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Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research

Fazey, Ioan; Schäpke, Niko; Caniglia, Guido; Patterson, James; Hultman, Johan; van Mierlo, Barbara; Säwe, Filippa; Wiek, Arnim; Wittmayer, Julia; Aldunce, Paulina; Al Waer, Husam; Battacharya, Nandini; Bradbury, Hilary; Carmen, Esther; Colvin, John; Cvitanovic, Christopher; D'Souza, Marcella; Gopel, Maja; Goldstein, Bruce; Hämäläinen, Timo; Harper, Gavin; Henfry, Tom; Hodgson, Anthony; Howden, Mark S.; Kerr, Andy; Klaes, Matthias; Lyon, Christopher; Midgley, Gerald; Moser, Susanne; Mukherjee, Nandan; Müller, Karl; O’Brien, Karen; O'Connell, Deborah A.; Olsson, Per; Page, Glenn; Reed, Mark S.; Searle, Beverley; Silvestri, Giorgia; Spaiser, Viktoria; Strasser, Tim; Tschakert, Petra; Uribe-Calvo, Natalia; Waddell, Steve; Rao-Williams, Jennifer; Wise, Russell; Wolstenholme, Ruth; Woods, Mel; Wyborn, Carina


Ioan Fazey

Niko Schäpke

Guido Caniglia

James Patterson

Johan Hultman

Barbara van Mierlo

Filippa Säwe

Arnim Wiek

Julia Wittmayer

Paulina Aldunce

Husam Al Waer

Nandini Battacharya

Hilary Bradbury

Esther Carmen

John Colvin

Christopher Cvitanovic

Marcella D'Souza

Maja Gopel

Bruce Goldstein

Timo Hämäläinen

Gavin Harper

Tom Henfry

Anthony Hodgson

Mark S. Howden

Andy Kerr

Matthias Klaes

Christopher Lyon

Susanne Moser

Nandan Mukherjee

Karl Müller

Karen O’Brien

Deborah A. O'Connell

Per Olsson

Glenn Page

Mark S. Reed

Beverley Searle

Giorgia Silvestri

Viktoria Spaiser

Tim Strasser

Petra Tschakert

Natalia Uribe-Calvo

Steve Waddell

Jennifer Rao-Williams

Russell Wise

Ruth Wolstenholme

Mel Woods

Carina Wyborn


The most critical question for climate research is no longer about the problem, but about how to facilitate the transformative changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate-induced change. Addressing this question, however, will require massive upscaling of research that can rapidly enhance learning about transformations. Ten essentials for guiding action-oriented transformation and energy research are therefore presented, framed in relation to second-order science. They include: (1) Focus on transformations to low-carbon, resilient living; (2) Focus on solution processes; (3) Focus on ‘how to’ practical knowledge; (4) Approach research as occurring from within the system being intervened; (5) Work with normative aspects; (6) Seek to transcend current thinking; (7) Take a multi-faceted approach to understand and shape change; (8) Acknowledge the value of alternative roles of researchers; (9) Encourage second-order experimentation; and (10) Be reflexive. Joint application of the essentials would create highly adaptive, reflexive, collaborative and impact-oriented research able to enhance capacity to respond to the climate challenge. At present, however, the practice of such approaches is limited and constrained by dominance of other approaches. For wider transformations to low carbon living and energy systems to occur, transformations will therefore also be needed in the way in which knowledge is produced and used.


Fazey, I., Schäpke, N., Caniglia, G., Patterson, J., Hultman, J., van Mierlo, B., …Wyborn, C. (2018). Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research. Energy research & social science ERSS, 40, 54-70.

Acceptance Date Nov 27, 2017
Online Publication Date Dec 22, 2017
Publication Date Jun 1, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 22, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 4, 2018
Print ISSN 2214-6296
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Pages 54-70
Keywords Transdisciplinarity; Transformation; Sustainability; Climate change; Second-order science; Sustainability transitions
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research; Journal Title: Energy Research & Social Science; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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Copyright Statement
© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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