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Uncertainties and risks in transitions to sustainable energy, and the part 'trust' might play in managing them: a comparison with the current pension crisis


  • Bellaby, Paul


Transition to a sustainable energy future carries uncertainties for all stakeholders, including those who research it. History does not repeat itself in detail, yet comparison with analogous processes already completed or in train could give shape to how we project the future. The author focuses not on the technical change required, but rather on the institutional and cultural changes that would be necessary to generate the political will and the consumer demand that would drive technical change and its widespread adoption. He examines a current crisis for most developed countries--that of old age pension provision, which - though lacking a link with new technology - might have similar social dynamics to an impending crisis in energy. In the analysis of the pensions crisis, the focus is upon both how risk has been encountered and also the part played by trust/mistrust in engendering and prospectively resolving crisis: between citizens and state, between regulator and providers and between consumers and providers. Analogies are drawn from in a similar way for the impending energy crisis. A refrain throughout is the dialectic between 'market' and 'plan'. It is concluded that both the actual and the impending crisis have to be reviewed in a context of relations between states as well as relations within them.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellaby, Paul, 2010. "Uncertainties and risks in transitions to sustainable energy, and the part 'trust' might play in managing them: a comparison with the current pension crisis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2624-2630, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:6:p:2624-2630

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Unruh, Gregory C., 2002. "Escaping carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 317-325, March.
    2. Lyons, Bruce R & Mehta, Judith, 1997. "Contracts, Opportunism and Trust: Self-Interest and Social Orientation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 239-257, March.
    3. Unruh, Gregory C., 2000. "Understanding carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 817-830, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ma, Guo & Andrews-Speed, Philip & Zhang, Jiandong, 2013. "Chinese consumer attitudes towards energy saving: The case of household electrical appliances in Chongqing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 591-602.
    2. Adams, Michelle & Wheeler, David & Woolston, Genna, 2011. "A participatory approach to sustainable energy strategy development in a carbon-intensive jurisdiction: The case of Nova Scotia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2550-2559, May.
    3. Scott, Christopher A. & Pierce, Suzanne A. & Pasqualetti, Martin J. & Jones, Alice L. & Montz, Burrell E. & Hoover, Joseph H., 2011. "Policy and institutional dimensions of the water-energy nexus," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6622-6630, October.

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