Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YD, UK.
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UK-China Networks of Low Carbon Innovation
Summary: Tackling climate change is demanding international collaboration in innovation, yet there are significant constraints on such collaborations. This project is examining low carbon partnerships between the UK and China to identify the factors that promote and impede their success and the capacity for "disruptive" innovation on a global scale.
Type of Activity: Academic Research - Externally Funded
Principal Investigator: John Urry (Sociology)
Research Associate: David Tyfield (Sociology)
The anthropogenic rise of global temperatures is now an imminent and grave danger. Yet as the problem of global scope, it is equally clear that action must be genuinely global. Such global coordination, however, demands a climate of international cooperation and collaboration, i.e. a broadly "cosmopolitan" context in which efforts are optimally balanced between the demands of the global totality and local/national needs. In the age of "globalisation" major trends support the emergence of this cosmopolitan order. But there are also significant social forces driving in the very opposite direction. In particular, the global political economy is entering a period of turbulence and transition. And the potential for an isolationist backlash, sinking any possibility of tackling climate change, is large. Avoiding this scenario demands understanding current social trends and the conditions needed for movement in the other direction. One issue in particular is the point of convergence for many of these trends, so that analysis of it is likely to yield important insights. This issue is international collaborations with China in "low carbon" innovation.
First, as the "engine" of current economic growth, innovation must play a crucial role in remodelling the economy, though this "disruptive" innovation will also involve social and policy innovation. Secondly, the rise of China is undoubtedly the biggest transition in the global economy. But China's industrial and vehicle emissions have risen commensurately. Yet this growth has raised some 200 million people out of poverty and China's political stability is inextricably tied to its continuation. China is thus increasingly a crucial part of the global problem... and thus a central element of any global solution. China's innovation capabilities are rapidly improving but there remain some major weaknesses. If China is to "leapfrog" to a sustainable economy, then, international collaboration will be essential. These collaborations, however, face significant constraints, from both the global trends discussed above and conditions within China and the UK/EU, along with the differences and tensions between the "civic epistemologies" of these partners. This project is examining these conditions, and thereby engaging with recent rich theoretical debates about cosmopolitanism, as well as work between innovation policy and science & technology studies that is supplementing research on the scale and speed of innovation with reflections on its direction, purposes and expected outcomes.
The project is organizing a number of workshops and conferences:
Presentations and Podcasts
Presentations regarding the project have included:
AIM Research: http://www.aimresearch.org
Re-Impact, Project on Biofuels Assessment: http://www.ceg.ncl.ac.uk/reimpact/
Green Leap Forward: http://greenleapforward.com
Purpose of Research
Academic Research - Externally Funded
Associated News Stories
China should take account of low-cost and/or low-tech ways to carbon reduction says new report
Date: 13 July 2010
China has significant opportunities for creating a low carbon society if it develops its own low-cost and/or lower tech 'disruptive' innovations inste ... Read more»
BRICs on the Move - POSTPONED
Date: 12 November 2010 Time:
Unfortunately, this event has been postponed until further notice. Apologies for any inconvenience. CALL FOR PAPERS BRICS on the Move Cen ... Read more»
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