Energy Transition, Climate Change and the Portuguese Public Insights from an Energy Justice Lens
Europe and Beyond: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging
Public engagement has been considered key to sustainable energy transitions and action to tackle climate change, as effective policy strategies require public support and acceptance. However, public perspectives on the challenges of climate change and energy transition still need to be better explored. Although many surveys have shown high levels of concern about climate change and broad support for renewable energy technologies in countries around the world, effective public engagement should not be taken for granted. Specific sociopolitical contexts, infrastructures and practices, among other factors, may condition the acceptance and adoption of changes. In this paper we highlight energy justice as a relevant framework to understand issues that may arise as forms of resistance to energy transitions and climate policies, as well as to point out that such changes may aggravate poverty, forms of inequity, vulnerability and lack of trust. We do this by analyzing data from the latest edition of the European Social Survey. We focus on the case of Portugal since results have shown the highest levels of concern about climate change among 23 countries, but on the other side, there is a clear divide between people with low income and the more educated and well-off. This divide reflects significant differences in support for energy-related changes. The paper explores these results and provides an in-depth analysis of the specific national context in order to contribute to cross-national research.
Energy Transition,Climate Change,Energy Justice