In 2020, two RUPS students decided to tackle the LSESU Economics Society Policy Competition call for policy proposals addressing “Climate change and Economic Growth”.
The competition brief centered around the following provoking statement:
“According to Steve Mnuchin, you cannot talk about climate change without having an economics degree, not even if you are Greta Thunberg. Especially not. That statement highlights the idea that economics has something important to say about the environment. However, public opinion is often divided into two camps: Team Greta who thinks that the environment ought to be prioritized, and Team Mnuchin who thinks that economic growth should be the top priority. A policymaker’s role is therefore to not only reconcile these opposing views, but to increase their compatibility over time.
Imagine you are a member of the Cabinet Service from the British Civil Service. You are tasked by the Prime Minister to propose comprehensive policy solutions to increase the environmental sustainability of economic growth in the UK.”
The entrants were given just 2 weeks to produce a policy proposal and research poster that was then presented in 10 minutes to a competition jury. The final project poster can be viewed here.
The following is a statement by the two RUPS students, Fanny Chevalier and Lea Nora, reflecting on their project:
“As Geography & Environment students in Urban and Regional Planning, we decided to come up with a territorialised policy proposal. Fanny and I both have a strong interest for food policy and food security. By reading the literature on these topics for the UK we realized that the UK currently imports 40% of the food it consumes. We also found out that the agricultural sector represents 10% of UK overall GHG emissions. In the context of Brexit and climate emergency, we decided to focus on how to improve the UK farming sector through a relocalisation of food production on green belts for urban areas and through a reshaping of the subsidies system. The idea would be that UK farmers no longer receive subsidies based on the size of their agricultural holding (like it used to be the case in the EU Common Agricultural Policy) but rather on the basis of the protection of natural capital through agroecological farming practices.”
The resultant proposal abstract is as follows:
“The UK is about to face major changes in its agri-food sector. This later will be both impacted by Brexit in the short run and climate change in the longer run. These challenges are also opportunities to make our farming system green again. This policy proposal aims at combining two objectives: supporting the farming sector in a more equitable way through a reshaping of the subsidies system, while at the same time cutting the sector’s GHG emissions through a relocalisation strategy of food production.”
Congratulations to our two RUPS students who received 2nd place in the competition!