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Adaptation to a New Economic Reality

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AdaptEconII (Adaptation to a New Economic Reality)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-11-30

The world has come to a time where it is evident that growth of population and resource use has reached critical proportions, and therefore we have to go from aiming solely at economic growth as a measure of national success to underpinning society with behaviour and policy that supports sustainable development and a sustainable world.

The objective of AdaptEconII is to train 12 PhD students in three trans-disciplinary themes: 1) Sustainable resource management; 2) Integrated economics systems assessment; and 3) Integrated society and economics. They will combine the themes to develop and apply a next version of the WORLD system dynamics model. The model integrates natural resources, population, society and economics. There will be focus on natural resource constraints, societal fairness, and transparency. Together they will provide assessments for future economic choices and limitations in order to develop viable strategies with regard to energy, raw materials, food security and global sustainability policy. AdaptEconII aims to put the EU in the forefront of new economic thinking, supporting sustainability, equity, job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership within the Earth´s limits.
The ESRs have been engaged in the AdaptEconII Marie Curie ITN training since the spring of 2016. As can be expected in a PhD program, the training and literature review for the research project comes first and then research starts and results start to emerge. While the time since they started is short (20 months), they already have a number of results that they have presented at ITN meetings and conferences/workshops in Europe and father afield. Some of the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) have already published scientific papers. The others have submitted papers or are working on their first paper.
Progress beyond the state of the art:
Modules for the WORLD system dynamics modules have been built for steel, the bio economy and food/phosphorous/population. Market development of a fishing quota market in Iceland has been established using network analysis and network statistical modelling. Systems thinking approach was used for conseptualizing a steady state of energy, facilitating a clearer understanding of the desired state of the energy system. A new energy paradigm is being formulated to establish the requirements for the new generation of energy systems models to be in line with the new energy paradigm. Using systems analysis and qualitative research methods involving stakeholder interviews, the dynamics of pilot projects and initiatives in Stockholm and Budapest were studied, in order to determine their efficiency, applicability and upscalability and provide suggestions for solutions to close the urban P cycle in Europe. Further study on resource use has focused on steel and the influence that different levels of supply chain integration exert in the dynamics of decision-making in the European Steel Industry. The proposed direction and strategies of the bio-based economy are promising, but sometimes contradictory, resulting in different views on the actions needed for its premises to be realized. Additionally, current developments adhere largely to the principles of the weak sustainability paradigm. Input/output tables and ecological models have been used to analyze the economic system (Europe) in a dynamic pathway (energy flows, resources stocks, recycling on material availability). A System Dynamics model was used to analyse impacts of substantial investments in photovoltaic capacity on three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 on healthy lives and well-being, SDG 4 on education, and SDG 7 on energy. The concept of degrowth is being analysed with respect to limits, utopia, policies and scenarios. A framework is being developed of the social dynamics of economies, to find out how five post-growth economic theories and models describe the social dynamics of post-growth economies. The theories being investigated are: Degrowth, prosperity without growth, steady state economy, sufficiency economy, commons economy, and the Not-for-Profit World model. Lastly several corruption theories are being investigated by using a systems perspective. It offers an opportunity to explore corruption with respect to natural resource exploitation through both individualistic and holistic ontologies and makes it easier to engage in a transdisciplinary dialog on corruption and advance theoretical understanding of it.

Expected results until the end of the project and potential impacts:
All of the 12 ESR projects will contribute to the WORLD system dynamics model and in particular expand the social modules of the model. Once combined the model will be able to give scenarios of natural resouce availability into the future, their effect on the economy and establish leverage points where policies can support sustainable development, and improve wellbeing in Europe and the world as a whole.
Behind every great project there are also great people making things happen
Final Workshop in Iceland August 23.-25. 2019
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