Concerted action on climate change will require a continuing stream of social and technical innovations whose development and transmission will be influenced by public policies. New ways of doing things frequently emerge in innovative small-scale initiatives – 'experiments' – across sectors of economic and social life. These experiments are actionable expressions of novel governance and socio-technical arrangements. Mobilising and generalising the outputs of these experiments could lead to deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the long-term. It is often assumed that the groundswell of socio-technical and governance experiments will 'scale-up' to systemic change. But the mechanisms for these wider, transformative impacts of experiments have not been fully conceptualised and explained. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for the mobilisation, generalisation and embedding of the outputs and outcomes of climate governance experiments. We describe and illustrate four 'embedding mechanisms' – (1) replication-proliferation; (2) expansion-consolidation; (3) challenging-reframing; and (4) circulation-anchoring – for entwined governance and socio-technical experiments. Through these mechanisms knowledge, capabilities, norms and networks developed by experiments become mobile and generic, and come to be embedded in reconfigured socio-technical and governance systems.
After the perceived failure of global approaches to tackling climate change, enthusiasm for local climate initiatives has blossomed world-wide, suggesting a more experimental approach to climate governance. Innovating Climate Governance: Moving Beyond Experiments looks critically at climate governance experimentation, focusing on how experimental outcomes become embedded in practices, rules and norms. Policy which encourages local action on climate change, rather than global burden-sharing, suggests a radically different approach to tackling climate issues. This book reflects on what climate governance experiments achieve, as well as what happens after and beyond these experiments. A bottom-up, polycentric approach is analyzed, exploring the outcomes of climate experiments and how they can have broader, transformative effects in society. Contributions offer a wide range of approaches and cover more than fifty empirical cases internationally, making this an ideal resource for academics and practitioners involved in studying, developing and evaluating climate governance.
The paper sets out a proposal for bridging and linking three approaches to the analysis of transitions to sustainable and low-carbon societies: quantitative systems modelling; socio-technical transition analysis; and initiative-based learning. We argue that each of these approaches presents a partial and incomplete picture, which has implications for the quality and usefulness of the insights they can deliver for policy and practice. A framework for bridging these different approaches promises to enrich each of the approaches, while providing the basis for a more robust and complete analysis of sustainable transitions pathways that serves better to address questions and dilemmas faced by decision-makers and practitioners. We elaborate five key challenges for the analysis and governance of transitions pathways, and compare the three approaches in relation to each of these. We suggest an integration strategy based on alignment, bridging, and iteration, arguing that a structured dialogue between practitioners of different approaches is needed. In practical terms, such a dialogue would be organised around three areas of joint knowledge production: defining common analytical or governance problems to be tackled through integration; establishing shared concepts (boundary objects); and establishing operational bridging devices (data and metrics, pathways evaluation and their delivery). Such processes could include experts and societal partners. We draw conclusions about future research perspectives and the role of analysis in transitions governance.