SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

EMPOCI: Governing sustainable energy-mobility transitions

Context

The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming this century to 1.5°-2°C. This requires a rapid decarbonization of our systems of production and consumption, and a transition to low-carbon solutions, particularly in the increasingly interconnected energy and mobility sectors.

Policy intervention at a national and regional level is needed to accelerate this process. However, national governments often find themselves negotiating between competing climate policy interests and industrial policy concerns. This calls for a re-examination of what constitutes an effective policy mix for ensuring rapid decarbonization and green competitiveness, and a consideration of the politics and policies of green transition processes.

The EMPOCI project (Governing sustainable Energy-Mobility transitions: multi-level POlicy mixes, transformative Capacities and low-carbon Innovations), led by Professor Karoline Rogge, investigates how the global low-carbon transition in energy and mobility systems can be accelerated on a regional and national level.

The project has 3 main objectives:

  1. To provide new understandings of the global interplay between multi-level policy mixes and low-carbon innovations in socio-technical transitions.
  2. To develop and test new methodological tools enabling both deep and broad insights into the drivers and barriers in transition processes towards sustainability.
  3. To co-design practical strategies for accelerating sustainable energy-mobility transitions, thereby supporting the Paris Agreement in combating climate change.

Methodology

EMPOCI employs a multi-method research design combining qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the governance of sustainable energy-mobility transitions. This includes multi-actor case studies and surveys, transformative foresight processes, and big data analysis of policies, agency and innovation dynamics.

EMPOCI will analyse the innovation-led decarbonisation of the increasingly interconnected electricity-mobility-ICT systems in two European countries (UK, Germany), and two countries outside of Europe (China, USA).

Impact and Outreach

The outcomes of EMPOCI are likely to benefit a range of stakeholders, including businesses, policy makers, academia and society. The project will advance the research frontier on transformative policy mixes for low-carbon transitions; provide new standards for assessing policy and innovation dynamics in politically contested low-carbon transition processes; and develop new strategies for accelerating sustainable energy-mobility transitions.

The team will also disseminate research findings through a variety of academic and non-academic publications, workshops and an active social media and communication strategy.

Further Information

The project’s international fieldwork will be facilitated through collaboration with Prof Yuan Zhou at Tsinghua University and Prof Jonas Meckling at UC Berkeley. The German case study will benefit from Prof Rogge’s second affiliation with Fraunhofer ISI.

EMPOCI is funded by the European Research Council (grant agreement no. 85273) and starts in June 2020. The project will run for 5 years until May 2025.