Empowering the Great Energy Transition

Policy for a Low-Carbon Future

Scott Victor Valentine, Marilyn A. Brown, and Benjamin K. Sovacool

Columbia University Press

Empowering the Great Energy Transition

Pub Date: December 2019

ISBN: 9780231185967

336 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.00

Pub Date: December 2019

ISBN: 9780231546423

336 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.00

Empowering the Great Energy Transition

Policy for a Low-Carbon Future

Scott Victor Valentine, Marilyn A. Brown, and Benjamin K. Sovacool

Columbia University Press

At a time when climate-change deniers hold the reins of power in the United States and international greenhouse gas negotiations continue at a slow crawl, what options are available to cities, companies, and consumers around the world who seek a cleaner future? In this book, Scott Victor Valentine, Marilyn A. Brown, and Benjamin K. Sovacool explore developments and strategies that will help fast track the transition. They provide an expert analysis of the achievable steps that citizens, organizational leaders, and policy makers can take to put their commitments to sustainability into practice.

Empowering the Great Energy Transition begins by introducing a score of trends that suggest a transition away from carbon-intensive energy sources is inevitable—there are too many forces for change to stop a shift to clean energy. Yet, due to numerous barriers, under the status quo, change will be too slow to avert the worst perils of climate change. Humanity is on a path to incur avoidable social, environmental and economic costs to arrive at a preordained destination. Valentine, Brown, and Sovacool demonstrate how new policies and business models are needed to surmount the hurdles separating the current consumption model from a sustainable energy future. Empowering the Great Energy Transition shows that with just a few adjustments, we can set humanity on a course that supports entrepreneurs and communities in mitigating the environmental harm caused by technologies whose time has come and gone.
Anyone offering or believing that bumper sticker solutions exist for reconciling global energy and environmental concerns in the twenty-first century should be humbled after reading this book. Valentine, Brown, and Sovacool offer an erudite, sobering, and compelling analysis of the complicated challenges, tradeoffs, and opportunities involved in transitioning globally to a renewable energy future. Writing in prose accessible to experts and laypersons alike, the authors adroitly integrate a multidisciplinary body of research (pro and con) to make a full-throated case for shifting to a renewable energy future. Readers may or may not agree with their arguments for an energy reset, but they cannot ignore the data, realpolitik, and strategic analysis the authors provide to explain and address the often halting and mostly patchworked progress made so far. Robert F. Durant, professor emeritus, American University, and coeditor of Environmental Governance Reconsidered: Challenges, Choices, and Opportunities
Energy is back. After years in the wilderness, the future of energy is once again one of the world’s most important geopolitical, economic, environmental, and technological issues. Scott Valentine and colleagues thoughtfully survey the issues—and argue that energy will stay firmly on the agenda, not least because of the imperative of cutting carbon emissions that harm the climate. They open windows into the academic literatures, and deftly draw out the practical implications for individuals, organizations and government policy makers who want to have an impact. David Victor, professor and codirector, Laboratory on International Law and Regulation, University of California at San Diego
Valentine, Brown, and Sovacool have once again lent their wealth of knowledge and experience to the rest of us. At this critical time they have focused their attention on the most important topic of the day. Empowering the Great Energy Transition underscores the urgency of kicking our addiction to carbon-based fuels. But their contribution does not stop there. It does not just tell us why we should do it, but how we can do it. For those who have already caught a whiff of the climate-change catastrophe looming just over the horizon, finally here is a book that lays out with compelling detail, breadth, and logic the necessary energy policies to achieve a low-carbon future that can save our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves. Among the many books on energy transition, this eclipses them all. Martin J. Pasqualetti, Arizona State University
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. The Great Energy Transition
2. Sneak Preview of the Challenges to the Energy Transition
3. The Uncertainties of Climate Change
4. Managing Uncertainties While Promoting Technological Evolution
5. Fostering and Financing the Energy Infrastructure Transition
6. Policies for Driving Innovation and Expediting the Transition
7. Consumers as Agents of Change
8. Minimizing Governance Barriers and Creating Polycentric Networks
9. Faster, Further, Farther: Empowering the Great Energy Transition
Notes
Index

About the Author

Scott Victor Valentine is professor and associate dean of sustainability and urban planning at RMIT University. His books include Wind Power Politics and Policies (2014) and, also with Brown and Sovacool, Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy: Fifteen Contentious Questions (2016).

Marilyn A. Brown is a Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she directs the Climate and Energy Policy Lab. A former utility regulator, she is a corecipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for the IPCC Report on Mitigation of Climate Change.

Benjamin K. Sovacool is professor of energy policy at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, where he serves as director of the Sussex Energy Group and of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand. His publications include Global Energy Justice: Problems, Principles, and Practices (2014).