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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41560-020-00762-W

A systemic approach to mapping participation with low-carbon energy transitions

04 Mar 2021-Nature Energy (Nature Publishing Group)-Vol. 6, Iss: 3, pp 250-259
Abstract: Low-carbon transitions demand long-term systemic transformations and meaningful societal engagement. Most approaches to engaging society with energy and climate change fail to address the systemic nature of this challenge, focusing on discrete forms of participation in specific parts of wider systems. Our systemic approach combines comparative case mapping of diverse public engagements across energy systems with participatory distributed deliberative mapping of energy system futures. We show how UK public participation with energy is more diverse than dominant approaches posit. Attending to these more varied models of participation opens up citizen and specialist views, values and visions of sustainable energy transitions, revealing support for more distributed energy system futures that recognize the roles of society. Going beyond narrow, discrete understandings of communication and public engagement towards systemic approaches to mapping participation can provide plural and robust forms of social intelligence needed to govern low-carbon transitions in more socially responsive, just and responsible ways. Chilvers et al. present a systemic approach to participation that combines mapping diverse public engagements across a national energy system with a distributed deliberative mapping process involving citizens and specialists, which shows support for more distributed and inclusive energy system futures.

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Topics: Public participation (56%), Public engagement (52%)
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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.ERSS.2021.102124
Sarah Nelson1, Julian M. Allwood1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Delivering net zero emissions requires changing patterns of energy generation, consumption and land use. Mitigation efforts so far have mostly focused on reducing the emissions intensity of energy. Future decarbonisation must look outside the energy sector to disrupt markets, infrastructure, systems and behaviour. This study quantifies the disruption to technological markets and individual behaviours embodied in possible decarbonisation pathways for the United Kingdom. We review 12 strategies for decarbonisation proposed by a range of sources, including public and industry bodies, academic organisations and advocacy groups. The broad scope of perspectives yields a large set of possible mitigation options. A novel metric captures the embedded disruption across dual axes of technological and behavioural change. We find a distinct bias towards technological disruption through the pursuit of fast deployment and speculative technologies. Behavioural mitigation remains undervalued. The predominance of supply-side decarbonisation in global climate discourse means that a technological bias, illustrated here for the UK, is seen in mitigation strategies across the world. Historical evidence shows that technological diffusion takes decades, especially in energy markets, while behaviour change can be swifter. A technological bias reduces the likelihood of achieving net zero global emissions in time to limit global warming to 2 °C. To win the race against climate change, governments should rebalance policy efforts and spending across technological and behavioural options for mitigation.

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Topics: Global warming (50%)

4 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1007/S10584-021-03218-6
16 Sep 2021-Climatic Change
Abstract: In light of increasing pressure to deliver climate action targets and the growing role of citizens in raising the importance of the issue, deliberative democratic processes (e.g. citizen juries and citizen assemblies) on climate change are increasingly being used to provide a voice to citizens in climate change decision-making. Through a comparative case study of two processes that ran in the UK in 2019 (the Leeds Climate Change Citizens’ Jury and the Oxford Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change), this paper investigates how far citizen assemblies and juries are increasing citizen engagement on climate change and creating more citizen-centred climate policymaking. Interviews were conducted with policymakers, councillors, professional facilitators and others involved in running these processes to assess motivations for conducting these, their structure and the impact and influence they had. The findings suggest the impact of these processes is not uniform: they have an indirect impact on policy making by creating momentum around climate action and supporting the introduction of pre-planned or pre-existing policies rather than a direct impact by truly being citizen-centred policy making processes or conducive to new climate policy. We conclude with reflections on how these processes give elected representatives a public mandate on climate change, that they help to identify more nuanced and in-depth public opinions in a fair and informed way, yet it can be challenging to embed citizen juries and assemblies in wider democratic processes.

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Topics: Climate change (51%)

1 Citations



Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3389/FCLIM.2021.684135
09 Sep 2021-
Abstract: The 2015 Paris Agreement specified that the goal of international climate policy is to strengthen the global response to climate change by restricting the average global warming this century to ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. In this context, ‘Negative Emissions Technologies’ (NETs) – technologies that remove additional greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere – are receiving greater political attention. They are introduced as a backstop method for achieving temperature targets. A focal point in the discussions on NETs are the emission and mitigation pathways assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Drawing on perspectives from Science & Technology Studies (STS) and discourse analysis, the paper explores the emergence of narratives about NETs and reconstructs how the treatment of NETs within IPCC assessments became politicized terrain of configuration for essentially conflicting interests concerning long-term developments in the post-Paris regime. NETs are – critics claim – not the silver bullet solution to finally fix the climate, they are a Trojan horse; serving to delay decarbonization efforts by offering apparent climate solutions that allow GHGs emissions to continue and foster misplaced hope in future GHG removal technologies. In order to explore the emerging controversies, we conduct a literature review to identify NETs narratives in the scientific literature. Based on this, we reevaluate expert interviews to reconstruct narratives emerging from German environmental non-governmental organizations (eNGOs). We find a spectrum of narratives on NETs in the literature review and the eNGO interviews. The most prominent stories within this spectrum frame NETs either as a moral hazard or as a matter of necessity to achieve temperature targets.

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Topics: Global warming (53%)

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.EIST.2021.10.014
Floor Alkemade1, Heleen de Coninck1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Increasing the policy impact of sustainability transitions research requires a focus on the interactions and feedbacks within and between systems. More specifically, it requires insights into how dynamics can accelerate sustainability transitions and make them self-reinforcing. Existing approaches that focus on dynamics lack a social-science perspective, often leading to an overestimation of policy leverage. Sustainability transitions scholars are uniquely positioned to address this research gap. This requires the following steps: (1) The identification of those intervention points that set in motion reinforcing feedbacks or reduce negative interactions, (2) Using a systems perspective to understand how trade-offs between different processes can be reduced and co-benefits stimulated, and (3) Gathering empirical insights from the sustainability transitions research on how policy can trigger self-reinforcing dynamics.

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47 results found


Open accessBook
05 Jul 1996-
Abstract: Understanding Risk addresses a central dilemma of risk decisionmaking in a democracy: detailed scientific and technical information is essential for making decisions, but the people who make and live with those decisions are not scientists. The key task of risk characterization is to provide needed and appropriate information to decisionmakers and the public. This important new volume illustrates that making risks understandable to the public involves much more than translating scientific knowledge. The volume also draws conclusions about what society should expect from risk characterization and offers clear guidelines and principles for informing the wide variety of risk decisions that face our increasingly technological society. Understanding Risk * Frames fundamental questions about what risk characterization means. * Reviews traditional definitions and explores new conceptual and practical approaches. * Explores how risk characterization should inform decisionmakers and the public. * Looks at risk characterization in the context of the entire decisionmaking process. Understanding Risk discusses how risk characterization has fallen short in many recent controversial decisions. Throughout the text, examples and case studies--such as planning for the long-term ecological health of the Everglades or deciding on the operation of a waste incinerator--bring key concepts to life. Understanding Risk will be important to anyone involved in risk issues: federal, state, and local policymakers and regulators; risk managers; scientists; industrialists; researchers; and concerned individuals.

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Topics: IT risk (63%), Enterprise risk management (62%)

1,211 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/0162243907311265
Andrew Stirling1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Discursive deference in the governance of science and technology is rebalancing from expert analysis toward participatory deliberation. Linear, scientistic conceptions of innovation are giving ground to more plural, socially situated understandings. Yet, growing recognition of social agency in technology choice is countered by persistently deterministic notions of technological progress. This article addresses this increasingly stark disjuncture. Distinguishing between appraisal and commitment in technology choice, it highlights contrasting implications of normative, instrumental, and substantive imperatives in appraisal. Focusing on the role of power, it identifies key commonalities transcending the analysis/participation dichotomy. Each is equally susceptible to instrumental framing for variously weak and strong forms of justification. To address the disjuncture, it is concluded that greater appreciation is requiredin both analytic and participatory appraisalto facilitating the opening up (rather than the closing down) of governance commitments on science and technology.

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Topics: Deliberation (51%), Framing (social sciences) (51%), Deference (51%)

1,061 Citations


Open accessBook
B. Latour P. Weibel1Institutions (1)
01 Jan 2005-
Abstract: Another monumental ZKM publication, redefining politics as a concern for things around which the fluid and expansive constituency of the public gathers; with contributions by more than 100 writers and artists. In this groundbreaking editorial and curatorial project, more than 100 writers, artists, and philosophers rethink what politics is about. In a time of political turmoil and anticlimax, this book redefines politics as operating in the realm of things. Politics is not just an arena, a profession, or a system, but a concern for things brought to the attention of the fluid and expansive constituency of the public. But how are things made public? What, we might ask, is a republic, a res publica, a public thing, if we do not know how to make things public? There are many other kinds of assemblies, which are not political in the usual sense, that gather a public around things - scientific laboratories, supermarkets, churches, and disputes involving natural resources like rivers, landscapes, and air. The authors of Making Things Public - and the ZKM show that the book accompanies - ask what would happen if politics revolved around disputed things. Instead of looking for democracy only in the official sphere of professional politics, they examine the new atmospheric conditions - technologies, interfaces, platforms, networks, and mediations that allow things to be made public. They show us that the old definition of politics is too narrow; there are many techniques of representation - in politics, science, and art - of which Parliaments and Congresses are only a part. The authors include such prominent thinkers as Richard Rorty, Simon Schaffer, Peter Galison, Richard Powers, Lorraine Daston, Richard Aczel, and Donna Haraway; their writings are accompanied by excerpts from John Dewey, Shakespeare, Swift, La Fontaine, and Melville. More than 500 color images document the new idea of what Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel call an "object-oriented democracy."

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Topics: Politics (53%), Democracy (51%)

820 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.ENPOL.2013.05.109
01 Oct 2013-Energy Policy
Abstract: Strategies that provide information about the environmental impact of activities are increasingly seen as effective to encourage conservation behavior. This article offers the most comprehensive meta-analysis of information based energy conservation experiments conducted to date. Based on evidence from 156 published field trials and 525,479 study subjects from 1975 to 2012, we quantify the energy savings from information based strategies. On average, individuals in the experiments reduced their electricity consumption by 7.4%. Our results also show that strategies providing individualized audits and consulting are comparatively more effective for conservation behavior than strategies that provide historical, peer comparison energy feedback. Interestingly, we find that pecuniary feedback and incentives lead to a relative increase in energy usage rather than induce conservation. We also find that the conservation effect diminishes with the rigor of the study, indicating potential methodological issues in the current literature.

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440 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/0263276414536746
Elizabeth Shove1, Gordon Walker1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Energy has an ambivalent status in social theory, variously figuring as a driver or an outcome of social and institutional change, or as something that is woven into the fabric of society itself. In this article the authors consider the underlying models on which different approaches depend. One common strategy is to view energy as a resource base, the management and organization of which depends on various intersecting systems: political, economic and technological. This is not the only route to take. The authors develop an alternative approach, viewing energy supply and energy demand as part of the ongoing reproduction of bundles and complexes of social practice. In articulating and comparing these two positions they show how social-theoretical commitments influence the ways in which problems like those of reducing carbon emissions are framed and addressed. Whereas theories of practice highlight basic questions about what energy is for, these issues are routinely and perhaps necessarily obscured by those who see energy as an abstract resource that structures or that is structured by a range of interlocking social systems.

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Topics: Social practice (57%), Social theory (54%), Energy supply (54%) ... show more

417 Citations