Toward Prospective Voluntary Agreements: Reflections from a Hydrogen Foresight Project
Journal of Cleaner Production, 2007, 15 (3): 259-26
Posted: 7 Jun 2013
Date Written: April 11, 2006
There is substantial interest in promoting the emergence of a hydrogen-based energy economy. If successful, this would represent a policyled, discontinuous transition away from existing fossil fuel-based systems. Such a move has few precedents and few policy tools exist to manage such a complex and uncertain endeavour. Furthermore, existing hydrocarbon energy systems can be considered Techno-Institutional Complexes (TIC), which have developed through the path dependent co-evolution of physical technologies and social institutions. These complexes have numerous structures that ensure their perpetuation and create important barriers to the implementation of alternatives like hydrogen-based systems. The authors explore the application of prospective voluntary agreements (PVA) as a policy tool/process that can help facilitate a move towards a hydrogen-based economy through foresight and negotiation. From this perspective, we look at the recent case of the Nordic Hydrogen Energy Foresight project for evidence.
Keywords: Carbon lock-in, Environmental voluntary agreement, Foresight, Hydrogen economy, Increasing returns, Path dependence
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