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WIREs Clim Change
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Deliberate decline: An emerging frontier for the study and practice of decarbonization

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Abstract Promoting low‐carbon innovation has long been a central preoccupation within both the practice and theory of climate change mitigation. However, deep lock‐ins indicate that existing carbon‐intensive systems will not be displaced or reconfigured by innovation alone. A growing number of studies and practical initiatives suggest that mitigation efforts will need to engage with the deliberate decline of carbon‐intensive systems and their components (e.g., technologies and practices). Yet, despite this realisation, the role of intentional decline in decarbonization remains poorly understood and the literature in this area continues to be dispersed among different bodies of research and disciplines. In response, this article structures the fragmented strands of research engaging with purposive decline, interrogating the role it may play in decarbonization. It does so by systematically surveying concepts with particular relevance for intentional decline, focusing on phase‐out, divestment, and destabilization. This article is categorized under: Decarbonizing Energy and/or Reducing Demand > Decarbonizing Energy and/or Reducing Demand
Relative prominence of concepts engaging with deliberate decline. This figure is based on the search strings used to query the SCOPUS database (see Appendix A) and the approach described in Section 2
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Citation network of scholarly work on phase‐out. This figure maps the 37 texts captured by the survey and their referencing patterns. Nodes symbolize individual texts. Arrows depict referencing patterns (e.g., Normann, 2019 cites Rogge & Johnstone, 2017). Node size is proportional to the number of incoming citations within the sample. Node color is explained in the figure legend. Sixteen papers were not cited by other contributions on phase‐out
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Citation network of scholarly work on divestment. This figure maps the 32 texts captured by the survey and their referencing patterns. Nodes symbolize individual texts. Arrows depict referencing patterns (e.g., Hestres & Hopke, 2019 cite Mangat, Dalby, & Paterson, 2018). Node size is proportional to the number of incoming citations within the sample. Node color is explained in the figure legend. Three papers were not cited by other contributions on divestment
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Citation network of scholarly work on destabilization. This figure maps the 30 texts captured by the survey and their referencing patterns. Nodes symbolize individual texts. Arrows depict referencing patterns (e.g., Kainiemi, Eloneva, & Levänen, 2019 cite Kivimaa & Kern, 2016). Node size is proportional to the number of incoming citations within the sample. Arrow color is explained in the figure legend. Four papers were not cited by other contributions on destabilization
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Citation network of studies on phase‐out, divestment, and destabilization in the context of decarbonization. This image depicts the aggregated citation network based on Figures 2–4. Arrows indicate referencing patterns (e.g., Richardson, 2017 cites Franta, 2017). Node size is proportional to the number of incoming citations within the network. Node color is explained in the figure legend. Isolates and isolated dyads are omitted from the graph. The table in the top right indicates citation counts within and across the literatures contributing to the development of each concept. For the table in the top right, the three texts included in both reviews of phase‐out and destabilization were assigned to destabilization
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Data collection and sampling strategy
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The Carbon Economy and Climate Mitigation > Decarbonizing Energy and/or Reducing Demand

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