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Session Overview
RN12_02a_P: Resilience and Vulnerability
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Cigdem Adem, The Public Administration Institute for Turkey and the Middle East
Location: PC.2.14
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 2.

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Examining Greece’s capacity for Environmental Sustainability (ES) under Syriza

John Karamichas

Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom

Syriza came to power after the snapped elections of January 2015 by forming a government in coalition with the right-wing populist, Independent Greeks (ANEL). Any fears expressed in relation to a possible downgrading of some liberal (e.g. same-sex unions, citizenship to second generation immigrants) and environmental sustainability (ES) proclamations that Syriza had made in its electoral manifesto (Thessaloniki programme) that ANEL and the old-left current may thwart them were put aside and the ES front appeared secured, after all the environmental portfolio was given to a prominent environmentalist. Since then, Syriza led the country to a referendum and a national election that was essentially asking for approval of a new austerity programme. After setting that background, this paper proceeds by subscribing to the rationale that in times of financial instability and uncertainty, the environmental concern is likely to be downgraded among the issue priorities of both the government and general citizenry. By extension, that concern appears to enter into an interdependent relationship to many environmental policy and governance parameters. As such, this paper uses environmental concern as a centrifugal separator and embarks upon an investigation of capacity for ES in Greece. The indicators will be compared to findings from the austerity period before the advents of Syriza. That comparison is complemented with findings by interviews with environmental activists. The concluding remarks reinforce the perception that any negativities identified in the Greek capacity for ES can be mostly attributed to perennial internal limitations rather than systemic, external imbued commands.

Key words: Capacity-building; environmental sustainability; austerity; Syriza, Greece

Modes of adaptation to flood and pollution, and resilience abilities in Southwestern European societies

Christelle Gramaglia1, Severine Durand2, Katrin Erdlenbruch1


Few studies compare flooding and pollution risks. At the most, we find mention of differences in the literature (Slovic 1987, W. Freudenberg 1997). Freudenberg pointed out that the chronology and spatiality of the phenomena at stake vary greatly. While manifestations of floods are clearly identifiable, the damage caused by toxic substances is more difficult to grasp. This is why the former tend to reinforce social ties (solidarity), whereas the latter have corrosive effects on the social fabric (conflicts can break out and social relations be undermined). This paper aims at comparing data from ethnographic surveys carried out in rural areas of Southwestern France subject to either flooding (Lattes and Béziers or the Aude region) or pollution (Salindres and Viviez). We will examine individual and collective strategies used to deal with risks. How do local residents prioritize the problems they face? How do they adapt and with what costs? Particular attention will be given to personal practices developed to cope with risks (e.g. changes in practices). We will compare them with official strategies, often based on technical solutions. We will also examine how choices are made, according to different socioeconomic criteria. We will illustrate how the adaptations chosen fuel the corrosive or bonding nature of risks. We will then elaborate on resilience in Southwestern European societies which are exposed to risks –or even overexposed to many of them because of the excesses of capitalism-. Doing so we hope, to learn about new possibilities for “living on a damaged planet” (Tsing 2014).

Renewable Energy & Global Political Dynamics: The Hurdles and Limitations towards Reaching A Low Carbon Intensified Turkish Economy

Ibrahim Alsancak

Abdullah Gul University, Turkey

Like many countries in the world, Turkey is mostly dependent on fossil fuels. Turkey imports most of the sources it uses to produce electricity. This situation of Turkey creates a burden for both the economy and the environment. Turkey is very rich in potential renewable energy sources. However, only a little amount of the renewable energy potential is in use. In order to have energy security and diversity, Turkey has to use the available alternatives to fossil fuels. The best alternative seems to be the renewable energy sources. Turkey is potentially one of the richest countries in renewable energy. Government sets some goals to increase the use of the renewable energy sources but is it enough? Although Turkey has so much more potential than most of the European Union countries, why is it so behind those countries in terms of renewable energy? I will talk about the incentives and subsidies used in countries which are far ahead in the use of renewable energy sources. I will compare them with the ones in Turkey. I will investigate the global political dynamics, hurdles and limitations towards a greener Turkish economy. I will talk about the recent developments of government about nuclear energy and compare the nuclear energy with renewable energy sources. My argument in this paper is that in order to have a low carbon economy, Turkey has to develop policies encouraging the use of renewable energy sources.

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