Low Carbon Transition

The concept ‘Low Carbon Transition’ refers to a shift from an economy which depends heavily on fossil fuels to a sustainable, low carbon economy. A fundamental change in the way we organize energy services is necessary to reduce the risks of catastrophic climate change. Furthermore, a sustainable energy system is likely to offer other significant benefits such as lower resource dependence, technology spillovers associated with the development of alternative energy sources, global access to energy services and secure and reliable low-carbon energy supplies.

There are really two critical ideas here. First, the notion of a low carbon emission economy or society: and here the issue is how to redesign our economies (including key sectors such as energy, transport, and agriculture) to avoid releasing greenhouse gasses which are damaging the climate system. And second, the idea of transition, of movement over several generations from our present dependence on GHG emitting fossil fuels towards more sustainable ways of life.

This working group focuses on the concept ‘low carbon transition’. Important questions that will be explored are: How did the notion of low carbon transition emerge. How significant has this concept been for the development of new governance approaches to managing social/ecological interactions? What policies are associated with low carbon transition strategies?

For more information please contact Oluf Langhelle: oluf.langhelle@uis.no

Professor Oluf Langhelle
Faculty of Social Science
University of Stavanger
Stavanger, Norway

Interesting articles

Bridge, G., Bouzarovski, S., Bradshaw, M. & Eyre, N. (2013). Geographies of energy transition: space, place and the low-carbon economy. Energy Policy.

Bulkeley, H., Castán Broto, V., Hodson, M. and Marvin, S. (2011). Cities and the low carbon transition. European Financial Review.

Foxon, T. J. (2011). A coevolutionary framework for analysing a transition to a sustainable low carbon economy. Ecological Economics.

Meadowcroft, J. (2009). What about the politics? Sustainable development, transition management, and long term energy transitions. Policy Sciences.

Yuan, X. & Zuo, J. (2011). Transition to low carbon energy policies in China—from the Five-Year Plan perspective. Energy Policy.

Myhrvold, N. P. & Caldeira, K. (2012). Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity. Environmental Research Letters.

Söderholma, P., Hildingsson, R., Johansson, B., Khan, J. & Wilhelmsson, F. (2011). Governing the transition to low-carbon futures: a critical survey of energy scenarios for 2050. Futures.

Further links

The UK Carbon Transition Plan

The low carbon transition unit of the Danish Energy Agency.

EU Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050.