Research Topic

Understanding Sustainable Energy Transition Pathways: A Social Science Approach

About this Research Topic

Environmental global changes, such as climate change, global warming, or the depletion of natural resources have been a central theme in the scientific, political, economic and social debate over the last three decades, and are recognized as one of the most important challenges for contemporary human ...

Environmental global changes, such as climate change, global warming, or the depletion of natural resources have been a central theme in the scientific, political, economic and social debate over the last three decades, and are recognized as one of the most important challenges for contemporary human societies. The so-called Sustainable Energy Transition has been identified as a major step needed to face these challenges, and to reduce human-generated CO2 emissions. In this Research Topic, we invite articles that address the human and social dimensions of the Sustainable Energy Transition, welcoming contributions from a wide range of social and behavioral sciences and promoting multidisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to the study of energy-related issues.

The year 2050 is presently considered as a timely benchmark for the policies to address climatic challenges. In July 2009, the European Union Leaders and the G8 members announced the purpose of reducing the emission of GHG by 2050 to at least the 80% of those of 1990. According to a general shared view, the future energy scenarios will require a massive effort to replace fossil energy sources with renewable energy sources, and securing their supply. Thus, the sustainable energy transition has been also defined as a transition to a low carbon economy through the transformation of the energy sector.

To understand and to effectively manage the human dimension of the sustainable energy transition, it is important to promote broad integrated approaches implying a contribution of a plurality of disciplines such as, for example, psychology, economics, political sciences, anthropology, sociology and many others. Likewise, an increasing number of scholars and studies are pointing on the need to adopt cross-cultural and multi-country perspectives to fully understand people-environment relations and energy issues in contemporary societies. An important stimulus for the promotion of this kind of approaches has also been given, in the last decade, by multi-national research funding program such as EU-FP7 and EU H2020. This article collection will thus welcome papers describing research experiences, field interventions, and policy-related conceptual and empirical contributions that could help to enhance our knowledge on how to steer individual and collective energy choices into a more sustainable direction.

Submissions are open, but not limited to, contributions adopting a multi-disciplinary and multi-country perspective on the human dimension of the sustainable energy transition, focusing on issues such as:
• Energy, carbon emissions and human ecological behavior
• Public acceptance of energy policies
• Sustainable energy choices and lifestyle changes
• Collective processes, identity and energy choices
• Behavioral insights and energy consumption
• Formal social units and energy decisions


Keywords: energy transition, sustainability, energy choices, energy efficiency, energy-related behaviors, energy citizenship, energy poverty, social sciences, multidisciplinarity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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