A review of dominant sustainable energy narratives
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionHolden, E., Linnerud, K., & Rygg, B. J. (2021). A review of dominant sustainable energy narratives. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 144. 10.1016/j.rser.2021.110955
The global energy system is presently unsustainable and, even worse, is on a trajectory moving away from becoming sustainable. Thus, changing the present energy system is crucial, and importantly, it is also a prerequisite for achieving most of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. We argue that we need sustainable energy narratives to show how we can move towards achieving a sustainable energy system. These narratives are important because they form and legitimize policy and behaviour and can create the necessary momentum for political movement and behavioural change. We present 13 dominant sustainable energy narratives that frequently appear in the scientific literature and have the potential to change the current unsustainable trajectory. The narratives—which can be complementary, competing, or substitutional—fall into three groups. The first group addresses how to satisfy human needs, the second addresses how to ensure social justice, and the third addresses how to respect environmental limits. Narratives from all three groups are needed to achieve a sustainable energy system. We also discuss avenues for further research, including downscaling the dominant narratives to local narratives, analysing the interactions among narratives, creating meta-narratives, and incorporating the narratives into the literature on the transition to a sustainable energy system.
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Copyright© 2021 The Authors
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