Abstract / Description of output
This essay will investigate the question of how the renewable energy (RE) transition may reshape world politics. To date, most IPE scholars of the RE transition assume that renewables will simply substitute for fossil fuels and thereby continue similar patterns of economic growth and military competition that have characterized world politics over the past two centuries. However, they do not systematically con- sider what I call the ‘non-substitutability hypothesis,’ or the view that renewables will be unable to substitute for many of the services that fossil fuels provide for economies and militaries. In contrast, I will argue that if the non-substitutability hypothesis is correct, then a fully decarbonized global political economy would require a ‘Great Transformation,’ or a structural transformation in the political-eco- nomic and military bases of world order. In particular, I suggest that this would require two conjoined transitions: 1) a transition towards a ‘post-growth’ global pol- itical economy, or an economy that does not depend on continuous annual increases in GDP; and 2) a shift towards ‘demilitarization,’ in the sense of ‘leaner’ low-energy force structures; weakening pressure for military arms racing; and a transformation in national security priorities to focus on climate mitigation, adapta- tion, and disaster response.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- energy transition
- renewable energy
- climate change
- post-growth economics