Stakeholder workshop at CET on phasing out carbon-intensive industries
A recent workshop at CET brought together stakeholders from the energy industry, government, and the investment community to discuss the Contractions project which deals with the question of how carbon-intensive technologies can be phased out to meet our climate goals. At the stakeholder meeting, we discussed our research plan with key stakeholders to ensure that the project’s results are not only scientifically interesting but also relevant to business and policy communities. These two days produced remarkable insights and exciting ideas for future research.
For one, we discussed the idea of using the consequences of the recent drop in oil prices as a proxy to study potential social and political effects of future contractions This downturn led to job losses in Norway and Canada as well as political instability in Venezuela and possibly more aggressive foreign policies and increase of autocratic trends of Russia.
There was also a question about transferability of jobs from coal, oil and gas industries to other activities and other sectors. When nuclear power plants are decommissioned, they usually keep the same workers and engineers employed, but does the same apply to oil rigs? Do the jobs in growing solar and wind industries emerge in the same locations and require the same qualifications as, say, in coal mining.
This project will contribute to answering these questions and many more. The first step will be to get a solid understanding of historical energy contractions including sharp downturns in energy prices. How fast did they happen? What were the consequences? How did workers, communities and states cope? Wrestling with these issues is necessary, not only to make sure we can meet our climate goals, but also to anticipate and guide energy transitions driven by technological change and market forces.
A longer version of this blog post was originally published on the polet.network blog.