Fossil fuel subsidies need to go – but what about the poorer people who rely on cheap energy?

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This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Benjamin Sovacool, University of Sussex and Jessica Jewell, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Almost all governments in the world joined the Paris agreement in 2015 in an effort to tackle climate change. In the same year, many of the same governments paid about US$400 billion in direct and indirect subsidies to help people buy fossil fuels. Read more ›

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Energy justice: bringing people back to the heart of energy decisions

This blog is based on conversations with Dr Kirsten Jenkins, who worked on Energy Justice and Transitions with Prof Benjamin Sovacool while at CIED. She has now moved on to a new role at the University of Brighton.

Energy issues are often treated as technical problems with technical fixes. In this context, scientists, economists and engineers are the people expected to deliver solutions to our climate crisis and policy makers rely on them to make decisions.

However, energy provision and use has a human side and a strong social justice dimension. Without a fair energy system for all, we can’t achieve truly sustainable development, which is underpinned by notions of equity and rights. Policy decisions regarding energy production and consumption, like all societal processes, have winners and losers. We need to understand where in the energy system injustices lie, to be able to achieve a fair and sustainable energy future, but how can we do so? Read more ›

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Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

According to a new report by National Energy Action (NEA) , a national charity seeking to end fuel poverty, the UK has the sixth worst long-term rate of excess winter mortality out of 30 European countries, with an average of 9,700 deaths per year attributed to cold homes.

Fuel poverty can affect the most vulnerable and it often remains an invisible issue due to the stigma surrounding it. Today is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a nationwide campaign to tackle exactly this phenomenon. In many cases the problem lies with people not being aware that they can save on their bills by switching to a better deal, which can be exacerbated by the fact that many live in old, inefficient housing that is difficult to heat, further driving up energy bills.

Dan from the Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-op (BHESCo) at HISBE supermarket in Brighton (Image by Nora Blascsok)

Thankfully, there are initiatives out there doing great work trying to tackle the problem. I went out in Brighton today to visit the Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-op (BHESCo), who set up a stall for Fuel Poverty Awareness Day in HISBE, Brighton’s ethical supermarket. They are raising awareness of the services they offer to people struggling to pay their energy bills, such as showing people how to switch to a better deal or helping them apply for the Warm Home Discount.

Local projects like this can make a lot of difference.

At the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) our research has looked at energy cafes – community-run energy advice centres – and how they can alleviate fuel poverty. Dr Mari Martiskainen worked with the South East London Community Energy to produce a report based on the research.

Find out more about ‘The Fuel Bill Drop Shop Project’.

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What now for energy efficiency policy in UK homes?

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Blog by Dr Charlie Wilson (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research)

UK homes account for just under a quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions. Improving their efficiency not only reduces emissions, but also improves health and wellbeing, and creates jobs.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently retweeted the headline findings of UKERC-CIED research published last year: up to 50% of energy used in homes can be saved through energy efficient renovations and other measures, contingent on supporting policies. Read more ›

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On the cusp of a driverless transition?

Blog by Dr Debbie Hopkins (Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford).



Nissan Autonomous Drive Vehicle. Image by Norbert Aepli. Shared under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.


There is a great deal of excitement about the potential of driverless vehicles (also called self-driving, autonomous, connected and autonomous (CAV)) to contribute to a safer, cleaner, and more efficient and equitable transport system. New entrant (e.g. Tesla) and incumbent (e.g. Volvo) vehicle manufacturers, mainstream news media, the government and even the Queen are all leading discussions of the UK’s role in the design, development, demonstration, manufacturing, and use of driverless technologies. Read more ›

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The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the individual authors and do not represent Sussex Energy Group.

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