56 results found
Aczel M, Heap R, Workman M, et al., 2022, Anticipatory regulation: lessons from fracking and insights for Greenhouse Gas Removal innovation and governance, Energy Research and Social Science, Vol: 90, ISSN: 2214-6296
The UK has incorporated a net-zero emissions target into national legislation. A range of Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) options will likely play a key role in the government's strategy toward meeting this goal. Governance frameworks will need to be developed to support GGR development and manage the potential impacts, particularly those on the diverse local communities where the various options will be deployed.This research examines the UK's experience with development and regulation of shale gas - using the technologies of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling - with a focus on governance and the implications for the development and widespread deployment of GGR. We evaluate the approach used against the principles of good governance, which emphasizes the critical role that local communities and publics play in deployment.The UK's top-down governance of shale gas highlights the risk of regulation driven by assumptions about national and local need, value and a lack of transparency or meaningful stakeholder participation in decision-making. The use of existing legislative frameworks for conventional fossil fuel extraction proved inadequate to address unanticipated consequences such as induced seismicity. Moreover, the support for unconventional hydrocarbons in UK energy policy appeared inconsistent with the goal of meeting greenhouse gas targets and passing significant legislation in 2019 to bring carbon emissions to net-zero.To gain social acceptance at the local level, deployment of new technologies needs to be evaluated from a variety of framings and viewpoints. Where new technologies or practices are deployed, such as fracking and GGR, the knowledge and understanding of the impacts - a fundamental principle of good governance - may be less certain or more contested. Early inclusion and participation of local communities would allow issues of concern to inform how trials are undertaken and regulation designed. This anticipatory and participatory a
Aczel M, 2022, Technological revolution in natural gas developments and LNG: policy advancements and their implications for national and international markets., The Palgrave Handbook of Natural Gas and Global Energy Transitions, Editors: Olawuyi, Eduardo, Pages: 21-72, ISBN: 978-3-030-91566-7
This chapter examines the potential role and benefits of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in meeting rising global energy demand as national and international policies aim to lower carbon emissions. The current policy rationale and context for seeking to increase LNG production are analysed. Challenges to expanded implementation of LNG technologies are identified, including the environmental impacts of the full supply chain and producer-to-user lifecycle and how recent innovations may address risk. The global energy landscape of supply and demand is changing for several reasons: developing countries in Asia and Africa have growing economies and are increasing industrialization, leading to greater energy demand. Additionally, the rapid development of the technology of hydraulic fracturing has permitted extraction of previously unavailable sources of hydrocarbons, leading to increased global supply and potential to export excesses to new markets. Expanding infrastructure for the technology to liquify natural gas has meant that supplies can be transported long distances and traded as a global commodity by sea routes, without the limitations and disadvantages of gas pipelines or reliance on regional suppliers. This transportation revolution has meant that new commercial relationships can be initiated and competition on both buying and selling sides is likely to intensify. This chapter thus illustrates the opportunities for and potential obstacles to LNG development as an energy security solution for global markets through case studies of four producing and exporting countries: Algeria, Qatar, Mozambique and Australia.
Aczel M, 2022, What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care, SCIENCE, Vol: 376, Pages: 253-253, ISSN: 0036-8075
Aczel M, 2022, Is Science Enough?, SCIENCE, Vol: 376, Pages: 253-253, ISSN: 0036-8075
Aczel M, 2022, Confronting climate injusticeWhat Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care Elizabeth Cripps Bloomsbury Continuum, 2022. 224 pp.Is Science Enough? Aviva Chomsky Beacon Press, 2022. 240 pp., Science, Vol: 376
Social, racial, and economic disparities are crucial considerations in climate policies.
Aczel M, Cao D, Makuch K, 2022, Citizen science for conservation: towards a cleaner, greener China, Electronic Green Journal: professional journal on international environmental information, Vol: 1, Pages: 1-26, ISSN: 1076-7975
Citizen science (CS) is the practice where amateurs without formal scientific training collect data to contribute to the scientific observations available to scientists and decision makers (Bonney, et al., 2009). Citizen science is increasingly utilized for environmental protection and conservation as well as related purposes such as education, access to nature, access to justice, inclusion, civics and equality or other ‘social goods’ (Mor Barak, 2020; Makuch & Aczel, 2020). Several eco-citizen science projects are developing in China (Chen, et al., 2020; Hsu, Yeo & Weinfurter, 2020), though little research has evaluated their effectiveness in facilitating environmental protection or advancing social goods. This paper aims to identify the role and potential benefits of environmental citizen science in China to promote environmental and social objectives within the context of what has been called “authoritarian environmentalism” (Beeson, 2018).Through semi-structured interviews and a review of the (limited) available literature, we identify three key areas in which citizen science could potentially benefit environmental protection and promote social good in China: (1) fostering education to inform society and encourage environmental advocacy; (2) facilitating effective environmental governance through monitoring and litigation; and (3) improving data collection for biodiversity and conservation research.
Golebie EJ, Aczel M, Bukoski JJ, et al., 2021, A qualitative systematic review of governance principles for mangrove conservation, CONSERVATION BIOLOGY, Vol: 36, ISSN: 0888-8892
Aczel M, 2021, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, SCIENCE, Vol: 373, Pages: 1316-1316, ISSN: 0036-8075
Aczel MR, 2021, The cosmos: astronomy in the new millennium, 5th edition, CONTEMPORARY PHYSICS, Vol: 62, Pages: 52-53, ISSN: 0010-7514
Aczel MR, 2021, Practical alchemy: a memoir, CONTEMPORARY PHYSICS, Vol: 62, Pages: 51-52, ISSN: 0010-7514
Aczel MR, 2021, Justice without borders: opportunities from France’s ‘duty of care’ act applied to Uganda, Energy Research & Social Science, Vol: 75, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2214-6296
In 2017, France legislated a prohibition on domestic hydrocarbon exploration and production by 2040, in line with national carbon emissions reduction goals. As the law applies only to France or French territories, there is argued incentive for French-based companies to move their extractive activities abroad. France also passed in 2017 a remarkable ‘due diligence’ law—the Duty of Care Act—that holds large French companies responsible for impacts of their activities worldwide, including subsidiaries and the totality of their supply chains. The law’s potential reach is unclear as there is currently no case law to guide decision-making and application of its provisions. This Act merits close examination as it is the most comprehensive law globally aimed at enforcing corporate responsibility and requires companies of a defined size to create plans to anticipate and mitigate risk to human and environmental rights. Companies that violate the law by failing to address risk through a comprehensive plan may face stiff penalties and can be brought to court by ‘interested parties’ in French courts. The Act allows for those facing risk of harm or those acting on their behalf, including NGOs, to bring claims within France’s judicial system, which is arguably significant in countries with weak enforcement or legal capacity. The first lawsuit under the Act was brought against French-based Total by a consortium of French and Ugandan NGOs over the company’s alleged failure to adequately address risk to human and environmental rights in Uganda. However, while the case remains pending in the French court system, there are several opportunities to learn from analysis of this case and its significance in a global context. This perspective article discusses the current case and analyses the potential gaps and opportunities of application of the law. Further, this research considers the role of the French law as a model for other count
Aczel MR, 2021, How to avoid a climate disaster: the solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need, Science, Vol: 371, Pages: 684-684, ISSN: 1095-9203
Aczel MR, 2021, A comparison of tree growth in two sites near schefferville, Quebec, Electronic Green Journal, Vol: 1, Pages: 1-12
Trees provide vital global ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation, among others. Further, trees play an important role in regulating climate because of their role in complex water and carbon cycles, and other climate feedback mechanisms. Thus, understanding influences on their growth and productivity is important for gaining insight into current and future climatic conditions. Research has shown that tree height within forests is a significant indicator of the tree’s health as well as overall forest productivity. This study aims to add to understanding of how stress factors might influence tree growth and how trees might adapt to stressed conditions by comparing two sites in Canada’s sub-Arctic, near Schefferville, Quebec. The methodology involved collecting and analyzing tree core samples taken from trees in the two sites: one ‘stressed’ and a second ‘ideal’ or ‘non-stressed.’ Analysis of the tree cores found no statistically significant difference in trunk circumference (or diameter) growth between the stressed and ideal forests. This arguably indicates that trees in both plots had similar amounts of water to facilitate their annual growth. However, comparisons of annual average tree height and vertical growth found highly statistically significant differences. Trees in the stressed forest grew slower vertically (but not in thickness) than trees in the ideal forest, and they reached lower total height— by a factor of almost two. If it is assumed that the stressed forest under study constitutes a random sample of trees that comes from a population of “all stressed forests,” and similarly for the “ideal forest,” then we may conclude that stressed forests—ones exposed to heavy winds and facing unreliable water supply—tend to produce shorter and slower-growing trees than forests under “ideal” conditions. Equally, the non-signi
Aczel MR, 2020, Public opposition to shale gas extraction in Algeria: Potential application of France's ‘Duty of Care Act’, The Extractive Industries and Society, Vol: 7, Pages: 1360-1368, ISSN: 2214-790X
O'Beirne T, Battersby F, Mallett A, et al., 2020, The UK net-zero target: Insights into procedural justice for greenhouse gas removal, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol: 112, Pages: 264-274, ISSN: 1462-9011
Greenhouse gas removal (GGR) is increasingly seen as a key dimension of national and international climate policy.The need to deploy a portfolio of GGR technologies in order to decarbonise sectors with the ‘hardest-to-abate’emissions, particularly to achieve net-zero emissions targets, has become increasingly evident in recent years. In May2019, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published a report outlining a pathway to net-zero emissions in theUK, which comprised significant contributions from engineered and land-based removals. The target of net-zeroemissions has since been enshrined in UK legislation, meaning that GGR will likely be part of the UK’s climatestrategy. Plans for GGR deployment will therefore need to be set in motion in the short-term, in order to align with thetimeframe proposed by the CCC. Despite a growing body of research examining the role governance could and shouldplay in GGR development and deployment, there is a gap in the literature relating to the social implications of removalactivities. In particular, the roles of procedural justice (PJ) and social legitimacy (SL) have not been closely examined.This study comprises an analysis of relevant legislation, combined with a series of interviews conducted in thecommunity of Selby (a proposed location for BECCS development) in order to investigate PJ and SL in the context ofGGR. It is found that the existing legal framework operates PJ as a ‘tick-the-box’ exercise, failing to engage a widerange of interested stakeholders or to promote meaningful engagements. Moreover, the PJ landscape for GGR isunplanned and adapted from existing legislation and cannot meet the unique needs of this novel activity, such as theneed to engage the wider national public given their interest in climate change mitigation. Research in Selbycorroborates these findings, revealing a range of issues with engagement procedures, including disinterest ordisillusionment with processes, a lack of
Aczel MR, Makuch KE, 2020, Shale resources, parks conservation, and contested public lands in North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park: is fracking booming?, Case Studies in the Environment, Vol: 4, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2473-9510
This case study analyzes the potential impacts of weakening the National Park Service’s (NPS) “9B Regulations” enacted in 1978, which established a federal regulatory framework governing hydrocarbon rights and extraction to protect natural resources within the parks. We focus on potential risks to national parklands resulting from Executive Orders 13771—Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs —and 13783—Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth —and subsequent recent revisions and further deregulation. To establish context, we briefly overview the history of the United States NPS and other relevant federal agencies’ roles and responsibilities in protecting federal lands that have been set aside due to their value as areas of natural beauty or historical or cultural significance . We present a case study of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) situated within the Bakken Shale Formation—a lucrative region of oil and gas deposits—to examine potential impacts if areas of TRNP, particularly areas designated as “wilderness,” are opened to resource extraction, or if the development in other areas of the Bakken near or adjacent to the park’s boundaries expands . We have chosen TRNP because of its biodiversity and rich environmental resources and location in the hydrocarbon-rich Bakken Shale. We discuss where federal agencies’ responsibility for the protection of these lands for future generations and their responsibility for oversight of mineral and petroleum resources development by private contractors have the potential for conflict.
Makuch K, Aczel M, Zaman S, 2020, Do children want environmental rights? Ask the Children!, Electronic Green Journal: professional journal on international environmental information, Vol: 1 (2020), ISSN: 1076-7975
In this paper, we argue for the importance of application and safeguarding of the ‘environmental rights of children,’ and further argue that an understanding of children’s perspectives towards nature and their rights to a viable and healthy environment can help both educational and policy development. To that end, we present a case study of preliminary qualitative research conducted in the United Kingdom that asks children themselvestheir views and degree of exposure to the natural environment. This research is underpinned by an environmental rights-based approach for environmental education, and a novel argument for incorporating children’s own understandings and perspectives in application of environmental rights. We conclude with recommendations for strengthening children’s environmental engagement, protection of rights, and education, and recognize that there is a need for further research to better understand children’s perspectives to their own environmental rights.
Makuch K, Aczel M, 2020, Eco-citizen science for social good: promoting child well-being, environmental justice, and inclusion, Research on Social Work Practice, Vol: 30, ISSN: 1049-7315
This article examines the benefits and challenges of engaging children in environmental citizen science, defined as science conducted by nonspecialists under the direction of professional scientists, to promote social good. Citizen science addresses two central elements of the social good model—environmental justice and inclusion with particular attention to diversity in age, gender, race/ethnicity, and social class in addressing environmental injustice that is more prevalent in underrepresented communities. This article evaluates how participation in citizen science projects focused on the environment (eco-citizen science) benefits the child’s development, contributes to science, and leads to commitment to environmental stewardship and justice as adults. Our work offers a novel contribution to the discourse on social good and social justice through explicitly calling for children to be included in environmental citizen science projects. We examine the benefits and challenges of involving children in scientific projects and discuss implications for policy, practice, and future research
Aczel MR, Aczel D, Ville M, 2019, Hero from the east: how zero came to the west, Frontiers for Young Minds, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-8
While the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans were able to do remarkably sophisticated calculations, mathematical development was limited until introduction of a true zero. In this article, we will explain why zero was such an important development. We try to answer the question: where did zero come from and how old is the concept of zero? There is strong evidence that zero is an Eastern development that came to the West from India or a civilization with roots in India, such as Cambodia. This would mean that zero is not a Greek or Western invention, as scholars had long thought. Mathematics is a wonderful mystery—many questions remain about how and why zero developed in the East and how it likely traveled to Europe.
Aczel M, 2019, On fire, Science, Vol: 366, Pages: 191-191, ISSN: 0036-8075
Makuch K, Zaman S, Aczel M, 2019, Tomorrow’s stewards: the case for a unified international framework on the environmental rights of children, Health and Human Rights: an international journal, Vol: 21, Pages: 203-214, ISSN: 1079-0969
This paper evaluates an approach for strengthening environmental rights for children to safeguard child health. We focus on children as beneficiaries of environmental rights on account of their vulnerability to environmental impacts on their physical and mental health. Current legal frameworks, unless explicitly identifying children as beneficiaries, arguably tend to be adult-centric. Our goal here is to develop a comprehensive rights-based framework to ensure that children are protected against adverse environmental impacts. We argue that approaches that safeguard children’s rights to life, health, and education should include environment-related issues, standards, and protections for those rights to be fully implemented. We propose employing sustainable development as a framework under which to develop an international treaty to promulgate the environmental rights of the child, thereby promoting health, environmental stewardship, and quality of life for children and future generations. We further argue that children’s environmental rights extend beyond basic “needs”—such as clean air, clean water, sanitation, and a healthful environment, among others—to include the right to benefit from access to nature of a certain quality and the wealth of educational, recreational, developmental, and health benefits that come with ensuring protection of the environment for children.
Aczel MR, 2019, What Is the nitrogen cycle and why is it key to life?, Frontiers for Young Minds, Vol: 7
Nitrogen, the most abundant element in our atmosphere, is crucial tolife. Nitrogen is found in soils and plants, in the water we drink, andin the air we breathe. It is also essential to life: a key building blockof DNA, which determines our genetics, is essential to plant growth,and therefore necessary for the food we grow. But as with everything,balance is key: too little nitrogen and plants cannot thrive, leadingto low crop yields; but too much nitrogen can be toxic to plants,and can also harm our environment. Plants that do not have enoughnitrogen become yellowish and do not grow well and can have smallerflowers and fruits. Farmers can add nitrogen fertilizer to produce bettercrops, but too much can hurt plants and animals, and pollute ouraquatic systems. Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle—how nitrogenmoves from the atmosphere to earth, through soils and back to theatmosphere in an endless Cycle—can help us grow healthy crops andprotect our environment.
Aczel MR, 2019, Energy Kingdoms, SCIENCE, Vol: 363, Pages: 132-132, ISSN: 0036-8075
Aczel MR, 2019, From micro to macro: adventures of a wandering physicist, Contemporary Physics, Vol: 60, Pages: 93-94, ISSN: 0010-7514
Aczel MR, Makuch KE, 2019, Shale, Quakes, and High Stakes: Regulating Fracking-Induced Seismicity in Oklahoma, USA and Lancashire, UK, CASE STUDIES IN THE ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2473-9510
Aczel MR, Makuch KE, 2018, Environmental impact assessments and hydraulic fracturing: lessons from two U.S. States, Case Studies in the Environment, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2473-9510
Although the United States has been stimulating well production with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)1 since the 1940s , high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) combined with horizontal drilling is a relatively recent [2, 3] development with potential to adversely impact human health , environment , and water resources , with uncertainty about impacts and gaps in the data on HVHF compared to conventional drilling techniques . Part of protecting environmental and public health is identifying potential risks before licenses are issued and drilling operations proceed. To this end, two case studies, focusing on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures of California and New York, are analyzed in this paper. Both states have histories of strong environmental protection law and policy [8–10] and legally require an EIA to be conducted before development of HVHF sites [11, 12], an outgrowth of the 1969 federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). New York State conducted what appears to be a thorough EIA  and concluded that as there were too many gaps in the data on HVHF, fracking could not proceed. California’s EIA, which was less extensive, and did not consider health impacts , concluded that HVHF could proceed, relatively unabated. A comparison of these cases illustrates that the processes designed to ensure adequate identification, monitoring, and assessment of environmental impacts are prone to differences —an outcome of the fact that laws governing HVHF in the US are not consistent across, nor controlled at, the federal level [16, 17].
Aczel M, 2018, Review of: Get funded: an insider’s guide to building an academic research program, by R. J. Trew, Contemporary Physics, ISSN: 0010-7514
Aczel MR, Makuch KE, 2018, Human rights and fracking in England: the role of the Oregon permanent people’s tribunal, Health and Human Rights: an international journal, Vol: 20, Pages: 31-41, ISSN: 1079-0969
The United Kingdom’s government is promoting development of its unconventional natural gas resources in England, following the United States’ commercial success employing horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) to extract shale gas. The potential impacts of fracking on the environment and health, as well as impacts on local communities and change in ‘quality of life’ are well documented. The UK commenced commercial drilling in the North of England on 15 October, 2018, despite community concerns and legal challenges that suggest potential harm to human health, impacts on environmental quality, inadequate procedural fairness, and limited distributive justice. The UK does not have a written environmental constitution nor any explicit environment-related provisions in the Human Rights Act, 1998, the latter drawing its content from the European Convention on Human Rights, 1950. The lack of explicit recognition of environmental rights-based provisions arguably makes it easier for the UK government to promote a pro-fracking agenda in England aligned to a political agenda rather than broader societal and environmental standards and safeguards. Despite calls for human rights impact assessments in relation to fracking, the UK government is resisting development of further legislation largely on grounds that they are confident the current regulatory regime is ‘more than robust enough’ coupled with the strong desire to promote technological development and industrial growth through extraction of shale gas using fracking. To this end, this perspective piece outlines the potential human rights impacts of ‘fracking’ and argues for a human rights-based, participatory and justice-based approach to regulation. In this context, the paper discusses the findings of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking, and Climate Change ‘Oregon’ hearing, held May 14-18 2018, an
Aczel MR, 2018, Shale Boom: The Barnett Shale Play and Fort Worth, Diana Davids Hinton, Texas Christian University Press (July 23, 2018). 192 pp. ISBN-10: 0875656854, The Extractive Industries and Society, Vol: 5, Pages: 701-702, ISSN: 2214-790X
Aczel MR, Makuch KE, 2018, The lay of the land: The public, participation and policy in China's fracking frenzy, Extractive Industries and Society, Vol: 5, Pages: 508-514, ISSN: 2214-790X
This perspective paper examines the current policy landscape for hydraulic fracturing in China, with a focus on the role of public attitudes toward shale gas in China. We highlight the need for further research on public perceptions and responses in a non-democratic society, both for the potential protection of residents who might be affected by the technology as well as the valuable research data that can be contrasted with public perspectives and engagement in other countries. Although the empirical findings presented here are limited due to this being very preliminary research, our goal is to shed light on what existing data shows about current understanding and perceptions. We discuss preliminary data collected during a research trip to Beijing in late December 2017, and contrast it with the few empirical studies on China that exist to date (Sher and Wu, 2018; Yu et al., 2018). Our research demonstrates the need for further investigation of understanding and perceptions of shale gas in China, particularly as other countries (such as the United Kingdom and Poland) are beginning to look at expanding their own shale gas resources. A reflection on this will also lead to a discussion of the extent to which data from China does or does not relate to that from other nations.
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