Infomail 05/01

Welcome to the May/June edition of SERI's InfoMail.

The monthly published electronic news bulletin of the Vienna
Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI).

INFOMAIL NEWS

All InfoMail editions from the year 2000 are downloadable now as pdf-Files.

Table of contents

1. SERI-News: General news from SERI and SERI members

  • SERI and "Sustainability in the Austrian landscape of Research"
  • Daniel Mittler at WSSD preparatory meeting
  • Francois Schneider back from Estonia
  • News on Niki Rosinski
  • Jürgen Schäfer evaluates SERI's knowledge management

2. Project-Overview: News from our projects, our other work and new research fieldsNews from our projects, our other work and new research fields

  • Research proposal on "Global Material Flows"
  • Study on the development of PROREGIS
  • News on the OECD Environmental Strategy
  • SERI and the European environmental policy

3. Friends: Seri and ... (News about co-operation and partnerships)

  • SERI is looking for interns
  • Invitation of young post-doc researchers

4. Selected publications: Book reviews and announcements from SERI members and related writers and publishers

  • WACKERNAGEL; GILJUM:
    "Importing carrying capacity.
    Global trade and the accumulation of ecological debt"
  • HINTERBERGER; OMANN:
    "Employment and Environment in a sustainable Europe" (Revised version)
  • SCHEPELMANN:
    "Kollaps oder Rückkehr zur Politik?
    Auf dem Weg zu einer Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie der Europäischen Union"

5. Links + Other: News about other activities, hints and advice on dates, workshops etc.

  • Interactive Map of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Rio+10 World Summit on Sustainable Development News
  • Announcement for the international conference:
    SUSTAINABILITY AND SOLIDARITY
  • Europe's way to the world summit on sustainable development
    June 12-14 2001, Gothenburg/Sweden
  • Conference announcement:
    SOLAR ENERGY - WORLD TRADE FAIR FOR RENEWABLE ENERGIES
    Berlin, 8. - 10. June 2001
  • 'LIFEBOAT' campaign from Friends of the Earth Europe
    July 21st 2001, BONN/Germany
  • News on CEPIS
    (Centro Panamericano de Ingeniería Sanitaria y Ciencias del Ambiente)
  • AMAZON FOREST IN DANGER

6. Going on in Vienna

Events in Vienna on Sustainability and Communication:

  • TAGUNG
    "Nachhaltigkeit öffne Dich - Bildung und Kommunikation für ein
    Leitbild"
    7. und 8. Juni 2001
  • SEMINAR
    "Nachhaltigkeit und neue Medien",
    9. Juni 2001


Contents

1. SERI-News: General news from SERI and SERI members

SERI and "Sustainability in the Austrian Fields of Research"

SERI has been represented by Christopher Manstein at the event "Nachhaltigkeit in der österreichischen Forschungslandschaft" ("Sustainability in the Austrian landscape of Research") which took place at the 9th of May in Vienna.
On behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Economy a systematic survey on this topic has been carried out by the Forum Wissenschaft und Umwelt (Forum Science and Environment) which also arranged the event. The survey observed which thematic fields relating to sustainability are examined by the (universitary) research community and which are the positions of different
sciencies on questions of a sustainable society.

Daniel Mittler at WSSD preparatory meeting

Daniel Mittler was the only German NGO representative at the first
Preperatory Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which
took place in New York from April 30th to May 2nd. The follow-up summit to
Rio will take place in Johannesburg in September 2002.

You can find his report on the meeting here - or contact Daniel
directly at his website.

Francois Schneider back from Estonia

Francois Schneider is back from his 3 month stay in Estonia and Scandinavia
after participating at the Lund conference, the 7th ERCP.

The paper on rebound effect is available at our page on EIS and the paper on
eco-efficient regions at our regions-site.

In addition to working with the Estonian Fund for Nature on the Ecological Assessment of the Estonian Chancellery, he developed contacts with SEI Tallinn and Hendriksson in Tartu. In Helsinki Francois met Petri Tapio of the Finland Future research centre in a meeting with other colleagues on the subject of Rebound in traffic, and Jorma Lievonen of Sirius research communication. In Sweden contacts were developed with the FMS, Christer Sanne of KTH , and the Spatial Modelling Center in Kiruna.

Francois Schneider coordinates SERI's work on rebound effects and transport
policy. Contact: Francois.Schneider@seri.at

News on Niki Rosinski

From 5. June on Niki Rosinski will work with SAM Sustainability Group (Zurich) as a Sustainability Analyst in the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index Team. SAM is an independent asset management company and manages institutional and private mandates in line with sustainability criteria. SAM offers sustainability-driven investment vehicles such as the Sustainable Performance Group and various mutual funds. And together with Dow Jones & Company, SAM launched the world's first index to track the performance of sustainability-driven companies worldwide.

Please refer to http://www.sam-group.com for further information.

Jürgen Schäfer evaluates SERI's knowledge management

Jürgen Schäfer is currently evaluating SERI under the aspect of a 'Communitiy of Practice' and its special conditions of organizational knowledge transfer.

The long-term interest of his studies are the possible consequences of knowledge management in and through 'Communities of Practice' in order to improve sustainability strategies.

The results of the evaluation will be presented by Jürgen and Fritz Hinterberger on a workshop organized by the University of Essen at the academy 'Wolfsburg' in Mülheim/Ruhr on June 28., 2001.

For more information please contact: juergen.schaefer@uni-essen.de.

2. Project-Overview: News from our projects, our other work and new research fields

Research proposal on "Global Material Flows"

Fritz Hinterberger presented the research proposal on "Global Material Flows" at an Austrian National meeting of the International Human Dimensions Programme (HDP-A) in Graz. A group of about 10 international researchers was initiated to follow the project which will be formally started at an internal workshop in June in cooperation between SERI and IIASA.

See our website on Global Material Flows for a rough presentation of the project.

Study on the development of PROREGIS

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Traffic, Innovation and Technology, Christopher Manstein and the Factor 10 Innovation Network worked out a feasibility study on the development of PROREGIS (Productivity Registry - Center for Resource Productivity Factors for Wealth Creation). The aim of such a center should be to offer reliable data of the resource productivity factors (resource-input-factors including space, energy, important emissions) of basic raw materials, for branches and for regions/nations. A meeting concerning the realisation of PROREGIS will take place at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research at the end of May.

SERI (Fritz Hinterberger) has been responsible for the part of the study on "Resource-Input-Factors related to Economic Zones".

For further information please contact Christopher Manstein
(Christopher.Manstein@seri.at) and surf to our site on PROREGIS.

The complete study (in German only) can be downloaded as pdf-file.

News on the OECD Environmental Strategy

The new US policy turns out to cause major setbacks for the OECD work on sustainability and environmental issues. First the sustainability strategy (after three years of work !) had to be reclassified from a shared position of ministers to be adopted at their next meeting this month to a discussion paper by the secretary general, i.e. it became explicitly non-binding. Given the limited neoliberal approach (sustainability was regarded nothing much more than correcting market failures by ecotaxes) this is not a problem, but a missed opportunity.

Similarly, the Environmental Programme is under pressure from the irresponsible policy of the US government. Consequently, no breakthrough towards a convincing environmental policy was to be expected from the negotiations last month. Against this background, the compromises found may even be considered positive, at least no backlash.

However, the whole chapter on climate policy had to be put in square brackets, i.e. it is up for new negotiations on May 14th. The draft version of the climate chapter presented by the OECD secretariate after the April round of discussions does not claim to end all efforts, but leaves out the critical issues of commitments, volumes and time tables. If
there was any credibility in the US claim to continue with climate policy while leaving the Kyoto framework, here would have been the point to demonstrate it. Unfortunately, the US government so far missed another opportunity to improve its international credibility.
International environmental NGOs have heavily criticised the suggestions, based on profound knowledge. Their position can be downloaded here.

SERI and the European environmental policy

The European Commission's task force for sustainable development has completed drafting the European Sustainable Development Strategy. Philipp Schepelmann has recently published an article about the strategy (Kollaps oder Rückkehr zur Politik? Auf dem Weg zu einer Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie derEuropäischen Union. In: Ökologisch Wirtschaften 2001/2, Berlin). The article comments on the nature and prospects of the strategy in connection with the EU environmental integration process on which SERI has
completed a comprehensive study.

The SERI study "From Helsinki to Gothenburg" can be downloaded here.

Further documentation on the environmental integration process is currently being prepared by sustainability.tv in cooperation with SERI. The sustainable development strategy and the environmental integration process have also been subject to a non paper of the Austrian government which has been prepared with input from SERI. The non paper can be obtained from: Rita.Trattnigg@bmu.gv.at.

3. Friends: Seri and ... (News about co-operation and partnerships)

SERI is looking for interns

Students of economics, ecology, geography, sociology, psychology or other areas interested in working with a young and innovative team on themes around sustainable development and spending some time (6 weeks minimum) in Vienna are warmly invited to contact us.

We usually pay for travel and help with accomodation.

Please see this pdf for details.

Contact us at: office@seri.at

SERI would still like to invite post-doc researchers intending to apply for Marie Curie Fellowships to work with SERI or members of the SERI network in other parts of Europe.

See www.cordis.lu/improving/src/hp_mcf.htm for more, or try the links below for detailed information:

http://www.cordis.lu/improving/src/hp_ncp.htm
http://www.cordis.lu/improving/src/mc_tsf_pg.htm
http://improving-mcf.sti.jrc.it/project/
http://www.mariecurie.org/
http://www.cordis.lu/tmr/src/grants1.htm

But we are also looking for interesting places of research to which our researchers could go for some time!

4. Selected publications: Book reviews and announcements from SERI members and related writers and publishers

New publication by

Mathis WACKERNAGEL und Stefan GILJUM:

"Importing carrying capacity. Global trade and the accumulation of ecological debt"

Published in: Natur und Kultur, Vol. 2/1, pp. 33 - 54 (in German only)

Abstract:
In a sustainable world, we should live on the interests of the planet's natural capital. However, increasing evidence suggests that humanity's ecological demand is exceeding the regenerative capacity of the biosphere.
The expanding global economic activities exacerbate this trend, particularly since they allow the rich countries to overcome the constraints imposed by the limited productivity of their national ecosystems. This path of ecologically unbalanced globalization, however, will lead humanity into an impasse, since not all nations can be net-importers of ecological capacity.

Key words: natural capital, carrying capacity, overshoot, global trade, ecological footprint

For more information on the journal "Natur und Kultur" see: www.natur-kultur.at.

Revised version of:

"Employment and Environment in a sustainable Europe"

by Fritz HINTERBERGER and Ines OMANN

Fritz Hinterberger and Ines Omann presented a revised version of their paper on "Employment and Environment in a sustainable Europe" at the annual meeting of the Austrian Economic Association.

Abstract
The paper explains in general terms, how we would define the three pillars of sustainable development: the viability (resilience) of environmental, economic and social systems. In order to operationalise the concept of Sustainable Development, indicators for these three pillars are defined. One possibility to define macro-indicators is to assign one indicator to each pillar: With regard to economic development and the social field, these
objectives are relatively easy to operationalise because well-proven indicators exist in both areas, f. ex. the GDP growth for the economic, unemployment rate for the social aspect. These indicators are of course not indisputable but widely used and can be taken as a general starting point.
The total material input into an economy can be seen as one indicator showing the environmental impact. This view brings about major challenges for economic theory: it is only feasible to describe possible policies adequately if the economy-ecology-relationship is described adequately.
Some more general statements on the economy-employment-ecology relationship from a theoretical point of view are made in the form of inequations and productivities.
In addition to standard economic arguments on macroeconomic variables such as the relation of prices, wages, labour productivity, employment and total output we will include the total material input along with resource productivities to describe, explain and evaluate possible developments of economic and environmental variables.

See this website for an updated version of the paper.

Recently published

by Philipp SCHEPELMANN:

"Kollaps oder Rückkehr zur Politik?
Auf dem Weg zu einer Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie der Europäischen Union"

Published in: Ökologisch Wirtschaften 2001/2, Berlin

The article comments on the nature and prospects of the strategy in connection with the EU environmental integration process. To read the article (in German only) click here:

To get more information on this journal surf this website

5. Links + Other: News about other activities, hints and advice on dates, workshops etc.

Interactive Map of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

To assist the Kyoto protocol process - to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to counter climate change, a new interactive map service has been launched at: http://maps.grida.no/kyoto/.

"Greenhouse Gases & the Kyoto Protocol" presents data and statistics collected by international institutions. Using the map, any user can now evaluate the current state of emissions, and projections for the future. The data is available both as total emissions, and as emissions per citizen in each country that has signed the Kyoto protocol. It is also possible to zoom in and closer examine a specific part of the world, or to get a graph of the emissions covering a period of 20 years.

The presentation in this map provides an easy way to examine the statistics, and also to evaluate the agenda in climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

The website was developed by UNEP/GRID-Arendal in Norway , a United Nations Environment Programme information centre, and the website is also a part of the UNEP.Net environmental network.

For more information, please contact: Hugo Ahlenius (ahlenius@grida.no).

Rio+10 World Summit on Sustainable Development News

The first meeting of the Summit Preparatory Committee was held from 30
April - 2 May 2001 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

This organizational meeting accomplished the following:

  • Elected, from among all States, a Bureau composed of 10 members, with two representatives from each of the geographical groups;
  • Considered progress in preparatory activities at the local, national, subregional, regional and international levels, as well as by major groups;
  • Decided on the specific modalities of its future preparatory meetings;
  • Considered a process for setting the agenda and determining possible main themes for the Summit in a timely manner;

A multi-stakeholder panel was held at the beginning of PrepCom I to allow major group representatives to bring to the organizational discussion the views of their major group constituencies. Statements were made by representatives of the Scientific and Technological Community, Business and Industry, Indigenous Peoples, Trade Unions, Local Authorities, Women, Farmers, Youth, and the South African NGO Host Committee for the World Summit.

More information on this meeting are available here.

The decisions of the commission on Sustainable Development acting as the
preparatory committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, at
its organizational session can be found here.

Surf to www.johannesburgsummit.org to get general information on the Johannesburg Summit 2002.

Announcement for the international conference:

Sustainability and Solidarity - Europes way to the World Summit on Sustainable Development

JUNE 12-14 2001, GOTHENBURG SWEDEN

Connected to the EU-summit in Gothenburg June 2001 Friends of the Earth Sweden, Friends of the Earth Europe and the Heinrich Boell foundation will organise a two and a half day international conference on the theme Sustainability and Solidarity - Europe's way to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
The first day of the conference will focus on information sharing and strategy planning. for campaining and actions among NGOs and popular movements (social movements, citizen organisations). On the second day high level politicians are invited to debate the European governments and the EU's political willingness and capacity to achieve sustainability and equity world-wide with the NGOs and popular movements.

For further information and for participation details please visit the conference-website at: www.mjv.se

SOLAR ENERGY - WORLD TRADE FAIR FOR RENEWABLE ENERGIES

BERLIN, 8. - 10. JUNE 2001

The World Fair for Renewable Energies will for the fourth time be open to specialist visitors and end-users from 8 to 10 June 2001 on Berlin's "Radio Tower" trade fair site.
The full range of solar electricity production, solar heating, block heat power station technology, bio-mass application and wind power alternatives will be on display in four exhibition halls. There will also be informative talks, training events, workshops and expeditions to view solar projects.

To get detailed information on this event click: www.solarenergy-berlin.de.

'LIFEBOAT' campaign from Friends of the Earth Europe

July 21st 2001, BONN/Germany

Friends of the Earth invites thousands of people concerned about global warming to build a giant climate RESCUE BOAT with their messages from around the world, a symbol of the need for political action now.

If you join 'this year's most important public gathering to save the climate treaty', accommodation, paddles and a party provided.

Information and registration at www.foeeurope.org/lifeboat or by
e-mail: boat@foeeurope.org.

News on CEPIS (Centro Panamericano de Ingeniería Sanitaria y Ciencias del Ambiente)

The Pan American Center for Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences, (CEPIS), is the specialized center for environmental technology of the Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization.

The Center was established in 1968 and is located in Lima, Peru. The Peruvian Government provided CEPIS premises and finances some of its operating costs. CEPIS is part of PAHO's Division of Health and Environment and develops its activities with the support of PAHO/WHO Country Representative Offices.

CEPIS mission is to cooperate with the countries of the Americas to evaluate and control environmental risk factors that, directly or indirectly, affect the health of the population.

For more information surf here for the Spanish portal or click here for the English version.

AMAZON FOREST IN DANGER

The Brazilian congress is now voting on a project that will reduce the Amazon forest to 50of its size. The area to be deforested is 4 times the size of Portugal and would be mainly used for agriculture and pastures for livestock. All the wood is to be sold to international markets in the form of wood chips by multinational companies. The truth is that the soil in the Amazon forest is useless without the forest itself. Its quality is very
acidic and the region is prone to constant floods At this time more than 160000 square kilometres deforested with the same purpose are abandoned and in the process of becoming deserts.

Greenpeace's website is providing a letter which you can send to the President of Brazil to express your personal concerns and to voice your opposition to the destruction.

To get more information on this campaign or for participation click:
http://act.greenpeace.org/t/s/ams/e?a=amazon_govt&s=blue2

6. Going on in Vienna

Events in Vienna on Sustainability and Communication:

TAGUNG
"Nachhaltigkeit öffne Dich - Bildung und Kommunikation für ein Leitbild"
7. und 8. Juni 2001
Kardinal König Haus, Lainzer Straße 138, A-1130 Wien

SEMINAR
"Nachhaltigkeit und neue Medien"
9. Juni 2001
Austrian iP Center, Dreyhausenstraße 11, 1. Stock, A-1140 Wien

You'll get more information by clicking:
www.umweltbildung.at/veranstaltung/aktuell/ or contact Mag. Dagmar Ledl at Tel.: 0043-1-402 47 01-13.

These were our messages and news for this month. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for detailed information on our projects and for possibilities in co-operation and partnership. It’s a challenge to start an interactive dialogue of exchanging experiences. You are all invited to participate in this process.


SERI is the first "virtual" research institute with associated researchers all over Europe.

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute, together with a supporting legal association, exists since September 1999 according to Austrian Law. The headquarters have been established in Vienna. We would like to invite you to participate in this undertaking.

The Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) is a Pan-European think tank aiming to explore sustainable development options for European societies. SERI's research agenda and methodology is based on previous work carried out by Friends of the Earth and the Wuppertal Institute. The Institute aims to develop the concept of environmental space and shows ways to substantially reduce the resource throughput of modern industrial societies. The research carried out by members of SERI supports the dialogue within European civil society. It specifically aims to further develop the exchange of ideas between environmental citizens organisations, governments, trade unions and industry. The scientific dialogue SERI aims to engender is supported by its web page and this newsletter, conferences, meetings as well as publications.

Have a nice day – your SERI-Team.

SERI-Infomail 05/2001
Distributed by Jürgen Schäfer
Managing Editor, SERI-InfoMail
All Rights Reserved.
© SERI 2001 (Vienna / Essen)


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