The Dilemmas of Global Energy Justice: Interview with Darren McCauley

Andrey Sharpilo

In the MyEnergy2050 podcast prof. dr. Darren McCauley is invited by Dr. Michael LaBelle, associate professor and the Jean Monnet Chair in Energy and Innovation Strategies at Central European University, to talk about his involvement in energy. The podcast covers his research focus on energy justice, the possibilities of Covid-19 for a faster energy transition and Darren’s aspirations to make societal impact.

Energy justice

Darren initially got interested in energy transition after his master as he felt that all the debate was focused on the technical aspects of the energy transition and the political aspect was not given enough thought or attention. A holistic understanding of the energy system and how society sits at the center of it is still an important notion in all his research. From assessing cross-national activism and citizen initiatives to international policy-making, his agenda is driving new ways of thinking at the forefront of interdisciplinary research on the climate transition. Uncovering the socio-economic consequences of the energy transition, energy justice, is thus an important theme in his research.

Covid-19 research

For Darren, the massive disruption of Covid-19 could be a chance for policymakers to push faster on the green transition. During the Covid-19 crisis he held over 60 interviews in both the Netherlands and the UK with businesses and governmental organizations to see how they are viewing a wider green deal. In the upcoming months this research will be expanded to South Africa. The preliminary findings of this research project are that there is a compartmentalized perspective on the energy system and not a joined-up system-wide approach where moving towards a sustainable energy system has knock-on effects for many corners of society and the environment.

Impact on society

One of the final points Darren stresses in the podcasts is the fact that it’s important to start doing research in developing countries to prompt change. During his research in developing countries, he really sees how the energy distribution is not fair and just. In his opinion, the real debates in energy are not going on in the developed countries but in the developing countries. It’s his strong desire to make a difference in these parts of the world. Listen to the podcast to learn more about Darren’s research and how he wishes to impact society.