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Seeking Papers in Energy Policy for Low Carbon Communities

Posted in Research by fedwards on August 27th, 2008

Call for Papers in Energy Policy
Special Issue: Low Carbon Communities
Guest Editors: Yacob Mulugetta, Tim Jackson, and Dan van der Horst

We welcome a range of different contributions to the theme ‘low carbon communities’, including for example the following:
• The role of planning in facilitating (or impeding) community owned energy services
• Low carbon housing initiatives
• Co-operative energy programmes
• Technologies and communities
• Partnership approaches and the role of the private sector
• Social enterprises and their place in communities
• Low carbon outcomes through communities of place
• Achieving low carbon outcomes through community of interest
• Values and outcomes associated with a low carbon community
• Accounting for direct and indirect energy in community-based initiatives
• Participation, ownership and responsibility
• Social cohesion through low carbon community schemes
• Institutions for community-based initiatives: divergent experiences
• Community networks and their value for decarbonisation
• Food miles, diet and health in communities
• Low carbon travelling initiatives (work and leisure)
• Legislation, policy and governance to encourage distributed energy
• Community action: cycling, car sharing schemes
• Economic incentives and market mechanisms for collective action
• Social innovation and social ownership
• Localisation and carbon reduction
• Co-production and co-use arrangements
• The cost of decentralisation and centralisation
• Urban municipal cases

We welcome contributions from practitioners, researchers and scholars – and we are happy to provide feedback or guidance on abstracts or draft documents. We particularly invite submissions that use a comparative analytic framework and use empirical evidence to address theoretical questions. Full papers will be 6000 to 8000 words in length. We are looking for about 12 papers.

Scope of Special Issue
The transition to a sustainable energy economy poses significant challenges to national energy policies across OECD and emerging economies. The latest IPCC report is an authoritative plea for significant reductions in carbon emissions over the coming decades in order to respond to the challenge of climate change. This call for action is complemented by other concerns including security of supply and fuel poverty that together give justification to pursue a new energy pathway. Clearly, this will have important implications for the nature and structure of energy supply where profound transformations are required in the energy service delivery as well as the capabilities of technology suppliers to innovate in response to new societal demands.

But perhaps more significantly, the transition to a sustainable energy economy has ramifications to energy demand. As such, interrogations into consumption behaviours and practices have taken centre stage in public policy discussions in recent years like never before. These discussions suggest that traditional energy policy instruments of informing energy end-users and the use of price incentives to discourage ‘bad’ practice have a limited effectiveness in delivering the level of behavioural change needed to fulfil the multiple attributes of a sustainable energy economy. There is a need for new policy initiatives and instruments which have the capacity to influence the behaviours and practices of energy consumers whose consumption patterns depend on a complex interaction of continually evolving personal values, social norms and cultural narratives. These need to be supported by new forms of governance that are suited to understanding the social, psychological, cultural and political economy terrain as part of the aim to meet long-term environmental and social objectives. This remains a new terrain for policy-makers but there is increasing recognition that such an engagement is essential if long-term social and environmental policy targets are to be met.

While the policy terrain in the area of influencing individual behavioural change through a variety of incentive-based instruments is expanding, there is a growing call for extending policy and practical support to encourage further community-based energy initiatives. Part of the reason for this plea relates to the difficulty of relying on and mobilising individual consumption decisions to deliver broad public benefits. The private sector is a key player in energy provision but the assumption that markets can self-regulate and therefore consumption choices are meaningful exercises of freedom has been challenged by the scale of the social and ecological problems we face. Moreover, while the engagement of individual citizens is a necessary condition for the delivery of a low carbon future, there are also wider structural concerns to consider when exploring the range of models for mobilising individual action. Implicit in this is the construction of new institutions and forms of governance (ranging from public to private and from local to international) that enable ‘collectivising’ individual action into low carbon communities.

There are many community-level or community-led initiatives world-wide that are achieving good results and if scaled-up would play a significant role in climate stablisation efforts. There are also many lessons to be learned from community efforts that have faltered or failed. Low carbon communities may evolve from or may become communities of place and/or communities of interest. It is worthwhile to examine the social and political epistemologies (and processes) behind the creation of different types of community-driven practices as a way to explore their internal dynamics and external factors that limit and enable ‘success’, and to identify commonalities and differences embedded in different types of low carbon communities. This would help to identify the opportunities and limitations of transferring the experiences acquired from low carbon communities to other groups and a wider section of society.

• 20 November 2008: Deadline submission of papers
• 10 January 2009: Distribute reviewers’ comments
• 15 February 2009: Deadline for final revised papers
• Publication: Spring/Summer 2009

* Research Group on Lifestyle, Values and Environment (RESOLVE), University of Surrey, UK.
** Research Group on Lifestyle, Values and Environment (RESOLVE), University of Surrey, UK
*** School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK

One Response to “Seeking Papers in Energy Policy for Low Carbon Communities”

  1. Xuesong Feng Says:

    January 5th, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Dear Sir,

    It is a pity that I just only read this message today. Is it still possible to submit a paper about traffic emission reduction to this special issue of Energy Policy now?


    Xuesong Feng