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[en] There is a global expectation about the peace process between the National Government and the FARC-EP and ELN guerrillas in Colombia, and also about the adoption of the possible agreements. However, as argued in this article, the fact that the emergence of a phase of post-conflict and/or post-agreements is mentioned from the theoretical and conceptual point of view does not mean that the internal conflicts vanish, but instead, they are transformed or can even give rise to new conflicts. A contribution in this sense is to conclude that the armed development is only a manifestation or expression of the conflict that turns out to be much more complex, due to its multiple aspects and factors that produce it. This trend is clear with respect to environmental matters: since the announced post-conflict phase in Colombia in the last years the environmental conflicts have intensified or have led to situations that enable the emergence of new conflicts. For this reason, the challenge of environmental conflicts is to propose a series of reflections for the discussion and construction of broad and lasting peace scenarios. In this sense, peace is not the absence of conflicts, but a situation in which they can be solved without resorting to violence and guaranteeing environmental rights. The proposal is finding a concerted and participatory solution among the different social sectors that acknowledges and establishes the aspects for overcoming environmental injustices, insisting that the latter constitute a condition that generates conflict due to the distribution of the environmental goods and burdens, which are manifested in inequalities and inequities between human beings and human beings and nature. Therefore, it will be essential to focus the efforts so that environmental rights are respected by guaranteeing no detriments, pollution or impacts, and assuring the emergence of affirmative actions, demands and struggles that allow the realization of a redistributive justice, the resolution of inequality and poverty, and the respect and limits for the conservation and sustainability of environmental and natural goods
[en] Environmental issues are not only relevant, but decisive for a stable and lasting peace building in Colombia. Environmental issues in the post-agreement have helped accentuate the importance of non-human nature as a motive/loot, a stage and a victim of the armed conflict. The signing of the Peace Agreement has led to a reduction of the conflict, but at the same time, it has highlighted environmental conflict scenarios that evidence the increase of tensions over land, forests (due to deforestation and illicit crops), water and the communities' livelihoods. These environmental conflicts point out new challenges for peace building in the territories. In this context it is necessary to understand the complex dynamics that have given rise to new environmental conflicts, and also figure out those that are not new, but the result of historical territorial disputes that, in some cases, may have escalated into armed confrontation. This understanding may allow proposing elements that help change the structural causes of conflict, jointly with the territory actors, based on an integral, integrative vision and with a inter, transdisciplinary and inter-know ledges perspective oriented to the protection of human and non-human nature, which is currently highly threatened. In this sense, the defense of nature is the base for a stable, lasting and integral peace building, in harmony with nature. No peace will be possible unless we generate processes that contribute to building territories where those who have been historically excluded and deprived are able to live and fulfill their rights, with dignity and according to their lifestyles.
[en] An argument of those supporting the direct election of regulators is that election allows voter preferences to be translated easily into policy outcomes. However, a danger of this approach is that the low salience of regulatory issues among the median voter could allow for regulatory capture, where regulated firms use their influence to extract favorable outcomes. Although the role that institutional design plays in influencing capture has been evaluated by comparing appointed and elected regulators, evidence of the capture of elected regulators remains scant, and we know little about the conditions that may mitigate such capture. Here, we study electricity rate-making by Arizona's elected public utilities commission to determine how the economy, citizen complaints, and industry and interest group lobbying affect rate decisions. Leveraging original quantitative and interview data, we find that commissioners respond to voters and set pro-consumer electricity prices when inflation rises and when citizen complaints increase. We do not find that industry and interest group lobbying influence rate-making. We argue that commissioners are pro-behavior because prices are salient, and commissioners desire reelection. The result suggests that the electoral mechanism reduces chances of regulatory capture, although the matter of electoral pandering remains unresolved.
[en] Highlights: • Researchers derived importance weights for eight components of federal-energy-policies. • Researchers found the most important component was impact on environmental quality. • Researchers did a similar study in eight states with active energy-policy discussions. • The most important energy policies across the states related to the environment and energy costs. • Analysis disclosed citizens’ pronounced risk-aversion for negative policy changes. - Abstract: Without knowledge of citizen preferences, policy makers most often rely on their intuition to infer such preferences or on biased information provided by special interest groups. Using a choice-modeling approach, the study features two large-scale, field-research projects—one done nationally in the US, and another composed of separate data collection efforts across eight states where energy policies have a high profile in public discourse. The results suggest four outcomes of energy policies are most important to citizens at the national level: 1) environmental quality, 2) energy costs, 3) job creation, and 4) greenhouse gas emissions. This pattern of importance for the outcomes of energy policy persists across important demographic groups including those related to political-party affiliation. At the state level, the four preferred outcomes of energy policies seen at the national level also appear—although in a different order of preference in some states. Further analysis of citizens’ willingness to change energy policy at the state level suggests that risk aversion characterizes citizens’ views about revising energy policy.
[en] In a radiation emergency situation, including its post-emergency recovery phase, substantial needs for radiation measurements can be expected. In such situations, responsible authorities might not be able to satisfy all requirements for measurement. Therefore, involvement of local communities is desirable. Citizen radiation monitoring networks, established in advance as citizen science structures, can serve as a knowledge basis for later participation in self-help protective actions. The article describes the progress of citizen radiation monitoring networks being established in the Czech Republic in the frame of Radiation Monitoring Network for Institutions and Schools project. During the project launch, it has been shown that conducting radiation measurements and results processing have educational effect on students and enhance awareness among interested groups in the field of radiation protection and radiation in general. This article describes the socially oriented part of the project. (authors)
[en] Highlights: • Russia’s oil sector flares some 12% of its associated petroleum gas. • Interplay of formal and informal institutions is studied to explain exceeding limit. • Exemptions and non-compliance with licenses allow flaring beyond 5% limit. • Informal institutions include unwritten rules, distorting rules, regulatory gaps. • Informal institutions ease coercive pressure put on oil companies by government. - Abstract: The Russian oil sector, crucial to the economy, was obliged to cut its associated petroleum gas flaring to 5% of total supply from 2012. Significant progress has been made since but the target has not been reached. The impact of the weakness of formal and importance of informal institutions on the policy outcome was found to be significant. Not only is far more flaring allowed as a result of exemptions and non-compliance with subsoil licenses but it also remains unclear how much is actually flared due to unclear metering practices and if fines can be avoided or written off without much oversight. Oil sector lobby has advocated many of these informal institutions. Standard type of informal institutions dominates, while also subversive institutions as well as gaps in regulations were identified. Analysing the oil sector interests through new institutionalism shows that the dominance of informal institutions has influenced the behaviour and interests of oil companies, especially in terms of relaxing legitimacy rules on compliance. Also the norm that oil sector activities are prioritized over environmental protection partly explains the relaxed attitude towards informal institutions; the 5% target set is partly ceremonial for the government.
[en] In its report in October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasized that the share of nuclear power in the world's energy mix must increase. It pointed out the major obstacle to doing this: 'The current deployment pace of nuclear energy is constrained by social acceptability [...]. Though comparative risk assessment shows health risks are low [...], the political processes triggered by societal concerns depend on the country-specific means of managing the political debates around technological choices and their environmental impacts'. Unprecedented efforts are being made to move civilization from one model to another within a single generation. Societal obstruction stems, as the report recalls, from erroneous perceptions. Overcoming it, which would open the way for rapid, significant advances, should be a priority, which is not now the case. The parties in charge of lifting these obstacles seem to have made them heavier. A few persons (in particular members of the association Voix du Nucleaire) have decided to tackle the herculean feat of, above all, 'informing', a task that most stakeholders have sidestepped. Will our children realize that we knew this choice was difficult and that this was the reason for doing something? (author)
[en] A museum funded mostly by Areva has recently opened in the Limousin region of France. Built on a former uranium mine and close to nuclear waste disposal sites, the museum invites people to come and marvel at the French nuclear industry's glorious mining history and technological prowess. However, everywhere the group conducts its mining activities, from Limousin and the Far North of Canada, all the way to Niger and the Gobi desert, the same concerns are raised about their environmental impact and health risks not only for miners but also for the surrounding populations. This, however, is something visitors at the Ureka museum are not going to see
[en] Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) are our primary border defense against nuclear smuggling, but are they still the best way to spend limited funds? The purpose of this research is to strategically compare RPM defense at the border with state-side mobile detectors. Limiting the problem to a comparison of two technologies, a decision-maker can prioritize how to best allocate resources, by reinforcing the border with stationary overt RPMs, or by investing in Mobile Radiation Detection Systems (MRDs) which are harder for an adversary to detect but may have other weaknesses. An abstract, symmetric network was studied to understand the impact of initial conditions on a network. An asymmetric network, loosely modeled on a state transportation system, is then examined for the technology that will maximally suppress the adversary's success rate. We conclude that MRDs, which have the advantage of discrete operation, outperform RPMs deployed to a border. We also conclude that MRDs maintain this strategic advantage if they operate with one-tenth the relative efficiency of their stationary counter-parts or better.
[en] Transparency, pluralistic appraisals, participation in decision-making... How are international, European and French regulations now being applied? Have NGOs been capable of using their rights of access to information and of participation in decision-making to understand nuclear energy and play a role in this field? The French National Association of Local Information Committees and Commissions (ANCCLI) has drawn up an inventory of the regulatory tools designed for this purpose. How have 'civil society' and the nuclear industry put these tools to use as genuine means of action? What positive points come to light? And what are the points to watch and to improve? Between the (oft emphasized) urgency of finding a solution and the necessity of taking time (to obtain information, improve skills and confer with stakeholders), 'civil society' expects more sincerity, even humility, from players in the nuclear industry. Above all, NGOs want to see to it that their participation carries weight when decisions are made. (author)