This Article assesses the growing and cross-disciplinary literature on energy transitions to explore how it can guide law and policy reforms for the energy sector. The modern conception of energy transition centers primarily on clean energy—a shift away from fossil energy dependence. It also, however, incorporates equity as a core principle, as an increasing emphasis on energy justice and just transition seeks to create guiding norms for the energy sector’s current state of change. The concept of energy transition is critical for describing and giving meaning to a fundamental societal shift at the local, regional, national, and global scales, aligned with the overarching goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. The energy sector, being among the most significant contributors to global climate change, is not only essential to social and economic functionality and stability broadly but also intimately embedded in everyday life. Accordingly, various disciplines bring different emphases to understandings of transition in the energy context. Our synthesis of this wide-ranging literature demonstrates how the conceptual development of energy transitions across disciplines may enrich the application and depth of this concept in United States policy reform—particularly reforms designed to substantially increase investments in low-carbon energy sources, such as those enacted, for example, by federal legislation in 2021 and 2022.
Nadia Ahmad, Uma Outka, Danielle Stokes & Hannah Wiseman,
Synthesizing Energy Transitions,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol39/iss4/12