288 Pages 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book deepens our understanding of ethical drivers in energy policy and contributes to future decision-making on transitions towards a sustainable energy system.

    During the latest fifty years Western energy politics have been faced with a series of ethical challenges including rapid growth, oil crises, security of supply, nuclear power and climate change. Combining philosophical, historical and planning approaches into one narrative, these dilemmas are explored using Denmark as the key case study. Drawing on contributions from several experts in the field, the ethics of energy is investigated from multiple perspectives at the individual, corporate, local and national levels, focusing on concrete decisions where different ethical considerations are weighted against each other. This comprehensive approach helps to gain a deeper understanding of the energy sector’s history and gives important input to its future layout.

    Drawing comparisons with European and global examples, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of energy politics and policy, environmental ethics, climate change and sustainability transitions.


    1. Introduction: Studying Energy and Ethics
    2. Finn Arler

    3. Impartiality and Ethics in Practice
    4. Finn Arler

    5. 1950s Syndrome and Danish Energy Consumption and Production
    6. Bo Poulsen and Mogens Rüdiger

    7. Energy Crises, Supply Security, and Energy Planning
    8. Mogens Rüdiger

    9. Energy Policy at a Crossroad
    10. Finn Arler

    11. Renewables
    12. Finn Arler

    13. Alternative Energy Plans
    14. Finn Arler

    15. Climate Change and Energy Planning after Brundtland
    16. Finn Arler

    17. The Global Community and Distributions of Rights and Responsibilities
    18. Finn Arler

    19. Liberalization of the Danish Energy Sector: An Era of Turnabouts
    20. Karl Sperling and Mogens Rüdiger

    21. COP 15 and the New Climate Agenda: The Ethics of Bottom-Up Governance
    22. Kristian Høyer Toft

    23. Half a Century of Energy Policy, Planning and Debate: Summary and Outlook

    Finn Arler and Karl Sperling


    Finn Arler works as Professor of Ethics and Planning at the Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark. His main research is about planning in relation to ethics and politics. His main fields of interests are sustainability, climate change, landscape democracy, economics, biodiversity, and concepts of nature.

    Mogens Rüdiger is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Society at Aalborg University. He has published extensively on various aspects of energy history.

    Karl Sperling, Ph.D., works as an associate professor in Energy Planning at the Department of Planning at Aalborg University. His main research is within renewable energy systems with an interdisciplinary interest in planning, policy and economy with a special focus on urban and local energy transitions; grassroots initiatives in the energy sector; and coordination and ownership of smart energy systems.

    Kristian Høyer Toft obtained a Ph.D. in political science from Aarhus University. He has held positions as postdoc in bioethics at the University of Copenhagen and an associate professorship at Aalborg University, Denmark, in applied philosophy. His research is focused on corporate responsibility, in particular with regard to climate change.

    Bo Poulsen is a Professor of Modern History at Aalborg University, Denmark, with a special interest in fisheries and marine science. Poulsen is currently the PI of the Danish Research Council-funded project, Living on the Edge.