Energy and Consumption
The aim of this multidisciplinary research group is to explore the theoretical and policy challenges associated with moving energy consumption in a more sustainable direction in countries of both the North and the South. Since energy, water and land use are all interlinked, the consumption of land and water will also constitute important research domains.
Objectives of the program
- Bring perspectives from the social sciences and humanities to the study of consumption and energy use
- Develop new perspectives on markets, commodities and the economy of goods that draw on newer economic and social theory
- Develop new perspectives on technology, behaviour and the social demand for energy
- Study the relationship of globalising consumption, energy and environmental degradation
- Explore the question of how sustainable energy can figure more prominently in national and international development policy
- Explore the social and political challenges of ameliorating the problems of climate change and water scarcity
Rationale for the research topic
Whether measured in terms of material objects, the raw materials embedded in them, or the energy and water that make it possible to use them, consumption continues to grow in the rich OECD countries and is growing rapidly in many places in the ‘South’ as well. Energy is essential to development, yet energy use comes with ever increasing social and environmental costs. Energy use has local environmental consequences and the use of fossil fuels, which constitutes over 70% of global energy production, is the biggest contributor to climate gas emissions.