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Energy Transitions and Low Carbon Futures - ENV00052H

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Karen Parkhill
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

There are three key concerns driving low carbon transitions: (1) environment degradation including climate change (2) energy security (3) energy vulnerability. However, such transitions are not automatically just and there will be multiple types of low carbon transitions. This module explores these themes, drivers, implications, and technical and social “solutions” related to energy system change.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This interdisciplinary module will examine the relationship between energy and society. The aim of this module is for students to understand both the technical and non-technical opportunities and disbenefits of energy system change, so they can critically analyse the possibilities and implications of low carbon transitions for energy systems. Students will be introduced to and applying key concepts and ideas from a range of subjects including geography, sociology, psychology and energy science. Students will continue to develop skills in team working, critical thinking and analysis, and communicating complex ideas and solutions to academic and non-academic audiences.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module a student will be able to...

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the types of energy and how they work.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the non-technical imperatives driving low carbon transitions and their implications.
  • Communicate complex ideas and recommendations to policy stakeholders.


Task Length % of module mark
Policy Briefing
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Policy Briefing
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative generic feedback will be delivered in written form, some specific feedback may be delivered orally. Feedback on summative assessments will follow DEG guidelines with scripts being annotated and a feedback form provided.

Indicative reading

A full reading list is available on the VLE site.

Abram, S.,Atkins, E., Dietzel, A., Jenkins, K., Kiamba, L., Kirshner, J., Kreienkamp, J., Parkhill, K., Pegram, T., and Santos Ayllón, L. M., (2022), Just Transition: A whole-systems approach to decarbonisation, Climate Policy 22:8, pages 1033-1049.

Boyle, G., (2012). Renewable energy: Power for a sustainable future. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Jasanoff, S. and Kim, S-H., (2013), Socio-technical imaginaries and energy policies, Science as Culture, 22(3), pages 189-196.

Laird, F. N., (2013), Against transitions? Uncovering conflicts in changing energy systems, Science as Culture, 22(2), pages 149-156.

Monyei, C. G., Jenkins, K., Serestina, V. and Adewumi, A. O., (2018), Examining energy sufficiency and energy mobility in the global south through the energy justice framework, Energy Policy, 119, pages 68-76.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.