The politics of accelerating low-carbon transitions

The politics of deliberately accelerating low-carbon transitions is investigated in a new paper co-authored by Professor Frank Geels, co-Director of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED).

The article brings together insights from political science, policy analysis and socio-technical transition studies to examine what political factors can create more favourable conditions for speeding up the transition.

The authors, including former CIED researchers Dr Cameron Roberts and Dr Bruno Turnheim, highlight three themes that are relevant for further research on the deliberate, political acceleration of transitions:

  1. The role of coalitions for creating the political conditions for transitions: they can lobby for stronger transition policies, but also obstruct them
  2. Feedback and stability: policies can have long lasting effects that can create further support for the policy, making it harder to dismantle. The opposite can also happen where policies cause new groups or coalitions opposing it, resulting in its abandonment.
  3. Context dependence: factors such as governance structures, culture or economic system can determine what strategy will be successful

The paper uses the three themes, which emerged from discussions at a workshop at the University of Manchester in 2017, as organising principles for unanswered questions around the politics of accelerating transitions. They also act as starting points to identify areas for future research and debate.

Read the full article.

Find out more about Frank Geels and his work at CIED.