Daily Archives: January 14, 2015

Oxford Adaptation Academy

Comprehensive Course for Leaders and Practitioners

In partnership with GCAP and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, explore your role, make new and binding friendships with future leaders, raise the bar on your own thinking and potential by rubbing shoulders with an internationally renowned academic community, learn first-hand from expert practitioners and be inspired by leading intellectuals pioneering revolutionary interventions.

Themes

The Oxford Adaptation Academy integrates learning themes on:

  • Participants’ role as change makers, in their own careers and organisations
  • Adaptation as a process linking climate science, vulnerability and decision making
  • Technical skills in analysing adaptation options and project development

Each year includes special topics such as including enterprise finance, risk rating, corporate sustainability and urban resilience. The Oxford Adaptation Academy 2014 program can be downloaded from here.

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2015 Oxford Adaptation Academy for Leaders & Practitioners

Jointly organised by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University and the Global Climate Adaptation Partnership (GCAP), the Academy brings climate practitioners together to discuss the links between climate science, vulnerability and decision making. Now in its 6th year, previous participants include representatives from the UNFCCC, Asian/African/Inter-American Development Banks, NGOs and national governments.

date 9 – 28 August 2015  venue University of Oxford  location Oxford, UK  contact ldowning@climateadaptation.cc

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Harvard defies divestment campaigners and invests tens of millions of dollars in fossil fuels

Campaigners protest over ‘blood money’ investments that come ahead of a lawsuit brought by students over Harvard’s refusal to divest from companies that cause climate change

Harvard’s sevenfold increase in oil and gas investments in the third quarter of 2014 flies in the face of campaigns urging the university to divest from fossil fuels. Photograph: Paul Weiskel/Corbis

Suzanne Goldenberg

Wednesday 14 January 2015 07.40 EST

Harvard has newly invested tens of millions of dollars in oil and gas companies, rebuffing campaigners’ demands to sever the wealthy university’s ties to the companies that cause climate change.

The university’s refusal to withdraw an $32.7bn endowment from fossil fuels has frustrated campaigners and resulted in a law suit brought by seven Harvard students. The university – the world’s richest – is due to appear in court next month.

Now it emerges Harvard increased its holdings in publicly traded oil and gas companies by a factor of seven during the third financial quarter of 2014, the latest data available.

The new investments increased Harvard’s stake in oil and gas companies – including those involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and fracking – from $11.8m (£7.8m) to about $79.5m, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings by campus divestment activists.

Jim Recht, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and a supporter of the divestment campaign, described the new oil and gas holdings as “blood money” and said they indicated Harvard’s unwillingness to review its policies despite the growing awareness of the dangers of climate change.

“That’s blood money,” he said. “It is making money out of something we see as fundamentally illicit.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

CIAT – International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Mission

To reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human nutrition in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the eco-efficiency of agriculture.

People

CIAT’s staff includes about 200 scientists. Supported by a wide array ofdonors, the Center collaborates with hundreds of partners to conduct high-quality research and translate the results into development impact. A Board of Trustees provides oversight of CIAT’s research and financial management (see organogram).

See country profiles:

Food-Matters
Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Rethinking Economics

Our vision:
A direction for the reform of economics education

This is intended as a statement to provide a unifying direction for those groups campaigning for economics curriculum reform in universities across the world. Please show your institutional or individual support by contacting us to affiliate with Rethinking Economics or joining our mail-list.

We believe students should be taught to think independently and critically. This involves a critical approach to particular models within each school of economics, as well as the whole methodological structures underlying different schools of economics.

We need to recognise the plurality within economics. In most courses “economics” is shorthand for “neoclassical economics”. There is no recognition of the variety of schools of thought within economics, across history or across the world. Academic integrity requires that alternative economic theories be introduced to students, alongside those currently taught. Economic questions cannot necessarily be answered adequately from a single theoretical standpoint, or solely from a mathematical approach.

Economics, as in the case of any other social sciences, cannot always be value-neutral.Therefore we demand that the philosophical, political and ethical underpinnings of different economic theories should be explicitly discussed during lectures and seminars. Economists need to remain critical of the ethical underpinnings and consequences of their theories.

Economics as it is taught currently is disconnected from real-world events and policies. In many departments, much of the curricula in the last few decades have slowly lost all mention of contemporary events or facts. This means that students are not being equipped to engage in real-world debates. We believe economics graduates should be prepared to consider and react to the economic problems that the world faces, because societies are shaped by economic events and policies, which are in turn shaped by people’s understandings of economics.

Economic theory needs to be presented alongside economic evidence. Real-world data should be used to spark discussions of how useful different theories are. Students should be able to weigh up theories against evidence, criticise the multiple uses of evidence, and understand why statistical methods are contestable. This includes debating what constitutes evidence, and conditions under which finding evidence may not be possible.

We believe a context-free economics is a misguided economics. Economic theories cannot be fully understood independently of the institutional, cultural and technological context in which they were formulated. Therefore, links to economic history and the history of economic thought should be made wherever possible. We should recognise that while some of today’s economic theories are a scientific “progression” from the past, many of them are just a different way of looking at society.

As well as recognising the strengths of our approaches, we should foster humility and self-awareness within economics. We need to specifically mention the limitations of our approaches, and recognise that there are a plurality of disciplines that study society which have insights to offer economics. Interdisciplinary dialogue is necessary for economics to grow. We must stop isolating ourselves from anthropology, sociology and political science when we have much to learn from them.

We want to stress that individual departments are not the cause of the problem. It is difficult for any individual economist or department to act independently of others. We need to take the lead by pushing for reform together, within and across countries.

This document is based on the Manchester Post-Crash Economics Society petition and the Rethinking Economics CORE feedback from Nov 2013.

​Signed, the member groups of Rethinking Economics:

Rafe Martyn and Marco Schneebalg (University of Cambridge, Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism)

Thomas Youngman and Hoang Nguyen (UCL, Better Economics Society)

Alex Andrade Martins (SOAS, Open Economics Forum)

Benolas Tippet, Katarzyna Buzanska & Franck Magennis (LSE, Post Crash Economics at LSE)

Yuan Yang and Diana Garcia Lopez (Rethinking Economics Organisers’ Hub)

Nicolò Fraccaroli and Mathia Achei (LUISS University Rome, Rethinking Economics Italia)

Isaac Stovell and Kiryl Zach (University of Sheffield, Alternative Thinking for Economics Society)

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Big Trouble for Little Birds

E120, e130

Paris Attacks: Rage of the Dispossessed

E120, e145,

Troubled History Is Backdrop To Dresden’s Anti-Islamization Protests

E120, e145, e130