March 2010

Is reasoned public debate on climate still possible?


1public debateScience has many uses; and not all of them foster reasoned debate. This is the bitter lesson that the strange cases of ‘climategate’ and a whole series of linked controversies have taught environmental researchers over the past few months. It used to be simple. Science, with its own self-correcting system of structured scepticism and peer review, produced results which could be translated into knowledge claims that were used in public and policy debates.

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Economics of insurance against climate change

 
floodsIn my PhD thesis I examined the consequences of, and opportunities due to, climate change for the insurance sector and the role that insurance can play in the design of policies to adapt to climate change in the Netherlands. Statistical analyses indicate that climate change may increase insured damage of certain natural hazards, such as hailstorms, which could have a considerable impact on the insurance sector. Results show that by 2050 annual hailstorm damage to outdoor farming could increase by 25% to 50%. Impacts on greenhouse horticulture in summer are considerably larger with projections of an increase in damage of more than 200%.

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Constructive Conflict Methodology for problem structuring in stakeholder dialogues


3epa poppetjeThe importance of stakeholder participation for dealing with unstructured policy issues, for instance the transition to a sustainable energy supply, is widely recognized. A common notion is that the involvement of diverse perspectives on the problem at hand is necessary for learning about it and to develop new insights for dealing with it. A stakeholder dialogue does however not automatically include and benefit from the broad range of stakeholder perspectives.  

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New approaches for analyzing land use and environmental impacts with integrated models


4 cluescannerMany environmental issues are the result of processes operating across different scales. Climate change is caused by local emissions and global feedbacks within the climate system. Adaptations to global change are made locally while policies to support such adaptations are to be coordinated at national, European or global levels.

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ENFIRO: Search for environment-compatible flame retardants


flamesTo inhibit or resist the spread of fire flame retardants are applied in a wide range of commercial products like computers, cars, furniture, paints and foams. Currently, some of the brominated flame retardants are under discussion or are recently banned by the EU as they are considered harmful due to their persistent nature and toxicity. ENFIRO (Life Cycle Assessment of Environment-Compatible Flame Retardants: Prototypical Case Study) is a new European research project coordinated by IVM.

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