The politics of accelerating low-carbon transitions: Towards a new research agenda

Cameron Roberts, Frank W Geels, Matthew Lockwood, Peter Newell, Hubert Schmitz, Bruno Turnheim, Andy Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Citations (Scopus)
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Meeting the climate change targets in the Paris Agreement implies a substantial and rapid acceleration of low-carbon transitions. Combining insights from political science, policy analysis and socio-technical transition studies, this paper addresses the politics of deliberate acceleration by taking stock of emerging examples, mobilizing relevant theoretical approaches, and articulating a new research agenda. Going beyond routine appeals for more ‘political will’, it organises ideas and examples under three themes: 1) the role of coalitions in supporting and hindering acceleration; 2) the role of feedbacks, through which policies may shape actor preferences which, in turn, create stronger policies; and 3) the role of broader contexts (political economies, institutions, cultural norms, and technical systems) in creating more (or less) favourable conditions for deliberate acceleration. We discuss the importance of each theme, briefly review previous research and articulate new research questions. Our concluding section discusses the current and potential future relationship between transitions theory and political science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Socio-technical transitions
  • Political science
  • Temporality
  • Accelerated transitions
  • Coalitions
  • Policy feedback
  • Context dependency

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