Beyond scarcity perspectives on energy transition

Robert Jan Geerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademic

1 Citation (Scopus)


Two dominant lines of reasoning in the philosophical debate on energy transition can be described as boundless consumerism (we should find ways to keep growing) and eco-frugality (we should reduce our impact as much as possible). This paper problematizes both approaches via their implicit understanding of the good life, and proposes a third alternative: qualitative abundance. Society is not interested in any sustainable energy system, but in one that caters to our needs and enables us to flourish as human beings. Because the dominant lines in the current debate share a concern for scarcity, they fail to raise the question of a "good" energy system, and therefore the possibility of a positive energy ethics. Qualitative abundance initiates discourse around prosperity (with boundless consumerism) and simplicity (with ecofrugality), thus expanding and enriching debates on energy transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-68
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Abundance
  • Energy debates
  • Energy discourse
  • Energy ethics
  • Energy transition
  • Good life
  • Prosperity
  • Quality of life
  • Scarcity
  • Simplicity


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond scarcity perspectives on energy transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this