do facts determine values, or drive behaviour?

Are values truly subjective?

Sustainability science

Contains a dilemma itself

There is an overproduction of science, 1 million articles published every year, 60 % of these papers are not cited in the first 5 years, Blogs, Loss of sense of the whole, Policy makers and the public overwhelmed

We have the assumption that more science will provide solutions rather than already existing knowledge or reasonable discussions

Interdisciplinary knowledge production is in a danger of falling into a trap

no one can become an expert in interdiscpilinary

this research should recognize its limits to research itself, to people's capacity for understanding, to time and money

Is more research an excuse for politics not to act?