Special sessions

In addition to the contributed sessions, a number of special session has been proposed, including bot scientific sessions as well as round-table discussions. These special sessions have been selected:

BASE FP7: Models and case studies in support of adaptation policy development in Europe.

Chair: Hans Sanderson, Aarhus University, Denmark

The session will present the methodological point of departure and identification of research gaps and needs of the EU FP7 project Bottom-up Climate Adaptation Strategies towards a Sustainable Europe (BASE). The session will, focus on the key problems of adaptation strategies. It will do this by examining simultaneously the general policy at the EU and national level and actual activities at local and regional levels and provide an outlook on the current status of adaptation in the EU. The session will also investigate baseline estimates of costs that can be avoided through adaptation, as well as analyses of no- or low-regrets costs for adaptation at sectorial, national, and EU level and investigate how to upscale from case studies to higher levels of organization. Replicable case studies are critically important to be able to generalize across sectors and countries, and to provide tailored data input to the economic models need to support policy making. The session will explore the case study design process adopted in BASE. Case studies will be clustered and made comparable across countries and in order to provide new empirical data that can be used and reanalysed in integrated assessment modelling. The aim is to test and analyse ways of bridging the gap between top-down and bottom-up approaches in evaluating adaptation policies and measures. BASE will explore the nature of these processes in order to understand how awareness raising and transparency of governmental plans and actions (e.g. through participatory actions) can contribute to making climate change adaptation strategies truly adaptive to changing conditions at a bottom-up level – hence the session will present the consideration and experiences the BASE team has in relation to the on the ground challenges of case study implementation. The quantitative and qualitative output of the case studies and modeling will be modeled using various approaches, e.g. adaptation pathway development in support of adaptation policy making. These methods will be outlined and reviewed in session drawing lines back to the current status of the adaptation in the EU and thereby qualify future research needs to fulfill the adaptation needs and aims of the European Union. 

Read more about the BASE project at: base-adaptation.eu

Download abstracts from the BASE session here

­LIAISE FP7: NoE for an improved use of impact assessment in policy development 

Chair: Jacques Jansen. Alterra, The Netherlands

Impact Assessment (IA) of planned policies is increasingly perceived and used as a tool to consider the concerns of Sustainable Development from early on in decision making. For such assessments, a wide range of evidence from many different disciplines is needed: For example, agricultural policies impact on soil, water, climate, employment, economy, third countries, etc. The main objective of the FP7 NoE LIAISE (Linking Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainability Expertise) is to build up a broad interdisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners in the field of IA, which develops a mutual understanding of the respective needs and potentials. The website (www.liaise-noe.eu) is an important tool for information exchange within the LIAISE project and for linking-up with external parties involved in Impact Assessment. We provide daily news on different issue areas relevant for Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development. We also publish a regular News Bulletin to which you may subscribe. You are strongly invited to use this LIAISE website for the dissemination of your research projects and other  IA related activities. We also look forward to your feedback on this website and your views on joining the process towards an IA community.

The LIAISE session will be structured as follows:
1. Presentation and discussion of four papers:

  • a. The LIAISE approach to co-designing knowledge on impact assessment (Tarja Soderman)
  • b. The shared IA toolbox (Onno Roosenschoon)
  • c. Impact assessment of soil protection policies in Europe (Nadia Glaesner)
  • d. Impact assessment for Sustainable development: a vision for future development (Sander Janssen)

2. A roundtable discussion on how to conduct research in a meaningful way that addresses the pressing issues of our societies and supports policy makers in their strive for sustainable development? What is needed to solve the issue of the “Policy orientation vs. research orientation” as described in section 2? And how can we secure that science makes an impact on real-world processes?

Download abstracts from the LIAISE session here

­Joint Programming Initiative on Climate: Providing scientific knowledge for the benefit of society

Chair: Eva Banos de Guisasola, CMCC-Euro Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, Italy


  • A general presentation of the JPI climate
  • A panel with fours speakers explaining the four modules: 
  • Moving towards Reliable Decadal Climate Predictions
  • Researching Climate Service Development and Deployment
    • Sustainable Transformations of Society in the Face of Climate Change
    • Decision-support methods and tools for Climate Change

The session will address these question:
Is sufficient knowledge available to decision-makers for them to make properly informed choices to meet climate policy goals?
Are current research programmes adequately addressing the gaps in policy-relevant knowledge?Does international collaboration enhance project quality and relevance, or does it make research more complicated?
Are current or planned research budget sufficient to meet society’s demands?

Panel with speakers:

  • Moving towards Reliable Decadal Climate Predictions: Sylvie Joussaume and Sanna Sorvari
  • Researching Climate Service Development and Deployment: Dagmar Bley
  • Sustainable Transformations of Society in the Face of Climate Change: Lisa Almesjö, Sebastian Helgenberger
  • Decision-support methods and tools for  Climate Change: Gregor Laumann
  • Integrating the JPI climate: Roger Street

The session will close with identifying knowledge gaps.

Read more about JPI Climate at: www.jpi-climate.eu


G­ender, energy and climate change: Advancing research & practice in gender, energy and climate change across and beyond Europe

Chairs: Susan Buckingham, Centre for Human Geography, Brunel University, UK and Ines de Sanchez Madariaga, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain 

It is evident that the causes of climate change are gendered, as are the effects.
This round table discussion proposes to address the following issues:

  • How are attitudes towards, and thinking about energy and climate change affected by gender, as well as by other vectors of disadvantage (such as income, age, disability, race/ethnicity, parenthood?)
  • What are the links between gender-balanced decision-making and more effective policies to mitigate climate change and provide climate-neutral energy options?
  • How can policy making in these areas at the local, national, and international become more gender sensitive?
  • How do gendered experiences of energy use and climate change vary between countries, cultures and world regions?
  • What and where are the gaps in research into gender, energy and climate change?

Panelists include:

  • Karen Morrow, "Women's Participation in Climate Change Governance; why we need it, how we can reduce barriers"
  • Hilda Rohmer, "Impact of gender differences in transport on energy consumption and climate change"
  • Sherilyn MacGregor, "The politics of energy consumption in the North: feminist challenges to dominant discourses"
  • Berit Aasen, "A gendered view from the South: access to energy and impact of climate change"
  • Marcella Schmidt, "Women facing change: the climate dimension"
  • Richard Langlais "Who responds to climate change best? A perspective from Swedish municipalities."

This roundtable is part of a broader inquiry into the ‘state of the art’ of research into gender, energy and climate change, which will inform the development of a major research initiative to influence national and international policy. This is an initiative of the genderSTE COST Action to advance the state of the art in knowledge and policy implementation on gender, science, technology and environment through creating a network of policy-makers and experts on gender, science and technology. Further details at: www.cost.eu/about_cost/governance/genderste


Rebound effects - New perspectives on a phenomenon known for almost 150 years

Chairs: Martin Soland, Universität Zürich and Anja Peters, Fraunhofer ISI.

Reducing the use of energetic and non-energetic resources is typically considered to be a key strategy towards achieving sustainable development goals. While new technologies and environmental policies have led to significant improvements in energy and resource efficiency, progress in the reduction of energy and resource consumption and environmental impacts has been less than expected. To some extent, this is also due to so-called rebound effects, a phenomenon which has first been described in 1865 by the economist W. S. Jevons. Accordingly, efficiency improvements can induce increased demand for services or products which at least partially compensates the expected reduction of energy or resource consumption.

This session presents and discusses relevance and drivers of rebound effects from various perspectives and for various areas and sectors in order to identify specific need for action. Martin Soland (University of Zurich) introduces greentech optimism as a socio-psychological driver of rebound effects and presents empirical results which illu-strate how and under what conditions greentech optimism can negatively influence environmentally responsible behaviour. Anja Peters et al. (Fraunhofer ISI) introduce a psychological model for the explanation of rebound effects and present results of qualitative and quantitative methods to empirically study rebound effects related to lighting in the residential sector in Germany. Matthias Pfaff and Christian Sartorius (Fraunhofer ISI) use an input/output table based tool to quantitatively assess indirect and economy-wide rebound effects of efficiency improvements in resource intensive industrial sectors. Hans Jakob Walnum (Western Norway Research Institute and Aal-borg University) aims at an interdisciplinary understanding of macro rebound effects. Hans Marth and Anja Peters (Fraunhofer ISI) present a conceptual framework to clas-sify, identify and explain rebound effects and to discuss guidelines for policies to ad-dress rebound effects in different fields of environmental policy. Based on the various presentations, recommendations for policy and for further research shall be discussed. 

Download abstracts from the Rebound effects session here

FP7 Afromaison: How to plan, play & prompt meso-institutions for INRM  

Chair: Nils Ferrand, IRSTEA France

­The FP7 Afromaison project (2011-2014) aims to propose and validate concrete strategies for integrated natural resources management in Africa in order to adapt to the consequences of climate change. The challenge is to get to efficient integrated natural resource management (INRM) plans actually engaging all stakeholders and supported by the existing or emerging institutions, under the critical constraints of coherency and implementation.
A common operational framework has been implemented in 5 countries (TN, SA, ET, UG, ML) by local partners. It intensively and directly engages the communities (farmers, inhabitants) and all-level stakeholders in assessing the situation (resources, well-being, drivers) and the envisioned evolutions in front of global change, in proposing and specifying various actions (natural resource use and management, regulation instruments, information, organization…), and structuring them in coherent multi-sectorial multi-level strategies. These plans are explored and tested through dedicated role-playing games locally designed by actors to represent their issues and complex linkages between society and the environment. These games lead to strategy improvement and appropriation, and ultimately to the emergence of new meso-scale institutions implementing these plans. A continuous monitoring and evaluation protocol provides information about the process and its outcomes.
This session proposes to introduce this complex but operational action-research project through the following sub-topics:

Bringing to efficient and engaging INRM strategies : how to combine multi-level participatory planning and role playing games to bring communities and other stakeholders to effectively co-design, adapt and adopt complex multi-sectorial action plans

The Rwenzori Mountain case (UG): a pilot for large scale social extension, exploration and institutionalization of a change strategy from many villages to a whole region under pressure

Restoration and adaptation for ecosystems goods and services in the case studies: knowledge mobilization, innovation and integration

Comparing conditions and results of a joint monitoring and evaluation protocol in 5 countries: success, failures and lessons

Conclusions and proposals for natural resource management research in Horizon2020

Download abstracts from the Afromaison session here