30th anniversary policy workshop (London)
Exploring ‘energy justice’
Monday 30 November 2009 | Coin Street Community Centre, Southwark, London SE1
For the final leg of our 30th anniversary celebrations, CSE held a one-day policy workshop to examine the relationship between social justice and UK climate policies.
In brief, the workshop explored the implications of recent research that shows that current UK climate policies will hit poorest households hardest because many of them are funded through energy bills. Does this matter and, if so, why? Or is the question of social justice a distraction from the paramount issue of tackling climate change?
The workshop attracted a strong field of attendees from a range of backgrounds including leading policy-makers and policy-shapers; government officials; officers from both environmental and social justice NGOs; members of charitable foundations; senior energy industry employees; and leading academics from energy policy, climate change, fuel poverty and social justice disciplines.
A background paper, ‘Exploring energy justice’, was circulated to all 70 attendees prior to the event, and provided the context for the presentations and discussions that followed.
Speakers included Paro Konar (Senior Analyst, Department of Energy & Climate Change), Joshua Thumim (Head of Research & Policy Analysis at CSE), Dr Kate Pickett (Co-author of The Spirit Level and co-founder of the Equality Trust), Simon Caney (Professor in Political Theory at University of Oxford), Jenny Saunders (Chief Executive, National Energy Action), Derek Lickorish (Chair of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group), Nick Hartley (Senior Advisor OXERA, Chair of UKERC Research Committee and former Head of Energy Economics at DTI).
The day was structured around working sessions on subjects such as:
- The evidence and tools for evaluating the distributional consequences of climate change policies
- Defining ‘fair’ or ‘just’ in UK climate policy – who should pay for what, who benefits, and who decides?
- Does addressing inequality matter (to more than just social progressives)?
- How should we characterise fuel poverty in a warming world?
- Mitigating impacts – options for reducing the negative social impacts of policies to curb carbon emissions
- Making the case for a socially just UK climate policy
Simon Roberts, CSE’s chief executive, chaired the workshop and explained what else the day sought to achieve.
“This event, the last of our 30th anniversary year, we hope has invigorated the debate around the importance of achieving fairness in climate change policy. It was an opportunity for many key players to re-examine the goals and purpose of fuel poverty policy in the context of challenging carbon reduction targets.
“If the day has contributed to enabling us to help to frame a new and useful concept of ‘energy justice’ within the development of future UK climate change policy, we will have achieved our aims.”
CSE is very grateful to National Energy Action for its generous contribution towards the costs of this event.
To read project profiles about our energy justice work click here.