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TIPPING+ at the Conference of Exeter

Presentation of the first results of the TIPPING+ case studies

The TIPPING+ project participated at the Conference on “Tipping Points. From climate crisis to positive transformation” that took place at the University of Exeter on 12-14 September.

During the conference, a dedicated TIPPING+ workshop took place where five case studies posters showcasing key research components (such as the mainstream narrative, the research methodology and conceptual framework) were presented. In particular, the workshop focused on the following 5 presentations:

  • Franziska Mey, Arno Weik and Johan Lilliestam: “Tipping the system incrementally. Empirical observations from the coal phase-out process in the Ruhr Region."
  • Jan Frankowski, Joanna Mazurkiewicz, Jakub Sokołowski: “Seeking opportunities to enable positive tipping points in coal mining regions. The case study of Upper Silesia, Poland.” You can find the poster presented by the Institute for Structural Research (IBS) here
  • Francesc Cots, Jeremie Fosse, Gerard Codina, and J. David Tàbara: “Exploring windows for rapid transformability in a post-coal mining region. The demolition of the last cooling tower of the Andorra coal-fired plant in Spain as a tipping point”.
  • Raphaela Maier, Franziska Mey, Timo Gerres, Andreas Tuerk: “Is the steel sector at a tipping point? Company case study comparison of Austria, South Korea, Australia and the USA.”
  • J. David Tàbara: “Towards a theory of possibilities for regenerative sustainability. Repositioning transformative human agency for the emergence of positive tipping points”.

The aim was to introduce participants to some the latest theoretical developments on social-ecological tipping points and share few empirical cases from the TIPPING+ project. The presentations covered the analysis of structural changes in the Ruhr region in Germany, the coal-phase out in Upper Silesia in Poland including the macro-economic modelling of the impact of a carbon tax, an international comparison study of decarbonisation of the steel industry, the regeneration of old post-mining landscapes in the Czech Republic and the turning of an old coal mining region to a large renewable energy hub in Spain. The workshop was completed by arguing that central in the latest social-ecological systems theory advances of positive tipping points are the notions of regenerative sustainability, processes and capacities and the need to reposition and reframe dominant understandings of human agency accordingly.

After presentations, an interactive session took place where participants engaged in interesting discussions. The focus of the discussions was on the type of interventions that can trigger positive tipping point in coal and carbon intensive regions and communities, highlighting the climate policies and financial mechanisms that address the issue of the rapid coal mining phase-out. Another important issue that was covered during the discussions, was the kinds of social science and interdisciplinary transformation theories that could best inform the conceptualisation of positive tipping points.    

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