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Green transition ‘needs’ more oomph

UK researchers outline ways to increase pace of change to low-carbon economy 

Green transition ‘needs’ more oomph image

The transition to a low-carbon economy needs to increase in pace, if the world is to limit temperature change to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according new research by three UK universities.

Researchers from the universities of Manchester, Sussex and Oxford in a study published in the journal Science have outlined four ways in which the low-carbon transition could be accelerated.

Firstly, put the focus on what they call the “big picture” rather than individual elements. “Rapid and deep decarbonisation requires a transformation of ‘sociotechnical systems’ – the interlinked mix of technologies, infrastructures, organisations, markets, regulations and user practices that together deliver societal functions,” they said.

Secondly, align multiple innovations and systems that will help to improve the functionality of each. For example, accelerated low-carbon transition in electricity depends not only on the momentum of renewable energy innovations, such as wind and solar, but also on complementary innovations including energy storage and demand response, the researchers said.

Thirdly, gain public and business support and, fourthly, phase out existing systems and technologies. “Phasing out existing systems accelerates transitions by creating space for niche-innovations and removing barriers to their diffusion.”

University of Manchester professor and lead author of the study Frank Geels said: “Our ‘big picture’ framework shows that policymakers need to stimulate developments, as well as building political coalitions, enhancing business involvement and engaging with civil society.”

Image: Free Images/Hyoung Il So

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