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[en] Recent efforts to promote a transition to a low carbon economy have been influenced by suggestions that a low carbon transition offers challenges and might yield economic benefits comparable to those of the previous industrial revolutions. This paper examines these arguments and the challenges facing a low carbon transition, by drawing on recent thinking on the technological, economic and institutional factors that enabled and sustained the first (British) industrial revolution, and the role of ‘general purpose technologies’ in stimulating and sustaining this and subsequent industrial transformation processes that have contributed to significant macroeconomic gains. These revolutions involved profound, long drawn-out changes in economy, technology and society; and although their energy transitions led to long-run economic benefits, they took many decades to develop. To reap significant long-run economic benefits from a low carbon transition sooner rather than later would require systemic efforts and incentives for low carbon innovation and substitution of high-carbon technologies. We conclude that while achieving a low carbon transition may require societal changes on a scale comparable with those of previous industrial revolutions, this transition does not yet resemble previous industrial revolutions. A successful low carbon transition would, however, amount to a different kind of industrial revolution. - Highlights: ► Investigates lessons for a low carbon transition from past industrial revolutions. ► Explores the implications of ‘general purpose technologies’ and their properties. ► Examines analysis of ‘long waves’ of technological progress and diffusion. ► Draws insights for low carbon transitions and policy.
[en] Highlights: • Development of indices to identify and compare urban FEW nexus. • Monitoring, planning and managing the urbanization process in FEW nexus sectors. • Operationalization and integration of equity in the FEW nexus analysis. • Decision support for urban institutions for the development of political measures. - Abstract: Current global developments put increasing ecological, economic and social pressures on urban systems. The density of urban areas concentrates these pressures especially on food, energy and water (i.e., the FEW nexus) resources as if in a ‘burning glass’. The ability to confront these challenges significantly depends on the resilience of an urban area, which is to a large degree managed by institutions with the objective of protecting social cohesion and minimizing ecological pressure. Urbanization and climate change, however, strain social cohesion by exacerbating social vulnerabilities and disproportionately affecting those already marginalized. Justice and equity are thus essential preconditions for the development of resilient urban concepts and must be considered in a comprehensive nexus management approach. For this purpose, two indices are developed based on the UN-Habitat City Prosperity Index, with a specific focus on integrating the nexus-relevant indices (i.e., the infrastructure development index and the environmental sustainability index) with a weighted equity index. The World and Region Prosperity City Index (WCPI, RCPI5) and the Nexus City Index (NXI) enable decision makers to more readily compare global and local city resiliences without reducing the underlying complexity of the analyzed FEW system.