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Contingency National Governance Arrangements for Rapid Climate Mitigation
Abstract: Recent climate science studies reveal that limiting the world to 2ºC warming most likely requires peaking total global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 followed by rapid reductions to near zero by 2050. Despite calls to immediately commence a rapid transformation of current fossil-fuelled energy into sustainable systems, responses from most governments remain weak and show no sense of urgency. In cases where transition plans are present, these assume that existing governance arrangements are sufficient for the transition. This paper argues that, for the transition to be rapid, inclusive, and efficient, a new governance paradigm is necessary. To elucidate such a paradigm, historical accounts of rapid institutional restructurings are examined. One of these comprises accounts of World War 2 mobilisations, where radical, rigorous and rapid institutional changes were conducted. While wartime experience suggests some potential strategies for rapid climate mitigation, the paper also argues that there are limitations in the use of this analogy.
Keywords: climate mitigation, governance, renewable energy