CORDIS - EU research results

Enabling Positive Tipping Points towards clean-energy transitions in Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions

Project description

Shedding light on clean-energy transitions in coal and carbon intensive regions

The clean energy transition in coal and carbon-intensive regions (CCIRs) is a priority for the EU’s strategies for climate action, sustainable development and long-term jobs creation. The EU-funded project will focus on the critical concept of social-ecological tipping points (SETPs) to study the role played by scientific understanding of social, economic, psychological, cultural, gender and political processes in supporting clean energy transitions in CCIRs. It will also identify tipping interventions aimed at preventing catastrophic outcomes provoked by crossing irreversible negative thresholds. The project will perform an innovative analysis of both positive and negative tipping points. Advancing transition theory, it will focus on the assessment of collective visions and narratives as well as on the required transformative capacities that generate key strategies, solutions and socio-technical innovations leading to systemic transformations in CCIRS towards low-carbon clean energy futures.


Why at one or several points in time do Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions (CCIR) flip into fundamentally different development trajectories and embrace clean-energy transformations? TIPPING+ will focus on the critical concept of Social-Ecological Tipping Points (SETPs) to inquire how a much more robust scientific understanding of the socioeconomic, psychological, cultural, gender and political processes leading to SETPs can be used to support clean-energy transitions in CCIR or prevent catastrophic or undesirable outcomes in other ones (e.g. populism and anti-democratic attitudes). TIPPING+ will carry out empirical analyses and advance the state-of-the-art on both negative and positive tipping points. However, a main focus of TIPPING+ will concern the participatory co-production of knowledge on the driving forces and deliberate tipping interventions for positive tipping points toward energy transitions in European CCIR. A typology based on at least 20 regional case studies will be generated with an early engagement of key practitioners examining: 1) New trends, changes and impacts of energy transitions on demographic structures and geographical distribution patterns in gender, migration and youth 2) Community, gender and psychological factors related to energy transitions 3) Policy interventions and governance factors 4) Economic transformations on employment, distributional welfare and energy and natural resources. TIPPING+ builds on the latest social science applied to Transition Theory (Tàbara et al, 2019) which shows that enabling deliberate positive tipping points in development trajectories depend on: a) Collective visions and narratives which frame and provide actionable meaning b) The kinds of transformative capacities to achieve these visions and c) Key strategies, solutions and socio-technical innovations derived from such capacities. International cooperation will also be established with non-European partners in Indonesia, Australia and Canada.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 554 375,00
10178 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 611 975,00

Participants (18)