Theme: Political Economy | Content Type: Journal article

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The New Transition Politics of Net Zero

Jon Bloomfield and Fred Stewart



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The net zero transition requires concurrent and rapid decarbonisation in five major consumption-production systems—transport, housing, industry, food and power. These systems differ in their public visibility and institutional makeup, as well as in their technologies. Transition politics needs dexterity to facilitate transformation of these multiple systems. Yet, there remain big contrasts in the rate of change of different systems. These are shown by the variation in the fulfilment of the 2020 system targets which were set in the 2009 UK Low Carbon Transition Plan. Comparison of the transition pathways of renewable electricity production and home insulation indicates that current UK net zero transition politics is poorly suited to the transformation of household energy use. A more proactive state and wider public participation are needed for a more effective place-based approach. Environmental activism and populist backlash have focused attention on everyday transformative change. A new type of transition politics which engages with multiple systems is needed to rise to this urgent climate challenge.

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  • Jon Bloomfield

    Jon Bloomfield

    Jon Bloomfield is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham; Fred Steward is Emeritus Professor, School of Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, London.

    Articles by Jon Bloomfield
  • Fred Stewart

    Fred Stewart

    Fred Stewart is a Professor at the Innovation and Sustainability Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster.

    Articles by Fred Stewart
Volume 95, Issue 1

Latest Journal Issue

Volume 95, Issue 1

Includes a collection on the Future of Public Service Broadcasting, edited by Suzanne Franks and Jean Seaton. This features articles such as 'The Governance of the BBC' by Diane Coyle; 'A Public Service Internet - Reclaiming the Public Service Mission' by Helen Jay; and 'BBC Funding: Much Ado about the Cost of a Coffee a Week' by Patrick Barwise. There are a wide range of other articles including 'Back to the Stone Age: Europe's Mainstream Right and Climate Change’ by Mitya Pearson and 'Labour, the Unions and Proportional Representation' by Cameron Rhys Herbert. Finally, there is a selection of book reviews such as Lyndsey Jenkins's review of Fighting For Life: The Twelve Battles that Made Our NHS and the Struggle for Its Future by Isabel Hardman, and Victoria Brittain's review of Three Worlds, Memoirs of an Arab-Jew by Avi Shlaim.

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