Nov 11: Climate mitigation and the ‘need for speed’: reimagining the temporalities and politics of regional energy transitions in Sweden with Isak Stoddard

Warmly welcome to the 50% evaluation presentation seminar of Isak Stoddard‘s PhD thesis “Climate mitigation and the ‘need for speed’: reimagining the temporalities and politics of regional energy transitions in Sweden”

When: November 11 kl. 15.15-17.00 CET

Where: Hamberg lecture hall, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, see map here:


Opponent: Dr Bregje van Veelen (Lund University)
Supervisor: Dr Magdalena Kuchler (Uppsala University)
Co-supervisor: Professor Kevin Anderson (Uppsala University)
Co-supervisor: Dr Mikael Höök (Uppsala University)

Title: Climate mitigation and the ‘need for speed’: reimagining the temporalities and politics of regional energy transitions in Sweden

Increasingly emphatic warnings from scientists about the possible dire consequences of global climate change has contributed to the establishment of an international regime and a world-wide proliferation of policies and actions that in one way or another attempt to mitigate the problem. However, in the three decades that have passed since the publication of the first IPCC report, we have seen an almost inexorable rise in global greenhouse gas emissions, with more fossil carbon released into the atmosphere by humans than previously throughout history. Furthermore, considering the cumulative nature of emissions and the rapidly dwindling size of global carbon budgets, the issue becomes increasingly urgent and challenging to address as time passes. This thesis explores the temporalities, socio-material arrangements and futures that can be imagined by the exigency to mitigate climate change and decarbonise energy systems. To inform a more timely and considered response to the climate crisis, the climate policy frameworks of two ‘climate progressive’, industrialised nations, Sweden and the UK, are first analysed and found to fall far short of the temperature and equity commitments enshrined in the Paris-agreement (Paper I). The efficacy of past and present efforts to bring down emissions are then reviewed, revealing a multifaceted landscape of issues, but where a key impediment to significant mitigation has been the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dogmatic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control (Paper II). The empirical focus is then shifted to the regional level, and the development of strategies for the rapid transition of energy systems in the two Swedish counties of Uppsala and Gotland. Here, the accelerated speed of transition resulting from the downscaling of global carbon accounting practices is found to both shape and be re(shaped) by contemporary forms of climate and energy governance and socio-material circumstances, forging specific global-local connections, but also frictions (Paper III). Taken together, the findings of this thesis highlight the importance for climate governance and research to take further account of the speeds, paces, rhythms, durations and timing of energy transitions and how such temporalities are entangled with questions of equity, views on sociotechnical change and the futures that can be imagined.

Isak Stoddard is a PhD candidate in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at the Department of Earth Science. In my current research I am focused on the strategies and imaginaries informing regional climate and energy transitions within Sweden. My educational background is in engineering physics. For the past decade I’ve been mainly focused on developing transdisciplinary approaches to higher education at the Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS).

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