Governing low carbon transitions

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Governing low carbon transitions

  1. 1. <ul><li>Governing low carbon transitions </li></ul><ul><li>Adrian Smith </li></ul><ul><li>SPRU – Science & Technology Policy Research </li></ul><ul><li>University of Sussex </li></ul><ul><li>British Sociological Association Climate Change Study Group </li></ul><ul><li>17th January 20011, British Library, London </li></ul>
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>The challenge for low carbon governance is increasingly framed as a transition from high-carbon to low-carbon systems </li></ul><ul><li>The simplification of complex transformations: illustrate with case of a multi-level perspective on transitions </li></ul><ul><li>Social science in low carbon governance: objectifying and reflexive tensions? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Some themes in mainstream low carbon narratives <ul><li>Deep emissions cuts imply wide-scale transformations across many sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Green technological innovations and individual behaviour change in market settings emphasised </li></ul><ul><li>Systems perspectives are sometimes espoused: governing a transition from high-carbon to low-carbon systems </li></ul>
  4. 4. Systems approaches in governance context ‘ system’
  5. 5. FRAMINGS Systems framings ‘ system’ context 1.
  6. 6. FRAMINGS Systems framings ‘ system’ 1. context 2.
  7. 7. FRAMINGS Systems framings ‘ system’ 1. 2. context 3.
  8. 8. FRAMINGS Systems framings ‘ system’ 1. 2. 3. context 4.
  9. 9. Governance for low carbon systems Create processes whereby people can create powerful low carbon systems scientific disciplines infrastructure requirements Product/service markets carbon markets system management NGO partnerships environmental impacts niche markets maintenance capacities public acceptability skilled workforce reliable components supply chain training / accreditation planning process social movements trade associations informed finance specialist services Insurance provision affected communities wider culture sensitive regulation sponsoring public bodies consumer behaviour
  10. 10. <ul><li>Norms and routines of engineers and developers </li></ul><ul><li>Business models and markets </li></ul><ul><li>Economies of scale and networks </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructures for connecting components </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions for coordinating and reproducing systems </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer habits and social practices </li></ul><ul><li>Political power and access to decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Governance for low carbon systems needs also to unsettle governance by incumbent ‘regimes’ – create space for experimentation </li></ul>Incumbent systems ‘govern’ through co-evolving path-dependencies: Governance by incumbent systems
  11. 11. Multi-level heuristic on system transitions Source: Geels (2002)
  12. 12. Initial consequences arising from this frame <ul><li>Dichotomous view of transition : Institutionalised incumbent vs. Emergent new; a move from A to B (cf. plurality of socio-technical developments across places) </li></ul><ul><li>Transition requires niches that build momentum in response to regime and landscape processes and opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Actors reproduce processes in each level, but are they assume to be subordinate to transition requirements? </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape is background driver (cf. something to be transformed) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Framing transition governance Source: Geels (2002) Pressure on regime to become sustainable Empowering environmental awareness and values Pathways to visions Pathways to visions Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Learning / process Politics / substance
  14. 14. Framing transition governance Source: Geels (2002) Pressure on regime to become sustainable Empowering environmental awareness and values Whose visions count? Pathways to visions Pathways to visions Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Learning / process Politics / substance
  15. 15. Framing transition governance Source: Geels (2002) Pressure on regime to become sustainable Empowering environmental awareness and values Whose visions count? Pathways to visions Pathways to visions Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Learning / process Politics / substance
  16. 16. Framing transition governance Source: Geels (2002) Pressure on regime to become sustainable Empowering environmental awareness and values Whose lessons should drive future adaptations? Whose visions count? How to redistribute commitments in socially just ways? How to destabilise the regime? Where does all this take place? Which niches to support; whose criteria? Pathways to visions Pathways to visions Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Visions for sustainable energy systems Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Socio-technical niches Learning / process Politics / substance
  17. 17. <ul><li>Two constructive responses to framing issues: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Add further patches to a framework </li></ul><ul><li>2. Switch to other framings, compare and experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Space for experimentation in governance? </li></ul><ul><li>An objectifying requirement – framework that settles issues in the context of existing policy institutions </li></ul><ul><li>A reflexive expectation - diverse frameworks that stimulate plural approaches </li></ul>Scope for experimenting with framings?
  18. 18. <ul><li>System transitions perspectives in low carbon governance discourse </li></ul><ul><li>The MLP illustrates framing issues critical for governance </li></ul><ul><li>Objectification and reflexivity in governance </li></ul><ul><li>Plural framings contributing to social experimentation in governance and climate change </li></ul>Summarising
  19. 19. <ul><li>The allure and challenges of a multi-level transitions framing </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, Vo β and Grin (2010) Research Policy 39, 4 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, Stirling and Berkhout (2005) Research Policy 34, 10 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The implementation of a transitions narrative into policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Smith and Kern (2009) Environmental Politics 18, 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vo β , Smith and Grin (2009) Policy Studies 42, 4 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objectification and reflexivity in systems framings </li></ul><ul><li>Smith and Stirling (2007) Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 9, 3-4 </li></ul><ul><li>Smith and Stirling (2010) Ecology & Society 15, 1 </li></ul>Thank you! And for more details ...
  20. 20. Commitment and appraisal in governance Governance Socio-technical system Open-up or Broad Outputs: Close-down Social commitments Ontological: material & discursive reproduction of the system Social appraisal Epistemic: understanding the system & options for change Inputs: Narrow or Diverse Interventions: Optimal
  21. 21. An objectifying social science: governance on the ‘outside’ Commitments Appraisal 1. Governance predicated upon a socially recognised, yet inchoate, sustainability problem Socio-technical object 4. Unitary set of interventions reconfigure the socio-technical object according to specific commitments privileged in appraisal 3. Appraisal aggregates perspectives and closes down around single socio-technical object 2. Different actors prioritise different inputs to appraisal
  22. 22. A reflexive social science: governance on the ‘inside’ Commitments Appraisal 3. Reflexive opening-up of appraisal under alternative framings 4. Closure achieved through wider political discourse about commitments & a diverse portfolio of interventions are made 2. Reflexive acknowledgement of multiple framings of the socio- technical practices 1. Governance predicated upon a socially recognised, yet inchoate, sustainability problem Framing # n … Framing # 2 ‘ System’ seen by framing # 1
  23. 23. Contrasting governance strategies GOVERNANCE PERSPECTIVE GOVERNANCE FUNCTION ‘ Governance on the Outside ’ external intervention by governance subject in socio-technical object ‘ Governance on the Inside ’ internal co-constituting of governance and socio-technical subjects Appraisal <ul><li>Broadening-out the inputs to appraisal / extended reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Scoping a particular sustainability problem / goal </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregating ‘relevant’ actor perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability indicators treated as metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Drive to objectify the socio-technical system </li></ul><ul><li>Informing commitment formation </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis and deliberation over ‘the best option(s)’ </li></ul><ul><li>1st order learning: effectiveness of appraisal/intervention </li></ul><ul><li>Opening-up the outputs of appraisal / pluralistic reflexivity </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting contested nature of sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Exploring different actor framings </li></ul><ul><li>Indicators treated as heuristics </li></ul><ul><li>System ambiguity accepted </li></ul><ul><li>Empowering deliberation over commitments </li></ul><ul><li>Incommensurable perspectives, conditional and situated options </li></ul><ul><li>2nd order learning: consequences of different framings </li></ul>Clear distinction between appraisal and commitment in governance stages. Reflexive interaction between appraisal and commitment processes in governance. Commitment <ul><li>Appraisal determines commitment formation </li></ul><ul><li>Managing governance interventions </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimacy derives from objectivity or authority of appraisal </li></ul><ul><li>Concentration and uniformity of commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Aversion to failure </li></ul><ul><li>Unilinear, unidimensional and discrete interventions </li></ul><ul><li>Episodic and isolated commitment making </li></ul><ul><li>Interventions are functionalist </li></ul><ul><li>Appraisal conditionally informs commitment formation </li></ul><ul><li>Closure through wider governance discourse </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimacy is negotiated through governance </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring strategic diversity, resilience and robustness </li></ul><ul><li>Irony and social learning </li></ul><ul><li>Multilinear, multidimensional and flexible repertoires </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly renegotiated and pervasive </li></ul><ul><li>Interventions are power laden </li></ul>Attitude to governance Largely instrumental managerial function Fundamentally engaged political process
  24. 24. Further information Policy Science Research Policy Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning
  25. 25. The scale of the challenge: UK illustration 2006 emissions International aviation & shipping* UK non-CO 2 GHGs Other CO 2 Industry (heat & industrial processes) Residential & Commercial heat Domestic transport Electricity Generation * bunker fuels basis 2050 objective 159 Mt CO 2 e 695 Mt CO 2 e 77% cut (= 80% vs. 1990)
  26. 26. UK Low Carbon Transition Plan

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