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Energy justice: Conceptual insights and practical applications

Benjamin K. Sovacool and Michael H. Dworkin

Applied Energy, 2015, vol. 142, issue C, 435-444

Abstract: Though it is far from obvious, concepts from justice, philosophy, and ethics can significantly inform energy consumers and producers. This study details how energy justice can serve as a novel conceptual tool for philosophers and ethicists that better integrates usually distinct distributive and procedural justice concerns. Energy justice serves as an important analytical tool for energy researchers striving to understand how values get built into energy systems or to resolve common energy problems. Energy justice presents a useful decision-making tool that can assist energy planners and consumers in making more informed energy choices. Our energy justice framework has elements of Kantian ethics, which takes each person as an end. It has libertarian elements of freedom and choice, suggesting that good societies present people with a set of opportunities or substantial freedoms, so they can choose to exercise these or not. It is pluralist about value, holding that capabilities for people are different and also that their own interests vary. It is concerned with justice as recognition, noting that failures of procedural justice can result in discrimination and marginalization. It, also, has elements focused on utilitarianism and welfare, attempting to improve the quality of life for all people, as defined by their capabilities.

Keywords: Energy justice; Environmental justice; Fuel poverty; Energy and equity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.01.002

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