Locating socially-just energy transitions

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Energy and Environment Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Geographic Perspectives on Women Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Organizers: Nikki Luke, Carlo Sica
Chairs: Nikki Luke


In June 2017, President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accords, citing the need to cut "job-killing regulations" that impair the coal industry (Battistoni 2017; White House 2017). In our view, Trump's political rhetoric pits economic well-being against action on climate change and belies the hard work of activists, unions, utilities, energy companies, and progressive politicians to forge a socially just transition to cleaner energy. Geographers have a role to play in these discussions. Recent years have witnessed a turn in geographic research toward the intersection of renewable energy systems and social justice (Healy and Barry 2017), politics of energy demand (Shove and Walker 2014), energy poverty (Baker et al. 2014; Hilbert and Werner, 2016), and energy system transformation (Juisto 2009). Energy geography (Calvert 2016; Huber 2015) and research on energy transitions (Bridge et al. 2013; Lawhon and Murphy 2012; Newell and Mulvaney, 2013; Shove and Walker 2007) gesture to the political decisions that initiate energy system change and begin to grapple with the class-based, racialized, and gendered dynamics that intersect with transitional politics.

The goal of this session is to generate a dialogue on energy transitions from a distinct set of places and methodological and theoretical perspectives. We seek to push the boundaries of energy geographies toward questions about who or what will bear the costs of slowing climate change along intersecting lines of class, gender, race, nation, and species.

We invite scholarship on the topic of locating socially-just energy transitions, which may focus on, but are not limited to the following themes:
- role of the state, civil society, and social movements
- resistance from fossil capital
- green collar jobs, labor organizing, and the future of work in a clean-energy economy
- energy poverty, energy affordability, and its subjectivities
- historical and counterfactual perspectives on energy transition(s)

Works cited:
Baker, Lucy, Peter Newell and Jon Phillips 2014 "The political economy of energy transitions: the case of South Africa" New political economy 19 (6) pp.791-818.
Battistoni, A. 2017. Living, Not Just Surviving. Jacobin 26, 68–74.
Bridge, Gavin, Bouzarovski, Stefan, Bradshaw, Michael, and Eyre, Nick 2013 "Geographies of energy transition: Space, place and the low-carbon economy" Energy policy 53 pp.331–340.
Calvert, Kirby 2016 "From "energy geography" to "energy geographies": perspectives on a fertile academic borderland" Progress in Human Geography 40 (1) pp.105–125.
Fry, Matthew 2013 "Cement, carbon dioxide, and the 'necessity' narrative: a case study of Mexico" Geoforum 49 pp.127-138.
Healy, Noel and John Barry 2017 "Politicizing energy justice and energy system transitions: fossil fuel divestment and a 'just transition'" Energy Policy 108 pp.451-459.
Hilbert, Anthony and Werner, Marion 2016 "Turn up the heat! Contesting energy poverty in Buffalo, NY" Geoforum 74 222-232
Huber, Matt 2015 "Theorizing energy geographies: theorizing energy geographies" Geography Compass 9 (6) pp.327–338.
Juisto, Scott 2009 "Energy transformations and geographic research" in A companion to environmental geography Noel Castree, David Demeritt, Diana Liverman and Bruce Rhoads eds. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell pp.533-551.
Lawhon, Mary and Murphy, James 2012 "Socio-technical regimes and sustainability transitions: insights from political ecology" Progress in Human Geography 36 (3) pp.354–378.
Newell, Peter and Mulvaney, Dustin 2013 "The political economy of the 'just transition'" The Geographical Journal 179 (2) pp.132–140.
Shove, Elizabeth, and Gordon Walker 2007 "CAUTION! Transitions ahead: politics, practice, and sustainable transition management" Environment and Planning A 39 (4) pp.763-770.
Shove, Elizabeth and Gordon Walker 2014 "What is energy for? Social practice and energy demand" Theory, culture & society 31 (5) pp.41-58.
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord 2017 www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/01/... (Accessed 9/12/17)


Type Details Minutes Start Time
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