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The impact of the financial-economic crisis on sustainability transitions: Financial investment, governance and public discourse

  • Frank W. Geels
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    The paper distinguishes four views on the impact of the financial-economic crisis on sustainability transitions (operationalized as diffusion of green niche-innovations). The first three views highlight the possibility of positive impacts of the financial-economic crisis on sustainability transitions and joint solutions: a) a comprehensive transformation of the capitalist system, b) a green Industrial Revolution, linked to a sixth green Kondratieff wave, c) green growth. The fourth view perceives the impact as mainly negative, because the financialeconomic crisis weakens public, political and business attention for environmental problems. The paper confronts these views with secondary data on three analytical categories: 1) financial investment, 2) policy and governance, 3) public opinion and civil society. Data focus on renewable energy and climate policy in the UK, Europe and the world. The paper concludes that the early crisis years (2008-2010) created a window of opportunity for positive solutions. But since 2010-2011 this window appears to be shrinking, with the financial-economic crisis having negative influences on sustainability transitions that may cause some slow-down.

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    Paper provided by WWWforEurope in its series WWWforEurope Working Papers series with number 39.

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    Length: 46
    Date of creation: Sep 2013
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published
    Handle: RePEc:feu:wfewop:y:2013:m:9:d:0:i:39
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    Order Information: Postal: WWWforEurope Project Office Austrian Institute of Economic Research Arsenal Objekt 20 A-1030 Vienna
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    1. Geels, Frank W. & Schot, Johan, 2007. "Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-417, April.
    2. Charles Gore, 2010. "The global recession of 2009 in a long-term development perspective," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(6), pages 714-738.
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    8. L. Randall Wray, 2009. "The rise and fall of money manager capitalism: a Minskian approach," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 807-828, July.
    9. Middlemiss, Lucie & Parrish, Bradley D., 2010. "Building capacity for low-carbon communities: The role of grassroots initiatives," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7559-7566, December.
    10. Hodson, Mike & Marvin, Simon, 2010. "Can cities shape socio-technical transitions and how would we know if they were?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 477-485, May.
    11. Nakicenovic, Nebojsa & Nordhaus, William, 2011. "Editors' introduction: The economics of technologies to combat global warming," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 565-571, July.
    12. Markard, Jochen & Raven, Rob & Truffer, Bernhard, 2012. "Sustainability transitions: An emerging field of research and its prospects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 955-967.
    13. Dieter Helm, 2011. "The sustainable borders of the state," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 517-535.
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