Energy, Equity, and Social Struggle in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World
The relationships between energy and society are multifaceted and highly complex. Energy issues, be they intra/international conflicts, peak oil, or the viability of renewables, are central not only to geopolitics of empire and climate change, but also to the most banal reproduction of everyday life. International awareness of the challenges faced by climate change and fossil-fuel dependency has given impetus to a widespread reevaluation and critique of industrial society’s relationship to energy. This paper surveys some of the key tensions between various critiques of the energy/society relationship, and highlights the importance of equity, labour, and livelihood in relation to discussions of energy futures. Furthermore, this paper explores whether a shift to “alternative” energy requires an accompanying new mode of production and social relationship to capitalism.