Low‐carbon pathways – challenges and opportunities

Limiting global climate change to less than 2 °C poses serious challenges: it requires a more or less completely decarbonized power sector by 2050 and sustained decarbonisation rates of 2-3 times the level historically observed. Clearly, achieving this will require fundamental societal transitions and coordinated policy action. The PATHWAYS project combines the strengths of quantitative systems modelling, transition studies, and participative action research to better understand how  such a transition pathway could be governed. Based on several country case studies, we develop alternative storylines for transition pathways.

Such a pathway could mainly involve technological changes or, next to these changes, more comprehensive changes in societal structures as well. The mix of mitigation options implemented in these pathways may differ significantly. This implies that transitions may work out very differently in different countries depending on governance structures. For the short term it is important to broaden partici­pation, create a wide sectoral coverage, and aim for synergies with other policies.

Authors: Andries F. Hof  (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency) and Detlef P. van Vuuren (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Copernicus Institute, Utrecht University)

Available for downloading at http://www.pathways‐project.eu/ 

This article is an ouput of the EU-funded PATHWAYS project.


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