The European Union provides almost 75 billion euros of funding through the Horizon 2020 scheme. This money can fund research projects, studentships, post-doctorates and scientific outreach (to name but a few!). The EU is now calling for feedback and comments about the scheme. This month’s GeoPolicy explains how you can have your say.
Essentially, H2020 provides financial support to scientists and businesses wishing to establish projects that overlap with the EU’s policy objectives (promoting excellent science that benefits society). H2020 was introduced in more detail in a previous GeoPolicy post entitled ‘An overview of EU funding for the Earth, atmosphere, and space sciences’. The scheme runs from 2014 to 2020. Now, at this halfway stage, the EU requesting feedback through an online survey.
The objective of the consultation is to collect information from a wide audience on different aspects of the implementation of the Joint Undertakings operating under Horizon 2020.
The survey is open to all and feedback will be used to improve the second half of H2020 and to support discussions currently being conducted on the next EU funding project: FP9 (Framing Programme 9, 2021-2030).
Contributions are particularly sought from researchers, industry, entrepreneurs, innovators and all types of organisations that have participated in Horizon 2020 and in calls for proposals published by the Joint Undertakings in particular.
So, if you have been part of the H2020 process then consider completing the survey. Deadline for complete is the 10th March 2017.
Last year the European Commission appointed a panel of world leading scientists to advise on key science policy issues. In November, the panel issued their first recommendation report focusing on CO2 vehicle emissions. The month’s GeoPolicy post takes a closer look at this high-level advisory panel and the recommendations they have published.
The panels’s first report, entitled ‘Closing the gap between light-duty vehicle real-world CO2 emissions and laboratory testing’1, was commissioned in the wake of the Volkswagen NOx emissions scandal in 2015. The report aimed to assess the scientific basis for improving measurements of light duty vehicle CO2emissions, which approaches could be considered, and what additional scientific and analytical work would be needed to implement these tests.
The major findings say that developing further emissions testings, in both the laboratory and within the vehicles themselves, would significantly decrease the gap in measured levels. This test, known as the Worldwide Harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure, will be a tougher standard for car manufacturers to adhere to and aims to be introduced across the EU in September 2017. In addition, a ban in awarding certificates to cars who have not been tested using the new method will be implemented. Finally, SAM’s panel recommend a review of the new procedure in 5 years to assess the improvements2.
SAM’s panel consists of 7 members (listed below). The geosciences are (loosely) represented by the newest panel member, Carina Keskitalo, a Professor of Political Science at the Department of Geography and Economic History at Umeå University. She researches into natural resource-use policy, in particular forestry and climate change adaptation policy. She replaced the UK Met Office’s chief scientist, Dame Julia Slingo, who served as a SAM member for one year.
High level group members:
Janusz Bujnicki – Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw (biology);
Pearl Dykstra – Professor of Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam (social science);
Elvira Fortunato – Deputy Chair – Professor, Materials Science Department of the Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University, Lisbon (material science);
The US Presidential election this month saw Republican Donald Trump, a fierce climate sceptic, be elected into office. In wake of the election results, this month’s GeoPolicy post will take a look at Trump’s proposed actions on climate change, how likely these are to happen, and what the climate and clean technology communities could do to limit the damage.
This tweet, written four years ago, has come to surmise Donald Trump’s views on climate change.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
Beyond scepticism, reaching into the realms of conspiracy, it provides a dark outlook on what a Trump presidency might mean for global activities preventing climate change.
In his energy policy speech during his presidential campaign, Trump stated that he wants to re-ignite the US coal industry and expand oil and gas resources to strive for energy independence. Additionally, he has expressed a wish to “cancel” the Paris Agreement and retract Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which requires companies to lower their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1.
Perhaps in no surprise, the day after the election results, stock markets saw share prices rocket for coal companies and plummet for renewable energy firms4.
But will these plans be realised?
A recent news article from Science has tried to assess the possibility of Trump implementing his plans. Some are easier said than done5. The Paris Agreement was ratified by President Obama and entered into force on 04 November 2016. Legally, this means that Trump cannot immediately pull out of the Agreement, it would take several years. He could, however, remove the US from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which would take effect in one year. The article states that this is the most likely action Trump will choose to take. The US currently makes up 17.89 % of global GHG emissions6. It is the second largest contributing nation. Failing to reduce these emissions, or even increasing them, would be a substantial blow to the Paris Agreement.
The Clean Power Plan, being domestic legislation rather than international, could be more difficult to revoke, as it has already undergone a lengthy review process. The article interviews Jody Freeman, director of the Environmental Law Program at Harvard Law School. Courts would have to approve the de-regulation of the Clean Power Plan and this would require ‘sound scientific or technical reasoning’, Freeman says5.
During the same week as the elections, COP22 was being held in Marrakesh. This meeting discussed the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The US Presidential announcement happened on the second day of the conference. Scientists’ responses were mixed. But a clear message resounded: with or without the US, the Paris Agreement will go ahead7.
Dr Philip B Duffy, former senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, states in the video below, that there is an international momentum to tackling climate change that can’t be stopped. If the US government steps back then other countries must step up and do more.
It is clear that Trump does not care about climate change. What he has said, multiple times throughout his presidential campaign, is that he is a business man. Trump cares about making money.
Perhaps by putting the subject of climate change to the sidelines and focusing more on the economic arguments for transforming to a low-carbon technology it is possible to continue addressing this issue. Several economic arguments for tackling climate change exist9:
The cost of renewable energy sources have substantially decreased over recent years and the share of energy being produced by these methods is increasing10;
Natural disasters, like flooding and hurricanes, cost millions in damages and could become more frequent and severe due to climate change11. The rising damage and insurance costs are becoming more competitive with the investments needed to mitigate/adapt to climate change;
In the US, subsidies for traditional energy resources are four-times as large as they are for renewables12.
Several reasons now exist for switching to low-carbon energy supplies, which, in the process, reduce GHG emissions and mitigate against climate change. Additionally, a spokesperson from the Trump campaign did not disregard the possibility of developing renewable energy sources. They were quoted to say:
Energy independence means exploring and developing every possible energy source including wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuels. A thriving market system will allow consumers to determine the best sources of energy for future consumption.13
Many of Trump’s environmental policies focus on de-regulation: leaving it up to the individual States to choose whether they want to partake in mitigation policies. One small positive to this is that not all of the US shares Trump’s views, and although national policies may be changed, many States will continue to implement regional policies that promote clean technology and reduce GHG emissions5. But this will not be enough. If the US fails then the rest of the world must step up to limit rising global temperatures.
Do you have an interest in science policy and the geosciences? Then this post might be just right for you!
We are looking to hire a Science Policy Officer to continue developing the EGU’s policy programme, which is aimed at building bridges between geoscientists and European policymakers, engaging the EGU membership with public policy, and informing decision makers about the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The officer will be tasked with mapping out policy opportunities for the EGU, setting up links between EGU members and European decision makers, and developing training and networking events for scientists to engage with policy.
We are looking for a good team player with excellent interpersonal, organisational, and communication skills to fill this role. The successful applicant will have a postgraduate degree (e.g. MA, MSc), preferably in the geosciences or related scientific disciplines or in public policy. Candidates should also have experience in communicating with policymakers, knowledge of policymaking at the European level and an expert command of English. Non-European nationals are eligible to apply, provided they have some knowledge of the European decision-making system.
To get a feel for what the position involves why not read this post by the current post holder, Sarah Connors? Be sure to also check the GeoPolicy column of the blog for even more insight into the work.
The deadline for application is 15 November 2016. Further details about the position and how to apply can be found here.
Feel free to contact Dr Bárbara Ferreira, the Media and Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +49-89-2180-6703 if you have any questions about the position.