Joanna Boehnert and Ben Reason
Transition Templates: Pathways to Net Zero+ is a three-year AHRC-funded research project using systems-level forms of design to envision pathways for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in five sectors of the UK economy. The United Kingdom has committed to reaching “net zero” emissions by 2050. Net zero is a target based on historical admissions, and it does not mean “zero” or no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—but a return to a 1990 baseline. While decarbonising the UK economy to the 1990 level is a major logistical challenge, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stresses that GHG emissions must not only be ended to keep global average temperature rise below 1.5°C, but net reductions are necessary, i.e., GHGs also needs to be taken out of the atmosphere. Additionally, the 2050 target is too late to avoid severe climate impacts, so decarbonisation needs to happen even more quickly. None of these decarbonisation agendas will be accomplished without new infrastructure along with dramatic changes in ways of living and ways of doing business across sectors. In response to these major challenges, this research project will conduct transdisciplinary expert consultation and participatory system mapping processes to develop pathways for decarbonisation in different sectors of the UK economy, starting with home energy ecosystems. This work-in-progress presentation will cover the first six months of this systemic service design research for socio-technological transitions.