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An exploratory study of the contributions to low carbon policy making in Bristol using WEF Nexus as a heuristic device

Michalec, Aleksandra Ola

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Authors

Aleksandra Ola Michalec



Abstract

Cities around the world have taken up the challenge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by designing policies to bring about low carbon futures. Research on climate change suggests that we are not only facing an issue of increased emissions but in fact, an array of interconnected planetary crises. Extreme weather events, resource scarcity, environmental deterioration and social inequalities could potentially reinforce each other and lead to an undesirable future.
Both academics and practitioners argue that we need to attend to interactions, trade-offs and unforeseen consequences. As a result, “Water-Energy-Food Nexus” has recently risen in popularity echoing this sentiment. The concept promises a low carbon future while ensuring water, energy and food security for all. Although the term has been increasingly prominent in the international policy circles, it has also been subject to a critique from the social sciences. Furthermore, it is not clear whether the lens of Water-Energy-Food Nexus would be applicable to urban scale challenges.
This research seeks to learn how urban sustainability practitioners discuss complexity and interconnections in sustainability issues. By illuminating the links between nexus-type considerations, climate justice and specific sustainability policy issues, the research aims to co-design policy recommendations for a just and low carbon future of Bristol.
Using action research methodology, the research engaged local sustainability practitioners to collaborate on the research design, preliminary results and dissemination. The thesis applied an innovative mix of methods (discourse analysis, focus groups, qualitative survey, spatial analysis and self-reflection) to co-create policy recommendations in the themes of food waste management and energy/water metering.
The main practical contribution of this thesis lies in creating space for transdisciplinary research where the stakeholders from the public, private, charity and academic sectors are participating not only in theory formation but also in improving their practice. Meanwhile, the main theoretical contribution of the thesis is highlighting the relevance of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and climate justice at the urban scale.

Citation

Michalec, A. O. An exploratory study of the contributions to low carbon policy making in Bristol using WEF Nexus as a heuristic device. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/1490777

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Mar 6, 2020
Keywords action research, policy, sustainability, food waste, smart meters, smart cities, climate change
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/1490777

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