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How the decarbonisation discourse may lead to a reduced set of policy options for climate policies in Europe in the 2020s

Bressand, A; Ekins, P; (2021) How the decarbonisation discourse may lead to a reduced set of policy options for climate policies in Europe in the 2020s. Energy Research & Social Science , 78 , Article 102118. 10.1016/j.erss.2021.102118. Green open access

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Abstract

Centered on molecule-based energy carriers, policy challenges of phase-two Energy Transition (ET2) differ significantly from the electricity-centric ones (ET1) met by Europe so far. Calls for full electrification and frames shaped by notions of ‘renewable’, ‘green’, ‘ambition’ and ‘net-zero decarbonisation’ suggest that ‘lock-ins’ may emerge not only from (by now well-researched) incumbent strategies but also from advocacy discourses inherited from ET1. With power and knowledge inextricably conjoined, discourses co-construct the policy agenda. To succeed with ET2, Europe must develop a reflexive, multi-level and interdisciplinary strategy that covers the techno-economic-behavioral dimensions and the influence of discourses on policy formulation. By using discourse analysis and discursive institutionalism as an anchor for cognitive neuroscience and for the relevant social science and political science, ET research can consider how science-based and emotion-driven perspectives interbreed in policy and discourse complexes. How shared conceptual spaces are contested can help improve the reflexivity of ET research as well as provide insights on opposition. A keener understanding of two-way interaction between policies and discourses will help free ET2 policies from ET1 lock-ins.

Type: Article
Title: How the decarbonisation discourse may lead to a reduced set of policy options for climate policies in Europe in the 2020s
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2021.102118
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102118
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: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Environmental Studies, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, European energy transition phases ET1 and ET2, Policy and discourse complexes, Power and Foucauldian governability, Political science, Interdisciplinary reflexivity, SOCIAL-SCIENCE, ENERGY, TRANSITIONS, POLITICS, POWER, COPRODUCTION, PARADIGM, IDEAS, RIGOR
UCL classification: UCL
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/10134124
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