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Post Carbon Pathways

The aim of the Post Carbon Pathways project (Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute 2010-2014) has been to strengthen understanding of the actions needed to create rapid, large-scale transitions to a just and resilient post carbon future.

Project outputs available on this web site include i) overviews and analysis of large scale low carbon economy transition strategies; ii) interviews with leading policy makers, researchers and activists in the field of low carbon economy transitions and iii) links to relevant reports and publications.

Key findings from the Post Carbon Pathways project include:

1. The probability and risks of global warming of four degrees or more are rapidly increasing. This is, however, an argument for visionary leadership and decisive action – not political paralysis and buck-passing.

2. The overall suite of actions required to drive a rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy is now widely understood:

  • Rapid replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy
  • Rapid reduction in energy and resource consumption through improved efficiency and reduced demand
  • Reducing land use emissions and improving the role of land use in carbon sequestration
  • Strengthening community and societal resilience

3.  While significant technological and financial challenges remain the most significant roadblocks preventing rapid de-carbonisation are social and political. These include:

  • Denial of the necessity and urgency of action
  • The power and influence of the fossil fuel industry and other vested interests
  • Political paralysis and ‘short termism’
  • The dominant economic paradigm of unconstrained and unsustainable consumption
  • Social, economic and technological path dependencies
  • Financial, governance and implementation constraints

4. Critical factors most likely to trigger the transformational change needed to drive a rapid transition to a just and resilient zero carbon future include:

  • Evidence and education strengthening understanding of the necessity and possibility of an emergency speed reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Creative and disruptive technological, social and economic innovation
  • Visionary leadership, courageous advocacy and skilful implementation by communities, business and government
  • Decisive action at critical moments of ecological, economic and social crisis