Energy supply/ demand policy asymmetry: A meta-narrative review for a systems explanation

Yekatherina Bobrova*, Nick Eyre, Tina Fawcett, Colin Nolden, George Papachristos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Asymmetry in energy supply/demand policy is persistent, as governments around the world develop detailed plans to decarbonize energy supply, but comprehensive plans to reduce energy demand are missing. Such policy asymmetry is a systemic problem, and is manifest in many social systems, e.g. asymmetry in healthcare between curing illnesses and investing in preventive healthcare. There is no existing systemic explanation of the energy policy asymmetry, however, corresponding systemic explanations in other domains may be transferable by analogy. This research is the first step in characterizing the mechanisms behind this asymmetry. A meta-narrative systematic review method is expanded to derive structural explanations from research in 14 different domains, including healthcare, waste management and traffic control. Preliminary results show that this method produces valuable insights on common systemic mechanisms. These include (i) a preference hierarchy for various actions to achieve system goals; (ii) the place of actor agency within the system, and the system’s role to nurture actor capabilities; (iii) a tendency of certain systems to grow in size; (iv) the importance of system resilience, not just system productivity. Building this conceptual understanding forms a strong base for further inquiry into mechanisms behind energy supply/demand policy asymmetry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100125
Number of pages8
JournalScience Talks
Early online date4 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


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