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The Great Recession and the transition to a low-carbon economy

Andreas A. Papandreou
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Andreas A. Papandreou: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Working papers from Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to consider the potential implications of the recent financial and economic crisis on the transition to a low carbon economy. This is unavoidably an exercise in tenuous conjectures given both our proximity to the still unfolding crisis, and the inherent complexity, confusing and highly contested nature of global scale crisis. It is also difficult because our understanding of major energy transitions are still very much in thier infancy, not to mention the unprecedented nature of a transition to a sustainable energy system. The paper begins with a breif review of the Great Recession, considers what lessions can be drawn from past energy transitions and the potential ways that crises, socio-economic transitions and sustainability might be linked. The historical relationship between past recessions and C)2 emissions is presented along with where we stand with respect to meeting mitigation targets. The Great Recession coincided with a relative peak in climate action and the rise of a Green Growth narrative that provides some hope of a joint attack on climate change and economic malaise. This paper will briefly review the idea of Green Growth and Green Keynesianism and look at the evidence on the extent and effectiveness of green demand stimulus following the Great Recession. The paper will argue that despite some early hope and some worthy global developments on the renewables front, public and political priorities shifted dramatically so that on balance the Great Recession can be associated with a 'policy peak' and a lost opportunity to propel the low carbon transition. Moreover, it raises concerns that the continued fragility of the economic recovery will further delay the needed transition.

Keywords: Financial crisis; Great Recession; climate change policy; carbon prices; Green Growth; Green New Deal; socio-economic transitions; low carbon economy. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E62 G01 O13 Q38 Q43 Q48 Q54 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 88 pages
Date: 2015-01-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene, nep-env and nep-mac
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