Is industry the chief energy villain? Can we sustainably feed and fuel the planet at the same time? Is nuclear energy worth the risk? Should geoengineering be outlawed? Touching on pollution, climate mitigation and adaptation, energy efficiency, government intervention, and energy security, the authors explore interrelated concepts of law, philosophy, ethics, technology, economics, psychology, sociology, and public policy.
This book offers a much-needed critical appraisal of the central energy technology and policy dilemmas of our time and the impact of these on multiple stakeholders.-- Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University
Tackling climate change and improving energy security are two of the twenty-first century's greatest challenges. In this book, Marilyn Brown and Benjamin Sovacool offer detailed assessments of the most advanced commercially available technologies for strengthening global energy security, mitigating the effects of climate change, and enhancing resilience through adaptation and geo-engineering. They also evaluate the barriers to the deployment of these technologies and critically review public policy options crucial to their adoption.
Arguing that society has all the technologies necessary for the task, Brown and Sovacool discuss an array of options available today, including high-efficiency transportation, renewable energy, carbon sequestration, and demand-side management. They offer eight case studies from around the world that document successful approaches to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and improving energy security. These include the Danish approach to energy policy and wind power, Brazil's ethanol program, China's improved cookstove program; and the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory. Brown and Sovacool argue that meeting the twin challenges of climate change and energy security will allow us to provide energy, maintain economic growth, and preserve the natural environment—without forcing tradeoffs among them.
Corporate media parrot industry PR that renewable technologies just aren't ready for prime time. But Sovacool marshals extensive field research to show that the only barrier blocking the conversion of a significant proportion of the U.S. energy portfolio to renewables is not technological—the technology is there—but institutional. Public utility commissioners, utility managers, system operators, business owners, and ordinary consumers are hobbled by organizational conservatism, technical incompatibility, legal inertia, weak and inconsistent political incentives, ill-founded prejudices, and apathy. The author argues that significant conversion to technologically proven clean energy systems can happen only if we adopt and implement a whole new set of policies that will target and dismantle the insidious social barriers that are presently blocking decisions that would so obviously benefit society.
In doing so, the authors derive two key energy justice principles from modern theories of distributive justice, procedural justice, and cosmopolitan justice. The prohibitive principle states that "energy systems must be designed and constructed in such a way that they do not unduly interfere with the ability of people to acquire those basic goods to which they are justly entitled." The affirmative principle states that "if any of the basic goods to which people are justly entitled can only be secured by means of energy services, then in that case there is also a derivative entitlement to the energy services." In laying out and employing these principles, the book details a long list of current energy injustices ranging from human rights abuses and energy-related civil conflict to energy poverty and pervasive and growing negative externalities.
The book illustrates the significance of energy justice by combining the most up-to-date data on global energy security and climate change, including case studies and examples from the electricity supply, transport, and heating and cooking sectors, with appraisals based on centuries of thought about the meaning of justice in social decisions.
This book takes on a central quandary in the study of energy and environmental policy: What myths continue to exist in American culture concerning energy, the environment, and society? It enrolls twenty-four of the nation’s top experts working on energy policy in industry, government laboratories, utilities, nonprofit organizations, and universities to debunk and contextualize thirteen energy myths relating to electric power, renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and climate change.
While the book focuses on the American experience, it will be of interest to those working in the fields of energy policy, energy and the environment, and technology assessment worldwide.
'This is a brilliant, bold, and fascinating book ...that should be read by anybody even remotely concerned about energy, the environment, or the future of American society.’
Art Rosenfeld, Commissioner, California Energy Commission and recipient of the 2006 Enrico Fermi Award
‘...This work is a must-read for anyone interested in American energy policy.’
Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy
‘...By collecting the best minds to debunk the greatest of these myths, Sovacool and Brown have brought us a step closer to finding a national energy policy based on common sense.’
Chris Cooper, Executive Director, Network for New Energy Choices
‘... Sovacool and Brown provide a bold and imaginative way forward.’
John A. "Skip" Laitner, Visiting Fellow and Senior Economist, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy