Resolving society's energy trilemma through the Energy Justice Metric

Raphael J. Heffron, Darren McCauley, Benjamin K. Sovacool

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    232 Citations (Scopus)


    Carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase to the detriment of society in many forms. One of the difficulties faced is the imbalance between the competing aims of economics, politics and the environment which form the trilemma of energy policy. This article advances that this energy trilemma can be resolved through energy justice. Energy justice develops the debate on energy policy to one that highlights cosmopolitanism, progresses thinking beyond economics and incorporates a new futuristic perspective. To capture these dynamics of energy justice, this research developed an Energy Justice Metric (EJM) that involves the calculation of several metrics: (1) a country (national) EJM; (2) an EJM for different energy infrastructure; and (3) an EJM which is incorporated into economic models that derive costs for energy infrastructure projects. An EJM is modeled for China, the European Union and the United States, and for different energy infrastructure in the United Kingdom. The EJM is plotted on a Ternary Phase Diagram which is used in the sciences for analyzing the relationship (trilemma) of three forms of matter. The development of an EJM can provide a tool for decision-making on energy policy and one that solves the energy trilemma with a just and equitable approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)168-176
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnergy Policy
    Early online date19 Sept 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


    • Energy and ethics
    • Energy justice
    • Energy justice metric
    • Energy trilemma
    • Energy sustainability


    Dive into the research topics of 'Resolving society's energy trilemma through the Energy Justice Metric'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this