Bregje van Veelen

Researcher at Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development

+4618-471 3763
Visiting address:
Villavägen 16
75236 Uppsala
Postal address:
Villavägen 16
75236 Uppsala

Short presentation

I am a social scientist with an interest in how low carbon transitions are given shape. I am especially interested in sub- and trans-national forms of low carbon governance, the sociomaterial dynamics of carbon lock-in, and the potential for low carbon transitions to contribute to societal transformation and political democratisation.

I currently hold a Formas Mobility Grant for my project 'Post-carbon: Imagining the future to unmake the present'.

Keywords: energy governance climate governance environmental politics democratic governance low-carbon transitions sociotechnical imaginaries social dynamics of climate change political geography climate finance decentralisation decarbonisation

My research falls within the interdisciplinary field of the environmental social sciences, drawing on insights from geography, sociology and political science to explore how transitions to a low-carbon society and economy are shaped and governed. To date, I have explored this across three research projects:

  • Post-carbon: Imagining the future to unmake the present (2020-2024). In the preceding two decades we have come to understand a lot about low-carbon technologies and their implementation. However, to date their development has been largely in addition to, rather than instead of, fossil fuel infrastructures. In this project explore how we can 'unmake' fossil fuel infrastructures, and the social, economic, and political relations entangled in them. In particular I focus on the ways in which post-carbon futures for these regions are imagined and contested and the implications of this for achieving a 'just transition'.

  • REINVENT: Realising Innovation in Transitions for Decarbonisation (2017-2020). I worked in the Department of Geography at Durham University (UK) on this Horizon 2020-funded project. The project explores the possibilities for low-carbon transitions in 'hard to reach' sectors of the economy, including plastics, steel and agriculture. My primary focus was to analyse the ways in which financial actors and networks shape the potential for decarbonisation in these sectors.

  • Devolution, democracy and the challenge of diversity: Community energy governance in Scotland (2013-2017). My PhD research at the University of Edinburgh (UK) focused on the governance of community renewable energy projects. I demonstrated how these projects are shaped by a wider community/localism agenda, and the democratic implications are of these emerging governance arrangements.

I have also worked on a number of short-term, policy-relevant research projects commissioned by the Scottish Government, researching sustainable behaviours, low-carbon heat transitions and citizen investment in renewable energy. I also spent six months on secondment at the Scottish Government, where I helped to develop a new community landownership strategy.

A list of my publications can be found here. Please email me if you would like me to send you a copy of any of the articles listed.

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Bregje van Veelen