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“The next crisis is certain to come”

Klaus Jacob and Annette Töller show in their latest article how environmental policy can make the inevitable circumventable 

News from Apr 06, 2022

In the latest issue of the journal "politische ökologie" (in German), Klaus Jacob and Annette Elisabeth Töller, Fern-Universität Hagen and member of the German Advisory Council on the Environment, shed light on the ambiguous relationship between environmental policy and crises. They use examples to explain how crises that are not originally environment-related can further or set back the interests of environmental policy.  

They conceptualise three impact dimensions of crises: The effect that crises have on the prioritisation of political needs for action is referred to as the agenda effect. On the other hand, they identify the empirical environmental effects as an impact dimension of crises, which can in turn influence whether environmental policy action pressure arises. Finally, they refer to a crisis-induced change in worldview as an ideology effect.  

In view of the inevitability of crises, they advocate preventive preparation for possible scenarios, both in the environmental sphere and beyond. This anticipation of potential scenarios could provide an essential cornerstone for environmental policy strategy formulation.  

The article was written before Russia's invasion of Ukraine - but the debate on climate and environmental policy implications that started immediately afterwards confirms and underlines the identified impact pathways.   

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