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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses prospects for energy-society relations in the twenty-first century, with emphasis on the present challenge: to effect a sociotechnical transition to energy-society relations that are free from greenhouse gas emissions while also minimizing other environmental impacts and ensuring equitable access to energy resources. Three important drivers of this transition are explained: new political realities, new material realities, and new epistemological realities. The chapter considers how the reluctant acceptance by members of the international political elite of the inevitability and severity of the impacts of climate change has altered the politics of energy; how various energy resources exert a physical (and ecological) reality that comes into play in markets, politics, and cultures; and how the genre of energy and society research in the social sciences has evolved over the past century. An overview of the organization of this Handbook is also presented.

Keywords: energy-society relations, greenhouse gas emission, energy resource, climate change, energy, energy research, society research

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