Energy, Society, and the Environment/Politics of Switching to Renewables

It is widely believed that a switch to renewable energy is a largely political issue. There are many factors that come into play when discussing the politics of this switch.

Replacing the current system edit

The current system is dominated by years of regulations that favor the current system, such as:

  • Regulations favoring "centralized electricity infrastructures", which don't allow localized communities to switch to renewables on their own.[1]
  • The preference for a quick, high return on investment associated with fossil fuels
  • Fossil fuel industry's political power (lobbying, etc.)

The authors of a research article [1] advocate for "energy democracy", which is a just transition from fossil fuels to renewables. It emphasizes a fast transition with more emphasis on empowering marginalized communities as they are considered to be in better positions to switch [1].

Decarbonized society desired by both sides of the political spectrum edit

Another research article [2] involving over 2400 participants found that in the U.S., both liberals and conservatives desire a decarbonized energy future by 2050. In the analysis, people who identified as "liberal", "moderate", or "conservative" were asked to plot what they thought the current energy mix consisted of, and then asked to plot what they would like the energy mix to consist of by 2050. Every fossil fuel had a declining trend for all political views, which is an encouraging sign that we are all united in our goal to decarbonize our society.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Political power and renewable energy futures: A critical review". Energy Research & Social Science 35: 78–93. 2018-01-01. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.018. ISSN 2214-6296. 
  2. Miniard, Deidra; Kantenbacher, Joseph; Attari, Shahzeen Z. (2020-03-31). "Shared vision for a decarbonized future energy system in the United States". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (13): 7108–7114. doi:10.1073/pnas.1920558117. ISSN 0027-8424. PMID 32179682.