Monthly Archives: February 2017

Where to Fika in Uppsala

Hej, hej!

Many of you might have heard about one of the most famous – and definitely one of the cosiest – Swedish traditions: Fika (= Coffee break). Swedes fikar all the time. You can have a breakfast fika or afternoon fika; you can eat cake and cookies, or savory dishes (like Smörgåstarta); you can have it with friends, family or colleagues at work, at school, at home, outside, …

The weather is almost suitable for outside-fika!
Well, the river is still frozen…

As you see fika is a very broad and flexible concept. It usually involves coffee, though (sometimes tea). Today I just want to give you two hints of really nice cafés in Uppsala. One is Café Linné and the other one is Storken. Both are located very central downtown, offer a broad variety of really tasty food at reasonable prices (for Swedish standards at least^^).

This is Café Linné (I had already eaten my brownie when I realized I wanted to take pictures :D)

Inside Café Linné
Sofas and armchairs dominate at Linné and give it a homey feel
Café Linné is located right next to the Linné Museum in the Northern part of the centre

Below are some delicacies at Storken. It is located centrally at Stora Torget


The tempting kitchen counter…
Mhhh, carrot cake!

So, if you are in Uppsala and you want to try something else than the student nations, I can recommend these two affordable and cosy “shabby-chic” places.

Happy fika!

Franzi 🙂


Uppsala today

Climate Change and 2 Degrees: Is the Parisian Emperor Naked?

Last Thursday Prof. Kevin Anderson held an open lecture on the Paris agreement. As the title – obviously inspired by H. C. Andersen’s short tale – suggested, he took the audience to an expedition looking for substance in the Paris agreement. As usual, Kevin spoke his mind claiming that the emperor is indeed naked, but that there had not been a child to speak up yet: Climate policy is really nothing more than hot air.

1, 2, 3 – What degree will it be?

The 2°C scenario is not some kind of optimal degree of warming, but a political goal on the threshold to dangerous climate change, fine-tuned to political and economic sensibility. While the agreement on a target itself is quite positive, “Paris” contains too many flaws, like the missing references to shipping, aviation or even fossil fuel combustion. Many of the percentage reduction goals in carbon emissions as set out for 2030 or 2050 just don’t matter. Kevin highlighted that these kinds of goals cover up what truely counts: carbon budgets. Continued emission of carbon, we will have used up the complete “budget” for the 1.5°C target within the next 3-13 years. The more CO2 we release now, the stricter future reductions will need to be. According to Kevin’s assessment, the current INDCs (Intended National Determined Contributions) equate to rather 3 to 4°C of warming than to 2°C.

Paris goals and energy

Looking at energy consumption gets quite depressing. Technological progress is unlikely to suffice for the required changes in energy demand, especially when taking behavioral effects, like the rebound, into account. Even on the supply side massive electrification is necessary to be able to move towards renewable energy production. Kevin named nuclear power as one example of a low carbon source. Currently it only meets about 2.5% of global energy demand. If one was to raise this share to 25%, there would be a need for 3000 (!) nuclear power plants worldwide. To put this in perspective: today there are around 430 nuclear power stations and about 70 are under construction right now. Even if we want to switch to renewable energies, this will be a Herkulean task.

The “magic trick” of climate policy

What is really necessary to stick to the Paris agreement is a 10% (rather 12% for the developed countries) yearly emission reduction starting now, i.e. zero emissions by 2035. What the EU suggested was a reduction by 40% by 2030. This goal is basically half of what is needed and it was set by the probably most ambitious countries. The attentive reader will now wonder what is supposed to happen to the other half of the emissions. Well, the answers are two fancy acronyms: NETs and BECCS. Negative emission technologies and biomass energy with carbon capture and storage. I will try to elaborate on this further in another blog post, but basically these are technologies which shall suck emitted carbon back from the atmosphere. They have however never worked at scale so far. Also are they inefficient and require massive areas of land. These technologies are the “magic trick” within the model forecasts, because the possibility of their actual implementation is highly questionable.

So what to do?

While the to-do list is infinitely long, Kevin claims that climate change demands system change. We need to fundamentally question our norms and paradigms: higher, further, better. While I agree with Kevin to a certain extent, his general and ubiquitous criticism of economic growth is far too generalized. I am thinking about decoupling growth from resources here, for example. However, Kevin’s most important direct action points are (1) large scale electrification, (2) a sustainable way to produce biofuels and (3) to leave the so-called “unconventionals” (e.g. oil sands) in the ground. For Sweden particularly, Kevin suggests the following list:

  • higher efficiency standards
  • a broad renewable energy program
  • a low-meat diet
  • extended lifetimes of nuclear plants
  • a shift from cars to public transport
  • an upgraded rail networks (especially faster trains)
  • carbon capture and storage for steel and cement production

All necessary facts about climate change have been on the table since the first IPCC report in 1990, but mankind has lacked the courage to take the crucial steps. And we still are. What a sad truth.

If you are interested in climate change you can find a summary of another lecture held by Kevin Anderson here! Also, I would really like to hear your opinions on this. Please leave a comment if you feel like it!

Take care and think twice before booking the next flight or ordering a steak! 😉


“In my dream god was a short Scottish woman dressed in tweed” (S. M. Redpath)

And she told Prof. Redpath and Michelle Obama that there is no problem in relocating native people.

You see this is going to be interesting. Yesterday Stephen M. Redpath, Scottish ecologist and conservation scientist, held a lecture about conservation conflict management at SLU. Since he is the 21st holder of the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professorship in Environmental Sciences, H.M. himself attended the lecture as well. The King brought excellent weather to Uppsala and in trade got a really interesting program I think.

Left: Landscape around SLU at sunset yesterday; Right: All flags up for the King

After a short introduction by Rector Peter Högberg, Prof. Henrik Andrén (SLU), Professor Redpath (University of Aberdeen), Prof. Maria Johansson (Lund University) and Prof. Camilla Sandström (Umeå University) each approached conservation conflicts from slightly different perspectives. Unfortunately for me, my non-Swedish seating neighbor – and Mr. Redpath I am afraid – three out of the four talks were held in Swedish. Although I am not sure I understood everything correctly, the Swedish speakers seemed to complement Prof. Redpath quite well.

Prof. Andrén gave an overview of the development of different wildlife species in Sweden and I think it was really interesting to see that more or less all their populations have increased during the last century. That obviously increases the threat of conflict between humans and nature.

Prof. Redpath picked up from there, focusing on the conflicts arising between different groups of people as a result of human-animal conflicts. To set our minds at ease, he began his presentation by playing Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”, pointing out that conservation conflicts usually revolve around extremely emotional topics. That is why they quickly (and often) end up in heated and entrenched situations.

I am not an ecologist and I did not know about Prof. Redpath’s work before, but he has been working on some extremely fascinating issues. One of his recent projects is the protection of snow leopards in the Himalayas. In the meager mountain landscape, the predator’s diet can actually drive the people there below the poverty line, so they have been shooting these beautiful creatures. And here is where conflicts among different social groups arise from the natural competition between animals and humans. It is a fundamental conflict between conservation and human welfare, or livelihood, between killing the snow leopards and starving to death.

According to Prof. Redpath the four most common problems in conservation conflict management are (1) a lack of engagement, (2) a focus on ecology, (3) the missing agreement about evidence and (4) the ineffectiveness of interventions. He says that too often problems are managed in a “top-down” manner, which leads social tensions and low implementation rates. Prof. Redpath emphasized that there is a need for more dialogue: between the different parties of a dispute, but also between scientific disciplines. He urges ecologists to open up for interdisciplinarity, because social concepts, such as world views, norms and identities, affect the success of conservation policies significantly. There is often no agreement about evidence, because personal experience frequently does not match with scientific findings. Last but not least, the effectiveness of implemented projects always needs to be tested.

Prof. Stephen Redpath

Overall, Prof. Redpath advertised for a more holistic approach to conservation problems. In the example of the snow leopards, his team is trying out a collaborative approach, where they work together with the locals. They are trying to gain their trust and understanding to change their attitudes towards the animals. To reduce the conflict, there is also a need to generate alternative sources of income for these people. Prof. Redpath concluded that conflicts often can’t be overcome, but managed well and carefully if there is a will to do so. From his personal experience humor and whiskey are amongst the most effective communication strategies 🙂

Prof. Johansson and Prof. Sandström complemented the talk with their insights from environmental psychology and implementation processes of conservation policy in Sweden, respectively.

Maybe you are wondering why you find this post on the blog of an environmental economist. Well, because it is just really interesting. Also, I would like to follow Prof. Repath’s call for interdisciplinarity, as this is an issue concerning not only ecologists, but all scientists who try to solve environmental problems. It is never enough to approach a problem from one side. In the context of environmental issues economics often seems to be standing particularly far away from other disciplines, but I hope that this will change in the future. We should all try to foster cross-disciplinary dialogues instead of our prejudices.

Thanks to SLU and all speakers for a great event yesterday!

I hope you enjoyed reading.


UltiMat Ultuna – Part 2

Hej allihoppa!

Last Monday was the pick-up date for the January food orders at UltiMat, so here comes the second part of the experience!

After studying at SLU during the day on Monady I went to pick up my order in Ulls Hus between 5 and 6 in the afternoon. I think that is about the same time always. You can pay your order in advance by transfering the money. Otherwise you can also swish or pay in cash (If you have the exact amount) when you pick it up.

There were quite some people there and the food was all nicely set up. You could even try out some products (cheese, mhhhh…). I got a list with the things I ordered and then I walked around to collect everything. I bought eggs, honey, garlic, kohlrabi (turnip cabbage), flour and several types of beetroots. I was a little disappointed, because I ordered mixed kohlrabi, but then only got one of one type. My favorite pick was definitely the honey. I recently had honey from a farm in Björklinge, which lies about 20 km North of Uppsala. A friend of mine who was wwoofing over there in September gave me this honey and I really loved it. So I was secretly hoping the one they have at UltiMat would be as good. And guess what: it was actually that exact honey I got! Yeay! I also think that compared to the local or regional honeys in the supermarket it was very reasonably priced (50 SEK).

Beyond are two creations with the beets: (1) A kind of beet-slaw with hering, apple and dill and (2) a dip/ sandwich spread with feta cheese, garlic, red beets and cumin (A half is gone already). 🙂


What I really appreciate is that UltiMat has started sending out information about the board meetings to all members. Also they announced to add more information about the producers on their website. You can also find more info and some pictures on UltiMat’s facebook page!

I hope some of you got interested and want to try ordering as well. I’m sure I’ll do it again.

Thanks for reading and have a nice evening!