Transition Realism: the implications of rent-seeking to achieve South Africa’s low-carbon technology ambition | WWF South Africa

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Transition Realism: the implications of rent-seeking to achieve South Africa’s low-carbon technology ambition

This paper is an attempt to provide an additional lens and theoretical framework to existing theories of sustainability transitions that seek to understand how low-carbon transitions can happen in an institutional setting of path dependence.

This paper is an attempt to provide an additional lens and theoretical framework to existing theories of sustainability transitions that seek to understand how low-carbon transitions can happen in an institutional setting of path dependence. A political economy understanding of transitions is more relevant in the context of developing and emerging economy countries that want to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and adopt clean-energy technology solutions. The paper looks at techno-economic shifts or transitions from the point of view of how rent-seeking behaviour by different types of entrepreneurs – either political or productive entrepreneurs – shapes transitions from old to new techno-economic regimes. It posits that political entrepreneurship can influence the pace and scale of low-carbon transitions negatively and undermine the long-term benefits from these transitions. Transitions to low-carbon technologies suggest that the old political economy can be disrupted and readjust in a way that produces more inclusive economies and reduces negative rent-seeking.
Transition Realism: the implications of rent-seeking to achieve South Africa’s low-carbon technology ambition.

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