the limited carrying capacity of the earth that was mentioned earlier 6 Even

The limited carrying capacity of the earth that was

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the limited ‘carrying capacity’ of the earth that was mentioned earlier. 6 Even allowing for a permeable boundary between sinks and sources, the planetary boundaries are all predominantly the result of the earth’s limited carrying capacity on the sink side. 1.3 Green path creation as a solution to carbon lock-in It is widely agreed that countries in the North are often deeply locked into fossil fuel -based energy systems (Smith, 2009; Unruh, 2000) and that most developing countries are following a similar path of carbon-intensive energy systems (Unruh & Carril-lo- Hermosilla, 2006). The factors driving ‘carbon lock- in’ are multiple, but four factors seem essential. t &OFSHZ UFDIOPMPHJFT UZQJDBMMZ GFFE JOUP MBSHFS technological systems that are central to the functioning of society; they are not individual artefacts that can be changed independently. This feature of energy technology and the weight of other sectors’ dependency on energy make energy technological systems difficult to change. t -JLF PUIFS UFDIOPMPHJDBM TZTUFNT FOFSHZ UFDI-nologies are subject to path dependency. When understanding technology as a socio-technical system consisting of interlinked artefacts, path dependency is created by the interaction of fac-tors such as economies of scale, network exter-nalities, adaptive expectations, and knowledge accumulation. These mechanisms are enforced where interindustrial dependencies are present. t "U UIF PSHBOJTBUJPOBM MFWFM UIF EJïDVMUJFT UIBU firms encounter in reorienting their core com-petences impede the shift to low-carbon devel-opment. Incumbent technologies have dem-onstrated the capacity for radical performance improvement when threatened by emerging technologies. For example, the ongoing ‘shale gas revolution’ indicates that fossil energy is fighting back rather than going green. t *ODVNCFOU BDUPST BSF PGUFO WBTUMZ TVQFSJPS UP new ‘green’ actors in terms not only of financial and human resources, but also of political in- fluence; these factors may amount to powerful resistance to change. This is further aggravated by the fact that many of the organisations in need of transformation hold powerful posi-tions, such as public companies, ministries, and energy agencies with strong political influ-ence (Walz, 2007). The mechanisms leading to lock-in are often sup- ported by formal as well as informal institutions in terms of consumption routines, energy use, and in- frastructure operation (Unruh, 2000). This makes the shift to LCD difficult in general but there are additional factors underlying the carbon lock-in that is taking place in the developing world. Although developing countries have multiple opportunities to move along distinct innovation paths and reduce the carbon intensity of devel- opment trajectories, strong forces are working LOW-CARBON INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT 25
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against this. A case in point is the relative immatu- rity of most green technologies. For example, even though the number and scale of renewable energy technologies (RETs) are increasing in the South,
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