Book Chapter

Managing the Decline of Fossil Fuels: A Long Goodbye?



Wood G (2019) Managing the Decline of Fossil Fuels: A Long Goodbye?. In: Wood G & Baker K (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Managing Fossil Fuels and Energy Transitions. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 611-615.

The contributions to this book highlight a number of challenges and frustrations, opportunities and surprises facing attempts to manage the decline of fossil fuels, representing a complex interplay of factors, both optimistic and pessimistic and often a mixture of both, as the world grapples with the shift towards a low carbon energy future. In addition to specific conclusions drawn from the individual contributions, this chapter emphasises two distinctive conclusions regarding the need to manage the decline of fossil fuels. First, although the energy system is in a state of flux between the old (conventional, centralised, high carbon) and the new (alternative, decentralised, low carbon) no new state has been achieved. And, despite progress to date, the ‘tipping point’ between the states has yet to be reached. This is the paradox of energy transition: growth in renewables and low carbon energy sources but no concomitant decline in fossil fuels overall. Second, and more positive, there are clear signs of system change and transition, evidenced in the energy systems of many nations across the world. In short, traditional approaches are being queried and found lacking and alternative approaches are becoming mainstream and normalised. This book shows that it is possible to manage the decline of fossil fuels. So the question remains, is there sufficient time left to do so within the urgent timeframe that we as a species have set ourselves?

Fossil Fuels; Renewable Energy; Low Carbon Energy Transitions

Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online13/11/2019
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of publicationCham, Switzerland

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Dr Geoffrey Wood
Dr Geoffrey Wood

Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Law, Law

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