1. Editorial

  • Editorial by Irene Ring

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • Report from ESEE 2011: the 9th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, June 14-17, Istanbul
  • ESEE 2011 student prize
  • ESEE 2011 Preconference Workshop: Report

3. Other news

  • The Ecological Economics and Integrated Assessment Group in Barcelona launches its new website
  • TEEB evaluation
  • ERC Starting Grant for Karlheinz Erb
  • "Humanity Can and Must Do More with Less: UNEP experts warn: 'Decouple' resource consumption and economic growth rates"
  • Island of Samothraki as Biosphere Reserve
  • ERC: Marina Fischer-Kowalski coopted
  • Helmut Haberl invited as IPCC lead author
  • Causing Ignition: Biofuels and Social Conflicts

4. Hot topic

  • Decoupling resource use from economic growth – illusion or fact?
  • Degrowth

5. Events

  • World Resources Forum, 19-21 September 2011, Davos, Switzerland
  • 1st European Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, 19-21 October 2011, Berlin, Germany
  • International Greening Education Event 2011, 19-21 October 2011, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Payments for Ecosystem Services and their Institutional Dimensions, International Conference on Ecosystem Services, 10-12 November 2011, Berlin, Germany
  • Call for Papers: International Workshop “Beyond Efficiency - Exploring the Political and Institutional Dimensions of Market-based Instruments for Ecosystem Services”, 13-14 March 2012, Berlin, Germany
  • TEEB Conference 2012, Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: Challenges for Science and Implementation, 19-22 March 2012, Leipzig, Germany
  • “Planet under Pressure 2012: New Knowledge Towards Solutions” The 2012 Global Change Open Science Conference, 26-29 March 2012, London, UK
  • 12th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), 29 May - 1 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, 4-6 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

6. Job openings

  • BioSS: Socio-Economic Statistician / Senior Socio-Economic Statistician
  • DFID: Senior Advisers and Advisers in the fields of Climate and Environment, Education, Humanitarian, Conflict, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Social Development and Procurement.
  • SRI: Senior Lecturer/Reader/Chair in Critical Environmental Social Science
  • Dartmouth College: Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies

7. Publications

  • Environmental Economics – Theory and Policy
  • Nature Climate Change
  • Ecological Economics: Sustainability in Practice
8. Students
  • University of Reading, UK: New MSc in Climate Change and Development
  • University of Sussex, UK: PhD Research Project - The role of household consumers in future electricity systems
  • New website online!

1. Editorial:

by Irene Ring

Some 20 years ago, Rio changed the institutional landscape of the world. The UN Conference on Environment and Development, in short the Rio Conference 1992, was the birthplace of major international conventions and crucial agreements that have immensely framed our societies in the direction of sustainable development: The Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Agenda 21 were adopted, and important new international institutions such as the Commission on Sustainable Development created. These initiatives have been followed by regular and intense implementation processes, broad stakeholder involvement from the global to the local level and have led to a streamlining of environmental topics into our daily lives. Nevertheless, much remains to be done, and 20 years later, we look forward to another chain of important international events during the first half of the year 2012, where ecological economists can and do play an important role.

Rio de Janeiro will again be the centre for taking stock and hopefully moving things ahead. In early June 2012, the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organised to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rio 1992 Conference, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The two major streams of the conference relate to a “Green economy in the context of sustainable development” and the “Institutional framework for sustainable development”, both topics where ecological economists have much to contribute. It is not by accident that the ISEE 2012 conference is also held in Rio, just the week before Rio+20 UNCSD Earth Summit. ISEE 2012 has been purposely conceived to dovetail with the UN event and picks up its major themes while covering other key debates within ecological economics and environmental policy. So this is an excellent opportunity for European ecological economists to take part in two major events centre to our interests.

Those of us who do not like to travel thus far can still participate in a major European Conference on the path towards the Rio conferences: End of March 2012, the Earth System Science Partnership, consisting of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the World Climate Research Programme, DIVERSITAS – the international programme on biodiversity science and the International Human Dimensions Programme, organises the 2012 Global Change Open Science Conference in London titled “Planet under Pressure: new knowledge towards solutions”. This is not just another scientific conference, but the organisers put much effort in making this a major event to link up scientists with policy makers, the business community, NGOs, the media and development agencies. The conference will discuss solutions at all scales to move societies on to a sustainable pathway and will provide scientific leadership towards the Rio+20 Conference.
Let’s hope that this conference marathon in early 2012 will advance our institutional framework towards sustainable development as much as its predecessor 20 years ago!


2. News from ESEE and its members:

Report from ESEE 2011: the 9th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, June 14-17, Istanbul

The 9th International Conference of the European Society took place in Istanbul at Boğaziçi University between 14 June and 17 June 2011with a great success.

The theme of ESEE 2011 was “Advancing Ecological Economics: Theory and Practice” and the conference aimed at investigating how ecological economics can broaden the available range of methods and tools for policy support, and increase its relevance for real-world problems. More than 350 participants from 41 countries attended the conference and 320 papers and 14 papers in total were presented in 82 sessions during the meetings. The sessions were organised around the following 8 broad themes:  Conceptual Foundations, Methods, Indicators, Policy Analysis, Instruments, Socio-economic Transitions, Civil Society and Governance, and Education. 

Presentations in the plenaries were all very inspiring and were well complemented with stimulating discussions at the end. In the opening plenary, Arild Vatn challenged the dominant responses to our economic and ecological crisis and argued that ‘green economics’ and ‘green growth’ may not hold their promises for a better future.  In the system dynamics plenary, Yaman Barlas draw our attention to the strong links between the fields of system dynamics and ecological economics and Erling Moxnes introduced a unifying theory of local and global overshoots and discussed how to protect against them.

In the political economy plenary, Martin O’Connor brought together contemporary ecological economics notions of limits to substitutability of natural capital and environmental services with classical notions of class conflict, unequal exchange and corresponding theory of value. Susan Paulson then gave us some insights from selected Latin American contexts and conversations about historical relations between economies and ecologies.

The morning plenary in the last day of the conference was about sustainability transitions. Frank Geels underlined the need for an analytical shift in the unit of analysis from the economy as a whole to more specific socio-technical systems and presented the Multi-Level Perspective as a way forward. Then, Nicholas Ashford touched upon the importance of law and strong government in transforming the industrial state and called for both a strategic approach that ‘opens up the problem space’ to include mutually supportive social goals and a political/legal approach to ‘open up the participatory space’. John O’Neill was our closing plenary speaker and made a thought provoking speech on happiness, good life and sustainability via video-conferencing.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank one again all conference participants, the scientific committee and the reviewers who helped us to put together a pleasant program.

All abstracts, presentations and full papers are now available in the online conference archive ( The Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG) journal will also produce an issue covering material from this conference and the call will be made soon.

The next biennial ESEE conference will take place on July 3-5, 2013 in Lille, France.

ESEE 2011 student prize

The winner of ESEE 2011 student prize is Jasper Kenter for the paper on: "The importance of deliberation in valuing ecosystem services in developing countries - Evidence from the Solomon Islands" (Jasper O. Kenter, Tony Hyde, Michael Christie, Ioan Fazey)
The importance of deliberation in valuing ecosystem services in developing countries - Evidence from the Solomon Islands (Abstract)


ESEE 2011 Preconference Workshop: Report

This year's ESEE conference was preceded by a workshop hosted at the same campus of Bogazici University. More than 40 graduate students and lecturers participated in the 3-day workshop. Senior researches lectured on the foundations of "social" ecological economics and graduate students presented some of their work. This proved to be an excellent combination to kick off discussions and create ties between young researchers. The picture below has been taken in the chancellory building at the end of the workshop. Most of the students, lecturers and organisers appear in it.


3. Other news:

The Ecological Economics and Integrated Assessment Group in Barcelona launches its new website

Eco2BCN, the Ecological Economics and Integrated Assessment Group in the Autonomous University of Barcelona launched a new website ( Eco2BCN represent one of the very early research and teaching activities in Ecological Economics in the world. In the new website, visitors can find links to the profiles, research activities and publications of the researchers of the group, audiovisual material including videos with talks and documentaries on the topics of environmental conflicts and degrowth, and updates on events as well as employment and research collaboration opportunities.

TEEB evaluation

Your chance to contribute to evaluation of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project (TEEB)
Everyone who has been involved or who has an interest in TEEB is encouraged to make sure their experiences and opinions are taken into account in a formal UNEP evaluation of the project, which is being undertaken now by independent consultant Dave Pritchard. The evaluation will distil the most important lessons arising, and will influence future directions. Please give your views on what’s worked best, what hasn’t, and where it should all go next, by contacting Dave at

ERC Starting Grant for Karlheinz Erb

Karlheinz Erb won an ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant. The highly competitive Starting grants are awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) to research talents with proven potential and are aimed to support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish or consolidate a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. The research grant for the research project LUISE ("An integrated socioecological approach to land-use intensity: Analyzing and mapping biophysical stocks/flows and their socioeconomic drivers") provides the excellent opportunity to establish an interdisciplinary research team and to contribute significantly to the field of global land-use research over the next 5-years.

"Humanity Can and Must Do More with Less: UNEP experts warn: 'Decouple' resource consumption and economic growth rates"

By 2050, humanity could devour an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year - three times its current appetite - unless the economic growth rate is "decoupled" from the rate of natural resource consumption, warns a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and International Resource Panel Co-Chair Ashok Khosla, together with lead authors Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Mark Swilling, launched the report 12 May 2011 at the 19th annual meetings of the Commission for Sustainable Development, UN Secretariat, New York. With this report the industrial ecology method of material flow accounting is prominently recognized and global and national centennial series of materials are presented. The full report, "Decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth," is available at

Island of Samothraki as Biosphere Reserve

Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Laz Xenidis and Simron Singh (SEC Vienna) gladly announce that the municipality of the Island of Samothraki has submitted an application to UNESCO for becoming a Biosphere Reserve. This is an important milestone in a transdisciplinary project supported by the Austrian Academy of Sciences to create the first Biosphere Reserve in Greece. The Island of Samothraki is among the rare remaining examples of island natural beauty and rich biodiversity in the Aegean archipelago; most of its territory is mountainous, and there are numerous streams and waterfalls that flow all year round. Samothraki is also known for its rich archaeological heritage - the famous "Nike of Samothraki" is now exhibited in the Louvre, but the impressive remains of the "City of the Great Gods" where it came from attract many visitors. This project resulted from a collaborative effort of local NGOs, scientists and local administration directed at preserving the island from destruction by animal grazing and mass tourism, and seeking for a sustainable way of living for its inhabitants, which will be subject to a number of follow-up projects. For pictures by a local photographer see

ERC: Marina Fischer-Kowalski coopted
Marina Fischer-Kowalski has been coopted as a member of the ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant peer review panel for a third period.

Helmut Haberl invited as IPCC lead author
Helmut Haberl of the Institute of Social Ecology Vienna was invited as 'lead author' for the IPCC's 5th assessment report scheduled for 2014. He will be part of the Working Group III (Adaptation and Mitigation), chapter 11 ' Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses'.

Causing Ignition: Biofuels and Social Conflicts
Anke Schaffartzik was awarded a DocTeam fellowship for interdisciplinary teams by the Austrian Academy of Sciences for her PhD project on the potential of biofuels.
The potential to fuel future economies was ascribed to biofuels early in the public discourse. As of late, it seems that their spark ignites conflicts rather than engines.
Biofuels have been promoted as a solution to the multiple global crises of rising energy prices, climate change, and economic downturn. Internationally, economic powers such as the EU, the USA, Brazil, China, and India are determined to expand and develop the use of biofuels. Mandatory blending to motor fuels, most notably in the European Union, has created a strong demand for biofuels resulting in the emergence of a growing global market. Due to its strong impact on land use the production of biofuels is directly linked to cultural, ecological, economic, political, as well as social change.



4. Hot topic:

Decoupling resource use from economic growth – illusion or fact?
by Marina Fischer-Kowalski

A new report from UNEP’s International Resource Panel, chaired by E.U. v. Weizsäcker, picked up an old theme often addressed as “factor X” (4, 5, or 10), and it did a serious global assessment of what is known about the relationship between economic growth, resource use and environmental impacts. Quoting from the press release:

“’Decoupling makes sense on all the economic, social and environmental dials,’ says UN Under Secretary-General Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director....‘People believe environmental bads are the price we must pay for economic goods. However, we cannot, and need not, continue to act as if this trade-off is inevitable,’ he says. ‘Decoupling is part of a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy needed in order to stimulate growth, generate decent kinds of employment and eradicate poverty in a way that keeps humanity's footprint within planetary boundaries.’ ...Decoupling is occurring but ‘at a rate that is insufficient to meet the needs of an equitable and sustainable society,’ the report says. Between 1980 and 2002, the resources required per $1,000 (U.S.) of economic output fell from 2.1 to 1.6 tons.”

The report starts off with a concept known also from European resource politics, the concept of “double decoupling”. The idea is that it should be possible, by raising resource productivity, to delink the amount of resources required from the economic output, and secondly, by environmental technologies and policies, to delink the amount of environmental impact from the use of resources. In effect, it should therefore be environmentally no problem to have further economic growth.

Thanks to Krausmann et al. (2009, in EcolEcon) and other sources, the report can be specific about quantities of global resource use: the socioeconomic extraction and use of biomass, fossil fuels, industrial minerals & ores, and construction minerals, in other words, all material resources, has increased eightfold from 1900-2005. During the same period, global real GDP has increased 23 fold, almost three times as much. Thus decoupling of resource use from economic growth was a fact. And it was a fact although resource prices have been declining throughout the 20th century. “Double decoupling”, that is decoupling environmental impacts from resource use, is much less of a fact. On the contrary, it appears that in the future resource extraction and use may be associated with rising environmental impacts: deep sea and arctic oil drilling, extraction of metals from mines with globally declining ore grades and further intensification of land use don’t promise declining environmental impacts.

Can we happily plan for the continuation of, say, a 3% annual economic growth in Europe? No, we must not – and this is something the report, at best, says implicitly. It is up to the developing countries, and emerging economies, to increase their resource use. It is up to the rich countries to decrease their levels of resource use to metabolic rates the world can afford. Such a decrease, technically speaking, only takes place when resource productivity rises faster than the economy. Practically so far, this only happened in countries and periods with very low economic growth. The current trend of substantially rising resource prices may become a useful incentive for this to happen.
For the report, see


Two years ago in ESEE 2009 in Ljubljana there was a single (even if well attended) session dealing with the contribution of Ecological Economics to the understanding of the then-incipient economic crisis. Our presentation with Joan Martinez-Alier on the notion of “degrowth”, or more accurately “socially sustainable economic degrowth”, attracted a lot of attention. Many good friends and colleagues shared with me after the talk their puzzlement on why we would use such a negative word for a positive normative proposal.

Two years after and in Istanbul 2011 so much has changed. The economic crisis is here to stay and the West seems to be entering a period of prolonged economic stasis, if not a period of (involuntary) economic degrowth and social upheaval. The realization of the limits and failures of the growth paradigm is no longer constrained to the few enlightened readers of Herman Daly. It is spread to the media and to a large part of public opinion. Yet the imaginary of continuous and unlimited growth has not lost its prominence, and repackaged in Keynesian or neo-liberal austerity versions is offered once again as the only way out of the debt crisis. Compared to Ljubljana, in Istanbul there were several (over 10 by my own counting) sessions dealing with issues of growth, degrowth and the economic crisis. Although some colleagues working on other areas might have found this as overwhelming, I think that this shift to macro-ecological economics was long-due; despite its forceful start, over the years the community unexplainably started neglecting macro issues. It is also healthy sign of social relevance that we were quickly responsive to people’s concerns. Like it or not, the hottest public issue right now, at least for those of us who live in Europe, is the economic crisis and the lack of growth, in a context where continued economic growth would mean once and for all climatic and ecological disaster.

We know quite a lot about the causes, pre-conditions and benefits of economic growth, but practically nothing about how we can maintain prosperity without economic growth. A degrowth of social metabolism, i.e. a degrowth of our collective extraction, production, consumption and disposal of energy and materials, appears as an ecological imperative, at least for those of us who believe what scientists tell about climate change, or dwindling oil reserves. Unless someone believes in technological miracles, or ascribes to the unreasonable position that since Malthus got it wrong 200 years ago then there are no limits to growth, reducing social metabolism is necessary and will in all likelihood involve economic degrowth. This might be forced involuntary by nature upon us, as is currently the case, or else, we can collectively re-organize, plan and manage a “prosperous way down”, as Howard Odum has put it.

Ecological Economics is much better positioned to lead the discussion over a socially sustainable degrowth transition. Existing economics are not up to the challenge as, save for a few exceptions, they treat growth as an axiomatic necessity. This holds both for mainstream - neo-classical or Austrian - macro-economics, as well as for heterodox schools of thought. For the latter too the preoccupation during the crisis is how to restart growth, be it through innovation (Schumpeterians), public investments to trigger demand (Keynesians) or through a social take-over of the economy (Marxists). True, some heterodox thinkers are increasingly aware of ecological limits, but generally tend to treat this as an afterthought, i.e. “let’s get the economy going, and then we take care of the environment”.

There is a lot of interesting research going on degrowth and “prosperity without growth” within the European society, e.g. by our group here in Barcelona or two groups in Vienna, one doing research on ecological macro-economics and the other one addressing the issue as growth in transition, to name a few that I am aware of. I won’t review here the several relevant contributions of the EE community to the degrowth debate but direct the interested reader to reviews published at the journal of the International Society[1].

Research on degrowth covers many issues and academic disciplines. What I personally see as curiously lacking is an engagement with economics proper, i.e. an ecological macro-economics of degrowth. This is the topic of a forthcoming special issue in the journal of Ecological Economics edited by myself, Christian Kerschner and Joan Martinez-Alier. Let me give here my personal take on the four hottest research areas on the “economics of degrowth”. First, beyond intuitive propositions, we need to build a more solid empirical case for the causal linkage between ecological limits to growth and the current crisis. This for example might include modeling and econometric analysis of the effects of oil and food prices on the economy prior to 2008 or a study of capital flows to and from resource rent-capturing nations and their relation to the real estate and debt bubbles. Second, even though the simple arithmetic of climate change and previous experience with decoupling and dematerialization efforts should be enough to convince us that sustainable growth is impossible, unfortunately we need to strengthen our case, since academically-speaking our position remains marginal. This will entail more theoretical and empirical work in showing the fundamental reasons on why the dematerialization of a growing economy is an “impossibility theorem”, along the lines of research on rebound effects or the Jevon’s paradox. Third, and in more policy-oriented terms, we need to study and model the conditions under which meaningful work (and not merely wage “employment”) can be maintained under conditions of resource limitations and economic degrowth. Fourth, since economic degrowth is likely to impact through income or employment loss the most vulnerable segments of the population, we need to join forces with other heterodox economists and study the possibility, financing requirements and redistributive implications of institutionalizing a basic income and of securing a bundle of basic services (health, education) for all citizens.

Degrowth is here to stay. Despite public ignorance and vested interests who will never let the idea of a “sustainable degrowth” spread, our responsibility as scientists is to deal with uncomfortable truths, speak truth to power, and retain an optimism of will.   

[1]Kallis, G. 2011, In defence of degrowth. Ecological Economics. 70(5): 873-880.
Martinez-Alier, J., Pascual, U., Vivien, F-D., Zaccai, E., 2010. Sustainable de-growth: Mapping the context, criticisms and future prospects of an emergent paradigm, Ecological Economics, 69(9): 1741-1747.


5. Events:

World Resources Forum, 19-21 September 2011, Davos, Switzerland

Shaping the Future of Natural Resources - Towards a Green Economy,
The World Resources Forum (WRF) is a science-based platform to exchange knowledge about the economic, political and environmental implications of global resource use. WRF promotes innovation for resource productivity by building bridges between researchers and policymakers, business, NGO's and the public. Flagship activity is the bi-annual conference, held in Davos, Switzerland.
Marina Fischer-Kowalski will give a plenary talk on "Sociometabolic regimes, revolutions and transitions."

1st European Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, 19-21 October 2011, Berlin, Germany

The project RESPONDER is organising the 1st European Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, which will take place from 19 to 21 October 2011 in Berlin. This workshop will bring together a selected group of 20 policy makers and the same number of researchers to explore the conflicts between economic growth and sustainable consumption in policy making.
Speakers will include Tim Jackson (University of Surrey), Anders Wijkman (Vice President of the Club of Rome), André Martinuzzi (Vienna University of Economics and Business and Head of the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability), Sigrid Stagl (Vienna University of Economics and Business and President of the European Society for Ecological Economics), and Michael Hüther (Director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research).
The European Dialogue is the first of three top level events that constitute a central part of the RESPONDER project funded by the European Commission DG Research under the 7th Framework Programme of Research. For more information on the project and the opportunity to be part of the RESPONDER network, please visit the internet-based Knowledge Platform


International Greening Education Event 2011, 19-21 October 2011, Karlsruhe, Germany

A three-day International Greening Education Event will be held from 19th to 21st of October, 2011 in the green city of Karlsruhe, Germany. This event will take academia, education, environmental and sustainable development policy makers, senior members of academic institutions, representatives of government and non-governmental organisations and international development agencies, school administrators and teachers, sustainable development practitioners and environmental management professionals through the need for greening education and then discuss effective initiatives that educational institutions need to take to make sustainability an integral part of teaching and learning.

The event provides an exclusive forum to examine how global warming, climate change and other environmental concerns are reshaping education globally, deliberate on the role of academia in making world cleaner, greener and more sustainable, discuss cutting-edge issues in greening education and share best practices from around the world in respect to education for sustainability.

Further to the knowledge sharing on greening education including topics such as ecologizing curriculum (incorporating sustainability), greening of courses and creating low carbon education institutions; the upcoming event also provides an excellent networking opportunity with academia, sustainable development practitioners and other stakeholders in Europe and beyond. An excursion (optional) on Saturday the 22nd of October, 2011 is planned which will also provide an additional and informal networking opportunity.

You are cordially invited to attend this international event and/ or nominate the member(s) of your institution.

For further information, please see the event details.
Or contact via email:

Payments for Ecosystem Services and their Institutional Dimensions, International Conference on Ecosystem Services, 10-12 November 2011, Berlin, Germany

The conference aims to take a look beyond the PES concept in mere theory, investigating the different actors and their institutional arrangements that make a PES work in practice. It is intended to (1) examine in particular the concept of PES schemes in industrialized countries. What is the institutional environment there and what are its (dis-)advantages? Which governance structures exist? Who are the key stakeholders? Furthermore it is planned that participants may learn from the experiences of the developing countries through (2) discussing and comparing the diverse institutional settings between developing and industrialized countries (3) elaborating their respective strengths, weaknesses and pitfalls for PES schemes (4) highlighting the various lessons learned from current schemes, to finally (5) enabling a mutual dialogue of suggestions between developing and industrialized countries regarding the potential to further and actively consolidate the PES concept.

More Information at

Call for Papers: International Workshop “Beyond Efficiency - Exploring the Political and Institutional Dimensions of Market-based Instruments for Ecosystem Services”, 13-14 March 2012, Berlin, Germany

Logo Research Group Ecosystem ServicesThe Ecosystem Services Research Group at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the Ökoinstitut e.V., Berlin Office, jointly organise an International Workshop on “Beyond Efficiency - Exploring the Political and Institutional Dimensions of Market-based Instruments for Ecosystem Services”. The workshop takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, 13-14 March 2012, at the Protestant House of Education (Evangelische Bildungsstätte), Isle of Schwanenwerder, Berlin, Germany.We invite abstracts for papers that discuss market-based policy instruments in environmental governance and, more specifically, in the provision of ecosystem services. Papers should pay special attention to
  • (A) the discourse on and politics of market-based instruments (MBIs) for ecosystem services,
  • (B) polycentric or multi-level governance contexts of MBIs, and/or
  • (C) their performance and assessment.
The starting point for discussion is that, while MBIs feature prominently in national and international policy discourses, the debate tends to be narrowed down on their economic aspects, in particular on their cost-effectiveness or efficiency. Our objective is to broaden the debate by specifically exploring the political and institutional dimensions linked with MBIs for ecosystem services in order to generate new insights into their design and performance within and beyond the realms of cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

The workshop focuses on MBIs that govern management strategies (for example, natural resource management and multifunctional agriculture) and processes (for example, climate change) affecting the provision of ecosystem services. In geographic terms, the focus is on Europe, but references to MBIs designed for or implemented in other cultural landscapes of the world are also welcome. Empirical case studies are as welcome as theoretical and conceptual reflections from the perspectives of political science, sociology, institutional economics, environmental economics, political economy or other strands of social science.

The extended Call for Papers can be found here:
Please send an abstract of about 400 words to Christian Schleyer ( or Franziska Wolff ( by 16 September 2011. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 15 October 2011. Final papers are due by 15 February 2012.

TEEB Conference 2012, Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: Challenges for Science and Implementation, 19-22 March 2012, Leipzig, Germany

The TEEB Conference 2012, Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: Challenges for Science and Implementation is taking place in Leipzig, Germany, March 19-22, 2012.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together action-oriented expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy.

Two years after the influential TEEB reports, TEEB invites the research and policy community to Leipzig, Germany, to discuss the state of the art in Environmental Valuation, Ecosystem Services and Science-Policy Processes.

The TEEB Conference 2012 will be hosted by the Scientific Coordinators of the TEEB reports, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, in Leipzig, Germany. In Leipzig, conference participants will have the possibility to discuss and update the findings of the TEEB study and contribute to a new understanding of the link between economics, decision-making and the environment.

ABSTRACTS (400 words) for INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATIONS and/or COORDINATED SESSIONS can be submitted until SEPTEMBER 23, 2011. Instructions for Authors as well as the online submission tool will appear in short on the conference website:
The Call for Papers is available on the conference website.


“Planet under Pressure 2012: New Knowledge Towards Solutions” The 2012 Global Change Open Science Conference, London, 26-29 March 2012
Building on a comprehensive update of knowledge of the Earth system and the pressure it is under, the Planet Under Pressure conference will present and debate new insights into potential opportunities and constraints for innovative development pathways based on novel partnerships.
Key Aims:
  • A state of the planet assessment and solutions for a sustainable future
  • 2500 participants combining global-change science and policy, business and development communities
  • Scientific leadership towards the 2012 UN Rio +20 conference
  • Building trans-disciplinary research communities
  • Identifying opportunities for enhanced partnerships between global change science and policy, industry and the public
  • A new vision for international research

More information at

12th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), 29 May - 1 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

ISEE is holding its next biennial conference - ISEE 2012: ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS AND RIO +20 - CONTRIBUTIONS AND CHALLENGES FOR A GREEN ECONOMY - from 29 May to 1 June, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to dovetail with Rio +20 UNCSD Earth Summit.
They invite submissions on themes such as:
(1) Greening the Economy: Measuring green growth; The energy question; Sustainable consumption; (Un)sustainable cities?
(2) The Political Economy of Green Development: Food security; The economics and politics of climate change; Pollution and politics; Challenges of community resource governance
(3) Environmental Justice, Ethics and Values: Global agreements: is convergence possible? Balancing nature: people, biodiversity and resilience; Governing environmental behaviour; Mores and morals: toward an environmental ethic; Political ecology and ecological conflicts
(4) Methodological Challenges: Feminist economics and ecological economics: can the twain meet? Behavioural economics and economic behaviour: beyond homo economicus? Economics and Ecology: transdisciplinary conversations.

Abstracts: maximum of 700 words, submit online via the conference website:

Bina Agarwal (President elect) is chair of the International Program Committee and Peter May (past President) of the Local Organising Committee

15 November 2011: Submission of session & paper abstracts & full papers (for seeking funding); 15 December 2011: Author notification 2 March 2012: Registration & on-line payment for abstracts to appear in brochure

For details on the call for papers click here.

Download the complete flyer here.

Rio + 20Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, 4-6 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236). The Conference will take place in Brazil on 4-6 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document.

The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.

The Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

More information at


6. Job openings:

Socio-Economic Statistician / Senior Socio-Economic Statistician

Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland (BioSS) has an international reputation for methodological development in statistics, mathematical modelling and bioinformatics. BioSS offers a stimulating working environment, with over 30 staff at four different locations, working on applications in plant science, animal health and welfare, ecology & environmental science and nutrition & human health.

They seek a quantitative scientist with excellent technical and interpersonal skills to be based in BioSS's Edinburgh office. The post-holder will act as a focal point for statistical inputs to socio-economic research. Activities will include: collaboration with and provision of advice to researchers at partner institutions; development of statistical methods applicable to aspects of animal disease surveillance; development of an area of personal research which addresses methodological issues arising in these collaborations. Much of this work will be undertaken as part of a Scottish Government initiative to reduce the impact of animal disease outbreaks, to be delivered by the continuation of a current collaboration between research institutes and universities on epidemiology, population health and disease control.

Starting Salary £26,610 - £29,566 / £33,780 - £37,534 -- plus contributory public sector pension

Applicants should have:

  • a strong statistical background;
  • enthusiasm for promoting the benefits of statistical thinking in a research environment;
  • experience of methodological development and collaboration with scientists substantiated by a record of scientific publications for appointment at the senior grade.

Further information on the above post, including how to apply, is available on the BioSS website at

Closing date: Friday 23rd September 2011, Interview date 4th October 2011.

Post Ref: BioSS/4/11. Potential applicants may contact Dr Iain McKendrick, (, tel +44 (0) 131 650 4894), in confidence to discuss the post.

Senior Advisers and Advisers in the fields of Climate and Environment, Education, Humanitarian, Conflict, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Social Development and Procurement.

DFID is undertaking a round of external recruitment, including for Livelihoods advisers and Climate-Environment advisers. DFID has a range of current, or anticipated, vacancies in locations to be confirmed overseas, and potentially also in DFIDs HQ office in Scotland (or occasionally London).

DFID is aiming to create a talent pool of DFID Advisers who are willing and able to work in conflict and fragile states. They are particularly interested in identifying candidates with appropriate experience and competencies who are able and willing to serve in such posts. Successful candidates will be expected to take up such posts over the course of their first five years working with DFID. The links to the adverts on the DFID external website are given below:

Closing date for applications: 30 September 2011.

Assessment Centres will be held 5-9th December in Palace Street for Livelihoods and 12-16th December in Abercrombie House for Climate-Environment.

Senior Lecturer/Reader/Chair in Critical Environmental Social Science (ref ENVEE0039) in the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

University of Leeds seeks an established academic with expertise in critical and theoretical social science approaches to political or social aspects of environmental decision-making and societal behaviour.You should have a strong internationally recognised publication record, track record of research income generation and teaching experience. You will be expected to make a significant contribution to the Institute’s research profile and to its management and development, as well as to contribute to research student supervision and to the School’s integrated teaching programmes. With over 30 staff and 45 PhD students, SRI forms a substantial part of one of the strongest Schools of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the UK. Research in SRI spans environmental social sciences and combines social and natural sciences in leading-edge, interdisciplinary research. SRI staff also lead successful undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on different dimensions of sustainability.

Salary: Senior Lecturer, University Grade 9 (£45,336 - £52,556 p.a.); Reader, University Grade 9 (£45,336 - £57,430 p.a.); Chair salary, which is negotiable, will be within the Professorial range – minimum £59,152.  Informal enquiries may be made to Professor Jouni Paavola, Co-Director of SRI,  email or Dr Lindsay Stringer, Co-Director of SRI, email

Closing date for applications 31 October 2011, likely interview date in mid-December 2011.


Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College aims to recruit a tenure-track, assistant professor in policy, politics and governance. The successful candidate will have an integrative understanding of concepts and methods from diverse social science disciplines and will take an interdisciplinary approach to society-environment interactions. We are particularly interested in candidates who focus on sustainability, energy, climate, ecosystems, food, justice or development. Qualifications: A PhD in Environmental Studies, the environmental social sciences or a related field completed by the appointment date.

The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications after November 7, 2011. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Please send a letter of application, a CV, reprints of representative work, and three letters of reference to:

Richard B. Howarth, Chair
Environmental Studies Program Search Committee
6182 Steele Hall
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755 USA

Queries and letters of reference may be sent via e-mail to

Dartmouth College combines a commitment to innovative scholarship and excellent teaching. Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and has a strong commitment to diversity. We welcome applications from a broad spectrum of people, including women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, and veterans.


7. Publications:

Environmental Economics – Theory and Policy
by Alfred Endres

This intermediate-level undergraduate textbook in environmental economics builds on the microeconomics courses students take in their first year. It intentionally does not survey the whole field or present every possible topic. Instead, there is a clear focus on the theory of environmental policy and its practical applications. Most of the applied parts of the book deal with the economics of environmental policy in the European Union and in the United States. The book combines basic environmental economic analysis, such as the internalization of externalities, with recent developments in this field, including induced technical change and coalition theory. Moreover, topics from daily policy debates such as global warming and sustainable development are put into economic perspective. This is done in an intelligible form for advanced undergraduate students of economics, business administration, and related fields. Each part of the book contains a set of exercises and suggested solutions.

For more information click here.

Nature Climate Change

Launched in April 2011, Nature Climate Change is a new monthly journal dedicated to publishing the most significant and cutting-edge research on the impacts of global climate change and its implications for the economy, policy and the world at large.

The journal publishes original research across the physical and social sciences and strives to synthesize interdisciplinary research.

Visit for further information and submission details:


Ecological Economics: Sustainability in Practice
by Stanislav E. Shmelev

In a concise and crisp manner, this book presents the state of the art in ecological economics, an interdisciplinary field focused on the analysis of sustainability of global, national and regional economic systems. An elegant guide, the book offers a range of cutting edge methods used in sustainability research including multicriteria decision aid (MCDA), input-output analysis, and life cycle analysis.

Order here.



8. Students:

University of Reading, UK: New MSc in Climate Change and Development

The University of Reading is offering a new MSc in Climate Change and Development. Particular emphasis is given to Ecological Economics, both as a framework for understanding its social and economic causes and one for policy design and evaluation.

Further information can be found here

University of Sussex, UK: PhD Research Project - The role of household consumers in future electricity systems

The University of Sussex is offering two DPhil studentships to start in October 2011 that focus on the role household consumers might play in these future electricity networks. They will run for three and a half years, and will focus on the following topics:

1. What value householders place on the different services provided by electricity, and how the profile of demand might change to contribute to electricity system flexibility and sustainability.
2. How variations in householders’ willingness and ability to act more sustainably could affect the impact of engagement strategies and incentives from suppliers and government.

Closing date: 4th October.

Further information can be found here
. New website online!


Society is facing multiple environmental challenges, climate change and global change as most demanding,
this raises the need for scientific expertise in the field of Sustainability Studies.
is a platform designed to bridge scientific and institutional borders and publicize different courses within
this field of study in Vienna.