The role of funding in the ‘performative decarbonisation’ of transport in England

Ersilia Verlinghieri, Thomas Haines-Doran, Greg Marsden and Tim Schwanen 2024. The role of funding in the ‘performative decarbonisation’ of transport in England. Political Geography. 109 103053. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2024.103053

TitleThe role of funding in the ‘performative decarbonisation’ of transport in England
TypeJournal article
AuthorsErsilia Verlinghieri, Thomas Haines-Doran, Greg Marsden and Tim Schwanen
Abstract

The scale of the decarbonisation challenge and the short timeframes over which action is required demand urgent action. This paper is set within the surface transport sector, now the largest sector of emissions with the slowest pace of change in many advanced liberal economies. It focuses on the strategies and actions of local government which is recognised to be a central player in catalysing change. Our evidence is derived from the actions of two UK local areas which claim to be at the forefront of the decarbonisation challenge.

The paper focuses on the role of funding and financial mechanisms in addressing the climate crisis. In the face of an established pattern of austerity and hollowing out of local government we explore how deep transformation is being envisaged. We find a recursive set of issues which derive from a dependence on funding from outwith. This dependence means that despite comprehensive overarching strategies and goals the funding available is the core of the strategy. This means that the nature of the funds, such as the requirement for experimentation, innovation or private sector leverage, defines direction. In turn, and to maintain success in attracting funds, there is an emphasis on presenting ‘premium spaces of ambition’ with little evidence of attention to broader systemic change. This duality is openly recognised. This paper advances a wider point that greater emphasis should be placed on the ‘financialisation’ of climate policy and the reality rather than the rhetoric of change.

Article number103053
JournalPolitical Geography
Journal citation109
Year2024
PublisherElsevier
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2024.103053
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2024.103053
Publication dates
Published in printMar 2024
Published online19 Jan 2023

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