By Lidia Borrell-Damián, Research & Innovation Unit, European University Association.
This article is one of the Forewords from the SHAPE ENERGY open access book recently published by Palgrave Macmillan ‘Advancing Energy Policy: lessons on the integration of Social Sciences and Humanities’.
The transition towards a carbon-neutral society or, preferably, towards a carbon-negative society requires the collective effort of all of us. It is now widely acknowledged that the Earth cannot sustain the pace at which its natural resources are being exploited and frequently converted into products that, even when they contribute to our well-being, are very difficult to reuse and recycle.
At the bottom of the value chain for economic competitiveness and social prosperity lie the never-ending needs for affordable access to energy. Despite social inequalities and challenging political contexts, the world is slowly but surely solving the essential problems of access to water, food and health services (e.g. the rate of mortality in children under five has reduced by over 50% between 1990 and 2015). Now it is also time that our society reacts worldwide to provide more affordable access to clean energy to enable education and conditions for a hopeful future for all of us, while respecting our planet.