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Towards a multi-scalar and multi-horizon framework of energy injustice: A whole systems analysis of Estonian energy transition

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The shift from carbon-intensive to low-carbon energy systems has profound justice implications as some regions are likely to lose as much as gain from decarbonization processes. Increasing calls have been made to adopt a ‘whole systems’ perspective on energy justice. Drawing on the Multi-level Perspective on socio-technical transitions this paper presents a new comprehensive framework of energy justice in system innovation, proposing to map injustices along three dimensions: 1) multiple spatial scales (regional, national, international); 2) different time horizons (currently experienced vs. anticipated injustices); 3) connections to transition dynamics (injustices related to the optimization of the currently dominant system, destabilization of the incumbent system or the acceleration of alternative solutions in niches). The framework is applied to analyse the ongoing energy transition in Estonia, involving interactions between the incumbent oil shale based regime and wind, solar, nuclear and bioenergy as emerging niche challengers. The content analysis of news items in Estonian media reveals an inventory of 214 distinct incidents of energy injustices across 21 different categories. We find that many experienced and anticipated injustices are deployed, often strategically, by certain actors to advocate specific energy futures and to influence current political choices. From the justice perspective our analysis thus raises a question whether it is ethical to use probable yet currently unrealized injustices related to regime destabilization and niche acceleration as a means to perpetuate injustices related to the optimization of the currently dominant regime.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer102544
TidsskriftPolitical Geography
Vol/bind93
ISSN0962-6298
DOI
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 884539 “Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition – Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change (CINTRAN)”. The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the author(s). The authors thank Jessica Jewell, Lukas Hermwille, Kirsten Jenkins (if you read this, one of the authors is still waiting for a response to the last e-mail!), colleagues at the IST2021 conference and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 884539 ?Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition ? Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change (CINTRAN)?. The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the author(s). The authors thank Jessica Jewell, Lukas Hermwille, Kirsten Jenkins (if you read this, one of the authors is still waiting for a response to the last e-mail!), colleagues at the IST2021 conference and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

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