Local transformation towards a low emission society
The ambitions of the Norwegian climate policy increased significantly when the Parliament, as a response to the Paris Agreement, voted in June 2016 that Norway is to become a carbon neutral society by 2030.
Reaching the Norwegian target implies radical changes to the ways in which our society is organised and functions. Transformation, in the sense of radical, fundamental, and paradigmatic change, is necessary, rather than adjustments within or tweaking of the current system. Local authorities have a significant role to play in such a transformation, as recognised in the Paris Agreement, due to their roles as public service providers, community developers and social entrepreneurs. Led by the municipal council, and equipped with a planning system based on the sustainable development principles, municipalities are in a unique position to merge scientific and local knowledge in the quest for a low-emission society. Research shows that factors such as degree of institutionalisation of climate policy, committed municipal administrators or politicians, and the extent to which national policies call for local implementation are important factors for explaining the level of commitment by local authorities in climate policies. Although these factors are likely to be important for a transformation to a low-emission society, we have little knowledge of barriers to and potentials for transformation at the municipal level.
This project addresses this issue by investigating how the local level of governments can contribute to transformation to a low-emission society. Case studies and experiments (simulation gaming) will address how municipalities relate to transformation and will uncover potential transformation pathways. The project aims at filling important knowledge gaps by contributing to the theoretical understanding of transformation processes at the local level, and by contributing to a knowledge base of transferrable learning examples of local transformation processes.