A climate for change? The impacts of climate change on energy politics

Newell, Peter and Lane, Richard (2018) A climate for change? The impacts of climate change on energy politics. Cambridge Review of International Affairs. ISSN 0955-7571 (Accepted)

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The geophysical phenomena of climate change impacts upon the existing organisation of energy economies and their attendant politics in multiple ways: At times magnifying and at other times dampening pressures on contemporary energy systems. Rather than viewing climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’, the geophysical phenomena of climate change are socially and politically mediated by actors with uneven power, capacity and divergent interests in order to support either incumbent or competing energy pathways. While climate change intensifies and magnifies existing tensions and contradictions in the global politics of energy around the simultaneous pursuit of the objectives of growth, security and sustainability, it does not do so in any straightforward or unmediated way. Instead, it gives rise to new concerns in relation to the imperatives of de-carbonisation and the resilience of energy systems to the effects of climate change. Understanding the impact of climate change on energy systems requires that we take seriously the necessary role of energy within the global political economy and the relationship between fossil fuels and capitalism. It must be analysed both directly through climate change impacts, and indirectly through the uses of political narratives of climate change to sometimes unsettle, and sometimes reinforce, particular energy pathways.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: energy; climate change; transitions; political economy
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Global Political Economy
Depositing User: Peter Newell
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 09:29
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 09:29
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/73596

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