Energy is a potent and dynamic area of public policy. It fuels our homes, workplaces, industries, economies, and transport systems. At the same time conflicts over energy sources have led to global economic shocks, and even wars. Further energy crises loom large: affordable sources of fossil fuels are on the decline, while energy demand continues to rise. Nations and global institutions are also struggling to respond to the challenge of climate change. All this makes contemporary energy governance a complex business. For example, how can governments ensure affordable sources of energy in the future? What are the most effective ways to promote low-carbon sources of energy, such as wind and solar? Does nuclear energy offer the solution? To what extent do we need to reform existing socio-technical and administrative systems associated with the generation, distribution and use of energy? How are consumers and citizens responding to climate change, and what role might they play in future energy reforms?
This course examines debates on energy reform and global climate change from a political perspective. It considers the political economy and geopolitics of energy resources, and explores issues facing energy governance at international, national and local levels. The democratic dimensions of energy reform will also be discussed, particularly the challenge of promoting long term energy reforms in the context of electoral politics. Students will engage with scholars and practitioners working on energy issues in an interactive and group-based learning environment.
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- 6 units
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