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Positive Tipping Points Towards Sustainability

Understanding the Conditions and Strategies for Fast Decarbonization in Regions

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  • Open Access
  • © 2024

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  • Addresses social-ecological tipping points (SETPs) from a social interdisciplinary perspective
  • Analyses a well-diversified portfolio of real-life case studies
  • Provides useful insights for decision- and policymaking
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Springer Climate (SPCL)

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About this book

This open access book provides the first comprehensive review of the state of the art of social tipping points applied to energy systems from a social interdisciplinary perspective. It does so by presenting a novel theory of systemic and transformative change, linking it to empirical cases assisted with relevant assessment methodologies, including modeling. The authors unveil the narratives and visions, the transformative capacities as well as deliberate strategies and collective actions that at one point in time have been able - or were prevented - to tip a given social-ecological system towards low-carbon, sustainable trajectories in diverse high-intensive carbon regions around the world. 

This volume shows that self-reinforcing learning feedbacks connecting transformative solutions and strategies across scales and domains can be induced by targeted policy interventions both in local and regional contexts. It further indicates how changes in behavioral patterns, supported by good governance of disruptive technologies, carbon (dis)investment and finance processes as well as new forms of civic engagement, can create the necessary transformative enabling conditions for the emergence of positive tipping points towards low-carbon sustainable futures.  

The book is a must-read for students, researchers, and scholars, as well as policy-makers and practitioners interested in a better understanding of sustainability, climate, and energy issues and in assessing the potential impacts and effectiveness of strategic interventions aimed at accelerating just sustainable decarbonization processes. 


Table of contents (16 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Global Climate Forum, Berlin, Germany

    J. David Tàbara

  • Technoeconomics of Energy Systems Lab., University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece

    Alexandros Flamos

  • Neoma Business School, Paris, France

    Diana Mangalagiu

  • Technoeconomics of Energy Systems Lab, University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece

    Serafeim Michas

About the editors

J. David Tàbara is an Associate Researcher at the Global Climate Forum in Berlin, Germany, and at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. He has been working for over 25 years in EU and international interdisciplinary research on Sustainable Development and has published extensively on knowledge integration methods, with particular attention to questions of public perception, social learning, communication, and public participation for sustainability. He contributed to the first book on Public Participation in Sustainability Science (Cambridge University Press 2003) and recently to various EU research projects on transformative solutions to support sustainable climate action, such as GREEN-WIN, IMPRESSIONS, and as principal investigator of TIPPING+. He is also a member of the Earth Commission Working Group on Transformations of the Global Commons Alliance. 

Alexandros Flamos is a Professor at the University of Piraeus (UNIPI) and Director of the Technoeconomics of Energy Systems Laboratory of UNIPI. He has a Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a PhD in Decision Support Systems (DSS) applied in Energy and Environmental Economics, Planning & Policy. He has held the position of scientific coordinator/ senior researcher in more than 40 European Commission (EC) and other internationally funded projects (H2020, DG RELEX, EACI, DG R&D, DG Energy, SFOE, European Investment Bank, EuropeAid etc.) in DSS, Energy Management & Planning, Energy and Climate Policy, Security of Energy Supply, Energy Competitiveness, and Energy Justice. Flamos was Editor in Chief of the scientific journal Energy Sources Part B: Economics, Planning & Policy (2018-22). He has authored more than 150 publications in high-impact international scientific journals and international conferences and as an invited speaker at major international energy policy cooperation events (MENAREC, Euro-Asia meetings, COPs). 

Diana Mangalagiu is a Professor at Neoma Business School, France and Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. She holds degrees in natural sciences (Ph.D. Artificial Intelligence, Ecole Polytechnique, MSc Physics) and social sciences (MSc Sociology, MSc Management). She has over two decades of research, advising and teaching experience in sustainability, environmental policy, and foresight. She participated as principal investigator or senior researcher in European Commission (DG CLIMA, CONNECT, ENV, ENER, ENV), OECD, World Bank, and UN agencies funded research projects such as GREEN-WIN, IMPRESSIONS, and TIPPING+. She co-founded the Initiative for Science, Society and Policy Dialogue, co-chaired the pan-European Environmental Outlook of the UN Environment, is a scientific board member of the Global Climate Forum, SEI Initiative on Governing Bioeconomy, member of the High-Level Group for International Science Council, and Coordinating Lead Author for IPBES.

Serafeim Michas is a Research Associate at the Technoeconomics of Energy Systems Laboratory (TEESlab) at the University of Piraeus, Greece. He holds a degree on Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). Michas teaches energy modelling at the University of Piraeus, with 7 years of research experience acquired through his participation in 6 projects with European and national funding. His expertise is on energy systems' modelling, exploration of decarbonization pathways, analysis of the socio-economic implications of energy transitions, and decision support for the assessment of policy measures' effectiveness under contextual uncertainties. He also has published 5 papers in high impact international peer-reviewed academic journals and his work has been accepted for presentation at several international scientific conferences.

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