Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)

Accountability and legitimacy in energy transitions governance

Workshop May 15 & 16 - Accountability analysis: Enabling sustainability under energy sector transitions

solar panels in dry landscape
Siddharth Sareen

Main content

Workshop theme

For energy transitions to deliver sustainable outcomes, research-based insights must inform timely, strategic action to ensure equity and justice gains alongside decarbonisation. ‘Accountability analysis’ responds to this need by presenting a methodology with theoretical grounding and practical applicability. The workshop will discuss how to empirically study ‘practices of legitimation’, social relations premised on accountability, under transition. Specifying these practices enables characterisation of how accountability relations evolve during material and institutional change. Which components of transition are based on deliberative assessment backed by sanctions towards sustainable outcomes, and which claims are hollow accountability performances? This approach identifies windows of opportunity for interventions that can generate public benefits towards equity and decarbonisation.

Based on energy transitions and environmental governance scholarship, the workshop will posit a framework as a provocation, then feature responses from senior scholars who, drawing on their research, will mobilise the framework towards empirical applications. Additional selected papers will be discussed in line with this analytical focus. The workshop will develop a coherent and focussed technique targeted at ensuring comprehension across the many disciplines and fields of inquiry that are concerned with energy transitions. The strength of the framework is its empirical orientation and versatility across domains of environmental governance. Workshop contributions will bring the rigour of conceptual understandings of accountability into play with relational analyses of the governance of energy transitions.

Public pre-workshop event

On 14 May, participate in a guided tour of Margrethe Brekke’s exhibition on ‘Potential exceeds the demand’ (17:00-18:00) and join a public discussion between her and renowned scholar Benjamin Sovacool, moderated by Siddharth Sareen, on ‘Energy transitions and the public’ (18:00-19:00)

17:00-19:00 Hordaland Kunstsenter (sign up here)

Public keynote lectures

The workshop includes public keynote lectures by six eminent scholars and an exhibition on the Idea Box for Energy Transitions (RSVP here for keynote talks, lunch included)

Venue: Bergen Public Library auditorium

15 May

11:00-12:00 Keynote I:  Timothy Moss, Humboldt University. Historicizing accountability: Berlin’s energy transitions.

12:00-13:00 Lunch (free upon registering for Keynote I/II above)

14:00-15:00 Keynote II:  Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen. A few reflections on accountability.

16:30-17:00 Drinks reception and guided tour of Idea Box for Energy Transitions exhibition by Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation team at the library cafe Amalies Hage

17:00-18:00 Keynote III: Håvard Haarstad, University of Bergen. Do climate targets matter? The accountability of target-setting in climate and energy policy in cities. 

16 May

11:00-12:00 Keynote IV: Benjamin Sovacool, University of Sussex. Governance and legitimation in the transition to Nordic electric mobility.

12:00-13:00 Keynote V: Steven Wolf, Cornell University. Accountability and the regulation of legitimacy: Biodiversity conservation and energy extraction in the American West. 

13:00-14:00 Lunch (free upon registering for keynote V/VI above)

14:00-15:00 Keynote VI: Sunila Kale, University of Washington-Seattle. Indigenous Welfare, Tribal Homelands, and the Impact of Civil Society Organizations: A Subnational Analysis of Federal India

Open access special issue of Global Transitions connected to the workshop theme

Invited participants have received pre-circulated draft manuscripts and a complete workshop programme. This features pre-submitted manuscripts shortlisted for a special issue of Global Transitions (see http://www.keaipublishing.com/en/journals/global-transitions/events/special-issue-on-sustainable-energy-transitions/). Workshop manuscripts will be submitted to Global Transitions by 31.05.2019. Submissions accepted after peer review will be published online by 15.10.2019, as part of a forthcoming open access special issue titled Legitimacy and Accountability in the Governance of Sustainable Energy Transitions, edited by Siddharth Sareen and Håvard Haarstad.

For any workshop related enquiries, please email Siddharth.Sareen@uib.no