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Sam Stephenson

University of Cambridge

Based in

United Kingdom

Sam’s research focuses on the politics and discourse surrounding Net Zero transitions in the UK. Recently his work has looked at the role that technology plays in transition pathways as a mechanism for continued fossil fuel consumption, delaying action and excluding behavioural and structural changes from the discourse. His analysis of the technology innovation and infrastructure development required within UK Net Zero scenarios reveals the embedded risk in these scenarios given the engineering and technical constraints associated with these developments and the challenges they pose to achieving our decarbonisation targets. Sam also looks at the role that language and ideas play inside government institutions and how they act to limit the realm of acceptable policy and move the ‘overton window’. Within this, he considers how the language of ‘Net Zero’ itself acts to propagate the promise of negative emissions technology and act as a permission structure for the continued use of fossil fuels.

Country(ies) of Specialty

United States United Kingdom

Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics Net Zero Fossil fuels Behavioral action

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