‘The reduction of fuel poverty may be lost in the rush to decarbonise’: Six research risks at the intersection of fuel poverty, climate change and decarbonisation

Graeme Sherriff, Danielle Butler, Philip Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As energy justice research develops and becomes increasingly international in reach and perspective, the climate emergency is an important layer of focus. Fuel poverty alleviation, climate change adaptation and decarbonisation are prominent agendas that are often assumed to be complementary and synergistic. Buildings contribute a substantial share of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and their inhabitants will suffer the impacts of extreme temperatures and an unstable climate. How we move towards low-carbon energy sources and technologies in a way that does not leave vulnerable householders behind and does not perpetuate and deepen inequalities is therefore an essential question for those investigating just transitions to a low-carbon future. By means of a Delphi study with a wide range of researchers and stakeholders, primarily in the UK and engaged with energy justice research and policy internationally, we draw on qualitative interviews to distil a set of six risks that inform the development of a research agenda towards a just transition. These risks relate to the prominence of decarbonisation subsuming fuel poverty or detracting from the need for fuel poverty alleviation; the importance of fuel poverty research anticipating climate impacts; the pitfalls for vulnerable people of a transition to electric heating and other technologies; the potential for renewable energy to be costly and excluding; as well as the need to be mindful of existing inequalities and to be sensitive in our treatment of energy practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalPeople, Place and Policy
Early online date28 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2022

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