Energy and Sustainability: Exploring New Narratives

The European Commission will host a workshop in Brussels on April 20, 2017 to examine ‘New Narratives of Energy and Sustainability’. You’re invited.

François-Xavier Chevallerau | March 16, 2017

How robust are the common narratives used to frame energy policies? Are they built on solid scientific evidence or could they be misleading? Do we need alternative narratives of energy and sustainability? A workshop will be held in Brussels on April 20, 2017 to discuss these issues.

The ‘New Narratives of Energy and Sustainability’ workshop is jointly organized by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and ‘MAGIC’ (Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security), a project funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. The MAGIC project is coordinated by the Autonomous University of Barcelona and aims to examine and challenge the theoretical and analytical tool-kits used to design and implement policies involving the ‘nexus’ between water, food, energy and land use. Its goal is to transform ‘nexus’ from a mere shorthand for the complexity of the relationship between water, soils, energy and climate into a set of relationships between identified factors that can be systematically used to explore this complexity. This implies integrating into the analysis social challenges and stakeholders perceptions related to the climate-water-food-energy nexus. To this end MAGIC intends to structure the perception (qualitative) and representation (quantitative) of the nexus using an approach called ‘Quantitative Story-Telling’ (QST), i.e. the construction and verification of the narratives used to study and assess the nexus.

A key objective of the MAGIC project is to carry out a quality check on existing policy narratives referring to the nexus by assessing whether the results expected from those policies are achievable, viable and desirable in relation to the nexus. In this perspective, the workshop taking place in Brussels on 20 April will challenge common narratives of energy and sustainability. Alternative narratives are not only desirable but also possible, and they need to be examined within the complexity of current and future energy settings. The results of the workshop will help inform the MAGIC project’s future work.

Keynote speakers at the workshop include Mario Giampietro – ICREA Research Professor, ICTA-UAB, and MAGIC Project Coordinator, Vaclav Smil, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and energy analyst Gail Tverberg.

The workshop will take place on Thursday 20th April 2017 from 9:30 to 16:30 at the Berlaymont building in Brussels (Schuman Conference Room). Participation is free but registration is required. The Biophysical Economics community is invited to participate and to contribute actively to the discussions that will be held at the workshop.

The workshop agenda is available here.

Registration and information:

Registration: JRC registration page (you need to create an EU Login Account in case you don’t have one).


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