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The UK low carbon energy transition: prospects and challenges

Foxon, T. J. and Pearson, Peter J. G. 2013. The UK low carbon energy transition: prospects and challenges. [Working Paper]. Working Paper, vol. 2013/3. Bath: University of Bath. Available at:

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Under the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This implies a radical transformation of systems for meeting energy service demands - in particular, a transition to a low carbon system of electricity generation and supply. Despite efforts by the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to examine pathways to 2050, most of the focus in UK energy policy has been on the shorter term reforms needed to incentivise high levels of investment in low carbon generation technologies, embedded in the Energy Bill currently going through the UK Parliament. This chapter draws on work by the authors and colleagues on UK low carbon transition pathways for the electricity sector to 2050 (Hammond and Pearson, 2013; Foxon, 2013) to examine the drivers and consequences of alternative low carbon pathways, and reflect on the implications for current UK energy policy measures. This suggests that governance models with different roles for government, business and civil society could lead to quite different low carbon futures, so that which model dominates could have a significant influence on the direction of change and the risks and challenges to be addressed. Whilst a hybrid government-market form of governance appears to be emerging, there still seems to be a relatively small role for civil society in influencing the pathway to a low carbon future.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Additional Information: A revised version of this working paper will appear in Bumpus, AG & Okereke, C (eds.), Carbon Governance, Climate Change and Business Transformation, Routledge, 2014.
Publisher: University of Bath
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:27

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