James Meadowcroft

James Meadowcroft
Carleton University · School of Public Policy and Administration

BA McGill University; D. Phil. Oxford.

About

93
Publications
67,387
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6,134
Citations
Citations since 2016
18 Research Items
3806 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
July 2004 - present
Carleton University
January 1991 - June 2004
The University of Sheffield

Publications

Publications (93)
Article
Full-text available
This article is concerned with governance of long term socio-technical transitions required to orient development trajectories of advanced industrial counties along more sustainable lines. It discusses the contribution that ‘transition management’ can make to such processes, emphasizes the irreducibly political character of governance for sustainab...
Article
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This paper considers engagement with sustainable development in the rich industrialized countries since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, focusing particularly on environmental limits. It argues that while the idea of 'limits' is in one sense ubiquitous, contemporary societies are only beginning to come to terms with its implications. The discussion co...
Article
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Over the course of the twentieth century the welfare state emerged as one of the most conspicuous features of the modern polity. Together with a market mediated economy with concentrated private ownership of the principal productive assets, and political systems with multi-party elections and fairly extensive individual rights, the welfare state he...
Article
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Purpose After decades of delay, there are promising signs that society may finally be getting serious about climate change. But the problem is now of such urgency that accelerating transition pathways to net zero is of paramount importance. Which governance approach gives society the best chance of simultaneously realizing the multiple sectoral and...
Article
Conceptual innovations are a central feature of global environmental governance. Confronting degradation and unsustainability, scholars and practitioners turn to new concepts to identify, make sense of, and chart new directions towards meaningful governance solutions. But why do some concepts create lasting changes to governance institutions and go...
Chapter
This chapter explores the essential role of politics, the state and technology in achieving transitions towards sustainable development in the area of energy. It focuses on some recent examples of emerging sustainability transitions witnessed in developed countries, with a special focus on: (1) the phase out of coal in Ontario, Canada; and (2) the...
Article
Canada is embarking upon a low-carbon energy transition, which will involve the diffusion of innovations and the reconfiguration of energy systems. This paper examines the potential contribution that transition experiments can make to this process. Transition experiments can be understood as deliberate interventions which test novel configurations...
Preprint
[Discussion paper presented to the Economics & Environmental Policy Research Network] Climate policy stability is often considered to be instrumental in redirecting significant financial flows toward climate action by minimizing risk and uncertainty for investors. The logic is that uncertain climate policies create too many risks for private sector...
Article
Transition pathways have attracted increasing interest as a useful analytical lens through which to capture the interlocking processes, patterns, and directions that might constitute substantial movement toward sustainability. While recent research has elaborated the political character of pathways, there is still room to further scrutinize the rol...
Working Paper
Discussion paper for Sustainable Canada Dialogues side event at Generation Energy in October 2017. Outlines the concept of 'transition experiments' along with the opportunities a program of experimentation might provide for the pursuit of low-carbon pathways in Canada. Potential benefits include learning, capacity building, and public education and...
Chapter
The concept of the environment is today so closely interwoven into political argument that it is hard to imagine a world without it. But the contemporary understanding of the environment as a nature on which we depend, but that threatened by human activity, is a comparatively new creation. This chapter explores the emergence of this modern concepti...
Chapter
This chapter examines the evolution of concepts used in the environmental policy domain since the emergence of modern environmental governance. It includes a general discussion of environmental concepts including root terms which have generated 'families' of environment-related concepts: 'environment', 'sustainable', 'eco' or 'ecological' and 'gree...
Chapter
This chapter provides a conclusion to the volume. It begins by synthesising some of the main findings of the eleven individual concept studies. It then considers the light these studies shed on processes of conceptual innovation in the environmental policy domain. Finally, it considers what these cases, and attention to concepts and conceptual inno...
Article
This special issue of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Reviews is focused on the social and policy dimensions of smart grids, an emerging set of technologies and practices which have the potential to transform dramatically electricity systems around the world. The six related articles explore social and political dynamics associated with smart grid...
Article
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This perspective documents current thinking around climate actions in Canada by synthesizing scholarly proposals made by Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), an informal network of scholars from all 10 provinces, and by reviewing responses from civil society representatives to the scholars’ proposals. Motivated by Canada’s recent history of repeated...
Book
Concepts are thought categories through which we apprehend the world; they enable, but also constrain, reasoning and debate and serve as building blocks for more elaborate arguments. This book traces the links between conceptual innovation in the environmental sphere and the evolution of environmental policy and discourse. It offers both a broad fr...
Article
This paper makes four basic points about movement toward a low carbon economy in Canada: first, that it is important for political leaders, policy analysts, and researchers to approach the issue in terms of a transition to a carbon-emission-free society; second, that in Canada the development of regional pathways to a low-carbon economy is crucial;...
Article
In response to calls to develop more politically-informed transition studies, a burgeoning literature on discourse-transition complementarities and niche-regime interactions has recently emerged. This paper draws these strands of literature together in order to develop a discursive approach that investigates the process by which actors use language...
Chapter
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is often presented as an important element in strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid dangerous climate change. However, recent progress in getting large-scale CCS demonstration projects off the ground has been slower than expected and concentrated in just a handful of countries. In this chapter, we...
Article
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p>‘Bringing the state back in’ to research on comparative, inter-, and trans-national environmental politics and policy will contribute to better understanding of the limits and prospects of contemporary approaches to environmental politics and the overall evolution of contemporary states once environmental issues become central. The rationale for...
Article
Over the past decade, transition scholars have argued that images of the future (of what sort of change is possible or probable, desirable or undesirable) play a critical role in societal transitions, and there is a long-standing tradition of analysis that points out the political significance of visions of the future. This article explores the pol...
Article
Full-text available
‘Bringing the state back in’ to research on comparative, inter-, and trans-national environmental politics and policy will contribute to better understanding of the limits and prospects of contemporary approaches to environmental politics and the overall evolution of contemporary states once environmental issues become central. The rationale for th...
Article
Full-text available
Variation in rates of sanitary hygiene products, toilet tissue and faeces occurring in sewers are presented for dry and wet weather from three steep upstream urban catchments with different economic, age and ethnic profiles. Results show, for example, that total daily solids per capita from the low income and ageing populations are almost twice tha...
Article
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This article examines systematic assessment practices linked to sustainable development policies. We consider five types of assessment—monitoring, policy evalu-ation, formal audit, peer review, and specialist reporting—and explore their fate in the policy and electoral politics cycles. In contrast to traditional views of the policy cycle, we note t...
Article
Despite rapidly falling costs, financing remains a serious barrier to the diffusion of distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) in Canada, a promising low-carbon electricity generation technology. We assess the potential of one financing program model, Property Assessed Payments for Energy Retrofits (PAPER), for the deployment of PV. This program desig...
Article
Over the past decade, a number of jurisdictions have taken significant steps to encourage the diffusion of solar photovoltaic technology (PV). Supportive policy frameworks have been widely adopted, spurring deployment and driving down the cost of PV components. The increased competitiveness of this technology presents a promising opportunity for me...
Article
Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) is emerging as a promising alternative in the suite of measures needed for the long-term transition of urban areas to sustainable and resilient places to live. Aesthetically pleasing, carbon neutral, and potentially transformative in how electricity grids operate in urban areas, BIPV has much to offer our ci...
Article
This chapter deals with an important theme in the study of environmental governance: the comparative assessment of environmental performance. It discusses conceptual and methodological issues involved in the attempt to compare environmental performance from one period to another and from one jurisdiction to another. After a general consideration of...
Article
This article employs the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions to explore the historical evolution of the electricity regime in the province of Ontario from 1885-2013 and to interpret the potential for future movement towards decarbonization. With an emphasis on the political and social dimensions of transitions, this analysis trac...
Book
The literature on Multi-level governance (MLG), an approach that explicitly looks at the system of the many interacting authority structures at work in the global political economy, has grown significantly over the last decade. The authors in this volume examine how multilevel governance (MLG) systems address climate change and water policy. © Inge...
Article
This article examines systematic assessment practices linked to sustainable development policies. We consider five types of assessment—monitoring, policy evaluation, formal audit, peer review, and specialist reporting—and explore their fate in the policy and electoral politics cycles. In contrast to traditional views of the policy cycle, we note th...
Article
Full-text available
Interest in the potential of smart grid to transform the way societies generate, distribute, and use electricity has increased dramatically over the past decade. A smarter grid could contribute to both climate change mitigation and adaptation by increasing low-carbon electricity production and enhancing system reliability and resilience. However, c...
Article
Over the past several years, policymakers in Canada and abroad have taken significant steps to encourage the diffusion of solar photovolatics (PV). Supportive policy frameworks have emerged in numerous jurisdictions and have largely been successful in spurring on deployment and driving cost reductions for PV cells and modules. As costs continue to...
Article
Continuous and large-scale investment is needed to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy. Given the current fiscal economic climate and the sheer scale of capital required, governments alone do not have the capacity to fund this transition. Instead, as estimated by the UNFCCC, more than 80 percent of the needed capital will be supplied by the...
Working Paper
Over the past decade, solar photovoltaics (PV) have attracted increasing attention as promising low-carbon innovations worthy of government investment. Numerous incentive frameworks have been developed to encourage the deployment of PV, with the electricity sector surfacing as the focal point for this policy engagement (through the feed-in tariff a...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations conference in Rio de Janeiro in June is an important opportunity to improve the institutional framework for sustainable development.
Article
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The current institutional framework for sustainable development is by far not strong enough to bring about the swift transformative progress that is needed. This article contends that incrementalism—the main approach since the 1972 Stockholm Conference—will not suffice to bring about societal change at the level and speed needed to mitigate and ada...
Article
Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth's sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years (1, 2). Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change (3). This require...
Article
In the transition to a low-carbon economy, shifts in the way we use our energy are essential to meaningful progress. In turn, a great number of initiatives have increased energy efficiency at the global level and domestically here in Canada. Many of the most promising of these energy efficiency practices have been undertaken by energy agencies. Thi...
Article
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Our paper addresses the inherent tension between the open-ended and uncertain process of sustainability transitions and the ambition for governing such a process. We explore this tension from two theoretical angles: the sustainability and the governance angles; by showing the implications of sustainability targets in governance processes and govern...
Article
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Although recent scholarship has contributed to our understanding of sustainability transitions, more needs to be done to grasp the politics of these processes. What works and what does not work is being sorted out in the world of practical politics. But social science could contribute by drawing lessons from political experience and offering theore...
Article
This article reviews the political economy of government choice around technology support for the development and deployment of low carbon emission energy technologies, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). It is concerned with how governments should allocate limited economic resources across abatement alternatives. In particular, it explores t...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade carbon capture and storage (CCS) has attracted increasing international attention as a climate change mitigation option and moved into the center of climate policy debates and negotiations. This special issue of Global Environmental Change brings together leading scholars to analyze the politics, policy and regulation of CCS in...
Book
This special edition of Innovation, Science, Environment includes reflections from a number of Canada's leading sustainable development thinkers, two decades after the 1987 publication of the seminal United Nations report Our Common Future. Published by the World Commission on Environment and Development - and often referred to as the Brundtland Co...
Article
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The concepts of transition and transition management offer a fruitful context for cooperation and debate among scientists, policy makers, and corporate actors. Transition management and transition approach in general provide an integrative approach to analyze and formulate an unconventional pathway towards sustainability. Transitions’ approach is n...
Article
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The design of economic instruments for the protection of ecological wealth in Latin American countries poor in financial capital, but rich in biological diversity poses very specific challenges. This article examines some of the interests, claims, discourses and values of a range of social actors (government officials, business leaders, internation...
Article
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Climate change is surely one of the most encompassing and egregious threats in Europe today, so it is appropriate that we consider its implications for social policy in Europe. It is true that climate change is a separate agenda, the preserve of a distinct academic and epistemic community, scholarly discourse, policy community, institutional struct...
Article
Seven environmental lessons can be learned by Canada from the European Union experience with environmental issues. These lesssons include measurement and assessment are fundamental to improving environmental performance; independent policy capacity can play an important role in developing new options and bringing them to public and decision makers'...
Article
More than a decade has passed since the first countries issued national sustainable development strategies. This essay will consider recent developments in this area, and explore the extent to which such strategies can be considered an emergent mode of reflexive governance of the type required to promote sustainable development. The argument involv...
Article
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This chapter examines the democratic credentials of strategic cross-sectoral partnerships for sustainable development. Over the past decade, collaborative interactions that draw together novel combinations of actors from government, business and civil society have increasingly come to be seen as critical to promoting sustainable development (WSSD,...
Article
Specific measures to prevent pollution and to protect resources in industrialized countries became more common as the 20th century advanced. But it was only in the late 1960s and early 1970s that national governments moved to establish the environment as a significant area of activity. More comprehensive measures were introduced to control emission...
Article
Full-text available
The paper examines the historical evolution of the UK approach to contaminated land. It is argued that the rationale and character of the current policy regime are structured by the dominant discourse dealing with the problem. Successive British governments have pursued a ‘development managerialist’ approach to contaminated land, rather than treati...
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Sustainable development represents a major governance challenge of the 21st century. If societal development trajectories are to be realigned on to more sustainable pathways major changes will be required to existing processes and practices of governance. This essay considers the nature of these changes and discusses implications for social science...
Article
This essay explores themes related to differences of scale and the challenge of environmental governance. It argues that scale issues are always important in politics, but that the density of physical and social scales implicated in the constitution and resolution of environmental problems is particularly notable. It discusses recent changes in gov...
Chapter
This volume examines the response of governments in the industrialized countries to the challenge of sustainable development. It focuses on the response of central governments in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, the USA, and the EU. The study shows that sustainable development has been integrated into gove...
Chapter
This volume examines the response of governments in the industrialized countries to the challenge of sustainable development. It focuses on the response of central governments in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, the USA, and the EU. The study shows that sustainable development has been integrated into gove...
Book
This edited volume examines the response of governments in the industrialized countries to the challenge of sustainable development. It focuses on the response of central governments in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, the USA, and the EU. The study shows that sustainable development has been integrated in...
Chapter
Um die Diskussion über Strategien zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung und strategische Umweltpläne in einem breiteren Kontext anzusiedeln, haben Professor Jänicke und seine Mitarbeiterinnen mich gebeten, über die Ergebnisse eines Projektes zu berichten, an dem Kollegen und ich in jüngerer Zeit gearbeitet haben. Unsere Studie befaßte sich mit der Reaktion...
Article
Full-text available
There has been a remarkable evolution in environment-related policy-making at both national and international levels during the ten years since the Report of the Brundtland Commission formulated its well-known appeal for sustainable development. This article examines three developments in industrialized countries which appear to be closely associat...
Article
Over the past decade, there have been important changes in the way in which governments in developed countries have approached the management of environmental problems. Ideas of ``partnership,'' public-private cooperation, and negotiated solutions have increasingly come to the fore, as the persistence and complexity of certain types of environmenta...
Article
MeadowcroftJames. Conceptualizing the State: Innovation and Dispute in British Political Thought, 1880–1914. (Oxford Historical Monographs.) New York: The Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press. 1995. Pp. 251. $59.00. ISBN 0-19-820601-1. - Volume 29 Issue 1 - Rodney Barker
Chapter
This chapter will explore the potential which a particular pattern of interactive decision making offers for the successful management of environmental problems in industrialised democratic states. The approach involves drawing together partners from different sectors of social life to collectively define and implement solutions to specific environ...
Article
Over the past decade European political leaders have increasingly come to refer to ‘sustainable development’ as a legitimate focus of government activity. Starting from the premises that sustainable development is a complex and contested ideal, and that experiences with state planning in the twentieth century have been deeply ambiguous, this articl...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade sustainable development has increasingly been adopted as an objective of government policy, and “planning for sustainable development” is now a real-world activity of officials and ministries. A survey of conceptual issues, of three environmental economists' proposals to achieve sustainability, and of initial practical experien...
Article
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Mark Jaccard and Nic Rivers' chapter in this volume, "Canadian Policies for Deep Greenhouse Gas Reductions," is divided into three main sections. The first intro- duces the challenge of climate change policy.The second discusses criteria for selecting policies, the menu of available instruments and parameters for composing a preferred policy packag...
Article
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La participación constituye un elemento esencial en la elaboración de estrategias exitosas para el desarrollo sostenible. El desarrollo sostenible se basa en la negociación del cambio social de forma que las aportaciones de todos los miembros de la sociedad devienen cruciales. La participación, sin embargo, implica ciertos costes y, si no se organi...

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Projects (3)
Project
The Earth System Governance Project is a long-term international research programme that was originally set up as a Core Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). In 2015, the Project has become part of the new global umbrella programme ‘Future Earth’. The Earth System Governance Project’s Science Plan is implemented since 2009 through a new global network of affiliated researchers, including about 300 research fellows and 50 lead faculty members; a global series of annual open science conferences, with events in Amsterdam (2007, 2009), Colorado (2011), Lund (2012), Tokyo (2013), East Anglia (2014), Australian National University (2015) and Nairobi (2016); a global alliance of Earth System Governance Research Centres; a global network of task forces, affiliated projects, and smaller events; and a network of social media outlets, internet fora and affiliated publication series, including with MIT Press. The international project office is hosted by Lund University, Sweden. See www.earthsystemgovernance.org for more information.
Project
The idea of valuing nature in monetary terms has become a core element of contemporary sustainable development and green economy agendas. This has been enabled by the widespread acceptance of the ‘ecosystems services’ concept, which tries to capture the value of the environment for human wellbeing. The focus of this research project will be on the translation of this concept into different policies that allocate a value to nature, and the policy learning that is taking place across multiple levels of governance (local, national, international, transnational).