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Uncertainty, politics, and technology: Expert perceptions on energy transitions in the United Kingdom

Li, FGN; Pye, S; (2018) Uncertainty, politics, and technology: Expert perceptions on energy transitions in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science , 37 pp. 122-132. 10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.003. Green open access

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Abstract

Energy policy is beset by deep uncertainties, owing to the scale of future transitions, the long-term timescales for action, and numerous stakeholders. This paper provides insights from semi-structured interviews with 31 UK experts from government, industry, academia, and civil society. Participants were asked for their views on the major uncertainties surrounding the ability of the UK to meet its 2050 climate targets. The research reveals a range of views on the most critical uncertainties, how they can be mitigated, and how the research community can develop approaches to better support strategic decision-making. The study finds that the socio-political dimensions of uncertainty are discussed by experts almost as frequently as technological ones, but that there exist divergent perspectives on the role of government in the transition and whether or not there is a requirement for increased societal engagement. Finally, the study finds that decision-makers require a new approach to uncertainty assessment that overcomes analytical limits to existing practice, is more flexible and adaptable, and which better integrates qualitative narratives with quantitative analysis. Policy design must escape from ‘caged’ thinking concerning what can or cannot be included in models, and therefore what types of uncertainties can or cannot be explored.

Type: Article
Title: Uncertainty, politics, and technology: Expert perceptions on energy transitions in the United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.00
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Climate policy, Energy policy, Uncertainty analysis, Decision-making
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10024718
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