Energy justice in the transition to low carbon energy systems: Exploring key themes in interdisciplinary research

Darren McCauley, Vasna Ramasar (Lead / Corresponding author), Raphael J. Heffron, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Desta Mebratu, Luis Mundaca

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    245 Citations (Scopus)
    1140 Downloads (Pure)


    With the dual challenges of reducing emissions from fossil fuels and providing access to clean and affordable energy, there is an imperative for a transition to a low carbon energy system. The transition must take into consideration questions of energy justice to ensure that policies, plans and programmes guarantee fair and equitable access to resources and technologies. An energy justice framework is outlined to account for distributional, procedural and recognition inequalities, as well as emerging themes such as cosmopolitan and non-Western understandings of justice, in decision-making relating to energy systems. The spectrum of research offers critical perspectives on the energy transition as well as tools for decision-making and policy processes. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods all contribute to our understanding of the problems and the success of responses. The studies presented in this special issue illustrate that the field of energy justice is a rapidly growing arena. There is constant innovation taking place in enabling the transition with new structures, processes and metrics being introduced to guide decision-making and a more holistic view of the community emerging where acceptance, mobilisation and empowerment are opening possibilities for a just transition to a low carbon energy system. The importance of introducing the interdisciplinary approach between social sciences and natural sciences as well engineering implementation supported by scientific data and experiments shall be emphasized in future studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)916-921
    Number of pages6
    JournalApplied Energy
    Early online date3 Nov 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


    • Distributional justice
    • Energy justice
    • Interdisciplinary energy research
    • Just transition
    • Low carbon
    • Procedural justice
    • Whole energy systems

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Building and Construction
    • General Energy
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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