Based on research in multiple languages on both scholarly works, publications for mass circulation and political discourse, the article shows how during the 1970s “energy transition” – with some variants as “energy revolution” and “energy substitution” – first emerged in a North-Atlantic environment and then became a crucial phrase worldwide, used both to interpret the past, to describe the present and to shape the future. The denaturalization of the relation between human beings and energy was by no means a minor fact, and indeed present-day debates about energy and energy policies owe much to those of the 1970s. At the same time, among the legacies of those debates, there was also the potential for the notion of “transition” to obscure our understanding of energy past and future trends: seldom defined in precise ways, the phrase soon became a buzzword, signifying many different contents and concealing real contradictions between different meanings associated to it. While this was perhaps unavoidable, such vagueness did not come without problems.

Based on research in multiple languages on both scholarly works, publications for mass circulation and political discourse, this chapter shows how during the 1970s “energy transition”—and its variants, “energy revolution” and “energy substitution”—first emerged in a North Atlantic environment and then became a crucial phrase worldwide, used to interpret the past, to describe the present, and to shape the future.

The decade of “the energy transition”: a critical review of the global energy debates of the 1970s

DUCCIO BASOSI
2023-01-01

Abstract

Based on research in multiple languages on both scholarly works, publications for mass circulation and political discourse, the article shows how during the 1970s “energy transition” – with some variants as “energy revolution” and “energy substitution” – first emerged in a North-Atlantic environment and then became a crucial phrase worldwide, used both to interpret the past, to describe the present and to shape the future. The denaturalization of the relation between human beings and energy was by no means a minor fact, and indeed present-day debates about energy and energy policies owe much to those of the 1970s. At the same time, among the legacies of those debates, there was also the potential for the notion of “transition” to obscure our understanding of energy past and future trends: seldom defined in precise ways, the phrase soon became a buzzword, signifying many different contents and concealing real contradictions between different meanings associated to it. While this was perhaps unavoidable, such vagueness did not come without problems.
New Energies: A History of Energy Transitions in Europe and America
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3740626
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