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  • The recent ruling in a Dutch court that Shell must curb its CO2 emissions is the latest in a series of legal moves bringing human rights concerns to bear on energy activities. This trend will have profound consequences for energy developments and for meeting climate goals.

    • Raphael J. Heffron
    Comment
  • Established climate mitigation scenarios assume continued economic growth in all countries, and reconcile this with the Paris targets by betting on speculative technological change. Post-growth approaches may make it easier to achieve rapid mitigation while improving social outcomes, and should be explored by climate modellers.

    • Jason Hickel
    • Paul Brockway
    • Diana Ürge-Vorsatz
    Comment
  • Energy and transportation researchers can contribute to the realization of just transitions to low-carbon mobility in cities across the planet by elaborating and enacting broad conceptions of justice that consider distribution, procedure, recognition and knowledge generation.

    • Tim Schwanen
    Comment
  • Stopping climate change requires revolutionary transformations in industry and agriculture. Ahead of several major climate meetings this year, policymakers struggling to measure progress on climate change should focus less on global emissions, which will be slow to change, and more on technological advances in pioneering niches.

    • Ryan Hanna
    • David G. Victor
    Comment
  • 11 March 2021 marked the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Today, without better public engagement and understanding of nuclear power generation and its role in the energy system mix, progress on Japan’s post-carbon strategy will remain stagnant.

    • Midori Aoyagi
    Comment
  • Energy research works with units and concepts forged in an age of fossil fuel, leading to problem formulations that reinforce current societal practices and patterns of consumption. Achieving low-carbon energy goals depends on shifting demand to match supply and reconceptualizing interactions between time and energy.

    • Elizabeth Shove
    Comment
  • The power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells has rapidly increased, yet significantly less attention has been paid to materials stability and device longevity. For organic solar cells to make an impact in the marketplace, researchers, funding agencies and journals should do more to address this crucial gap.

    • Quinn Burlingame
    • Melissa Ball
    • Yueh-Lin Loo
    Comment
  • The Paris Agreement’s Mission Innovation initiative to accelerate government spending on clean energy research is currently succeeding in its quest to support carbon mitigation. It should be renewed for an additional five years, with increased ambition, and changed to better integrate the private sector.

    • Zdenka Myslikova
    • Kelly Sims Gallagher
    Comment
  • Roughly 90% of the world’s energy use today involves generation or manipulation of heat over a wide range of temperatures. Here, we note five key applications of research in thermal energy that could help make significant progress towards mitigating climate change at the necessary scale and urgency.

    • Asegun Henry
    • Ravi Prasher
    • Arun Majumdar
    Comment
  • Online conferences are increasingly popular within scientific communities due to the travel restrictions faced by many countries. Although a relatively new phenomenon for many of us, lessons from recent meetings provide useful reflections on the format’s opportunities and challenges compared to conventional in-person meetings.

    • Michael Saliba
    Comment
  • Energy plays a central role in responding to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, from ensuring adequate healthcare services to supporting households during lockdowns. Protecting the renewable energy industry and its contribution to providing sustainable energy access for all must be an urgent priority in the current crisis.

    • Vanesa Castán Broto
    • Joshua Kirshner
    Comment
  • Digital and physical games are now widely used to support learning and engagement, including in the domains of climate change and energy. We believe games have a further, underappreciated role: helping us as researchers to reflect on our own research, generating deeper understanding and, hopefully, more impactful research projects.

    • Michael J. Fell
    • Alexandra Schneiders
    Comment
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and associated changes in social and economic conditions may affect the prevalence of energy insecurity. Essential relief must be provided to the growing number of households that are energy insecure and protect them from even more dire circumstances caused by utility disconnections and unpaid energy bills.

    • Michelle Graff
    • Sanya Carley
    Comment
  • The smart home technology industry promises energy savings and lifestyle improvements. However, there is little evidence that smart home technologies will reduce home energy use overall, and there are a range of emerging detrimental social impacts that require further attention from researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

    • Larissa Nicholls
    • Yolande Strengers
    • Jathan Sadowski
    Comment
  • Anomalous seasons such as extremely cold winters or low-wind summers can seriously disrupt renewable energy productivity and reliability. Better seasonal forecasts providing more accurate information tailored to stakeholder needs can help the renewable energy industry prepare for such extremes.

    • Anton Orlov
    • Jana Sillmann
    • Ilaria Vigo
    Comment
  • The number of plaintiffs taking energy firms to court for ignoring climate-related risks is growing. By revealing how the sector is not prepared — and not preparing — for what is coming, their cases are pressing the energy sector to treat those risks as a cost of doing business.

    • Justin Gundlach
    Comment
  • Energy firms struggle to incorporate climate risks in their planning and public disclosures. This lack of information is increasing the chances that herd behaviour in finance could potentially lead to sudden disruptions in energy supply and exacerbate consequences of climate-related extreme events.

    • Amy Myers Jaffe
    Comment
  • Despite increased awareness among investors, physical climate risk from extreme weather remains surprisingly unaccounted for in financial markets. Without better knowledge of this risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event will not trigger a sudden correction to the market values of energy firms.

    • Paul A. Griffin
    Comment
  • Scenarios are the primary tool for examining how current decisions shape the future, but the future is affected as much by out-of-ordinary extremes as by generally expected trends. Energy modellers can study extremes both by incorporating them directly within models and by using complementary off-model analyses.

    • David L. McCollum
    • Ajay Gambhir
    • Charlie Wilson
    Comment
  • Climate change entails an intensification of extreme weather events that can potentially trigger socioeconomic and energy system disruptions. As we approach 1 °C of global warming we should start learning from historical extremes and explicitly incorporate such events in integrated climate–economy and energy systems models.

    • Christian Otto
    • Franziska Piontek
    • Katja Frieler
    Comment