Branching points for transition pathwaysAssessing responses of actors to challenges on pathways to a low carbon future

Authors Organisations
  • Timothy J. Foxon(Author)
    University of Leeds
  • Peter J.G. Pearson(Author)
    Prifysgol Caerdydd | Cardiff University
  • Stathis Arapostathis(Author)
    Prifysgol Caerdydd | Cardiff University
  • Anna Carlsson-Hyslop(Author)
    Prifysgol Caerdydd | Cardiff University
  • Judith Thornton(Author)
    Low Carbon Research Institute
    Prifysgol Caerdydd | Cardiff University
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-158
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2013
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This paper describes initial analysis of branching points on a set of transition pathways to a UK low carbon electricity future by 2050. As described in other papers in this special issue, we are exploring and analysing a set of core transition pathways, based on alternative governance patterns in which the 'logics' of market actors, government actors and civil society actors, respectively dominate. This core pathway analysis is enhanced by analyses of branching points within and across the pathways, which informs how competition between different logics plays out at key decision points. Branching points are defined as key decision points at which choices made by actors, in response to internal or external stresses or triggers, determine whether and in what ways the pathway is followed. A set of initial branching points for our three core transition pathways is identified through project and stakeholder workshops, and drawing on analysis of actors' choices and responses at past branching points in energy system transitions. The potential responses of the actors are identified at these branching points, and risk mitigation strategies are formulated for the dominant actors to reinforce that pathway, as well as opportunities for actors to move away from the pathway.


  • Branching points, Path dependency, Transition pathways