First workshop with the Practitioner’s Advisory Council

The ACTS project team had a great meeting today with the project’s Practitioner’s Advisory Council. We met with most members of the council to present the rationale of the research project, talk about its practical relevance and identify interesting avenues for future research.

Here are a few lessons from the workshop:

  • There is a significant distinction between Copenhagen 2009 and its failed “top-down” approach in contrast to a more ” bottom-up” Pris Agreement. This makes it utterly important to understand the role of non-state actors in climate governance.
  • At the same time, Fossil Free Sweden was initiated by the state to have a coordinating role to “gather” actors under one unified umbrella. The vision of politicians on Sweden 2045 must be filled with actual content.
  • One way to frame the climate transition is to ask the question of how we get a decent society, not how we should save it.
  • It is important to remember that things look very different in Sweden compared to the rest of the world and it is up for debate what can be learned from Sweden.
  • Voluntary initiatives must not replace legislation. If they replace legislation or seen as an alternative to legislation the effect is rather negative. The voluntary initiatives can be a complement to or push for legislation, but not a replacement. It is also important to watch out for the Greenwash effect.
  • An important question is how to deal with cities / municipalities that have large footprints are onboard the transition. We have some municipalities in Sweden where large industrial emissions occur.

We presented our ongoing work and are thankful for the advice and suggestions by the council. For example, we need to think about including regional authorities, regions and also regional initiatives. Many municipalities have goals or sub-goals that must be met by 2020 but most of them seem to struggle in meeting their own goals by 2020. What will happen to the hope of climate transitions if it turns out that municipalities miss their climate targets? 2020 is, therefore, a litmus test.

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