Green energy revolution can spark wider benefits


New Geography President of British Science Association to deliver talk at festival

Dr Rosie Robison, the new Geography President of the British Science Association, will use her presidential address to explain how the green energy revolution has the potential to provide more than simply a reduction in pollution.

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Chelmsford on Friday, 10 September, Dr Robison, of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), will discuss how the switch towards greener energy systems can deliver greater equality worldwide.

Approaching COP26 in Glasgow and with the release of the recent IPCC report declaring a "code red for humanity" due to climate change, there is increasing attention on how we can move as rapidly as possible towards low-carbon societies.

Green energy is often presented as being about the technology, whether solar, wind, or heat pumps, that is used to heat and power our homes. However, Dr Robison will explain in her presidential address how the energy system is bound up with social inequalities and democratic processes.

Dr Robison, who is also on the steering committee of the Energy Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), will discuss how these future low-carbon societies could address key societal issues through the potential to redistribute jobs, wealth, health and political power more fairly.

Dr Robison, a Principal Research Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

"My research explores how people can and do participate in energy systems, particularly across the UK and Europe, but importantly how governments and organisations can design inclusive systems for green transitions.

"For example, our Energy-SHIFTS project has worked with policymakers across Europe who want to involve their citizens in energy system change. Local authorities often want to do more but may be unsure how. Through participation in Energy-SHIFTS, policy organisations have made changes such as focussing more on social goals – like energy poverty – rather than goals centred on technologies. This can be much more powerful for galvanising meaningful action.

"The status quo is no longer possible and we urgently need to start implementing these transitions in fair, effective, and truly meaningful ways, rather than just 'greenwashing'. The move towards these low-carbon societies should be done for the benefit of all, so we reduce inequalities. This transition is an opportunity for a major 'reset' rather than 'business as usual'.

"People should come away from the lecture with some new questions – and hopefully some answers – about how our energy system interrelates with our society, as well as understanding more about how researchers actually think about and study these questions."


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