Technological change in socio-political contexts

Identifying mechanisms of transitions​

We empirically analyse energy and land transitions taking place around the world to identify and explain their main driving forces and constraining factors. Our signature method is examining the interplay of economic, technological and political factors that have played a role in all historical changes of energy, land and food systems and exploring how these factors will change to shape the future.

Conceptualising and assessing f​easibility

We seek to develop a scientifically rigorous concept of the feasibility of sustainable transitions which extends beyond pure engineering and economic considerations. We also develop tools to operationalise and comparatively assess feasibility of various scenarios, strategies and roadmaps for future transitions. In particular, we regularly evaluate feasibility of the IPCC energy-climate scenarios as well as national decarbonisation strategies.

Measuring the speed of technologica​l change

A key aspect of our work is to measure the speed of transitions and identify pre-conditions for rapid change. All transitions are non-linear processes, thus this involves developing techniques to measure the speed of change which are robust over time using different types of growth models. We use these measurements to compare the most rapid periods of change in the past and those that need to happen in the future . This allows us to reflect on the evolving feasibility of rapid change, both in the face of climate concerns but also in the face of the current energy and food crises – which have been key drivers of change historically.

Feasible and realistic policy instruments​

Future sustainability transitions will need to be driven by strong deliberate policies, but are all policies equally feasible? We seek to scientifically answer this question by developing criteria and indicators for policy feasibility, which help policy makers and other social actors to develop realistic yet effective proposals to accelerate changes towards sustainability.

Senior researchers:​

Jessica Jewell, Martin Persson, Fredrik Hedenus

The research group is connected to the POLET network and the Sustainable circular bioeconomy: agriculture, forestry & land use research group.


Senior researchers

Key publications​

Hedenus, F., Jakobsson, N., Reichenberg, L., & Mattsson, N. (2022). Historical wind deployment and implications for energy system models. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 168, 112813.​

Bager, S. L., Persson, U. M. & Reis, T. N. P. dos. Eighty-six EU policy options for reducing imported deforestation. One Earth 4, 289–306 (2021).

Cherp, A., Vinichenko, V., Tosun, J., Gordon, J. A. & Jewell, J. National growth dynamics of wind and solar power compared to the growth required for global climate targets. Nat Energy 6, 742–754 (2021).

Vinichenko, V., Cherp, A. & Jewell, J. Historical precedents and feasibility of rapid coal and gas decline required for the 1.5°C target. One Earth 4, 1477–1490 (2021).

Jewell, J. & Cherp, A. On the political feasibility of climate change mitigation pathways: Is it too late to keep warming below 1.5°C? Wiley Interdiscip Rev Clim Change 11, e621 (2020).

Jewell, J., Vinichenko, V., Nacke, L. & Cherp, A. Prospects for powering past coal. Nat Clim Change 9, 592–597 (2019).

Cherp, A., Vinichenko, V., Jewell, J., Brutschin, E. & Sovacool, B. K. Integrating techno-economic, socio-technical and political perspectives on national energy transitions_ A meta-theoretical framework. Energy Res Soc Sci 37, 175 190 (2018).