Low Carbon Policy Needs Better Analytical Tools

This diagram from the paper shows realized strategies arising from combinations between intended, deliberate and emergent strategies. Courtesy: authors and Nature Climate Change.This diagram from the paper shows realized strategies arising from combinations between intended, deliberate and emergent strategies. Courtesy: authors and Nature Climate Change.

Solutions to climate change such as implementing low carbon transitions in buildings, energy, food and transport systems require a more differentiated set of analysis tools, according to a new paper.

Integrated assessment models have many strengths for analysing such transitions but their mathematical representation requires a simplification of the causes, dynamics and scope of such societal transformations, according to the study published in Nature Climate Change.

The authors suggest that integrated assessment model-based analysis should be complemented with insights from socio-technical transition analysis and practice-based action research.

The paper, entitled Bridging analytical approaches for low-carbon transitions, concludes that a combination of approaches offers the best way forward.

Abstract

Low-carbon transitions are long-term multi-faceted processes. Although integrated assessment models have many strengths for analysing such transitions, their mathematical representation requires a simplification of the causes, dynamics and scope of such societal transformations. We suggest that integrated assessment model-based analysis should be complemented with insights from socio-technical transition analysis and practice-based action research. We discuss the underlying assumptions, strengths and weaknesses of these three analytical approaches. We argue that full integration of these approaches is not feasible, because of foundational differences in philosophies of science and ontological assumptions. Instead, we suggest that bridging, based on sequential and interactive articulation of diffrent approaches, may generate a more comprehensive and useful chain of assessments to support policy formation and action. We also show how these approaches address knowledge needs of different policymakers (international, national and local), relate to different dimensions of policy processes and speak to different policy-relevant criteria such as cost-effectiveness, socio-political feasibility, social acceptance and legitimacy, and flexibility. A more differentiated set of analytical approaches thus enables a more differentiated approach to climate policy making.

Citation

Frank W. Geels, Frans Berkhout and Detlef P. van Vuuren; Bridging analytical approaches for low-carbon transitions; Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2980.

Source

Nature Climate Change

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