Recent years have seen an acceleration of low-carbon energy transitions worldwide and thus an increased importance of energy justice issues. This trend is mainly due to the growing urgency of the climate crisis and technological progress in the field of low-carbon energy technology. Leading political bodies such as the EU have recognised the need for a just transition of the energy sector. However, sites of resistance against decarbonisation policies have sprung up, such as the violent yellow vest protests in France, which were sparked by a CO2 tax on gasoline. In Germany, the phase out of the country’s coal sector became a major political cause of disagreement. In Sweden, the speeding-up of wind power development is leading to increasing land-use conflicts, not least in relation to reindeer herding. A further challenge is the expansion of electricity grids due to considerable changes in the energy systems that are just beginning to unfold. These cases underline the need for careful interdisciplinary considerations of justice in the design of low-carbon policies and measures in times of COVID-19, economic downturns and new climate diplomacy
The Energy Justice Theme 2.0 build on the previous Energy Justice Pufendorf Theme, which ran 2016-2017. The new Theme exands the groups focus by going beyond justice questions of single projects. Instead, it aims to explore current and future manifestations of energy (in-)justice in multiple energy transition processes globally through the following research questions:
- How is Energy Justice related to other recently emerging concepts addressing equity perspectives in energy transitions; including energy democracy, just transitions and energy citizenship?
- Which new local and global energy justice conflicts have the recent pandemic and acceleration of energy expansion given rise to?
- What governance responses have emerged that can help resolve these conflicts?
- Which scenarios and pathways for reaching climate goals are put forward, are they technically feasible and which justice issues will they address or aggravate?