The (non-)politics of managing low carbon socio-technical transitions

  • Scrase I
  • Smith A
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Whilst not originating in political analysis, a transitions problem framing nevertheless provides a heuristic for understanding certain features of climate politics. A multi-level perspective on transitions to low carbon socio-technical regimes is introduced, and illustrated through the example of electricity supply. An associated 'transition management' (TM) approach, which considers policy measures to induce low carbon transitions, is then adopted as the central focus. A diagnosis of the climate challenge from a TM perspective is developed, and a range of familiar strategies for reducing emissions is considered in light thereof. Although political realities and difficulties have been given little emphasis in the TM literature, strategies with political implications are identifiable. These recommendations have technocratic overtones and assume a consensual or corporatist model of politics. A committed and explicitly political programme for transitions, rather than TM, may be necessary.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Climate policy
  • Socio-technical transitions
  • Transition management

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