Narratives of Low-Carbon Transitions : Understanding Risks and Uncertainties book cover
1st Edition

Narratives of Low-Carbon Transitions
Understanding Risks and Uncertainties

ISBN 9781138311589
Published March 4, 2019 by Routledge
296 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

"The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license." 

This book examines the uncertainties underlying various strategies for a low-carbon future. Most prominently, such strategies relate to transitions in the energy sector, on both the supply and the demand side. At the same time they interact with other sectors, such as industrial production, transport, and building, and ultimately require new behaviour patterns at household and individual levels. Currently, much research is available on the effectiveness of these strategies but, in order to successfully implement comprehensive transition pathways, it is crucial not only to understand the benefits but also the risks.

Filling this gap, this volume provides an interdisciplinary, conceptual framework to assess risks and uncertainties associated with low-carbon policies and applies this consistently across 11 country cases from around the world, illustrating alternative transition pathways in various contexts. The cases are presented as narratives, drawing on stakeholder-driven research efforts. They showcase diverse empirical evidence reflecting the complex challenges to and potential negative consequences of such pathways. Together, they enable the reader to draw valuable lessons on the risks and uncertainties associated with choosing the envisaged transition pathways, as well as ways to manage the implementation of these pathways and ultimately enable sustainable and lasting social and environmental effects.

This book will be of great interest to students, scholars, and practitioners of environmental and energy policy, low-carbon transitions, renewable energy technologies, climate change action, and sustainability in general.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

Notes on contributors

Preface and acknowledgements

Part I: Setting the stage

1. Introduction

Susanne Hanger-Kopp, Jenny Lieu, and Alexandros Nikas

2. Framing risks and uncertainties associated with low-carbon pathways

Susanne Hanger-Kopp, Alexandros Nikas, Jenny Lieu

Part II: Pathways for incumbent large-scale technology systems

3. Austria: co-designing a low-carbon transition pathway focusing on energy supply for the iron and steel sector

Brigitte Wolkinger, Jakob Mayer, Andreas Tuerk, Gabriel Bachner, and Karl Steininger

4. Canada: finding common ground - the need for plural voices in lower-carbon futures of the Alberta oil sands

Luis D. Virla, Jenny Lieu, and Cecilia Fitzpatrick

5. United Kingdom: pathways towards a low-carbon electricity system – nuclear expansion versus nuclear phase out

Rocío Alvarez-Tinoco, Michele Stua, and Gordon MacKerron

Part III: Pathways towards renewable electricity systems

6. Chile: promoting renewable energy and the risk of energy poverty in Chile

Luis E. Gonzales Carrasco and Rodrigo Cerda

7. The Netherlands: expanding solar PV – risk and uncertainties associated with small- and large-scale options

Krisztina de Bruyn-Szendrei, Wytze van der Gaast, and Eise Spijker

8. Spain: on a rollercoaster of regulatory change -  risks and uncertainties associated with a renewable energy transition

Alevgul H. Sorman, Cristina Pizarro-Irizar, Xaquín García-Muros, Mikel González-Eguino, and Iñaki Arto

9. Switzerland: risks associated with implementing a national energy strategy

Oscar van Vliet

Part IV: Pathways towards energy-efficient building sectors

10. China: risks and uncertainties in low-carbon pathways for the urban building sector

Lei Song, Jenny Lieu, and Ying Chen

11. Greece: from near-term actions to long-term pathways - risks and uncertainties associated with the national energy efficiency framework

Alexandros Nikas, Nikolaos Gkonis, Aikaterini Forouli, Eleftherios Siskos, Apostolos Arsenopoulos, Aikaterini Papapostolou, Eleni Kanellou, Charikleia Karakosta, and Haris Doukas

Part V: Pathways focusing on renewable energy technologies at household and community levels

12. Indonesia: risks and uncertainties associated with biogas for cooking and electricity

Mariana Silaen, Yudiandra Yuwono, Richard Taylor, Tahia Devisscher, Syamsidar Thamrin, Cynthia Ismail, and Takeshi Takama

13. Kenya: risks and uncertainties around low-carbon energy pathways

Oliver W. Johnson, Hannah Wanjiru, Mbeo Ogeya, and Francis X. Johnson

Part VI: Synthesis.

14. Transition pathways, risks, and uncertainties

Jenny Lieu, Susanne Hanger-Kopp, Wytze van der Gaast, Richard Taylor

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Susanne Hanger-Kopp is a researcher at the Institute for Environmental Decisions at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and at the Risk and Resilience Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Jenny Lieu is a research fellow at the University of Sussex, UK, and guest researcher at the Transdisciplinary Lap of the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Alexandros Nikas is a researcher at the Management & Decision Support Systems Laboratory of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece.