The politics of low carbon transitions – protected niches, actor networks, narratives and changing contexts

Kern, Florian, Smith, Adrian, Raven, Rob and Verhees, Bram (2013) The politics of low carbon transitions – protected niches, actor networks, narratives and changing contexts. In: IGov Workshop: Theorising Governance Change for a Sustainable Economy, April 30, 2013, London.

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Understanding how to move towards more sustainable societies is a key challenge for analysts, civil society organisations and policy makers alike. The literature on sustainability transitions indicates an important role for niche activities which have the potential to overturn
or green incumbent socio-technical regimes. In the context of climate change, many advocates and policy makers put a lot of hope in renewable energy technologies like solar photovoltaics and offshore wind. These technologies are not (yet) competitive under ‘normal’
selection environments and therefore require ‘protective space’ to improve their performance,reduce costs, enable the growth of supportive actor networks, etc. Which niches receive this kind of protection, why and through which processes, is an interesting field of study for
scholars interested in the politics of low carbon transitions. The paper argues that these processes can be usefully analysed by looking at actor networks, the discourses they mobilise and the way in which they strategically engage with changing energy and climate policy contexts. The paper reflects on empirical work on PV and offshore wind niche developments in the UK and the Netherlands and thereby makes a contribution to the emerging literature on the governance of low carbon transitions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
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Depositing User: Nora Blascsok
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2015 16:20
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015 16:20
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