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Reframing Sustainable Sources of Energy for the Future

The vital role of psychosocial variants (Part #1)


Prepared on the occasion of the Energy Technology Foresight Network (EFONET) Group meeting (Brussels, March 2006) held at the time of the International Conference on Energy Security (Moscow) immediately prior to the G8 Energy Ministerial Meeting (Moscow), and followed by the Spring Summit of the European Council (Brussels, 23-24 March 2006) focusing on energy security issues.


Introduction
Definitional preamble

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Introduction

This exploration is an approach to detecting dimensions of understandings of "energy" that may be highly relevant to reflection on the sustainability of a European society of the future -- especially if access to conventional sources of energy becomes highly problematic.

The currently advocated term of "energy footprint" is a measure of the "energy consumption in producing energy, water, food, material and urban" [more]. At issue is whether the current framing of "energy", and the strategies in relation to it, may be inhibiting reflection on forms of energy which are vital to the life of a society -- now and in the future, and notably under turbulent conditions.

The radical nature of the approach taken here is consistent with the call by the European Commission, in a Green Paper on the "new energy realities facing Europe" for radical changes in energy policy if the 25-nation bloc is to meet the challenges of climate change, security of supply and rising prices (A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy, COM-2006, 8 March 2006) [more] [more]. This contrasts with the conventional focus of International Energy Agency (Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, February 2006), and the International Conference on Energy Security (Moscow) immediately prior to the G8 Energy Ministerial Meeting (March 2006, Moscow), and followed by the Spring Summit of the European Council (Brussels, 23-24 March 2006) focusing on energy security issues [more]. All the events had a particular emphasis on energy security that fails to take account of catastrophic failure in energy distribution and the forms of energy on which populations would then be forced to rely. The EU Summit based on the Green Paper focused on common energy policy amid national sovereignty concerns [more]

The focus here in what follows is however on psychosocial forms of energy that may substitute for more conventional forms, or reduce the demand for such conventional forms. The emphasis however is on the recognition of these alternatives as form of energy in their own right rather than as arising from changes in consumption patterns. In this sense energy is understood to be variously locked into and released by behaviour patterns.

is sense energy is understood to be variously locked into and released by behaviour patterns.


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