Energy Transitions: Linking Energy and Climate Change

  • John H. PerkinsEmail author
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Climate change and energy are clearly linked because of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from production and combustion of fossil fuels. Educational programs on climate change, however, have not developed robust curricula to help students see both the challenges and requirements for mitigating climate change, which requires a transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy used efficiently. A case review of disputes about exploratory hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas in Lancashire, UK, illustrates key points relevant to climate change, its mitigation, and energy transition. These points can be organized in a theoretical framework—political ecology—to construct chains of explanation that clarify issues underlying mitigation/transition pathways. Three lines of inquiry specify key issues: (a) the scale of energy challenges at national levels, (b) the relative strengths and weaknesses of competing primary energy sources, and (c) three budgets or constraints (Carbon, Energy, Investment). The framework and lines of inquiry identify key points for debates about mitigation and energy transitions. These findings derive from synthesis and analysis of scholarly literature, agency reports, and newspaper reports.


Climate change Mitigation Energy transition Fracking Natural gas United Kingdom 



I’m deeply indebted to comments and critiques by David Blockstein, Cathy French, and Andy Jorgensen. Comments from anonymous reviewers were very helpful for revisions. I remain responsible, however, for all errors and garbled communications.

Origins and Support for this Work

Portions of the material included in this paper originated from work leading to several publications since 2010, including the book, Changing Energy: The Transition to a Sustainable Future (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017). Almost without exception, the work has been self-financed by the author, who claims no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Member of the Faculty EmeritusThe Evergreen State CollegeKensingtonUSA

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