The role of organized publics in articulating the exnovation of fossil-fuel technologies for intra- and intergenerational energy justice in energy transitions

Applied Energy, Elsevier

2018

Whereas campaigners for energy justice frequently seek to achieve decarbonization through innovation, little light has been shed on how energy justice might be won through the removal of carbon intensive energy structures—a process known as exnovation, which is the opposite of innovation. Whereas practicing exnovation to decarbonize energy systems and thus achieving greater energy justice appears to be a promising approach, it remains a challenge in light of the deep incumbency of established fossil-fuel-based energy industries. Using the example of Germany, which represents such a setting of deep fossil fuel incumbency, this article compares two organizations aiming to achieve energy justice via exnovation when formal policy-making toward decarbonization seems impossible. Offering a perspective on strategies for energy justice, the article identifies the repertoires of contention of two organizations. This concerns knowledge dissemination, symbolic protest, and rule compliance, which can be understood as soft (non-obligatory) policy instruments to bring about exnovation. The article then discusses the relationship between exnovation and intra- and intergenerational energy justice. It concludes that the means of contention analyzed here are successful in divesting and in stopping the construction of planned coal plants.

Insitute

  • Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology, Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany