Department of Business Development and Technology

Contextualizing the Covid-19 pandemic for a carbon-constrained world: Insights for sustainability transitions, energy justice, and research methodology

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  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
  • Dylan Furszyfer Del Rio, University of Sussex, Queen's University Belfast
  • ,
  • Steve Griffiths, Khalifa University of Science and Technology

The global Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly overwhelmed our societies, shocked the global economy and overburdened struggling health care systems and other social institutions around the world. While such impacts of Covid-19 are becoming clearer, the implications of the disease for energy and climate policy are more prosaic. This Special Section seeks to offer more clarity on the emerging connections between Covid-19 and energy supply and demand, energy governance, future low-carbon transitions, social justice, and even the practice of research methodology. It features articles that ask, and answer: What are the known and anticipated impacts of Covid-19 on energy demand and climate change? How has the disease shaped institutional responses and varying energy policy frameworks, especially in Africa? How will the disease impact ongoing social practices, innovations and sustainability transitions, including not only renewable energy but also mobility? How might the disease, and social responses to it, exacerbate underlying patterns of energy poverty, energy vulnerability, and energy injustice? Lastly, what challenges and insights does the pandemic offer for the practice of research, and for future research methodology? We find that without careful guidance and consideration, the brave new age wrought by Covid-19 could very well collapse in on itself with bloated stimulus packages that counter sustainability goals, misaligned incentives that exacerbate climate change, the entrenchment of unsustainable practices, and acute and troubling consequences for vulnerable groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101701
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

    Research areas

  • Climate policy, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Energy governance, Energy policy, Sustainability transitions

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