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Societal transition and transformation - Energy and climate change

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

This course takes climate change and the Paris Agreement as its point of departure and deals with the transition to a low carbon society and the envisioned transformation of the energy system therein.
It brings attention to the political controversies associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation and the different, and sometimes competing, strategies envisioned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
It discusses different energy scenarios and visions about the future energy system and the ways in which transition and transformation can take place.

Learning outcome

It is expected that the students after completing the course will have the following knowledge, skills and general competencies.
Students who successfully complete the course will have:
  • basic knowledge of climate change and climate change policies.
  • an understanding of the energy challenges associated with the Paris Agreement.
  • knowledge about emission targets and climate policies in Norway and elsewhere.
  • advanced knowledge of various mitigation and adaptation strategies related to the energy system.
  • knowledge of different energy scenarios and the competing visions of the future energy mix.
  • advanced knowledge of transition theory and the multi-level perspective in particular.
  • extended insights on the relationship between energy and climate change, and the challenges associated with transition to a low carbon society.

Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:
  • apply the theoretical approaches of transition theory on various energy technologies and assess the conditions for an energy transformation.
  • critically assess and evaluate different energy and climate change related policy measures.

General competencies
  • After the course, students are expected to be able to use the knowledge and skills in the analysis of energy- and environmental problems and to formulate and communicate problems and dilemmas associated with a low carbon energy transition.


The course places great emphasis on transition theory and the multi-level perspective (MLP). Transition theory is used as an analytical tool to discuss the conditions for and the likelihood of the realization of various low carbon strategies and energy transformations.

Required prerequisite knowledge



Weight Duration Marks Aid
Home assignment1/13 daysA - FAll.
One 5 000 word (+/- 10%) compulsary essay on given task.

Coursework requirements

One student assignment

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Oluf Langhelle
Course teacher
Bettina Bluemling

Method of work

Lectures and student assignments.

Open to

Energy, Environment and Society - masterstudium
Change Management - Master's Degree Programme
Exchange programmes at UIS Business School
Exchange programme at Faculty of Social Sciences
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Faculty of Social Science evaluation system.


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Peters, G. B. (2015). Advanced Introduction to Public Policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Chapter 1-6.
Agora Energiewende (2015). Understanding the Energiewende. FAQ on the ongoing transition of the German power system.
Avelino, F. et al. (2016). The politics of sustainability transitions.- Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 18: 557-677.
Ballo, I. F. (2015). Imagining energy futures: Sociotechnical imaginaries of the future Smart Grid in Norway.- Energy Research & Social Science, 9: 9-20.
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Geels, F.W. (2002). "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study." Research Policy, 31: 1257-1274.
Geels, F.W. (2011). "The multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions: Responses to seven criticisms". Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 1(1), 24-40.
Geels, F.W. (2014). "Regime Resistance against Low-Carbon Transitions: Introducing Politics and Power into the Multi-Level Perspective." Theory, Culture & Society, 31(5): 21-40.
Geels, F. W. et al. (2016). "The enactment of socio-technical transition pathways: A reformulated typology and a comparative multi-level analysis of the German and UK low-carbon electricity transitions (1990-2014)." Research Policy, 45: 896-913.
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Langhelle, O., Kern, F. and Meadowcroft, J. (2017). "Political conflict as a driver of socio-technical transitions: the political landscape re-visited." Draft, to be submitted.
Langhelle, O. and Meadowcroft, J. (2009). `CCS in a comparative perspective', in J. Meadowcroft and O. Langhelle (eds.), Caching the Carbon. The Politics and Policy of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
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Certain adjustments in literature might be made. Any adjustments will be announced in CANVAS before teaching starts.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 28.05.2020