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Über dieses Buch

This book analyses the trilemma between growth, energy security and climate change mitigation and, breaking from scholarly orthodoxy, challenges the imperative that growth must always come first. It sets forth the argument that a steady-state approach is a more appropriate conceptual mindset to enable energy transition, sets out a steady-state energy policy, and assesses the projected outcomes of its implementation in the realms of energy security, geopolitics and development. By exploring in depth the implications of such a shift, the book aims to demonstrate its positive effects on sustainability, supply security and affordability; to showcase the more favorable geopolitics of renewable energy; and to unpack new pathways towards development. By bringing together ecological economics and mainstream energy politics, fresh insight to energy and climate policy is provided, alongside their broader geopolitical and developmental ramifications.



Chapter 1. Introduction

After briefly introducing the climate change challenge, this chapter discusses how policy responses remain shaped by dominant understandings of geopolitical, global political economy, and domestic politics’ concerns. It then moves on to present and evaluate the new climate regime established at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), the opportunities it presents, and its limitations. The analysis ties the ineffective responses to climate change to the imperative of growth, and introduces the implicit trilemma faced by global society involving growth, energy security, and climate change mitigation. In taking issue with growth, the chapter lays the groundwork for the analysis that follows. This rests in the designation of a steady-state energy policy and its profound implications for climate change mitigation, energy security, geopolitics, and development.
Filippos Proedrou

Chapter 2. Ecological and Steady-State Economics: Principles and Policies

This chapter presents the ecological and steady-state economics theory, highlights the theory’s relevance for a climate-strained world, and juxtaposes it with growth orthodoxy. The analysis then addresses three policy realms (green auditing, monetary and trade policies), underlines the main fallacies underpinning mainstream policies in the respective fields, and suggests groundbreaking reforms. In particular, this chapter argues for a relatively constant monetary supply, a new trade regime that reverses contemporary patterns of extensive trade and prioritizes trade in ideas and the sharing of knowledge, and an ecologically informed index to replace monolithic gross domestic product (GDP) indices. These reforms represent key enabling factors for the switch to a steady-state energy policy.
Filippos Proedrou

Chapter 3. Designing a Steady-State Energy Policy

This chapter sets out a description of a steady-state energy policy. It begins with a close look at the implications of a steady-state monetary, trade, tax, and investment policy for energy policy. Drawing from developments in the current energy transition (e.g. proliferation of micro-generation, deployment of smart grids, and the emergence of prosumers markets), the analysis presents hard and soft pathways, and singles out pitfalls derived from the transition’s embeddedness in growth-driven policy frameworks. The discussion subsequently places these processes within a steady-state policy framework and shows how they can up-scale the transformation of energy systems. The discussion extends to policy prescriptions to maximize energy efficiency, essentially calling for a switch from a supply-side to a demand-side paradigm.
Filippos Proedrou

Chapter 4. Energy Security in a Steady-State World

This chapter assesses the merits of a steady-state energy policy across the energy security framework and, in doing so, compares and contrasts it with mainstream energy policies. A steady-state energy policy not only achieves sustainability, but also offers significant security of supply advantages in terms of physical availability of and access to energy. This stands in stark contrast to the geological, geopolitical and market risks plaguing conventional fossil-fired energy policies. A quantitative and qualitative discussion of the costs implicated in fossil and renewable energy also reveals that the latter is in general more affordable. In line with ecological economics’ suggestion for an ecological tax reform, the chapter concludes with a plea to fundamentally revisit the pricing of energy in contemporary societies as a driver to foster sustainability.
Filippos Proedrou

Chapter 5. Geopolitics and Development in a Steady-State World

This chapter considers the impact the implementation of steady-state energy policies will bear on geopolitics and development. The analysis explores avenues of change, traces central issues of concern, and provides a separate discussion on the geopolitical risks of the energy transition. In doing so, it also studies the geopolitics of renewable energy; instead of transposing mainstream understandings of energy geopolitics to renewables, the chapter provides a more nuanced account of a renewable energy-run world, setting out the features of renewable energy that set it apart from oil and gas geopolitics. With regard to development, the analysis underscores the ways in which steady-state energy policies break the vicious links between fossil fuels and underdevelopment, respond to the energy needs of the Global South, and constitute developmental springboards.
Filippos Proedrou

Chapter 6. Conclusion

This chapter reasserts the central argument of the book, namely that responses to climate change necessitate understandings that go against and beyond the growth imperative. In this context, we summarize the main features of steady-state energy policies and their merits across energy security, geopolitics and development. The conclusions subsequently trace climate change policies within ongoing political agendas, and urge policymakers to place climate change at the heart of the international agenda; in this new understanding, climate policy must be designed and implemented in tandem, rather than in competition, with other policy goals. The last section focuses in on the implications of overreliance on carbon metrics, and urges for richer, plural, imaginative approaches to realize and manage sustainable livelihoods.
Filippos Proedrou


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