Energy Transition

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May 28, 2024

Energy Politics and Discourse in Canada: Probing Progressive Extractivism

Sibo Chen

In this author's note, Sibo Chen introduces his new book, Energy Politics and Discourse in Canada, and its argument about the rise of "progressive extractivism" in Canada. By exploring the conflicting narratives that have shaped the politics of natural gas extraction in British Columbia, Chen shows how progressive rhetoric often masks resource extraction and underscores the multifaceted challenges inherent in balancing the economy, the environment, and Indigenous rights in a fraught energy landscape.

May 8, 2024

Fueling Civilization: Unraveling the Energetic Metabolism of Societies

Alevgul H. Sorman

Alevgül Sorman explains how researchers are using the concept of "social metabolism" to trace how societies process energy at different scales. This body of research shows that we can draw parallels between the benefits of balanced and healthy diets for bodies and societies alike, in which an intake of less does not necessarily mean we are worse off: it can be a pathway to better (social) health.

January 12, 2024

Visualizing A Sustainable Energy Future

Cutler J. Cleveland and Heather Clifford

Cutler J. Cleveland and Heather Clifford introduce Visualizing Energy, a new project of the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability. Visualizing Energy is an open access, interdisciplinary science communication project that aims to increase actionable knowledge about a sustainable and just energy transition. The project knits data analysis, visualizations, and the written word into stories that reveal how our energy system can be transformed to reduce inequity, steer humanity from climate disaster, improve health and other social outcomes, and lead to healthy natural systems. Visualizing Energy is a public good; its motivations and methods are transparent, and its data products are freely available to all, making it an excellent tool for both research and teaching.

October 6, 2023

Solar Technology and Global Environmental Justice: The Vision and the Reality

Andreas Roos

Andreas Roos' new book, Solar Technology and Global Environmental Justice: The Vision and the Reality, is both a sober critique of techno-optimistic visions of solar power and a call for “realistic envisioning.” In this Author's Note, Roos discusses the moment he realized that the current structure of solar energy has a darker side, as well as his hope that the book will inspire communities to explore better ways of harnessing solar energy to create new social metabolisms.

July 14, 2023

Forum on Fossil Capital Part 4: From Steam Fetishism to Solar Fetishism

Imre Szeman

In the final Forum on Fossil Capital essay, Imre Szeman explores how the current solar transition complicates Malm's conclusions about the possibility for energy transition under capitalism, noting the emergence of a new ideology: "solar fetishism."

July 14, 2023

Forum on Fossil Capital Part 3: Malm’s Fossil Capital and Green Social Movements

Andrew M. Rose

In the third Forum on Fossil Capital essay, Andrew M. Rose puts Fossil Capital into conversation with Timothy Mitchell's Carbon Democracy, emphasizing the need for green social movements to reconsider their approach in appealing to democratic states and institutions–entities which are not simply captured by fossil fuel interests but fundamentally and at their very origin an outgrowth of the carbon economy.

July 14, 2023

Forum on Fossil Capital Part 2: The Ideology of Fossil Capital

Daniel Worden

In part two of our Forum on Fossil Capital, Daniel Worden explores how Malm's work helps to make it clear how a revised cultural history of modernity can synthesize energy and capitalism, how criticism can make visible our culture’s authorization of fossil fuel systems, and how a thinker might distinguish between fossil capital’s ideological forms and the forms of alternatives.

July 14, 2023

Forum on Fossil Capital Part 1: Self-Sustaining, Self-Devouring Growth

Jennifer Wenzel

In part one of our Forum on Fossil Capital, Jennifer Wenzel explores what is excluded in Fossil Capital. Wenzel puts Julie Livingston's Self-Devouring Growth to enrich how we understand growth and the role of empire in Malm's narrative.

July 14, 2023

Introducing a Forum on Fossil Capital: Exploring Fossil Capital and the Path to a Post-Carbon Economy

Eva Cherniavsky

Andreas Malm's 2016 book, Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, has significantly shaped debates about the relationship between energy, capitalism, and global warming. Eva Cherniavsky (University of Washington) introduces this EH Forum on Fossil Capital, in which four leading scholars assess the strengths and limits of Malm’s influential book, and ask: where do we locate the cultural and political prospects for creating a post-carbon economy?

February 17, 2023

The Thread of Energy: Weaving the Fabric of Our Lives

Martin J. Pasqualetti

In "The Thread of Energy" (OUP, 2021), Martin J. Pasqualetti "treats energy as a social issue with a technical component, rather than the other way around." In this Author's Note, Pasqualetti tells the story of how he came to realize the social importance of energy while outlining the book's key topics and themes for prospective readers.

November 25, 2022

After Oil 3: Volatile Trajectories Podcast Series

Mark Simpson, Scott Stoneman, Imre Szeman, and Caleb Wellum

The Petrocultures Research Group's After Oil Collective recently began its After Oil 3 (AOS 3) project. One result of the first AOS 3 meeting is a six-episode podcast series called Volatile Trajectories, which has just been released online and as part of the Environmental Humanities Month 2022 Program. The podcast episodes were written and recorded over a day and a half at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in October 2022. They feature leading and emerging energy humanities researchers in conversation about how we move beyond fossil fuels and climate crisis.

September 8, 2022

Low Carbon Justice in Canada's Net-Zero Transition

Temitope Onifade

Achieving net-zero is a complex process beset by many challenges. Writing about the Canadian context, Temitope Onifade, a legal scholar and instructor in climate law and policy at the University of British Columbia, explains the need to develop and apply a "low carbon justice" approach to the actions that Canada takes to reduce its carbon emissions. If it doesn't prioritize justice, Onifade argues, Canada will once again fail its most vulnerable populations.

January 20, 2022

Who Owns the Wind? Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy

David McDermott Hughes

In this author's note on his new book, Who Owns the Wind?, anthropologist David Hughes offers a tantalizing glimpse of what energy justice could look like, and why it matters.

January 10, 2022

As the Hydrocarbon Era Comes to an End, We Need a New Focus for Economics

Bart Hawkins Kreps and Clifford W. Cobb

A new book edited by Bart Hawkins Kreps and Clifford W. Cobb explores the collective transformations that will need to take place in a post-fossil fuel, post-economic growth era.

December 10, 2021

Changing the Conversation on Energy at the Centre for Energy Ethics

Mette M. High

The Centre for Energy Ethics (CEE) at the University of St. Andrews is a new and dynamic hub for interdisciplinary research and discussion about energy. The CEE's founding director, social anthropologist Dr. Mette High, explains the genesis of the centre and the "analytical open-mindedness" that informs its approach to changing how we talk about energy.

July 27, 2021

Canadian Refinery Workers Face an Unjust Transition

Emily Eaton, Andrew Stevens, and Sean Tucker

Amid growing calls for a worldwide energy transition, Emily Eaton, Andrew Stevens, and Sean Tucker highlight the possibility of an unjust transition, particularly for workers. Their research on the struggle of oil refinery workers in Regina, Saskatchewan, demonstrates that a just transition will only happen if people fight for it.

March 3, 2021

The Energy Humanities and Russian Energy Futures

Taste the Waste

Taste the Waste argues that the Russian government's vision of the energy future will harm both the planet and many groups living on the margins of Russian society.

February 3, 2021

What Biden’s election means for climate justice in the United States

Claire Ravenscroft

Claire Ravenscroft warns that mere belief in "the science" of climate change is no longer good enough, and that the Democratic Party will only make progess if pushed by a well-organized and insistent grassroots movement.

January 25, 2021

When It Comes to Energy Transition, India Must Embrace Complexity

Deepthi Swamy

Deepthi Swamy of the World Resources Institute, India, highlights some of the challenges and complexities of energy transition on the ground in India. If India is to achieve its renewable energy goals, the country must take a democratic, bottom-up view of transition.

December 21, 2020

What's your energy story?

Derek Gladwin

As our society transitions to new forms of energy, our social and cultural stories will also change. Derek Gladwin explores how the energy humanities provide a useful framework for understanding and speaking about our individual and collective energy stories.

November 13, 2020

COVID-19, Electric Cars, and the Life-Sized City

Caleb Wellum

COVID-19 may be fueling flight from urban density that will undercut a green recovery. Caleb Wellum questions technocentric approaches to green recovery and explores the TVO series "The Life-Sized City" as a resource for thinking about how to renew city life.

October 6, 2020

Welcome to Energy Humanities

Mark Simpson, Imre Szeman, and Caleb Wellum

Developed by the Transitions in Energy, Culture, and Society (TECS) project and the Petrocultures Research Group, energy humanities features commentary on current developments in energy and the environment, announcements and news items, and video interviews with influential and emerging voices on energy & society. This site gathers some of the most exciting and important insights humanities researchers provide about the social nature of our environmental crises.

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