This book brings together leading scholars on the politics of energy, examining the natural resources and developing technologies that are essential to its production and the various public and private factors affecting its use, along with the ecological consequences of both. Section One examines the looming challenges posed by continuing dependence upon oil as a primary energy source, including "peak oil" scenarios and the social and political consequences of resource extraction upon the developing world. Section Two considers proposals to dramatically increase nuclear power production as a means to reduce carbon emissions, with both the risks and potential of this "nuclear option" carefully weighed. Although many tout renewable energy sources for their environmental benefits, Section Three calls attention to several potential problems with large-scale renewable energy development and the dilemmas that they have caused for would-be supporters of such efforts. Finally, Section Four weighs the prospects for developing sustainable energy systems on the ground, including conservation measures that reduce energy demand and system-wide energy policy efforts. Together, these essays demonstrate the importance of sound energy policy along with the numerous obstacles to developing and implementing it.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Environmental Politics.