The Democratic Challenges of Deep Decarbonisation: The DeepDCarb project

Dr Irene Lorenzoni (3S Research Group, UEA)

3S Seminar, 19th May 2021, 16:00-17:00 BST on MS Teams (please email Mandy Harmer <> if you would like to attend, an invite will be sent before the seminar).

The standard advice to politicians confronting long-term challenges such as decarbonisation is to adopt commitment devices such as binding policies. Yet there is inconsistency, with politicians appearing unable to do this, endangering the achievement of the 1.5 and 2C aspirations in the Paris Agreement. The existing literature struggles to explain the causes, and hence the solutions, to this impasse. Political scientists argue that politicians fear retribution at the next election; psychologists claim that citizens understand what is at stake, but expect politicians to lead. The untested assumption is that both are locked into a ‘governance trap’ which greatly reduces the political feasibility of rapid change. In this talk, I outline the ERC funded DeepDCarb (2021-6) which seeks to significantly advance understanding by directly exploring the relationship between politicians, citizens/voters and other actors in a uniquely detailed and comparative manner, drawing on a combination of methods and new data sets.