Professor Vivienne Wild reflects on the impact which studying the far-reaches of space has on our own world. What is the climate-cost of our interest in our Universe?
Welcome to The Energy Blog, the CEE’s online forum for all things energy! Launched in 2020, the Blog is an open and interdisciplinary space featuring short reflection pieces informed by the latest energy research from the Centre and beyond. We explore key energy issues of contemporary relevance: from legacies of energy industries to the future of nuclear power, from the politics of gas infrastructures to the potential of hydrogen. Our contributors include geographers, historians, social anthropologists, ecologists, physicists, and even astronomers. We are always keen to hear from new contributors, so if you have an idea to pitch, please write to us at email@example.com.
The energy trilemma describes the difficulty in achieving a coherent balance of clean, affordable, and secure energy. Improvements in one factor in the triangle distorts the other components. In this blog post, I explore how ‘smart technologies’, connected by the internet and powered by new ambient energy harvesting devices, can be vital to overcoming the energy trilemma and to achieving energy sustainability.
by Léa Weimann
The COP26 has been a much-anticipated conference coined as humanity’s “last best chance” to limit global warming to 1.5°C and keep the ambition of the Paris Agreement alive. It has been five years since the Paris Agreement. Climate-Change-related weather events and impacts around the world are accelerating in frequency and severity. The global trajectory of CO2 emissions continues to be on the rise and so is climate anxiety, especially in young people and fellow activists such as myself.
Climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives have driven up demand for rare minerals. Over 3 billion tons of rare minerals will be needed to achieve the global goal of reducing emissions to net-zero. A key site of extraction of these minerals is Sub-Saharan Africa. Will these regions acquire a share in this mineral boom or will the historical exploitation of these communities continue under the guise of supporting the ‘Green Transition’?
Since their construction in 2013, debates on whether the Flame Towers are ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’, whether they deserve to be a symbol of Baku or not, whether they are intended for ‘tourists’ or the ‘locals’ have been ongoing. This post places the towers within the context of Baku and Azerbaijan’s local and national identities, exploring the importance of fire imagery and the modern connection of these ideas to the oil industry.
by Sean Field
In this blog post series, I examine the UK’s natural gas infrastructure, the market dynamics behind rising global natural gas prices, and who will be affected the most by Ofgem’s rate increase. In this part one, I show how the deregulation and financialization of UK natural gas over the last couple of decades has exposed UK consumers to the geopolitics of natural gas pipelines and fluctuations in financial market prices for natural gas.
by Ewan Gibbs
Scotland’s relationship with energy generation and related technologies is one fraught with human drama and political struggles. Miles Oglethorpe’s recent two part blog underlined the international significance of Scotland’s diverse energy history and the importance of preserving it. In this post I add to Miles’ important contribution by assessing how energy figures in our understanding of Scotland’s modern history.
Nuclear energy is almost universally feared and reviled, and not without reason. And yet, China has doubled its nuclear capacity since 2014, climate scientists have called for an increase in nuclear power, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies increased production of nuclear energy as a key element in avoiding global warning. Why is such an obviously dangerous and polluting energy source considered an important element of the green energy transition?
For Sweden, with its extensive forest cover, the bioenergy industry has the potential to become one of the most important industries moving forward. Whilst Swedish forestry is considered particularly sustainable – it is problematic to rely on this fragile ecosystem for all future energy needs. A heightened demand for forest derived products can put excessive pressure not only on the climate and local ecosystems, but also on the people to whom the forests bear a particular significance.