Governing low-carbon energy transitions in sustainable ways: Potential synergies and conflicts between climate and environmental policy objectives
Climate change is a central sustainability concern, but is often treated separately from other policy areas in environmental governance. In this article we study how low-carbon energy transitions might be governed in line with broader sustainability goals. We identify conflicts and synergies between low-carbon strategies and the attainment of longer-term environmental objectives by examining the Swedish environmental quality objectives as a governance arrangement. Our analysis indicates that low-carbon strategies might be compatible with preserving other aspects of ecological sustainability. However, this requires relevant flanking policies and measures for non-climate objectives, e.g. systems that control the expansion of biomass and ensure the use of sustainable methods. For such a governance system to be credible and capable, it needs to be flexible in terms of adapting to specific and changing contexts, and reflexive enough to factor in new knowledge on requirements for sustainable development and potentially changing values of future generations.
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