Climate policies in a changing world context: is a paradigm shift needed? - École des Ponts ParisTech Access content directly
Journal Articles Climate Policy Year : 2013

Climate policies in a changing world context: is a paradigm shift needed?


The collapse of Lehmann Brothers in September 2008 precipitated the largest economic crisis since the Second World War, a crisis that is still not over, placing major constraints on public sector budgets and reducing private sector investors’ appetite for risk. The 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2009 ended without the desired comprehensive international agreement. In March 2013, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan led to a major accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This in turn led to a precipitate decision to phase out nuclear power in Germany, and similar decisions in other countries, notably Japan itself. In a number of countries, nuclear had been and still is considered a major low-carbon power option. To say that the low-carbon agenda has faced a headwind is perhaps an understatement. In spite of headwinds, however, ‘low carbon’ does in fact provide possibly the only available positive vision of how to overcome the crisis – by investing in sustainable ‘green growth’ to build a global low-carbon society (LCS). The German ‘Energiewende’, ironically and significantly accelerated by the Fukushima accident, is currently the largest project working towards this goal. The central challenge for the International Research Network for Low Carbon Societies (LCS-RNet), in its annual workshops and other activities, has been to sustain the science–policy–society dialogue and offer solutions for low-carbon societies against this difficult background. This Climate Policy Special Issue highlights key contributions and insights from the 2nd and 3rd Annual Workshops of the Network, held in 2010 and 2011 in Berlin and Paris, respectively. These contributions have undergone further development and independent double-blind peer review. Although the insights are varied, there is a common theme – the need to link the policies necessary to launch a long-run transition towards an LCS with shorter-term concerns about poverty alleviation, jobs, and the protection of welfare benefits. These policies can contribute to an economic recovery driven by ‘green growth’, with a view to securing sustainable development involving changes in consumption patterns, technology, and lifestyles. A range of different approaches will be needed: designing public policies that reduce risks for private investors; promoting infrastructure investment that avoids locking-in to high-carbon futures; and strengthening support for energy efficiency and renewable technologies that will enhance employment and lead to the creation of long-term sustainable industries.
No file

Dates and versions

hal-00845017 , version 1 (16-07-2013)



Jim Skea, Jean-Charles Hourcade, S. Lechtenböhmer. Climate policies in a changing world context: is a paradigm shift needed?. Climate Policy, 2013, 13 (sup01), pp.1-4. ⟨10.1080/14693062.2013.759726⟩. ⟨hal-00845017⟩
70 View
0 Download



Gmail Mastodon Facebook X LinkedIn More