Conference: The Economics, Politics and Ethics of Climate Change and Sustainability

Workshop, roundtables and events!

Wednesday 16/05/2018 - Saturday 19/05/2018

Riga and Cesis

MAY 16

18:00-21:00 Documentary debate, co-organised with Kino Bize, the Embassy of Denmark and the Danish Cultural Institute, Kino Bize, Elizabetes iela 37-2, Riga

Two documentaries on sustainability and democratic participation: Cities on Speed: Cairo and Cities on Speed: Bogota followed by a discussion with Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen (University of Copenhagen) and Oskars Redbergs (Dr. Ing., urban researcher, architect, innovator of education).

Link to the event:

MAY 17

13:00-14:30 John Broome (Oxford University), 'Self-interest Against Climate Change', Alf Vanags Memorial Lecture, Soros Amphitheatre, SSE Riga

Introduction by Charles Okeahalam (Co-founder AGH Group)

Many writers about climate change argue that the present generation should sacrifice some of its income for the sake of future people. But the present generation seems unwilling to do this; after 25 years of negotiating, we still do not have adequate commitments from governments. Economic theory tells us that, since greenhouse gas is an externality, it creates inefficiency. This means that we should be able to deal with climate change in a way that does not demand a sacrifice from anyone. I shall explain how this idea might work out in practice. I shall also describe a serious difficulty that afflicts the economic theory of externalites when it is applied intergenerationally. Its conclusion is not secure.

17:00-20:00 Roundtable “Climate Change, Public Policy and Business in Time of Uncertainty”, Soros amphitheatre, SSE Riga

Moderator: Yuri Romanenkov (Executive Vice-President, SSE Riga)

Participants: Jānis Bethers (Enefit board member in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland), Joseph Heath (University of Toronto), Säde Hormio (University of Helsinki), Ilze Prūse (Dr. Oec. Director of the Climate Change Department, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development)

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports, climate change will have (growing) tremendous impacts such as extreme climate events, sea level rise, erratic rainfalls, devastating storms, more intense droughts, etc. Many changes are already visible and more are underway. Even though most of the effects to be experienced in 5, 10, 50, 100 years will depend on the evolution of GHGs emissions, policy makers must nonetheless address climate change without delay. In doing so, there is the necessity to create synergies with the business world.

The purpose of this roundtable is to engage some of the following issues:

The roundtable will discuss the following issues:

  • What are the main climatic challenges faced by Latvia and North countries?
  • What is the degree of awareness among policy makers regarding these challenges?
  • Which concrete measures have already been adopted by Latvian authorities?
  • What are the pros and cons of adaptation v. mitigation strategies?
  • How the private sector could complement or support public policies?
  • What are the main decisional gridlocks for implementing ambitious national and regional policies, e.g. for meeting Paris agreement requirements?
  • Is there any sign that the private sector is self-regulating or taking initiatives?
  • How climate change impacts or should influence corporate strategy?

Register for the roundtable >

20:00-21:00 Reception, SSE Riga lobby

18:00-19:30 Debate on “Climate Migration: impacts and challenges”, Danish Cultural Institute, National Library

During the debate we will discuss climate policies, who are “climate refugees” and does it have anything to do with Latvia. What are the challenges that climate change brings us in the context of migration and how should we act towards it to make this world a better place to live in?

Key speakers: Nils Holtug (University of Copenhagen), Arta Krumina (MA in Geography and Sociology, currently involved in European Union LIFE), Janis Brizga (Head of the Board at the NGO Green Liberty in Latvia, researcher at the University of Latvia).

Moderator: Ugis Libietis (Latvian Radio).

Link to the event:

MAY 18


MAY 19

12:50-15:40 Movie discussion – The Last Continent (2007), co-organized with the Embassy of Canada, JFK Reading Room, Latvian National Library, 3rd floor, Mūkusalas 3, Rīga

The Embassy of Canada and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga invite you to a movie discussion around The Last Continent.

The movie will be followed by a 30 minutes discussion animated by Henry Henrysson (University of Iceland) and Xavier Landes (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga) on the challenges of climate change, especially for Northern countries such as Canada, Iceland or Latvia.

Attendance is free and open to all. Please note that the entrance is with a permanent reader card or a single entry card that can be obtained at the reception of the library on ground floor. All larger items have to be left in the lockers and valuable items can be carried upstairs in the transparent bag.

Link to the event:


19:00-21:00 Discussion “Climate Change and Sustainability: Global Issues, Local Solutions?” Bolderāja Cafe, Avotu iela 29, Riga

Climate change and sustainability are global issues and they are often dealt as such in the media and by governments. Regularly, the main international conferences, such as the COP 15 (Copenhagen) or COP 21 (Paris), remind us about the importance of the challenge and reinforce the idea that if anything should change, it should change at the international level, through negotiations among nations.

However, most of decisions that matter for climate change and sustainability happen at a local level. The seriousness of these issues, the world in which future generations will live, depend on concrete decisions made by citizens and companies in their daily life (e.g. about recycling their waste, travelling, using plastic) and by local governments. In relation to this, it is important to discuss the responsibilities local communities do have in relation to climate change and sustainability. In other words, how can citizens make a significant impact?

The discussion will tackle various aspects, e.g.:

- How broader forces (e.g. the current economic system, consumerist society) shape and handicap local initiatives?

- What people can do for addressing/adjusting to/mitigating climate change? How to influence local government?

Participants: Lilija Apine (environmental expert at NGO "homo ecos:"), Elgars Felcis (University of Latvia), Pierre-Yves Néron (European School of Political Science, France)

Moderator: Dominik Gerber (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga)




  • NORDEN, Nordic Council of Ministers
  • Embassy of Canada
  • Embassy of Denmark
  • Embassy of France
  • Embassy of Sweden
  • French Institute
  • Danish Cultural Institute
  • Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS)
  • Kino Bize
  • Bolderaja Cafe


Academic Participants (presenters and discussants)

  • John Broome (Oxford University)
  • Elgars Felcis (University of Latvia)
  • Nicolas Gavoille (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga)
  • Dominik Gerber (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga / University of Geneva)
  • Joseph Heath (University of Toronto)
  • Henry Alexander Henrysson (University of Iceland)
  • Nils Holtug (University of Copenhagen)
  • Säde Hormio (University of Helsinki)
  • Karsten Klint Jensen (Umeå University)
  • Xavier Landes (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga)
  • Pierre-Yves Néron (European School of Political and Social Sciences, Lille Catholic University)
  • Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen (University of Copenhagen)
  • Christopher Rieber (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga)
  • Inese Runce (University of Latvia)


For more information, please contact Xavier Landes (SSE Riga),

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