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Politicizing energy justice and energy system transitions: Fossil fuel divestment and a " just transition "

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Abstract

The burgeoning energy justice scholarship highlights the importance of justice and equity concerns in the context of global decarbonization and the transition to a green economy. This paper seeks to extend current conceptualizations of energy justice across entire energy lifecycles, from extraction to final use, to offer an analytically richer and more accurate picture of the (in)justice impacts of energy policy decisions. We identify two key areas that require greater attention and scrutiny in order to enact energy justice within a more democratized energy system. First, we call for greater recognition of the politics, power dynamics and political economy of socio-technical energy transitions. We use the example of the fossil fuel divestment movement as a way to shift energy justice policy attention upstream to focus on the under-researched injustices relating to supply-side climate policy analysis and decisions. Second, the idea of a " just transition " and the distributional impacts on " and the role of " labor in low-carbon transitions must be addressed more systematically. This focus produces a more directly political and politicizing framing of energy (in)justice and a just energy transition.

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... Three specific 'publics' dominate this discussion, they are: conceptions of citizenship [42,82,88,89,93,97,98,101,113,114,116,123]; stakeholder participation [32, 33, 78-81, 83-85, 87, 88, 92, 93, 96, 100, 104, 118, 128]; the participation/protection of vulnerable groups [93,103,107,111,118,124,132,133]. ...
... Energy justice and energy democracy feature as an important criterion to scrutinize and refine existing visions of change. These emerging debates speak of environmental justice issues more generally, looking at processes of dispossession, devaluation and exclusion along multiple scales and perspectives, particularly those of underrepresented publics, such as vulnerable groups, future generations and 'frontline communities' [42,123]. Lennon et al. [42] offer a critique of current energy citizenship constructs and highlight the limiting consequences of conceiving citizens as solely economic actors participating in the public sphere through consumer led choices and highlight important private sphere considerations such as issues of gender, care and homemaking. ...
... Other alternative active citizenship visions emphasise the potential that political activism, collective mobilisation and community-led innovations should have in promoting substantial reform and transformation by questioning overly prescriptive views of what counts as participation and who establishes the parameters for debate. For instance, the divestment movement is advanced by Healy and Barry [123] as a transformative and disruptive form of action. The divestment movement is seen to draw attention to key ethical, intergenerational, ecological and financial issues associated with 'business as usual' and technology-led models, and make imperative, timely transformative political action. ...
Article
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Background Transition discourses are gaining prominence in efforts to imagine a future that adequately addresses the urgent need to establish low carbon and climate resilient pathways. Within these discourses the ‘public’ is seen as central to the creation and implementation of appropriate interventions. The role of public engagement in societal transformation while essential, is also complex and often poorly understood. The purpose of this paper is to enhance our understanding regarding public engagement and to address the often superficial and shallow policy discourse on this topic. Main text The paper offers a review of evolving literature to map emergent public engagement in processes of transition and change. We adopt a pragmatic approach towards literature retrieval and analysis which enables a cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral review. We use a scoping review process and the three spheres of transformation framework (designated as the practical, political and personal spheres) to explore trends within this complex research field. The review draws from literature from the last two decades in the Irish context and looks at emergence and evolving spaces of public engagement within various systems of change including energy, food, coastal management and flood adaptation, among others. Conclusions The results highlight the siloed and fragmented way in which public engagement in transitions is carried and we propose a more cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary approach which depends on bringing into dialogue often contrasting theories and perspectives. The paper also illustrates some shifting engagement approaches. For instance, nexus articles between the practical and political spheres suggest deeper forms of public engagement beyond aggregated consumer behaviour to align technological delivery with institutional and societal contexts. While most articles in the practical sphere draw largely on techno-economic insights this influence and cross-disciplinarity is likely to draw in further innovations. Nexus articles between the political and personal sphere are also drawing on shifting ideas of public engagement and largely stress the need to disrupt reductive notions of engagement and agency within our institutions. Many of these articles call attention to problems with top-down public engagement structures and in various ways show how they often undermine and marginalise different groups.
... A review of many different types of state-level climate policies revealed that there are many more policies to advance renewables than there are to end fossil fuel reliance (Burke and Stephens 2017). Climate justice activists have thus engaged in multi-year protests targeting fossil fuel infrastructure, advocating for supply-side climate policies such as fracking bans, fossil fuel moratoria, state pension divestment campaigns and litigation for climate harms (Piggot, 2018;Healy & Barry, 2017). Controversy about whether or not institutions and investment portfolios should "divest" from fossil fuels demonstrates this division in pro-climate policy coalitions (Trinks et al 2018); many colleges and universities have resisted the urge to divest and have pledged instead to "invest" in renewables (Mikkelson et al, 2021, Stephens et al 2018 . ...
... There is more research on the approaches to overcoming the labor-environmental divisions in pro-climate coalitions, and a strong working partnership between labor and climate Forthcoming in Climatic Change 28 policy advocates is integral to a rapid transformation of the U.S. to a low-carbon economy (Basseches et al. 2021;Healy and Barry 2017). State-level just transition policies can play a role in broader "build back better" programs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
... For example, climate justice proponents are now pushing for more equitable housing and community development, equitable access to clean and affordable energy, and more inclusive public engagement around climate policy development(Cliffton and Kelly, 2020). An expansion of the "just transition" concept includes worker protections and recognition of fossil-dependent communities and consumers(Healy and Barry 2017). ...
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Many U.S. states have taken significant action on climate change in recent years, demonstrating their commitment despite federal policy gridlock and rollbacks. Yet, there is still much we do not know about the agents, discourses, and strategies of those seeking to delay or obstruct state-level climate action. We first ask, what are the obstacles to strong and effective climate policy within U.S. states? We review the political structures and interest groups that slow action, and we examine emerging tensions between climate justice and the technocratic and/or market-oriented approaches traditionally taken by many mainstream environmental groups. Second, what are potential solutions for overcoming these obstacles? We suggest strategies for overcoming opposition to climate action that may advance more effective and inclusive state policy, focusing on political strategies, media framing, collaboration, and leveraging the efforts of ambitious local governments.
... Therefore, the additional dimensions introduced by analysing emergent skills through a Just Transition lens must be accounted for. This includes accounting for the rights of the workforce and ensuring the creation of decent work and quality green jobs in sustainable economic sectors; jobs which are available to people with a range of skills and with clear career progression opportunities (Healy and Barry, 2017;ILO, 2015). It also requires consideration of how benefits and burdens are distributed, how participation is enabled, and how under-represented groups are recognised (Abram et al., 2020;Jenkins et al., 2016Jenkins et al., , 2021. ...
... At the start of the 21st Century however the focus changed from one that had originally related to working conditions for those in hazardous industries (e.g. chemicals, asbestos and nuclear energy) to one that increasingly focused on climate change -most notably the displacement of fossil fuel workers in the transition to a low carbon economy (Healy and Barry, 2017;Stevis and Felli, 2020;Stevis et al., 2015). Healy and Barry (2017) note that historically labour movements have sought to influence the distribution of benefits and harms caused by transition through advocating for and seeking just distribution, recognition and participation for workers, but that this has often led to a 'jobs versus the environment' narrative that defends fossil fuel workers against a move towards a decarbonised energy system. ...
... chemicals, asbestos and nuclear energy) to one that increasingly focused on climate change -most notably the displacement of fossil fuel workers in the transition to a low carbon economy (Healy and Barry, 2017;Stevis and Felli, 2020;Stevis et al., 2015). Healy and Barry (2017) note that historically labour movements have sought to influence the distribution of benefits and harms caused by transition through advocating for and seeking just distribution, recognition and participation for workers, but that this has often led to a 'jobs versus the environment' narrative that defends fossil fuel workers against a move towards a decarbonised energy system. However, prominent unionists such as Tony Mazzochi promoted a view that "the only way out of the jobs versus environment dilemma is to make provision for the workers " which Mazziochi championed through the Superfund for Workers (Mazziochi, 1993). ...
Article
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A ‘Just Transition’ seeks to protect the rights of the workforce throughout transition away from high carbon industries and towards sustainable economic sectors. This includes reskilling where appropriate and a fair distribution of benefits, alongside recognition and participation of affected communities. Drawing on a systematic literature review and a case study delineated by the 38 English Local Enterprise Partnerships we analyse the variety of skills required to support a just transition to more decentralised and smart low carbon energy systems (defined as ‘smart local energy systems’) in England. We found that more attention is required in assessing skills provision, alongside upskilling the workforce, or risk the transition being unjust. Regional disparities in skills availability could be mitigated through a local skills provision system whereby stakeholders can review training opportunities, identify emergent skill-gaps and leverage investment. In addition, greater devolution to local authorities would enable them to support stakeholders more effectively.
... Fundamentally, at least for the supply side of the energy system, the mid-transition is a sociotechnical but highly material process of simultaneously deploying and retiring industrial systems like power plants, fueling stations, and vast networks of other infrastructure supporting highly diverse energy service provisioning. Implications for justice, equity, and the environment are in large part functions of system design, itself heavily inflected by political processes (Harrahill & Douglas, 2019;Healy & Barry, 2017). Although this review focuses on the United States and recognizes that political setting varies across nations, Mildenberger identifies the issue of "double representation," where carbon incumbency receives policy advantages through representation in both left-leaning and right-leaning political coalitions, as a core feature of climate policy conflict in advanced economies broadly (Mildenberger, 2020). ...
... Further, there will likely be significant justice and environmental considerations for managing times when both systems are working in ways that are somewhat hindered by the other, including operational issues (e.g., fossil fuel ramping), responses to market and ownership structures (e.g., solar curtailment in the context of electricity rates designed to encourage people to avoid using electricity during the day, when solar output is highest, due to historically high fuel costs during those periods), and competing public perceptions. These considerations highlight that just as fit-for-purpose technical heuristics are needed to evaluate progress toward the normative goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, so too are indicators designed to accommodate mid-and post-transition dynamics needed to characterize progress toward normative social and justice goals (see, e.g., Cha, 2020;Healy & Barry, 2017;Thomas et al., 2019;Waisman et al., 2019). Developing theoretically grounded, usable, and valid metrics to evaluate social impacts and justice outcomes is a major and very challenging project of the socioenvironmental assessment community (Fortier et al., 2019;Grubert, 2018a;Hale et al., 2019) that is even more important in the context of major system dynamics. ...
... For example: fully electrifying personal transportation implies not only substantial buildout of charging infrastructure (The White House, 2021a), which will happen unevenly in space and time, but also a simultaneous and similarly uneven phase-out of gas stations (many of which have substantial environmental liabilities due to hydrocarbon spills and tanks), a major and increasingly urgent issue that has received little to no research or policy attention in the United States. Given the messaging challenges associated even with phase-out of coal for electricity, particularly related to jobs and local impacts in a relatively small industry (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021), inattention to processes likely to result in widespread job losses and environmental liabilities is both politically understandable and likely a grave mistake in the deeply political process of transition (Healy & Barry, 2017). The unplanned and unmanaged phase-out of coal, which is relatively easily substituted in ways that electricity users likely do not even notice, has resulted in widespread shedding of labor and environmental liabilities (Macey & Salovaara, 2019), long-term structural harm to host communities, and other challenges likely to be amplified in larger and more consumerintegrated fossil-based industries. ...
Article
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Decarbonizing the energy system is critical for addressing climate change. Given the dominance of fossil fuels in the energy system, decarbonization requires rapid and significant industrial transition of the energy supply at scale. This includes explicit and coordinated plans not only for zero carbon phase‐in, but for fossil carbon phase‐out. Even very rapid decarbonization will likely take decades, leading to a medium‐term future where the conventional, fossil‐based energy system coexists with a new, zero‐carbon energy system. Each imposes operational constraints on the other: what we call the mid‐transition. Notably, this coexistence means that the new, zero‐carbon system will develop under fossil carbon system constraints. The mid‐transition will therefore likely require specific analytical metrics designed to support decision making under dynamic and uncertain conditions. Many aspects of transition will be felt, and shaped, directly by individuals because of our direct interactions with energy systems. Even rare missteps are likely to have significant and potentially system design‐relevant impacts on perception, political support, and implementation. Comparisons of the new system to the old system are likely to rest on experience of a world less affected by climate change, such that concerns about lower reliability, higher costs, and other challenges might be perceived as inherent to zero‐carbon systems, versus energy systems facing consequences of climate change and long‐term underinvestment. This review assesses and evaluates medium‐term challenges associated with the mid‐transition in the United States, emphasizing the need for explicit planning for joint and coordinated phase‐in and phase‐out. This article is categorized under: The Carbon Economy and Climate Mitigation > Decarbonizing Energy and/or Reducing Demand
... The resource curse can be conceptualized in energy justice terms. Energy justice scholarship borrows from a range of empirical and theoretical perspectives and highlights questions of who benefits and who suffers from energy production [56][57][58]. Some regions serve as "sacrifice zones" for other places, absorbing the ill environmental and health effects of fossil fuel development while often receiving limited direct benefits [59][60][61]. ...
... Scholarship has increasing foregrounded energy security as an important factor in economic development, well-being and livelihoods [12,13]. Further, energy justice scholarship foregrounds concerns about who benefits and who suffers from energy production [58]. Although the deleterious consequences of natural resource dependence are well-documented [2], it is not well-understood if fossil fuel production improves or damages energy security at the national scale. ...
Article
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Background Access to reliable energy services is increasingly seen as a prerequisite for well-being and human development. Copious research documents the negative consequences that occur when nations specialize in natural resource production, creating a “natural resource curse” or “paradox of plenty”. In this analysis, we evaluate how natural resource dependence, measured as oil and gas production, impacts energy security. Results Using entropy-balanced fixed effects models, we find that oil and coal production is not associated with shorter times to establish a connection to the electricity grid, fewer outages, or improve electricity access among the population. Conclusions Nations that produce oil and coal do not seem to have better energy insecurity as a result, representing a distributional inequality. Fossil fuel-producing nations should consider implementing policies that would allow them to retain more wealth from fossil fuel production.
... Many have praised the fossil fuel divestment movement (FFDM) for "successfully" accruing tens of trillions of dollars in pledged divestments from fossil firms (e.g., Healy & Barry, 2017;Paterson, 2020). The movement has successfully stigmatized the industry, questioned the legitimacy of fossil fuel investments (Healy & Barry, 2017;Piggot, 2018), and has "contributed" to climate action "through moral activism" (Gaulin & Le Billon, 2020, p. 895). ...
... Many have praised the fossil fuel divestment movement (FFDM) for "successfully" accruing tens of trillions of dollars in pledged divestments from fossil firms (e.g., Healy & Barry, 2017;Paterson, 2020). The movement has successfully stigmatized the industry, questioned the legitimacy of fossil fuel investments (Healy & Barry, 2017;Piggot, 2018), and has "contributed" to climate action "through moral activism" (Gaulin & Le Billon, 2020, p. 895). ...
Article
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Most fossil fuel resources must remain unused to comply with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Scholars and policymakers debate which approaches should be undertaken to Leave Fossil Fuels Underground (LFFU). However, existing scholarship has not yet inventoried and evaluated the array of approaches to LFFU based on their effectiveness, equity, or feasibility. Hence, this review article asks: What lessons can we learn from reviewing scholarship on proposed approaches to leaving fossil fuels underground (LFFU)? We identify 28 unique LFFU approaches, of which only 12 are deemed environmentally effective (e.g., fossil fuel extraction taxes, bans and moratoria, and financial swaps); eight involve moderate‐to‐high (non‐)monetary costs, and only four are deemed entirely just and equitable. Of the 12 environmentally effective approaches: only three were deemed cost‐effective (regulating financial capital for fossil fuel projects, removing existing fossil fuel subsidies, and bans & moratoria); merely four were deemed equitable (asset write‐offs, retiring existing fossil infrastructure, pursuing court cases/litigation, and financial swaps); and all were deemed institutionally problematic in terms of their feasibility (six were challenging to implement as they threatened the vested interests of powerful stakeholder groups). Moreover, the reviewed scholarship draws heavily on empirical studies of how these LFFU approaches can be optimized in European, North American, and Chinese contexts; fewer studies have explored the effectiveness and fairness of LFFU approaches in the South and/or in a North–South context. Future research should particularly focus on North–South fossil fuel financial flows, which have received comparatively little attention. This article is categorized under: The Carbon Economy and Climate Mitigation > Decarbonizing Energy and/or Reducing Demand
... These competing discourses reflect competing claims about the prospects for fossil fuel workers to transition to comparable employment in other industries, particularly renewables (Snell, 2018;Fleming-Muñoz et al., 2020). High profile social movements that oppose the fossil fuel industry (Baer, 2016;Healy and Barry, 2017;Harris et al., 2021) also shape local discourses as they can be perceived as targeting local residents and particularly fossil fuel sector workers (Della Bosca and Gillespie, 2018;Colvin, 2020). ...
... Based on the interviews, this shared common ground is that there is a desire to see boundaries placed around the time and spatial extent of coal mining, including an eye toward eventual (but not 'overnight') withdrawal of the sector from the region. However, such consideration must pay attention to power, and in particular the power of incumbency in shaping processes, discourses, and outcomes (Healy and Barry, 2017;Bowden, 2018;Avelino, 2021). ...
Article
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The global momentum toward decarbonisation complicates existing challenges that regional production communities are navigating as they seek prosperous and sustainable futures. In this paper, we explore local residents' priorities for policy processes in the Upper Hunter in New South Wales, Australia. Our research focused on the aim of achieving social wellbeing and economic diversification within this energy-contested region. Using interviews (n = 42), we present several findings that can guide policy processes in the Upper Hunter, and inform processes in other communities. We find that local perspectives on the future of coal are more nuanced than the often binary public debate, indicating a common ground for local policy dialogue. The legacy of conflict between the two dominant sectors – coal mining and thoroughbred breeding – shapes perceptions about new industries for the region. There is an expectation that government will take a leading role in the region's efforts toward economic diversification, though this should be in partnership with industry and community. A plan that provides certainty and diverse, relevant opportunities for the region is desired. From these and other key findings we emphasise the importance of focusing on the social dimensions as a core part of the policy process, and suggest participatory and deliberative processes.
... The pathways to achieve energy justice and a just transition are not guaranteed, nor necessarily in the interest of those who currently benefit from controlling and profiting from energy resources. Thus, scholars are calling for more attention to the politics that drive energy decisions (Fuller and McCauley 2016, Healy and Barry 2017, Sovacool 2017). Justice will not be achieved without those advocates who are fighting for it. ...
... As top-down decisions are made to transition society towards a more sustainable future, actors who are affected by the change or dissatisfied with decision-makers' progress to move away from the status quo, may organize from the bottom-up to resist and oppose the decisions they perceive as unjust (Seyfang and Haxeltine 2012, Akizu et al 2018, Temper et al 2020. Grassroots and civil-society advocates for social and environmental change also organize to mobilize support for policy change at higher levels of organization to create or leverage windows of opportunity (Healy and Barry 2017, Hess 2018b, MacArthur et al 2020. Rather than finding a 'mute' energy justice movement, as described by Jenkins et al (2016), our review found that scholarship is capturing diverse dimensions of an active and vocal advocacy. ...
Article
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Recent political, economic and policy change in the US, Australia, and Europe, in particular, have put transitions towards low-carbon energy futures at the forefront of local and national policy agendas. How these transitions are managed is likely to affect the feasibility, timing and scope of transition policy. Recognizing the existing maldistribution of the benefits and burdens of fossil fuel-based extraction, energy generation, and distribution, advocates and scholars increasingly call for policies that not only support decarbonization goals, but also those of equity. Proposals that do not contain such goals may be met with resistance. This review examines the politics of achieving more just outcomes by asking, what is our current understanding of justice advocacy and the impacts of such advocacy on the energy transition? In this study, we systematically review articles that include the key concepts of “just transition” or “energy justice” and that examine advocacy in energy transition contexts. We find advocates from diverse communities and affiliated with varied organizational types are involved in advocacy. Diverse issues motivate advocates and the most common advocate type in the literature are residents that are affected by local impacts of energy transition decisions. Extra-institutional tactics are the most common means of advocate action. We also find that advocacy is often motivated by issues related to decision-making processes and environmental degradation. These findings illuminate that: 1) energy systems and transitions are governed by processes and institutions that are often inaccessible, 2) advocates often attempt to affect change using tactics external to such processes and institutions, and 3) issues of environmental degradation are often prominent in advocacy discourse concerning the energy transition. Future research should seek to more clearly determine advocates’ primary motivations and the tactics and actions that ultimately aid or hinder more equitable outcomes.
... Policy implications of this research include the need to address loss of jobs and economy in jurisdictions dependent on extractive industries such as coal, oil, and gas that will be impacted in the transition away from fossil fuels. Healy and Barry (2017) conclude job loss is often overlooked in just energy transitions. The role of labor, and the loss of jobs, is a key concern for these communities and the entry point for policies of transition, which might include employment transition and retraining programs. ...
Article
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This article addresses a gap in knowledge of peoples’ strategies and recommendations concerning power production and achieving reductions in GHGs to address climate change. Employing mixed methods, two-day deliberative focus groups in three communities in Saskatchewan, Canada included pre and post-focus group surveys, coding and analysis of discussions, and the creation of consensus recommendations for sustainable power production in the future. These innovative mixed-methods provide insights into how to advance individual and social learning. Results of comparative case study analysis provide strong support for renewables and illustrate place-based differences. All communities supported renewable sources. The community in proximity to coal, oil, and gas production supported coal, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and was concerned with the social cost of job loss on the welfare system; engaging the public was not a priority. In contrast, the other two communities stressed the importance of engaging the public and considering all costs, risks, benefits across the entire lifespan of power production sources. To achieve future sustainability, policy implications include addressing important concerns of resource-dependent communities, namely job loss, and conducting holistic policy assessment of potential power production sources that account for carbon and cost across the entire supply chain and include land-use change. Graphical abstract
... Environmental justice organizations, for instance, are marginalized by foundation funding preference for organizations that do not fundamentally threaten existing power structures. These challenges facing just transition advocacy highlight that just transition is a "deeply political struggle," [27] (p. 452). ...
Article
As fossil fuel activity declines, workers and communities dependent upon this activity will face negative economic and social consequences. Mitigating these impacts and including socio-economic considerations in the energy transition is often referred to as “just transition.” While there is robust discussion on what is meant by a just transition, there is not a uniform definition or vision of what a just transition entails. Moreover, the dynamics of community-based engagement and advocacy in advancing a just transition is often downplayed. This study contributes to the body of just transition research through an analysis of just transition advocacy in the U.S. states of California, Kentucky, Louisiana, and New York that sought to understand what is needed for a just transition and how just transition can be advanced at the state-level. While many cross-state comparisons focus on policy regimes, this research focused on the underlying balance of community power, and the ability to face established interests. A key finding of our research is that many of our interviewees noted that the current system of providing power was deeply impacted by the current configuration of economic and political power. For them, just transition was not just a policy package but a political project. The paper begins with a discussion of what is meant by just transition in existing literature. We then move into presenting the results of our study with a particular focus on how just transition stakeholders envision the idea and whether they saw just transition as a clean energy transition or something more transformative. We conclude with a discussion of how these findings can contribute to better understandings of just transitions, the role that community-based advocacy plays in confronting and overcoming entrenched interests, and the importance of state-based actions.
... The theme of just transition and the public perception of the energy transition are central in the topic of Energy Policy. Healy and Berry [56] discuss the need for a more systematic debate on the politics and power dynamics at place in the energy transition, and especially in fossil fuel divestment. In particular, they highlight the central role of labor, thus connecting with [55], cited above. ...
Article
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A large and fast-growing field of studies, known as sustainability transitions, emerged at the end of the 1990s, relying on a number of theoretical approaches. Transition management, strategic niche management, sociotechnical transition and technological innovation systems are among the most popular frameworks used to theorize sustainability transitions, although other approaches have been used as well. Our research analyses a specific corpus of text composed of approximately 3500 abstracts of papers collected in the Scopus database related to the term sustainability transition with the help of machine learning techniques. We explore related subfields of this literature, both related to theoretical framework or sectoral focus and their evolution across years and publication outlets, depicting different sustainability narratives.
... By this, we mean that different types of vulnerabilities and needs of community groups are recognized; energy injustices and the distribution of those injustices are identified; stakeholders are procedurally engaged in decision-making; and past energy injustices are mitigated in the context of transitioning from conventional modes of operation (i.e., fossil fuels) to a modernized energy system. This requires the hazards, externalities, and benefits of the energy system and its associated services to be distributed in such a way that access to these outcomes is not disproportionately shouldered by any one community group [47]. In other words, equity in the energy system is about the sharing of environmental benefits and burdens across society. ...
Article
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The U.S. coal industry has been in a state of decline for the past decade, a trend ushered by flat electricity demand, increased regulatory pressure, and market competition from cost-competitive clean energy sources. The receding economic viability of the coal industry has been acutely felt by the communities with immediate economic ties to coal-fired generation. With the energy transition underway, the question of how to engage communities as stakeholders in the decision-making process and address their needs through an equitable and just transition remains unresolved. To that end, this paper explores the economic, environmental, and social challenges presented by the energy transition at the community level, highlighting four case studies from transitioning coal-dependent communities across the United States to ultimately identify best practices in coal plant decommissioning processes. This paper weaves these community-identified best practices into two support tools—a decommissioning checklist and a redevelopment decision-making framework—that can be used to engage communities in the power plant retirement decision, the site reclamation phase, and eventual redevelopment of the site and revitalization of the surrounding community.
... In such a system, union workers have sought just distribution, recognition, and participation. However, as Healy and Barry (2017) argue job creation is a poor proxy for just transition -what matters more is the kinds of jobs, how secure they are, how long they last, and related forms of community resilience and innovation in the face of dynamic energy markets as highlighted by the 'Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration' issued at the 2018 Katowice Climate Conference ( (UNFCCC, 2018). This is particularly relevant in the Indian context given the nature of our economy with a significant share of the work done in the informal market, without social and institutional security. ...
Technical Report
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The report reviews past and ongoing coal transitions across the world. It reviews the motives, processes and policies which enabled these transitions, details factors which led to their successes and failures. In doing so, it maps the Just Transition literature from developed and emerging economies and provides a template under which these transitions are taking place.
... 41 Addressing such injustices require that restorative programmes be incorporated into transition initiatives to ensure that communities and individuals are adequately compensated for environmental or social impacts of transition programmes. 42 For example, this may involve providing new livelihood opportunities and alternative drinking water sources where a renewable hydro energy project impacts a community's water source. ...
Article
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This article discusses how energy policy measures for realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 and 13 in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) could be framed towards achieving energy justice by 2030. Both goals highlight interdependent and conflicting interactions that policymakers should be aware of whilst working to realize them. This position is quite challenging for developing countries that seek to simultaneously resolve the rising inequality of access to modern and affordable energy systems as stipulated in the SDG 7, whilst at the same time working to meet their international obligations towards the attainment of SDG 13. This article seeks to resolve this conflict by proposing some viable measures for a synergy between SDGs 7 and 13. It further examines the paradoxical situation faced by countries in the SSA region and argues for a contextualization of the two goals within the energy justice framework. The proposed approach entails a systematic transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon through socioeconomic policies that take into account social injustices and further incorporate sustainable actions such as developing renewable energy technologies, diversification of energy options, energy efficiency, and regional alignments and/or cooperation. Overall, the measures outlined in this article aim to help the SSA region achieve energy justice towards 2030.
... These initial four discourses are brought together in recent literature on justice in the energy transition by taking an approach analogous to that of system transitions literature, in which technology, economics, policy, culture and societal aspects are considered part of the same system. Transitions are structural, systemic changes that involve complex and long-term changes across multiple landscapes in that system [77,79,149,160,173]. A just transition, according to Newell and Mulvaney [80], requires attention for equity and justice, exploring challenges in combining energy and climate justice. ...
Article
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A rapid transition towards a CO2-neutral steel industry is required to limit climate change. Such a transition raises questions of justice, as it entails positive and negative impacts unevenly distributed across societal stakeholders. To enable stakeholders to address such concerns, this paper assesses the justice implications of three options that reduce emissions: CO2 capture and storage (CCS) on steel (up to 70%), bio-based steelmaking (up to 50%), and green hydrogen-based steel production (up to 100%). We select justice indicators from the energy, climate, labour and environmental justice literature and assess these indicators qualitatively for each of the technological routes based on literature and desk research. We find context-dependent differences in justness between the different technological routes. The impact on stakeholders varies across regions. There are justice concerns for local communities because of economic dependence on, and environmental impact of the industry. Communities elsewhere are impacted through the siting of infrastructure and feedstock production. CCS and bio-based steelmaking routes can help retain industry and associated economic benefits on location, while hydrogen-based steelmaking may deal better with environmental concerns. We conclude that, besides techno-economic and environmental information, transparency on sector-specific justice implications of transforming steel industries is essential for decision-making on technological routes.
... In developing countries context, modern energy projects aim to achieve multiple objectives, including widening access, improving social well-being, attaining economic growth, and contributing to the global effort to mitigate climate change. Although different countries take different routes, the sociotechnical aspects of such projects involve the reconfigurations of landscapes with technology, infrastructure, policy, and social practices (Geels & Schot, 2007;Healy & Barry, 2017;Newell & Mulvaney, 2013). Hence, such projects are subject to political contestation. ...
Article
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Anchored by ambitions of economic growth and energy security, governments in developing countries are building large-scale energy infrastructures at a fast pace. While committed to making modern energy accessible to all, many are also reconfiguring their institutions to hasten the sector transformation into a market-oriented entity. In some cases, these ambitious agendas are also being pursued in the context of deteriorating infrastructure and supply shortfalls. The paper uses the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to explore how political elites and citizens construct visions of the desirable future to be realised through large scale energy projects. After documenting how dominant accounts align with and diverge from citizens expectations, the paper explores how urban households reconcile the energy abundance large-scale projects promise with their experience of inadequate and increasingly expensive access to electricity. Furthermore, noting the absence of a meaningful and effective citizens engagement in the sector governance, the paper highlights the inherent risks of large-scale projects from an energy justice perspective.
... The concept of a just transition was born out of international trade union movements seeking to protect workers unfairly affected by the move from fossil-fuel based energy systems to clean energy systems 5,13 . A just transition takes into account the rights of the workforce and, encourages the creation of decent work and quality jobs in sustainable economic sectors in accordance with nationally defined development priorities. ...
... For instance, Nochta and Skelcher (2020) evaluated the opportunities and the challenges of network governance to support a sustainable energy transition in European cities. The existing literature studies have identified a number of frameworks to deal with the issue of energy equality (Lacey-Barnacle et al., 2020), which commonly is assigned to the economic (Alvial-Palavicino and Ureta, 2017), the environmental (Poruschi and Ambrey, 2019), the political (Kotzebue and Weissenbacher, 2020;Healy and Barry, 2017), and the social (Siddharth and HåVard, 2018;Hill and Connelly, 2018). Some scholars have also studied the barriers and the motivations affecting energy transition (Biresselioglu et al., 2020;Haddadian et al., 2015). ...
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Many industrialized countries are pursuing energy transition, but their focuses are different. The orderliness synergy as a unique aspiration of the current energy transition is emphasized in this article by constructing an orderliness-synergy evaluation model and selecting a dataset covering the period of 2011–2018 from Industrial Scale , Economic Benefit , Social Contribution , and Growth Potential of China to calculate the comprehensive development level and the orderliness-synergy degree of both the conventional energy industry and the nonconventional one. A novel evaluation model with stock-increment attributes is built to measure the resource storage and the growth rate systematically and to further analyze their driving forces. The results reveal that 1) the overall orderliness-synergy degree of these two sub-industries shows an upward trend year by year; however, there are some significant differences among them. 2) China’s energy transition has shown a dramatic promotion in the structural upgrading, while the momentums of these two sub-industries show a shift from the stock–resource–contribution advantage to the increment–resource–contribution advantage. 3) The actual stock-increment contribution coefficient values of these two sub-industries have not reached the development expectations of industrial performances, and there is still reasonable space for the structural optimization. Finally, policy implications are discussed.
... 5,6 Moreover, because they encompass support to workers in declining carbon-intensive sectors, they can be thought of as a much-expanded version of a ''just-transition'' package. 114,115 The third cluster we call reconfiguring power. We have discussed how excessive concentration of wealth enables wealthy people and large corporations to expand carbon-intensive production by controlling the means of production and capturing political processes (mechanisms 3 and 4). ...
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Recent proposals in the US and elsewhere aim to tackle climate change and socioeconomic inequalities together through a Green New Deal (GND). GND proposals have been criticized by high-profile advocates of carbon-centric climate policies-advocates who do not perceive socioeconomic inequalities to be significant drivers of climate change and who argue that GNDs' wider agenda will undermine decarbonization efforts. Here, we show that socioeconomic inequalities drive emissions-intensive consumption and production , facilitate the obstruction of climate policies by wealthy elites, undermine public support for climate policy, and weaken the social foundations of collective action. This suggests that integrating certain carbon -centric policies into a wider program of social, economic, and democratic reforms would achieve decar-bonization more effectively than carbon-centric policies alone. We show that common policy components of GNDs do indeed tackle the causal mechanisms by which inequalities fuel climate change, and we argue that GNDs enable more effective political strategies than carbon-centric policies.
... If you, who have an oil fund of 12.000 billion kroner, cannot undertake a rapid green shift, then nobody can. We await the climate plan of the new government with anticipation". 3 While the notion of a "green shift" has similarities with concepts more familiar internationally, like "green transition" (Cai et al., 2019;Haarstad and Rusten 2018) or "green economy" (Healy and Barry, 2017;Loiseau et al., 2016) it is also peculiarly Norwegian. A web of science search with "green shift" as topic (20 September 2021) produces no more than 55 results, 9 of which relate to Norway or the Nordic region. ...
... Although to what extent sustainable transitions/transformations will happen (and what they will entail) is still unclear, what is sure is that social divides, inequalities and lack of access to even basic livelihood are deepening, impacting everyday life. Investigating possible dynamics and trajectories of socio-ecological change in lived experience thus seems crucial, raising issues of environmental justice and equity (Healy, Barry 2017). ...
Article
Ecological transitions are coming to the forefront of post-pandemic recovery agendas, as instruments of response to economic, ecologic, sanitary and social emergency. Crisis might therefore appear as an opportunity for pro-environ- mental change. Nevertheless, in the context of increasing precariousness and inequalities, it is important to critically inquire into this scenario, questioningdifferential distributions of responsibility, damage and loss. Albeit sometimes invisible and apparently residual, everyday life is a key dimension of the socio-ecological changes that are going to happen in the future. Drawing on ethnographic material produced in the Northeast of Italy between 2015 and 2016, this article investigates the dynamics of transformation in everyday ecol- ogies as they co-emerge with the experience of socio-economic crisis. Referring to new materialist sensitivities and to eco-feminist frameworks, the discussion proposes that living-in-crisis does in some cases represent an “opportunity” for changing practices and values towards sustainability. Yet, the utter uncertainty, injustice and precariousness that characterise this condition show the contra- dictions of current responses to environmental crises: the lack of collective and participatory pathways of change produce feelings of powerlessness and loss, as well as material impossibilities, that together prevent a thoroughgoing transformation of everyday ecologies.
... Furthermore, the energy transition would also lead to loss of employment and employment opportunities for people directly or indirectly related to fossil fuels or living in regions with significant fossil resources as well as those who spend significant income in acquiring energy. Without adequate compensation or alternate opportunities, these groups or individuals could also hinder decarbonisation (Healy andBarry 2017, McCauley andHeffron 2018). ...
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Continued investment in coal embroils regions in coal lock-ins, creating dependence and vested interests around coal and thereby limiting the speed and potential to switch to cleaner energy. In India, four states contribute 70% of coal production, with regions surrounding mines also housing significant operating and under-construction coal power stations. On the other hand, states in the west and south of India dominate current and near-term renewable energy capacity growth, broadly following patterns of highest resource potentials. We show that following current policies, by the end of the decade, coal-bearing states will likely sink deeper into carbon lock-ins, while the rest of the country, especially western and southern states could become increasingly decarbonised. Even in decarbonisation scenarios, gains from job and value creation in the clean energy sector might primarily take place away from existing coal regions, raising equity concerns, and ultimately putting the political feasibility of such a scenario in question. We suggest that policies aiming at higher renewable installations (mostly solar due to better potentials) in coal-bearing states, although not a one-to-one panacea, could provide an early break from lock-ins and into a just transition. This may, however, require a dedicated program and imply a small mark-up in power system costs. They would, however, help for medium-term diversification and job creation in all regions which will be key for assuring political support for the transition.
Article
The Green New Deal resolution in 2019 focused the United States on the need to quickly phase out fossil fuel use. Unionized energy workers, important actors in low-carbon energy transition, are theorized as being concerned about the environment and much affected by the energy transition, but US energy workers are understudied and their concerns and needs are not well understood. In this study, part of a larger project on labor and energy, we focus on in-depth interviews conducted in 2019 and 2020 with 48 labor union members and leaders in varied occupations from eight national unions located in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Energy workers' views on climate change were varied, but contrary to stereotypes about blue-collar workers “climate skeptic” views were held by only a few. Despite political polarization in the US, energy workers' political identity did not seem to be as important regarding what type of energy system they thought the US should adopt. Energy workers' views on how they would be affected by low-carbon energy transition varied according to the degree to which their skills were a good match for skills needed in renewable energy industries and whether their bargaining power was enhanced or disempowered by conditions in renewable energy industries. Our findings emphasize the need for the Multi-Level Perspective to incorporate a way to examine power relations in renewable energy industries. We argue that the needs and opinions of these workers should be central to deliberations and planning for energy transition in the U.S.
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A fair and equitable low carbon future depends on a just transition which, in turn, requires leadership. Where the Arctic is concerned, this leadership is currently lacking. To gauge which states are most likely to provide leadership in the global energy transition, a quantitative rank-percentile assessment of 21 Arctic Council members and Observer states was conducted, using measures relevant to the just transition. Data from multiple open-access sources were combined, creating a model to ‘evaluate energy and equity aspects of Distributional, Procedural and Restorative’ justice (DeePeR). Results suggest normative leadership on a just transition for the Arctic comprises international climate contributions in line with carbon emission records and a commitment to both fair and green jobs. Reflections are made on the positive and negative effects of a more involved EU for the just transition agenda in the Arctic.
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The term ‘Just Transition’ (JT) emerged from the 1970s North American labour movement to become a campaign for a planned energy transition that includes justice and fairness for workers. There is diversity in the JT narratives and ambitions that different actors put forward regarding its aims and strategies. This article critically reviews academic and grey literature on the JT in the Global North and South Africa to examine how labour, advocacy, private sector, and governmental actors frame and formulate the JT, and how narrative patterns across actors can predict transformative justice. Highlighting the JT’s origins, we fill a gap in transition literature by reintroducing the labour perspective into an analysis of affirmative and transformative justice, and propose an original theoretical framework that unites scholarship in environmental and labour studies. JT proposals are examined through an analysis of the actors, approaches, and tensions across five key themes: depth & urgency, scale & scope, identity & inclusion, material equity, and participation & power. Finally, we synthesise trends in our findings in relation to prominent JT discourses in the literature – Green Growth, Green Keynesianism, Energy Democracy, and Green Revolution – and discuss the transformative potential of JT alliances and coalitions going into the future.
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Just transition aims to reconcile environmental and social concerns especially for fossil-fuel dependent areas. Yet even with broad support, we can expect ongoing shocks and events to shape the implementation of just transition agendas. In concept and practice, just transitions must directly account for and anticipate profound uncertainties regarding the social and ecological context in which such projects are planned and implemented, while breaking from growth dependence. This paper argues that the future of just transitions must center on essential care work to better ensure well-being without economic growth. The essay examines diverse perspectives on the meaning of just transition, articulating a more transformative approach under conditions of economic instability. The review demonstrates broadening understandings of just transitions, spanning from those more narrowly focused on immediate worker- and sectoral supports to those aiming for more fundamental and lasting transformations of economies and societies. Given the extreme social, economic, and ecological uncertainties of our time, the paper lastly proposes temporally overlapping agendas for policies, strategies, and institutions of just transition organized around post-growth care work. As inspired by the field of futures studies, the article contributes a set of criteria to help advance just transitions beyond fossil fuel and growth dependence.
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The U.S. energy system has changed markedly in the past few decades, with a transition away from coal and towards natural gas and renewables. The implosion of the coal industry brings many environmental and public health benefits. However, several state governments and the administration of former President Trump launched a variety of initiatives to save coal, even if it would increase costs to ratepayers. Here, we integrate diverse strains of research on the cultural politics of coal, nostalgia and populism, partisanship, and energy justice to understand what drives support for cost-increasing policies to rescue coal. Using a survey experiment, we find that support declines as costs increase, there are significant partisan differences, but those differences are highest among expressive partisans. Further, nostalgia is positively associated with support for coal, while the number of jobs that the ratepayer policy would provide has no bearing on support. We conclude by discussing the role of nostalgia and partisanship in economic and energy transitions.
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To meet the 2060 carbon neutrality target, China will need to phase out existing coal-fired power plants by 2050 or before. The electricity supply sector directly employs over 2 million and an additional 2 million when indirect employment including product and machinery production are included. To investigate the policy options and pathways available to meet the national climate goal while transitioning this jobs-intensive and economically powerful sector, we developed a plant-level job accounting model, and combine it with a power sector optimization model to assess job loss in the coal sector, as well as job creation in the burgeoning renewable power sector in China. We find that national and provincial policy actions to support an early and managed transition help to ensure a job-rich and both geographically and socioeconomically equitable shift from coal to clean energy. Specifically, the projected decline in fossil-fuel jobs can be fully offset by job new creation in the expanding renewable energy sector. Current COVID-19 economic stimulus plans include a potential new coal boom, where China could build up to 247 GW of additional plants, and thus delay the transition by a decade or more. We find that this action would result in up to 90% of coal-fired workers losing jobs between 2030 and 2040 without a clear pathway to absorb these workers in what will be an already mature clean energy economy. Provinces with massive coal fleets and limited renewable energy resources, notably Anhui, Henan, Hebei and Shandong, etc., would face a particularly disruptive mismatch of job gains and losses.
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Many U.S. states have taken significant action on climate change in recent years, demonstrating their commitment despite federal policy gridlock and rollbacks. Yet, there is still much we do not know about the agents, discourses, and strategies of those seeking to delay or obstruct state-level climate action. We first ask, what are the obstacles to strong and effective climate policy within U.S. states? We review the political structures and interest groups that slow action, and we examine emerging tensions between climate justice and the technocratic and/or market-oriented approaches traditionally taken by many mainstream environmental groups. Second, what are potential solutions for overcoming these obstacles? We suggest strategies for overcoming opposition to climate action that may advance more effective and inclusive state policy, focusing on political strategies, media framing, collaboration, and leveraging the efforts of ambitious local governments.
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Multisided platforms, as pointed by Rietveld et al. usually start with a single-use just as Amazon was a place to buy/sell used/new books until it scaled into selling close to a million unique brands. Platforms started for a singular purpose later; scaling into multi-purposes calls for certain governance limitations. The capability and appetite to enter new markets/industries seem insatiable once the platform garnishes the resources to meet the initial goals set by the stakeholders. Amazon bid to buy a prepaid cellular brand; it also wants to expand into the pharmacy. The question here is, what are the industries that Amazon cannot scale into using its platform? Probably renewable energy, but didn't amazon backed an electric vehicle manufacturer lucid. So, the industries that present a promise which its digital platform cannot scale into are brought into the fold by funding. This paper aims at adding a new perspective to digital platforms research by introducing how the third-party sellers on an e-commerce platform such as amazon perceive the platform and how that perception gets affected when the platform starts competing with the third-party sellers by creating digital storefronts. This paper investigates how the Platform-supported products receive an extra push; the platform mediates the selling of its product over the third-party sellers and how the loyal third-party sellers prepare themselves to compete with the platform.
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Various chemical additives used in chemical enhanced oil recovery (cEOR) boost hydrocarbon recovery due to their incredible potential for changing critical reservoir properties. Because of the incremental oil production feasibility, the novel application of nanoparticles (NPs) in cEOR injectant fluids has piqued the interest of many researchers in recent years. However, no systematic review of NPs utilization in polymer and surfactant fluids has been documented. As a result, the purpose of this review is to highlight the use of nanofluids in cEOR at high temperature and salinity. In this comprehensive review, a detailed bibliometric survey is performed using Scopus and presented using VOS viewer, which outlines publication sources, frequent keywords in publications, and research pioneering countries. Furthermore, NPs critical factors that have rarely been mentioned in previous reviews, such as morphology, salinity and stability, and a high surface to volume ratio are discussed in detail. Furthermore, the disadvantages of polymer, surfactant, and solitary nanofluid flooding, as well as the requirement for a combination of NPs with polymer and surfactant, are thoroughly discussed. As the most research pertaining to the implementation of NPs in cEOR is still in its early stages, there is a dearth of literature describing NPs mechanisms in providing additional recovery. Finally, the research gap is identified, and recommendations for future work on nanofluid flooding are provided. Overall, the incorporation of NPs into cEOR yield promising results, and more research in this area is warranted in the future.
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This article discusses the politics of direct action against fossil fuels put forward by climate justice movements, focusing in particular on the tactic of the blockade. Drawing on the conceptual toolkit of urban political ecology, the argument moves from a critique of the consensual regime of climate change governance to highlight conflict and dissent as central forces for the transformation of the socioecological metabolisms structuring the capitalist urbanization of nature—of which fossil fuels constitute the lifeblood. This approach shifts the debate around climate change politics from an issue of technological transition to one of metabolic transformation. On this basis, the article proposes a characterization of direct action against fossil fuels as expressions of metabolic activism: instances of grassroots ecopolitical engagement that aim to break consensus by disrupting capitalist-driven metabolic relations while also experimenting with alternative values, knowledges, spaces, and sociomaterial relations. To ground these reflections, the article offers an account of the Swedish climate justice coalition Fossilgasfällan and its successful three-year campaign, culminating in a blockade to halt the expansion of the gas terminal of Gothenburg port.
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The leverage of the public narrative created and maintained by the media as a highly influential social actor is decisive, but also sensitive, in bringing about the energy transition and advancing towards a low-carbon economy. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has potential to slow down and deform the public acceptance of the above-mentioned processes as it is likely that the priorities of individual governments will be revisited and tailored to tackle the ongoing health crisis. We are replying to such a threat with this study that aims to reflect on the immense role of media in shaping a low-carbon economy in transitional economies. We are using Poland as an illustrative example to demonstrate how wide, colourful, and sometimes even confusing the low-carbon narrative might be. By means of employing the horizon scanning of the diverse types of media, we detected that media overwhelmingly affect and deform the ongoing discussions about the nuances of energy transition and benefits a low-carbon economy. We argue that political preferences of individual journalists (and publishing houses) in Poland tend to influence the style, depth, extent, and quality how the topic is covered and narrated.
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Phasing-out fossil fuels is key to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. Recent studies indicated huge amounts of unextracted oil resources in deep mitigation scenarios. However, crude oil heterogeneity and related refining yields have been overlooked. The same holds for the impact of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and sequestration technologies on stranded oil resources, and the pace of crude oil extraction in different world regions in scenarios with and without average global surface temperature overshoot for the 2020–2100 period. This study uses a global Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) to assess the impact of considering such complexities when running full-century and peak budget carbon scenarios. When “turning off” the detailed oil quality module of this IAM, an overproduction of crude oil with a smaller throughput of oil refineries was found, as the model simplified the oil supply-demand balance. “Turning on” the detailed oil module and simulating the energy-land nexus showed that CDR allowed the remaining use of oil in hard-to-abate sectors, while refineries were better adjusted to oil supply. African and Latin American regions produced more oil before 2050 in the full-century-budget scenario than in the peak budget scenario. This has implications for just transition, as these regions usually prefer anticipating rents.
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Many in the Global South and some in the Global North cannot afford clean and sustainable energy, and many live in a state of energy poverty. A just energy transition is a chance for economies to start again with a clean slate and do things differently. In the Global South, where many cities are growing and where generation is inadequate, the opportunities abound. This policy brief argues that energy poverty and access must be brought boldly into the Just Transition debate. Only then is change possible. The brief offers an overview of current understanding of what constitutes a just energy transition and what is meant by energy poverty and access by giving a snapshot of the European Union and Sub-Saharan Africa context. The brief concludes with outlining some of the policy gaps.
Article
Hydrogen is attracting increasing attention and investment in the low carbon energy transition. However, it is expected that any transition to hydrogen at a meaningful scale or rate, will be dependent on the industry obtaining a social licence, underpinned by public acceptance. This study analyses responses from a public survey that asked 1,824 residents of South Australia and Victoria (Australia) to indicate how important six characteristics of a hydrogen industry would be in their decision to support the development of such an industry, namely: (1) safety; (2) climate change mitigation; (3) affordability; (4) reliability; (5) accessibility; and (6) job creation. Overall, safety was rated as the most important characteristic, followed by climate change mitigation and affordability. Fractional multinomial logit model estimates found socio-demographic (e.g. age, location) and attitudinal characteristics (e.g. concern about climate change, hydrogen knowledge) statistically significantly influenced individuals’ importance ratings of hydrogen industry characteristics. This research indicates the trade-offs that individuals may—or may not be—willing to make in the transition to hydrogen energy. Such information can be used to align policy and investment decisions with public expectations for the further development of the hydrogen industry in Australia.
Article
The possibility of substantial offshore wind energy development in the United States (U.S.) is rapidly advancing. Several offshore wind projects have been proposed proximate to federally-recognized tribal territory. Historically marginalized, indigenous communities have for centuries experienced injustices during the expansion of the U.S. energy system. Few studies have systematically examined the responses of indigenous communities to offshore wind, and little is known about the ways that indigenous concerns are leveraged by non-members to advance a position advocating for or against offshore development. In this study, we examine the discourses that surround indigenous communities through legally mandated decision-making processes for two proposed offshore wind projects in the northeast U.S. We show that narratives surrounding indigenous stakeholders in the offshore wind scoping process can be thematically identified as: 1. religious, cultural, and spiritual value, 2. land and identity, and 3. process and procedures. However, the concerns and perspectives of indigenous communities are mostly brought forth by non-group members, and were found to be leveraged or diminished by non-indigenous individuals pushing anti- or pro-offshore wind sentiment. This reveals the finding that indigenous concerns are being co-opted or sidelined through formal and legal decision-making processes in the U.S. Government. The results indicate that the formal consultation process failed to meet standards of energy justice by inadvertently giving outsize voice to lesser impacted communities. Therefore, our study cautions that energy justice is not achieved solely through “inclusive” processes and decision-makers should be diligent in considering the multi-faceted aspects of justice.
Article
The global push to decarbonize sectors of the economy and phase-out coal use has attracted a renewed interest in hydrogen. At the forefront of this debate, Colombia, the world’s 6th largest coal exporter, must consider strategies to support a just transition for regions that depend economically on coal exports. However, the role of hydrogen as a part of the energy transition has yet to be examined from an environmental justice lens. A full-chain life-cycle assessment of hydrogen production is yet to be considered in Colombia. Using life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, we examine the greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and trace metal emissions associated with six potential Colombian liquid hydrogen production strategies: (1) electrolysis powered by the country’s national electricity grid, (2) on-site electrolysis powered by electricity produced by a wind farm, (3) off-site electrolysis powered by electricity produced by a wind farm, (4) electrolysis powered by electricity produced from a coal-fired power plant, (5) coal gasification without carbon capture and storage (CCS), and (6) coal gasification with CCS. Upstream conversion has an outsized influence on the sustainability of a hydrogen transition in Colombia. Impact levels for wind-powered electrolysis are lower than those of the coal- and grid-powered scenarios for every impact category analyzed, apart from emissions of aluminum to air, nitrogen emissions to water, and phosphorous, nitrate, and nitrite emissions to soil. The grid-based electrolysis scenario is found to consume the largest amount of water, while coal-fueled scenarios pathways raise concerns of greater life-cycle mercury, nickel, and arsenic emissions. While coal gasification with CCS reduced gasification CO2 emissions by 35%, the CCS scenario’s VOC emissions were 37% greater than gasification without CCS, given that increased levels of coal inputs were required to account for the loss of efficiency associated with the addition of CCS technology. For Colombia to benefit most from a hydrogen-based decarbonization transition with minimal environmental impacts, community-focused planning and wind-based hydrogen systems should be prioritized
Chapter
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Economic growth as well as the struggles for decent work had their origins in the emergence of capitalism. Capitalism, with its logic of competition and accumulation, is an inherently growth-oriented system. And the transition from feudalism to capitalism generated the modern issue of unemployment and labor-capital conflicts. Both the question of economic growth and the struggle for decent work remains highly relevant today, as most of the world population are not getting either of those. This is further complicated by the increasing concern of global warming and climate change because economic growth is usually associated with increased carbon emissions. This chapter reviews the historical patterns of economic growth and capital-labor relations in the last two centuries, and discusses the potentials of the transition to a green growth model addressing the issue related to global labor division, environmental justice, informality, among others.
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This article discusses the politics of direct-action against fossil fuels put forward by climate justice movements, focusing in particular on the tactic of the blockade. Drawing on the conceptual toolkit of Urban Political Ecology, the argument moves from a critique of the consensual regime of climate change governance to highlight conflict and dissent as central forces for the transformation of the socioecological metabolism structuring the capitalist urbanization of nature – of which fossil fuels constitute the lifeblood. This approach shifts the debate around climate change politics from an issue of technological transition to one of metabolic transformation. On this basis, the article proposes a characterization of direct-action against fossil fuels as expressions of metabolic activism: instances of grassroots eco-political engagement that aim to break consensus by disrupting capitalist-driven metabolic relations while also experimenting with alternative values, knowledges, spaces and socio-material relations. To ground these reflections, the article offers an account of the Swedish climate justice coalition Fossilgasfällan and of their three-year successful campaign, culminated with a blockade, to halt the expansion of the gas terminal of Gothenburg port.
Article
As the global economy transitions to greater reliance on renewable energy, it is crucial that this be a Just Transition in which new jobs are created to offset reduced opportunities in fossil fuels. This is critical to mitigate political opposition to the renewable energy transition. We use a survey experiment in Jharkhand, one of India's largest coal-producing states, to identify the characteristics that make alternative jobs attractive compared to coal jobs. We provide evidence of a coal penalty: respondents were 36.2 percentage points [95% CI: 33.1–39.5] less likely to choose coal jobs than alternatives. Additionally, respondents were much more likely to select high-paying jobs, while distance was not a strong deterrent to job selection. The findings indicate that coal jobs are unpopular on the margin, and suggest the viability of policies such as jobs training programs and relocation assistance that allow workers to take advantage of higher-skilled, higher-paid livelihoods.
Article
The United States coal industry is in a slow death spiral, primarily because of the abundance of inexpensive natural gas and the emergence of renewables. Although transitioning from coal is essential for decarbonization and provides many dividends for public health, the looming implosion of the industry creates difficulties for workers and communities, leading to calls for a just transition for coal workers. Several policies have been proposed to assist displaced miners. In this analysis, we use survey data to evaluate support for funding to assist miners with relocation or retraining, and pension protection. Here we show that these policies enjoy broad, non-partisan support, implying that policy makers can help realize a just transition for coal dependent communities.
Article
Carbon prices and carbon caps need to be set at levels that will deliver the reduction targets necessary to keep global warming under 2 °C, aspiring to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris Agreement. Given both the urgency of the situation and the heterogeneity across countries and sectors, switching caps and switching prices may be the answer.
Article
The Indian government advocates for a major shift from national reliance on coal to more renewable energy sources. While these aspirations are laudable, a political ecology review reveals the uneven power relations associated with the introduction of renewable energy in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Drawing from fieldwork, research traces how Kerala government solar projects, including schemes to promote rooftop solar, prioritize middle- and upper-class consumers. Historically marginalized communities, including people living below the poverty level and Adivasis (indigenous peoples), are not a priority for the state agency implementing renewable energy and thus are not beneficiaries of cleaner energy. This disconnected approach builds from and exacerbates historical political and resource inequalities and enables the persistence of social and environmental injustices, even while moving towards a lower-carbon future. This model does not allow for all residents to actively engage in decision-making about energy processes and proves to be a missed opportunity to think holistically about development and energy in tandem. Energy democracy provides ideas to disturb this uneven power structure, with cooperatives being one possible way to implement this change. As the case of Kerala underscores, India may undergo an energy transition, but it will not be a just energy transition without significant changes.
Article
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Historically, climate governance initiatives and associated scholarship have all but ignored the potential for “global moral norms” to bring about changes in the political conditions for global climate mitigation. This is surprising, since global moral norms are widely employed—as both a mode of governance and an analytical framework—in other domains of global governance, from international security to human rights. However, recent national-level fossil fuel divestments, moratoria on new coal mines and bans on gas fracking, among other developments, suggest the promise of global moral norms prohibiting fossil fuel-related activities, which this article terms “anti-fossil fuel norms” (AFFNs). The article interprets recent examples of such activities in the light of international relations theory on moral norms to provide a general framework for understanding how AFFNs originate, spread and affect states. Specifically, the article argues that there are: (i) influential agents that are originating, and likely to continue to originate, AFFNs; and (ii) international and domestic mechanisms by which AFFNs are likely to spread widely among states and have a significant causal effect on the identity-related considerations or rational calculations of states in the direction of limiting or reducing the production or consumption of fossil fuels. The article also shows that, because they spread and affect state behaviour through mechanisms of “international socialization” and domestic “political mobilization”, AFFNs cohere with and build upon the new paradigm of global climate governance crystallized in the Paris Agreement. AFFNs, the article concludes, represent a promising new frontier in climate governance.
Book
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Multiple ‘green transformations’ are required if humanity is to live sustainably on planet Earth. Recalling past transformations, this book examines what makes the current challenge different, and especially urgent. It examines how green transformations must take place in the context of the particular moments of capitalist development, and in relation to particular alliances. The role of the state is emphasised, both in terms of the type of incentives required to make green transformations politically feasible and the way states must take a developmental role in financing innovation and technology for green transformations. The book also highlights the role of citizens, as innovators, entrepreneurs, green consumers and members of social movements. Green transformations must be both ‘top-down’, involving elite alliances between states and business, but also ‘bottom up’, pushed by grassroots innovators and entrepreneurs, and part of wider mobilisations among civil society. The chapters in the book draw on international examples to emphasise how contexts matter in shaping pathways to sustainability Written by experts in the field, this book will be of great interest to researchers and students in environmental studies, international relations, political science, development studies, geography and anthropology, as well as policymakers and practitioners concerned with sustainability.
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This paper provides a critical overview and analysis of the student-led fossil fuel divestment (FFD) movement and its impact on sustainability discourse and actions within US higher education. Analysing higher education institutes’ (HEIs) divestment press releases and news reports shows how institutional alignment with cultures of sustainability and social justice efforts played key roles in HEIs’ decisions to divest from fossil fuels. Key stated reasons for rejection were: minimal or unknown impact of divestment, risk to the endowment, and fiduciary duty. Participant observation and interviews with protagonists reveal the intricate power structures and vested business interests that influence boardroom divestment decision-making. While some HEIs embrace transformative climate actions, we contend that higher education largely embraces a business-as-usual sustainability framework characterised by a reformist green-economy discourse and a reluctance to move beyond businessinterest responses to climate politics. Nonetheless, the FFD movement is pushing HEIs to move from compliance-oriented sustainability behaviour towards a more proactive and highly politicised focus on HEIs’ stance in the modern fossil fuel economy. We offer conceptual approaches and practical directions for reorienting sustainability within HEIs to prioritise the intergenerational equity of its students and recognise climate change as a social justice issue. Fully integrating sustainability into the core business of HEIs requires leadership to address fundamental moral questions of both equity and responsibility for endowment investments. We contend that HEIs must re-evaluate their role in averting catastrophic climate change, and extend their influence in catalysing public climate discourse and actions through a broader range of external channels, approaches, and actors.
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Degrowth is a rejection of the illusion of growth and a call to repoliticize the public debate colonized by the idiom of economism. It is a project advocating the democratically-led shrinking of production and consumption with the aim of achieving social justice and ecological sustainability. This overview of degrowth offers a comprehensive coverage of the main topics and major challenges of degrowth in a succinct, simple and accessible manner. In addition, it offers a set of keywords useful for intervening in current political debates and for bringing about concrete degrowth-inspired proposals at different levels [en] local, national and global. The result is the most comprehensive coverage of the topic of degrowth in English and serves as the definitive international reference.
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The U.S. is experiencing unprecedented movement away from coal and, to a lesser degree, oil. Burdened low-income communities and people of color could experience health benefits from reductions in air and water pollution, yet these same groups could suffer harm if transitions lack broad public input or if policies prioritize elite or corporate interests. This paper highlights how U.S. energy transitions build from, and contribute to, environmental injustices. Energy justice requires not only ending disproportionate harm, it also entails involvement in the design of solutions and fair distribution of benefits, such as green jobs and clean air. To what extent does the confluence of state, civic, and market processes assure "just" transitions to clean, low-carbon energy production involving equitable distribution of costs, benefits, and decision-making power? To explore this question we assess trends with (1) fossil fuel divestment; (2) carbon taxes and social cost of carbon measurements; (3) cap-and-trade; (4) renewable energy; and (5) energy efficiency. Current research demonstrates opportunities and pitfalls in each area with mixed or partial energy justice consequences, leading to our call for greater attention to the specifics of distributive justice, procedural justice, and recognition justice in research, policy, and action. Illustrative energy transition case studies suggest the feasibility and benefit of empowering approaches, but also indicate there can be conflict between "green" and "just", as evident though stark inequities in clean energy initiatives. To identify positive pathways forward, we compile priorities for an energy justice research agenda based on interactive and participatory practices aligning advocacy, activism, and academics.
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All too often, energy policy and technology discussions are limited to the domains of engineering and economics. Many energy consumers, and even analysts and policymakers, confront and frame energy and climate risks in a moral vacuum, rarely incorporating broader social justice concerns. Here, to remedy this gap, we investigate how concepts from justice and ethics can inform energy decision-making by reframing five energy problems — nuclear waste, involuntary resettlement, energy pollution, energy poverty and climate change — as pressing justice concerns. We conclude by proposing an energy justice framework centred on availability, affordability, due process, transparency and accountability, sustainability, equity and responsibility, which highlights the futurity, fairness and equity dimensions of energy production and use.
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This article reviews recent literature relevant to the ongoing shale gas boom and introduces the Journal of Political Ecology's Special Section on hydraulic fracking. We highlight the need for ethnographic studies of the tumultuous social and physical transformations resulting from, and produced by, an unfolding frontier of energy production that unsettles social, economic, and ecological landscapes. We examine how intercommunity connections are vital to recognizing the shared structural conditions produced by the oil and gas industry's expansion, through examining the roles played by the oil field services industry, the sequestration of information and agnotology (the deliberate production of ignorance), divide and conquer tactics, and shared experiences of risk and embodied effects. Summarizing the contributions of the five articles included in the Special Section, we offer recommendations for further inquiry. We examine how social science studies of hydraulic fracking are producing new and innovative methodologies for developing participatory academic and community research projects. Key words: digital media, embodiment, energy, hydraulic fracturing, oil field services industry, shale gas
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Coal, oil, and gas-fossil fuels: we can't do without them. They are the life-blood of modern industrial civilization. These highly concentrated, widely available stores of energy have unleashed modern civilization's astonishing productivity, liberating billions of people from drudgery and insecurity. Finding more fossil fuels and getting them to markets around the world is the challenge of our times.
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This article charts the evolution of the divestment movement, a transnational advocacy network that uses a range of strategies to shame, pressure, facilitate, and encourage investors in general, and large institutional investors in particular, to relinquish their holdings of fossil fuel stocks in favour of climate-friendly alternatives. It describes the movement's central characteristics and the strategies it employs, it maps its basic architecture and the potential role it plays in the broader climate change regime complex, and shows how it represents a novel form of private investor-targeted climate change governance, operating primarily through symbolic political action and as a norm entrepreneur. Given the potential importance of the movement, the model it may provide for other forms of private governance, and the paucity of analysis of its implications for climate change mitigation, this article addresses an important descriptive and analytical gap in the climate policy literature.
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The confluence of energy supply- and demand-side dynamics links vulnerable communities along the spectrum of energy production and consumption. The disproportionate burden borne by vulnerable communities along the energy continuum are seldom examined simultaneously. Yet, from a justice perspective there are important parallels that merit further exploration in the United States and beyond. A first step is to understand links to vulnerability and justice along the energy continuum by way of theoretical constructs and practical applications. The present article posits energy as a social and environmental justice issue and advances our current understanding of the links between energy and vulnerability, particularly in the U.S. Context: Drawing on several emerging concepts including, "energy sacrifice zones," "energy insecurity" and "energy justice," this article lays a foundation for examining critical sacrifices along the energy continuum. To conclude, four basic rights are proposed as a starting point to achieve recognition and equity for vulnerable populations in the realm of energy.
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Going against both the naive techno-optimist of ‘greening business as usual’ and a resurgent ‘catastrophism’ within green thinking and politics, The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability offers an analysis of the causes of unsustainability and diminished human flourishing. The books locates the causes of unsustainability in dominant capitalist modes of production, debt-based consumer culture, the imperative for orthodox economic growth and the dominant ideology of neoclassical economics. It suggests that valuable insights into the causes of and alternatives to unsustainability can be found in a critical embracing of human vulnerability and dependency as both constitutive and ineliminable aspects of what it means to be human. The book defends resilience, the ability to ‘cope with’ rather than somehow ‘solve’ vulnerability. The book offers a trenchant critique of the dominant neoclassical economic ‘groupthink’, viewing it not as some value-neutral form of ‘expert knowledge’, but as a thoroughly ideological ‘common sense’. Outlining a green political economic alternative replacing economic growth with economic security, it argues economic growth has done its work in the minority, affluent world, which should now focus on improving human flourishing, lowering socio-economic equality and fostering solidarity as part of a new re-orientation of public policy. Complementing this, a, ‘green republicanism’ is developed as an innovative and original contribution to contemporary debates on a ‘post-growth’ economy and society. The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability draws widely from a range of disciplines and thinkers, from cultural critic Susan Sontag to the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, contemporary debates in green political thinking, and the latest thinking in heterodox and green economics, to produce a highly relevant, timely, and provocatively original statement on the human predicament in the twenty-first century.
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In the context of large-scale energy transitions, current approaches to energy policy have become too narrowly constrained around problems of electrons, fuel, and carbon, the technologies that provide them, and the cost of those technologies. Energy systems are deeply enmeshed in broad patterns of social, economic, and political life and organization, and significant changes to energy systems increasingly are accompanied by social, economic, and political shifts. Energy policy is therefore, in practice, a problem of socio-energy system design. In this article, we offer a definition of socio-energy systems, reconceptualize key questions in energy policy in terms of socio-energy systems change, analyze three case studies of energy policy development as problems of socio-energy systems design, and develop recommendations for rethinking energy policy and governance in the context of socio-energy systems transitions.
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The term ‘carbon lock-in’ refers to the tendency for certain carbon-intensive technological systems to persist over time, ‘locking out’ lower-carbon alternatives, and owing to a combination of linked technical, economic, and institutional factors. These technologies may be costly to build, but relatively inexpensive to operate and, over time, they reinforce political, market, and social factors that make it difficult to move away from, or ‘unlock’ them. As a result, by investing in assets prone to lock-in, planners and investors restrict future flexibility and increase the costs of achieving agreed climate protection goals. Here, we develop a straight-forward approach to assess the speed, strength, and scale of carbon lock-in for major energy-consuming assets in the power, buildings, industry, and transport sectors. We pilot the approach at the global level, finding that carbon lock-in is greatest, globally, for coal power plants, gas power plants, and oil-based vehicles. The approach can be readily applied at the national or regional scale, and may be of particular relevance to policymakers interested in enhancing flexibility in their jurisdictions for deeper emissions cuts in the future, and therefore in limiting the future costs associated with ‘stranded assets’.
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To better understand injustice in our cities, and to understand how vulnerability to impacts of climate change is constructed, scholars have noted that we need to incorporate multiple factors that shape identity and power in our analyses, including race, class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality. Less widely acknowledged is the intersectionality of these factors; that specific combinations of factors shape their own social position and thus affect experiences of power, oppression and vulnerability. To address emerging issues like climate change, it is vital to find a way to understand and approach multiple, intersecting axes of identity that shape how impacts will be distributed and experienced. This article introduces intersectionality, a concept for understanding multiple, co-constituting axes of difference and identity, and kyriarchy, a theory of power that describes the power structures intersectionality produces, and offers researchers a fresh way of approaching the interactions of power in planning research and practice.
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Questions of justice in the transition to a green economy have been raised by various social forces. Very few proposals, however, have been as focused and developed as the “just transition” strategy proposed by global labour unions. Yet, labour unions are remarkably absent from discussions of the transition towards a green economy. This is surprising as labour unions are arguably the largest organizations in the world fighting for basic rights and more just social relations. This paper tries to advance the potential contribution of labour unions in this arena by asking: what is the full scope of “just transition” today and how have labour unions developed and refined it over the years to render the move towards a green economy both environmentally and socially sustainable? The concept of just transition is hotly debated within labour unions and has different interpretations, and hence different strategies. The last section assesses these interpretations by means of a normative framework, which seeks to fuse political economy and political ecology. Empirically, we add to the growing literature on labour environmentalism, as well as transitions more generally. Analytically, our goal is to place the various approaches to a “just transition” within a heuristic framework of environmental justice that is explicit about power relations when demanding justice, two themes central to this special issue.
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This paper explores the political economy of energy transition in South Africa. An economic model based around a powerful ‘minerals-energy complex’ that has previously been able to provide domestic and foreign capital with cheap and plentiful coal-generated electricity is no longer economically or environmentally sustainable. The paper analyses the struggle over competing energy visions, infrastructures and political agendas in order to generate insights into the governance and financing of clean energy transitions in South Africa. It provides both a rich empirical account of key policy developments aimed at enabling such a transition and provides reflections on how best to theorise the contested politics of energy transitions.
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Energy transitions are thoroughly social affairs. Despite this fact, energy policy rarely incorporates the social dimensions of energy systems change in an intentional, explicit, and broad fashion. Reviewing extensive recent research, we introduce the concept of social planning for energy transitions as an innovative framing for energy policy that can accompany technical and economic analyses and decision-making, especially in the current context of flux and uncertainty in the energy sector. We define social planning as understanding and preparing for the societal outcomes of energy transitions, as well as developing strategies to incorporate these considerations into energy policy. We review five areas of capacity-building for social planning in energy transitions: mapping socio-energy relationships, envisioning socio-energy futures, designing just socio-energy systems, building socio-energy partnerships, and governing socio-energy transitions.
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Globalization is changing the way we argue about justice. Arguments that used to focus chiefly on the question of what is owed as a matter of justice to community members now turn quickly into disputes about who should count as a member and which is the relevant community. Not only the substance of justice but also the frame is in dispute. The result is a major challenge to our theories of social justice, which have so far failed to develop conceptual resources for reflecting on the question of the frame. The article argues that in order to deal satisfactorily with this problem, the theory of justice must become three-dimensional, incorporating the political dimension of representation, alongside the economic dimension of distribution and the cultural dimension of recognition.
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Investigations of the interconnectedness of climate change with human societies require profound analysis of relations among humans and between humans and nature, and the integration of insights from various academic fields. An intersectional approach, developed within critical feminist theory, is advantageous. An intersectional analysis of climate change illuminates how different individuals and groups relate differently to climate change, due to their situatedness in power structures based on context-specific and dynamic social categorisations. Intersectionality sketches out a pathway that stays clear of traps of essentialisation, enabling solidarity and agency across and beyond social categories. It can illustrate how power structures and categorisations may be reinforced, but also challenged and renegotiated, in realities of climate change. We engage with intersectionality as a tool for critical thinking, and provide a set of questions that may serve as sensitisers for intersectional analyses on climate change.
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This paper explores the political economy of the ‘just transition’ to a low carbon economy. The idea of a ‘just transition’ increasingly features in policy and political discourse and appeals to the need to ensure that efforts to steer society towards a lower carbon future are underpinned by attention to issues of equity and justice: to those currently without access to reliable energy supplies and living in energy poverty and to those whose livelihoods are affected by and dependent on a fossil fuel economy. To complicate things further this transition has to be made compatible with the pursuit of ‘climate justice’ to current and future generations exposed to the social and ecological disruptions produced by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Here we seek to identify and analyse the immensely difficult political trade-offs that will characterise collective attempts to enact and realise a just transition. We explore procedural and distributional aspects of energy politics and practice in particular as they relate to the just transition: energy access for those who do not have it; justice for those who work within and are affected by the fossil fuel economy; and attempts to manage the potential contradictions that might flow from pursuing energy and climate justice simultaneously.
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Oil is a curse, it is often said, that condemns the countries producing it to an existence defined by war, corruption and enormous inequality. Carbon Democracy tells a more complex story, arguing that no nation escapes the political consequences of our collective dependence on oil. It shapes the body politic both in regions such as the Middle East, which rely upon revenues from oil production, and in the places that have the greatest demand for energy. Timothy Mitchell begins with the history of coal power to tell a radical new story about the rise of democracy. Coal was a source of energy so open to disruption that oligarchies in the West became vulnerable for the first time to mass demands for democracy. In the mid-twentieth century, however, the development of cheap and abundant energy from oil, most notably from the Middle East, offered a means to reduce this vulnerability to democratic pressures. The abundance of oil made it possible for the first time in history to reorganize political life around the management of something now called "the economy" and the promise of its infinite growth. The politics of the West became dependent on an undemocratic Middle East. In the twenty-first century, the oil-based forms of modern democratic politics have become unsustainable. Foreign intervention and military rule are faltering in the Middle East, while governments everywhere appear incapable of addressing the crises that threaten to end the age of carbon democracy-- the disappearance of cheap energy and the carbon-fuelled collapse of the ecological order. -- Book jacket.
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The development of energy infrastructure in the Arctic poses serious far-reaching justice based questions for local, regional and international communities. Oil and gas rigs, renewable energy sites, shipping and transportation all force us to reflect on how fair and equitable infrastructural expansion is locally and globally. We examine the justice claims of business, government and civil society in an attempt to understand current problems, and their likely solutions. The results suggest that we need to replace the current stakeholder-centred approach of energy policy, with one based upon justice. A widening of procedural justice to include not only the co-production of decisions, but also knowledge should be complemented with new ways of recognising the vulnerabilities of mis- and under-represented people, as well as exploring the sensitivities around proximity to new energy infrastructures.
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The fossil fuel divestment movement has been described as the fastest-growing disinvestment movement in history and in recent years has continued to expand. Despite its growth, however, the movement has made little use of legal action, instead utilizing tactics of public pressure and persuasion, and the future role of litigation in the movement is unclear. To consider litigation's potential role in the movement and the challenges it may face, I examine the first and only case of litigation in the fossil fuel divestment movement thus far: Harvard Climate Justice Coalition et al. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College et al., in which seven Harvard students (including the author) filed suit to compel the university to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies. I examine motivations for filing the suit in the context of the broader fossil fuel divestment movement, the case's history, and the challenges faced by the suit, including arguments surrounding causation, particularization, representation of future generations, limiting principles, and framing. I then discuss potential opportunities for fossil fuel divestment litigation in the future. As the field of climate change law develops further, litigation over fossil fuel investments could grow in frequency and importance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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This article explores how concepts from justice and ethics can inform energy decision-making and highlight the moral and equity dimensions of energy production and use. It defines “energy justice” as a global energy system that fairly distributes both the benefits and burdens of energy services, and one that contributes to more representative and inclusive energy decision-making. The primary contribution of the article is its focus on six new frontiers of future energy justice research. First is making the case for the involvement of non-Western justice theorists. Second is expanding beyond humans to look at the Rights of Nature or non-anthropocentric notions of justice. Third is focusing on cross-scalar issues of justice such as embodied emissions. Fourth is identifying business models and the co-benefits of justice. Fifth is better understanding the tradeoffs within energy justice principles. Sixth is exposing unjust discourses. In doing so, the article presents an agenda constituted by 30 research questions as well as an amended conceptual framework consisting of ten principles. The article argues in favor of “justice-aware” energy planning and policymaking, and it hopes that its (reconsidered) energy justice conceptual framework offers a critical tool to inform decision-making.
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Over the last decade, ‘Energy Justice’ is a concept that has emerged in research across many disciplines. This research explores the role and value of the energy justice concept across the disciplines. It provides the first critical account of the emergence of the energy justice concept in both research and practice. A diagrammatical image for examining the energy justice concepts is presented and this is a tool for interdisciplinary engagement with the concept. In this context, restorative justice is introduced and how it results in energy justice applying in practice is detailed. Energy research scholarship at universities is assessed and it is clear that through universities there is a platform for energy justice scholarship to build on the interdisciplinary energy scholarship at universities. Further, the role of education is vital to policy-making, and the understanding and development of the energy justice concept. Finally, in analysing how the energy justice concept can impact on policy-making, there is a critical examination of the energy justice and its relationship with economics, and how it can transfer directly into practice by assisting in balancing the competing aims of the energy trilemma.
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The editorial piece for the Energy Justice virtual special issue in Energy Policy. So far the rapid development of the energy justice concept has been dominated by geographical and sociological approaches, and the concept is only starting to emerge in legal and policy literature. As an introduction to the papers in the special issue, this paper suggests five challenges that both academics and practitioners must reflect upon as we: (1) use concepts from ethics, morality and justice to think about energy dilemmas, and (2) continue to develop, and increasingly implement energy justice concepts in the policy sector.
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This book offers an accessible overview of how Germans convinced their politicians to pass laws allowing citizens to make their own energy, even when it hurt utility companies to do so. It traces the origins of the Energiewende movement in Germany from the Power Rebels of Schönau to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shutdown of eight nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. The authors explore how, by taking ownership of energy efficiency at a local level, community groups are key actors in the bottom-up fight against climate change. Individually, citizens might install solar panels on their roofs, but citizen groups can do much more: community wind farms, local heat supply, walkable cities and more. This book offers evidence that the transition to renewables is a one-time opportunity to strengthen communities and democratize the energy sector – in Germany and around the world. Craig Morris is Contributing Editor of Renewables International and lead author at EnergyTransition.de. He has served as editor of IRENA’s REmap report and Greenpeace’s Energy (R)evolution in addition to translating several major German books on renewables into English. In 2014, he won the IAEE prize for journalism in energy economics. Arne Jungjohann is an author, consultant and political scientist. He served as a strategic advisor for the Minister President of Baden-Württemberg and in the Deutscher Bundestag. Based in Washington DC for several years, he fostered transatlantic dialogue on climate and energy matters. He lives with his family in Stuttgart.
Article
The development of energy infrastructure in the Arctic poses serious far reaching justice based questions for local, regional and international communities. Oil and gas rigs, renewable energy sites, shipping and transportation all force us to reflect on how fair and equitable infrastructural expansion is locally and globally. We examine the justice claims of business, government and civil society in an attempt to understand current problems, and their likely solutions. The results suggest that we need to replace the current stakeholder-centred approach of energy policy, with one based upon justice. A widening of procedural justice to include not only the co-production of decisions, but also knowledge should be complemented with new ways of recognising the vulnerabilities of mis- and under-represented people, as well as exploring the sensitivities around proximity to new energy infrastructures.
Article
If the title of this book makes you a little suspicious of what I'm up to, then all is well. We'll get along just fine. That's because the dirty secrets ahead aren't the kind you can be told (you probably wouldn't believe me anyway), but rather are the kind you must be shown. But even then, I don't expect you to accept all of my particular renderings.
Article
Concepts of justice are now routinely mobilised in environmental and climate change activism, with movements for environmental and climate justice emerging around the world. More recently, the concept of energy justice has gained prominence, most frequently framed in terms of access to affordable energy and fuel poverty but also related to the politics of energy infrastructures. To date however, there has been little critical interrogation of energy justice in relation to actions undertaken by activist and advocacy movements. In this paper, we set out an analysis of the concept of 'energy justice' from the perspective of framing. Drawing on research with organisations in Philadelphia, Paris and Berlin, the paper explores the articulation and elaboration of an energy justice frame. In so doing, it explores how such actors strategically frame their interpretation of energy justice, considers the overall emergence of an energy justice frame, and draws out an agenda for future research.
Article
Energy justice advances energy policy with cosmopolitanism and new economic-thinking. An Energy Justice Metric is developed and captures the dynamics of energy justice. The Energy Justice Metric (EJM) compares countries, and energy infrastructure. EJM provides an energy policy decision-making tool that is just and equitable. a b s t r a c t Carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase to the detriment of society in many forms. One of the difficulties faced is the imbalance between the competing aims of economics, politics and the environment which form the trilemma of energy policy. This article advances that this energy trilemma can be resolved through energy justice. Energy justice develops the debate on energy policy to one that highlights cosmopolitanism, progresses thinking beyond economics and incorporates a new futuristic perspective. To capture these dynamics of energy justice, this research developed an Energy Justice Metric (EJM) that involves the calculation of several metrics: (1) a country (national) EJM; (2) an EJM for different energy infrastructure; and (3) an EJM which is incorporated into economic models that derive costs for energy infrastructure projects. An EJM is modeled for China, the European Union and the United States, and for different energy infrastructure in the United Kingdom. The EJM is plotted on a Ternary Phase Diagram which is used in the sciences for analyzing the relationship (trilemma) of three forms of matter. The development of an EJM can provide a tool for decision-making on energy policy and one that solves the energy trilemma with a just and equitable approach.
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The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option. In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism. Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now. Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.
Article
The claimed economic benefits of exploiting the vast Alberta oil-sand deposits need to be weighed against the need to limit global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions.
Article
The current energy justice framework considers distributional, procedural and recognition tenets. The full extent and diversity of justice implications within the energy system, however, is currently neglected, as many debates on energy do not consider the impact of the energy system in full, from resource extraction to waste disposal. This article makes the case for a reconceptualisation of energy justice that includes a systems perspective at its core using the example of fuel poverty. Systems theory typically considers a set of subsystems that coordinate to accomplish defined goals, in this case, energy production. This 'interactionist' understanding focuses on the impacts of the relationships between the governors and the governed, and the moments at which there is the possibility to intervene and steer the system. It contains the idea that – by bringing greater awareness of human needs and actions – it is possible to improve the system overall. This reconceptualisation thus contributes to the theoretical concept of energy justice, as well as informing justice in practice.
Article
While most studies of low-carbon transitions focus on green niche-innovations, this paper shifts attention to the resistance by incumbent regime actors to fundamental change. Drawing on insights from political economy, the paper introduces politics and power into the multi-level perspective. Instrumental, discursive, material and institutional forms of power and resistance are distinguished and illustrated with examples from the UK electricity system. The paper concludes that the resistance and resilience of coal, gas and nuclear production regimes currently negates the benefits from increasing renewables deployment. It further suggests that policymakers and many transition-scholars have too high hopes that green' innovation will be sufficient to bring about low-carbon transitions. Future agendas in research and policy should therefore pay much more attention to the destabilization and decline of existing fossil fuel regimes.
Article
Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times. It has been estimated that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 °C throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2). However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this, and so the unabated use of all current fossil fuel reserves is incompatible with a warming limit of 2 °C. Here we use a single integrated assessment model that contains estimates of the quantities, locations and nature of the world's oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, and which is shown to be consistent with a wide variety of modelling approaches with different assumptions, to explore the implications of this emissions limit for fossil fuel production in different regions. Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 °C. We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C. Our results show that policy makers' instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. Implementation of this policy commitment would also render unnecessary continued substantial expenditure on fossil fuel exploration, because any new discoveries could not lead to increased aggregate production.
Article
The challenges inherent in energy policy form an increasingly large proportion of the great issues of global governance. These energy challenges reflect numerous transnational market or governance failures, and their solutions are likely to require a number of global components that can support or constrain national energy policy. Governing energy globally requires approaches that can simultaneously cope with three realities: the highly fragmented and conflictual nature of the current inter-state system’s efforts to govern energy; the diversity of institutions and actors relevant to energy; and the dominance of national processes of energy decision making that are not effectively integrated into global institutions.Policy Implications• The lack of clarity on and priorities for the objectives of global energy governance impedes coordination and communication.• The energy landscape is littered with governors and institutions. But because they have emerged in a path-dependent fashion, often in response to serial crisis, the result is an uncoordinated and inchoate landscape. There is now a compelling need to harness this diversity productively.• An emergent array of partnerships and networks are coming together, particularly with regard to clean energy finance, which provide possible sources of governance innovation but also have the potential for low levels of legitimacy and transparency.• National decision making continues to drive energy policy, in ways that are poorly coordinated both internally and with regard to global processes of governance. National energy policy processes need enormous improvement and need to be consciously coordinated with global processes. The Asian giants will be crucial actors in this regard.
Article
Technological developments saw radical progress over the past two centuries in the so-called Industrial Age, which made new demands for energy from coal and petroleum. But they are natural resources formed in the geological past which means they are subject to depletion. Determining the current status of depletion is difficult, both because of unreliable reporting practices and definitions, and because the definition implicitly depends on the future state of technology, which cannot be known accurately. But the evidence available today suggests that the Second Half of the Oil Age is dawning. It will be characterised by dwindling supply, with rising costs, representing a turning point for mankind, but much can be done to react positively.
Article
Sustainability is increasingly becoming a core focus of geography, linking subfields such as urban, economic, and political ecology, yet strategies for achieving this goal remain illusive. Socio-technical transition theorists have made important contributions to our knowledge of the challenges and possibilities for achieving more sustainable societies, but this body of work generally lacks consideration of the influences of geography and power relations as forces shaping sustainability initiatives in practice. This paper assesses the significance for geographers interested in understanding the space, time, and scalar characteristics of sustainable development of one major strand of socio-technical transition theory, the multi-level perspective on socio-technical regime transitions. We describe the socio-technical transition approach, identify four major limitations facing it, show how insights from geographers – particularly political ecologists – can help address these challenges, and briefly examine a case study (GMO and food production) showing how a refined transition framework can improve our understanding of the social, political, and spatial dynamics that shape the prospects for more just and environmentally sustainable forms of development.