Sustainable Energy Policy in Germany: A Case of Natural Gas Lock-in

A new Working Paper from STEPS Summer School alumni seeks to explain why (and how) natural gas has assumed such a dominant role in German energy policy, and at what cost. The authors call upon fellow researchers to challenge the increasing dominance of gas in energy systems worldwide, and to intervene in academic, NGO and…

Unpacking uncertainty in times of climate change

By Shilpi Srivastava, Hans Nicolai Adam and Lyla Mehta Climate change undoubtedly is one of the most significant development challenges of our times. Research over the last few decades has demonstrated clearly the links between anthropogenically induced emissions and climatic changes. Despite these scientific advancements, uncertainties persist at multiple scales; with respect to future societal…

sheep in a grassy field with overcast sky

Why radical land reform is needed in the UK

Half of the land is owned by 1% of the people. Getting information on who owns what land is nigh on impossible. Tax arrangements favour land speculation. Ordinary people cannot get access to land to grow food. Where is this place? Not a settler country in southern Africa, but the UK. With the publication of…

EU Elections: what does populism mean for rural people?

As countries across Europe await the results of the European Union elections, the campaigns of authoritarian and populist political movements are once again in the news. A new collection of articles shows this not only to be a European phenomenon, but worldwide. And rural people, often forgotten or stereotyped, are crucial both in supporting and…

Railway

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative: what’s in it for Africa?

The huge Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum recently concluded in Beijing. 37 heads of state attended, along with droves of policy advisors and numerous thinktanks and research institutes, including IDS where I work. Monica Mutsvanga, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, attended on behalf of the Zimbabwe government. By all accounts it was…

Cities, Uncertainty and Systems Change

Depending who and where you are in the world, you will be experiencing the effects of climate change differently. Here in the UK, the recent hot-weather days in February might have felt unsettling, even as your body welcomed the warmth and sunshine. Meanwhile, people in some parts of the United States were caught in freezing…

A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Realising the SDGs: why a sustainable livelihoods approach can help

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched with great fanfare in September 2015. This was an ambitious agenda for the whole world, aiming to transform development towards sustainability, while leaving no-one behind. I was excited by the prospects. Back then, I expressed the hope that this was perhaps the moment when a new politics of…

Poverty traps: a short film about how people in rural Appalachia see poverty

Poverty is often described as a ‘trap’. How does this reflect the perception of people who live with poverty in their everyday lives? Researchers often use the words ‘poverty trap’ for contexts where systems keep feeding back in a way that maintains a cycle of poverty. It’s not just about a lack of money: poverty…

water pipe

Water crisis’ disproportionate toll on women can no longer be ignored

STEPS member Lyla Mehta has written an article with Ria Basu for the Indian magazine Firstpost about the impacts of ‘water crisis’ on women. Often, access to water is about power and social relations, not just physical scarcity. For most of us, accessing water is as simple as turning the taps on in our kitchens…

Destruction-prone conservation policies: one pathway to sustainability?

By Niak Sian Koh (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden) and Amos Ochieng (Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, Makerere University, Uganda) In an attempt to address the crucial problem of biodiversity loss, governments, conservation NGOs and the private sector are experimenting with different approaches to increase sources of funding for conservation. On a global level, the…