Hydrocarbons have played one of the most crucial roles in economic history by fuelling globalisation and industrialisation. Today, oil and natural gas form a key lifeline of the global economy, contributing to a 56.6% share in global energy consumption (BP, 2014). Further, in spite of the recent worldwide thrust provided to the renewable sector, International Energy Agency’s (IEA) (2014) World Economic Outlook for 2040 projects that oil and gas will remain the single largest energy source throughout the projection period (see Figure 1), as developing countries experience growth. In particular, transport, heating, and cooking energy requirements will largely continue to be powered by oil and natural gas. The continued dominance of hydrocarbons in the energy mix can be explained by the presence of a lock-in of fossil fuel energy systems. This carbon lock-in has occurred globally through the systemic co-evolution of technology and institutions, thus creating a Techno-Institutional Complex of high fossil fuel intensity (Unruh, 2000). Such a lock-in is among the biggest barriers to climate change mitigation and sustainability.
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