Trying to keep up with climate politics can provoke a strange kind of motion sickness: on the one hand, contexts seem to shift so quickly that they invoke whiplash; on the other, there is a pervasive feeling of stagnation. While climate contexts continue to shift dramatically, efforts to mobilize towards addressing them remain mired not only in resistance, but confusion and conflict. No groups struggle more with this than environmental movements. After struggling for decades to get climate change mitigation onto the political agenda, environmentalists now not only frequently find themselves enmeshed in internal conflict over how to proceed, but also at times find these conflicts themselves functioning to delay or forestall necessary action. In what follows I argue that reframing climate change as an energy systems – rather than an emissions reduction – problem allows us to see why these conflicts have arisen

and what is at stake in them. I illustrate this argument through an examination of climate and energy politics in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC). Taking an energy systems perspective reveals both the complexity and importance of the political terrain activated by climate change: how societies reshape energy systems in response to climate change will have profound implications not only for their ecological impact but also for their political and social character.