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New paper highlights strengths of ‘energy justice’ approach

A new article, written by Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) researcher Dr Kirsten Jenkins, argues for the application of an ‘energy justice’ approach to policy making, suggesting that it could be more effective than environmental justice or climate justice as a framework for making more equitable policy decisions.

Environmental justice is commonly defined as the distribution of environmental hazards and access to all natural resources; with fair treatment and meaningful involvement for all. Climate justice focuses on sharing the benefits and burdens of climate change and assisting those affected.

Energy justice shares the same basic philosophy, but on a smaller scale, being concerned with energy systems and the provision of safe, affordable and sustainable energy for everyone.

The paper titled ‘Setting energy justice apart from the crowd: Lessons from environmental and climate justice‘ discusses the limitations of the environmental justice and climate justice agendas and highlights three reasons why energy justice could be more successful as an approach:

  • It is more targeted in its topic of concern: looking at each stage of the energy system it can engage with local, regional and national justice concerns
  • It originates in academia rather than activism, therefore it may be able to provide a clearer and more defined contribution to the policy debate
  • It has a strong methodological tradition

The article calls for further research and debate to better understand and translate lessons across disciplines, which can lead to more refined and practically applicable concepts.

Read the full article.

Find out more about CIED’s work on Energy Justice.