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CAS Interdisciplinary Talk featuring UO Sociology’s Dr. Richard York

“Unintended Consequences of Energy Transitions”

Monday, February 14, 3:30-5:00

Location: Zoom link

Leigh Johnson, Assistant Professor, Geography
Richard York, Professor, Sociology and Environmental Studies

Abstract: Transitioning away from fossil fuels requires the production of energy from non-fossil sources. However, quantitative analyses and historical assessments of previous shifts in energy use indicate that the expansion of non-fossil energy sources – in the absence of direct efforts to suppress fossil fuel extraction and challenge the power of the fossil fuel industry – may not appreciably contribute to a decline in fossil fuel use and may have a variety of unintended consequences. These analyses suggest that a full energy transition to cleaner energy sources requires not only technological developments but changes in economic structures and political power relationships.

Leigh Johnson is a human geographer focusing on the intersection of disaster and climate risk, vulnerability, labor, and finance. Her research investigates how configurations of public and private sector actors and financial arrangements shape disaster vulnerability and influence people’s everyday socioecological reproduction.

Richard York is an environmental sociologist whose work combines human ecology and political economy.  He is both a theorist and an empirical researcher, who primarily uses quantitative methods. One focus of his research is on how the structural characteristics of societies, including demographic, economic, and technological factors, influence levels of resource consumption and pollution emissions.

More information about the CAS Interdisciplinary Talk series is available here.