Chapter 1

Introduction

Energy has played a very special role in many social debates that have taken place over the last 50 years. Examples include the debates on the use of nuclear power, major sources of air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and the possibility of a transition away from finite fossil resources to a sustainable system of energy supply. Quite often the topical debates on energy issues have stumbled over quite general questions on the role of private and public institutions and the policies behind the ongoing development in our societies. This catalytic effect from the specific to the general may appear surprising, but clues to the reasons for its appearance may include on one hand that energy is offering a ...

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