A dynamic systems approach to harness the potential of social tipping

Eker, S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2264-132X, Wilson, C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8164-3566, Hohne, N., McCaffrey, M., Monasterolo, I., Niamir, L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0285-5542, & Zimm, C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5603-1015 (2023). A dynamic systems approach to harness the potential of social tipping. arXiv 10.48550/arXiv.2309.14964.

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Project: The impacts of digitalised daily life on climate change (iDODDLE, H2020 101003083)


Social tipping points are promising levers to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emission targets. They describe how social, political, economic or technological systems can move rapidly into a new state if cascading positive feedback mechanisms are triggered. Analysing the potential of social tipping for rapid decarbonization requires considering the inherent complexity of social systems. Here, we identify that existing scientific literature is inclined to a narrative-based account of social tipping, lacks a broad empirical framework and a multi-systems view. We subsequently outline a dynamic systems approach that entails (i) a systems outlook involving interconnected feedback mechanisms alongside cross-system and cross-scale interactions, and including a socioeconomic and environmental injustice perspective (ii) directed data collection efforts to provide empirical evidence for and monitor social tipping dynamics, (iii) global, integrated, descriptive modelling to project future dynamics and provide ex-ante evidence for interventions. Research on social tipping must be accordingly solidified for climate policy relevance.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Equity and Justice (EQU)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2024 14:23
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 18:53
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19618

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