|Title||Scenarios and futures in the governance of sustainable innovation pathways: the case of hydrogen energy|
Global climate change and other sustainability challenges demand a transition to more sustainable systems. The long-term and complex nature of such transitions invites longterm planning, but it also suggests that the future is unpredictable and contested. Moreover, the act of envisioning, forecasting and planning for possible futures itself influences transitions, because visions and expectations form part of the institutional environment that shapes the behaviour of policymakers, innovators and others. Futures activities are thus part of the process of transition.
A key source of technological expectations and visions are published technology futures documents, and the processes that are used to develop them. How are such published futures created, and why are they produced? How can we assess the quality of published futures? What role do computer models play in shaping such futures, and how can computer models be used to open up futures to alternative framings and perspectives? How can published futures be improved in order to facilitate the governance of transitions to sustainability? These are the questions that motivate this PhD, and which are the subject of the portfolio of publications and this commentary. These questions are addressed through a case: hydrogen energy technologies.
A key theme that runs throughout the publications is that the future is a contested space in which actors bid for their preferred futures, express their interests and their perspectives, and attempt to influence the processes of both appraisal of and commitment to particular futures. The thesis presents a variety of ways in which participatory scenario development