Newsletter 4

Newsletter 4 - June 2016

 Content


Nature Climate Change perspective paper
Governing the electric vehicle transition
The political economy of energy innovation
EU Green Week partner event


Nature Climate Change perspective paper
Geels, Berkhout, and Van Vuuren argue in this perspective paper that  that integrated assessment model-based analysis should be complemented with insights from socio-technical transition analysis and practice-based action research. Based on a discussion of the underlying assumptions, strengths and weaknesses of these three analytical approaches, they argue that full integration of these approaches is not feasible, because of foundational differences in philosophies of science and ontological assumptions. Instead, a bridging approach based on sequential and interactive articulation could generate a more comprehensive and useful chain of assessments to support policy formation and action. 

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Governing the electric vehicle transition
Nilsson and Nykvist discuss in a paper how a breakthrough of battery-electric vehicles (BEV) can be governed. Drawing on recent results and lessons from BEV studies at local, national and regional scales, the paper presents two alternative scenarios of BEV uptake until 2030 – one incremental growth scenario and one breakthrough scenario. Based on a characterisation of barriers and drivers at landscape, regime and niche levels, it identifies governance interventions to enable a BEV breakthrough. The results point towards a multidimensional governance approach that includes conventional policy instruments such as durable incentive policies, with a predictable mechanism for adjustment and phase-out, and mechanisms for mobilising investment finance for fast and super-fast charging and home charging along public roads.

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The political economy of energy innovation
This paper by Dasgupta, De Cian, and Verdolini empirically investigates the effects of environmental policy, institutions, political orientation, and lobbying on energy innovation. Based on an analysis of historical data for 20 OECD countries between 1995 and 2010, they conclude that political economy factors significantly affect the incentives to innovate and create cleaner energy efficient technologies. Political economy factors may act as barriers even in the presence of stringent environmental policy, implying that, in order to move towards a greener economy, countries should combine environmental policy with a general strengthening of institutions, consider the influence of government’s political orientation on environmental policies as well as the size of energy intensive sectors. 

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EU Green Week partner event
Together with several sister projects, the PATHWAYS project organized the EU Green Week side event “Social Innovation for Accelerating Transition to Sustainable Cities”. On 30 May, results from six research projects that look at social innovation and the way it plays out in facilitating and accelerating low-carbon transitions to sustainability in cities formed the basis of a debate about the key messages for policy, practice and education.

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