In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, EU member states have committed to effecting decarbonisation transitions in coal-based and carbon-intensive industries. This implies diverse social and institutional challenges for the territories concerned, but also major opportunities in terms of a just social-ecological transformation.
The ENTRANCES project (ENergy TRANsitions from Coal and carbon: Effects on Societies) investigates the social dimensions of decarbonisation transitions in 13 European carbon-intensive regions.
The project draws on a multi-dimensional analytical framework, incorporating socio-political, socio-psychological, socio-cultural, socio-economic and social-ecological-technical and gender-sensitive approaches, in order to develop a theoretically and empirically grounded understanding of the issues faced by these regions, and the related coping strategies they currently develop. Research outputs will inform stakeholders and especially policy making with a view to navigate the societal implications and seize the opportunities of regional transitions towards sustainability.
IOER is contributing to the conceptual framework of the project and carries out an in-depth case study of the Lusatia region in Germany. In particular, we develop a reflexivity tool to assist researchers and stakeholders to understand and assess the transformative capacity actually available in regions confronting decarbonisation.
While the political aim is to phase out heavily carbon-emitting processes, governance interventions in practice mostly seek to achieve this by focusing on regional economic development institutions and key actors. But how capable are these of effecting path-deviant change to deeply entrenched attitudes and practices? By operationalising the transformative capacity framework in regional settings, IOER aims to enable stakeholders to jointly identify characteristics of lock-in, de/stabilisation and transformation. The approach will allow them developing the collective reflexivity required to disclose current capacity gaps and possible future development paths. It therefore supports the direct engagement and empowerment of stakeholders and their deliberation of practical measures for effective transformative interventions.
ENTRANCES – ENergy TRANsitions from Coal and carbon: Effects on Societies is a project funded under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and led by the Universidade da Coruña. This project is framed under the call Building a Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Future: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy, especially under the topic Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) aspects of the Clean-Energy Transition (LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020).
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Wolfram, Marc; Borgström, Sara und Farrelly, Megan (2019): Urban Transformative Capacity: From Concept to Practice. In: Ambio, Special Issue, 48 (5), S. 437-448.