Environmental Strategies Research (fms)

What can a sustainable society be like? What can we do today to approach a sustainable development? How can we measure environmental impacts of products, services and other systems?

These are questions the Division of Environmental Strategies Research (fms) is working with.

Our aim is to develop solutions for, knowledge on and debate around strategic environmental problems. This is primarily done through multi-disciplinary research. fms' research focuses on the interconnections between environmental issues, technological developments and societal change.

Passenger tax on flights a first step

To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aviation, powerful international instruments are required. Sweden and other countries need to take the lead in advocating a quick introduction of such instruments. Meanwhile, a passenger tax can be a first step towards reduced GHG emissions from Swedish aviation. This tax needs to include international flights, which comprise over 90 percent of the climate effect caused by the air travel of Swedes. The tax should be introduced quickly and be aimed at achieving significant reductions in GHG emissions. Together with three researchers from Chalmers, KTH Research Leader Jonas Åkerman, Professor Göran Finnveden and Professor Mattias Höjer develop their position in an opinion piece in the journal Dagens Samhälle.

Dagens Samhälle 27 February 2017 (in Swedish)

Scottish research award to fms PhD student Lina Isacs

In time for her upcoming half-time seminar on November 18, fms PhD student Lina Isacs has received the Postdoctoral and Early Career Researcher Exchanges (PECRE) award from Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) to fund a five week visit to The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban, Scotland. Lina’s PhD project is funded by Formas and treats valuation of ecosystem services, a topic now being at the top of the agenda within environmental policy in both Sweden and the UK. Sweden is committed to make the value of ecosystem services “generally known and integrated into economic decisions” by 2018, according to one of the national environmental objectives.

- My thesis relates to how this can be done in practice. I’m most curious about how the more intangible values of nature can be taken into account, those that are vital for human wellbeing but hard to quantify. If the aim is to achieve a sustainable instead of destructive economic development, it might be that the most important values to account for are those that depend on people’s ethical notions around nature. How can such values be described in decision-making material?

Lina is in the middle of her empirical studies. Together with her supervisor, associate professor Cecilia Håkansson at fms, and the two other members of the project professor Susanne Baden, marine biologist at Gothenburg University, and Hanna Wetterstrand, agronomist at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Lina recently organised four research workshops around valuation of marine ecosystem services at the Swedish west coast. During one week, participants from five municipalities participated in one-day workshops where different tools were explored for assessing people’s perception of values around their local environment.

- The most interesting part was a deliberative exercise where the participants had quite a long time to discuss their local environment from different ethical perspectives and take stand with the help of “statement cards” on the wall. It was striking how all groups seemed to agree that they have a moral responsibility to take care of the environment out of purely altruistic convictions, “we want to spare the marine ecosystems for future generations” and so on, but when it came to “closer-to-one-self-issues”, like whether it should be allowed or not to do what you want on your own land at the shoreline, there was disagreement. People even claimed that these issues were too dissimilar.

A few days after her half-time seminar Lina heads off to Oban. During her visit she will dig into the data and finalise the first paper related to this project. She hopes to get valuable input from her co-supervisor Dr Jasper Kenter, who is based at SAMS and works with similar research.

- The Scottish west-coast November weather will be perfect for this, I suppose, says Lina.

Improved assessment of information and communication technology

Information and communication technology (ICT) plays an increasingly important role in society and is expected to support sustainability strategies. To be able to use ICT in the best possible way it is important to understand its negative and positive environmental impacts. On 16 September Yevgeniya Arushanyan successfully defended her dissertation ”Environmental impacts of ICT: present and future”.

The thesis explores life cycle environmental impacts of current individual ICT solutions, and environmental risks and opportunities related to ICT in future scenarios. The challenges of assessment using Life cycle assessment (LCA) are discussed, and a new methodological framework for qualitative assessment of future scenarios is presented. The ambition of the thesis is to facilitate the discussions in the ICT community and among decision-makers, and to contribute to the development of assessment methods.

Yevgeniya's thesis can be found here

Climate policy under uncertainty

It is socioeconomically profitable to rapidly take significant climate action. On the other hand, not taking action will lead to higher costs. This is shown in a report on climate policy under uncertainty (“Klimatpolitik under osäkerhet”), which is a contribution to the Swedish All Party Committee on Environmental Objectives (Miljömålsberedningen).

The report is published in Swedish but contains a summary in English. It can be found here:

Klimatpolitik under osäkerhet (pdf 1.3 MB)

Research demonstrates benefits of high environmental performance on campus

All new building projects on KTH Campus should follow the highest standards on environmental performance. Environmental certification according to 'Miljöbyggnad guld' would provide significant environmental benefits and would also strengthen KTH education in highlighting the role of engineers in promoting sustainable development, write Nils Brown and Tove Malmqvist in an article.

Read the article here (in Swedish)

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