New article published!

Baard, P., & Melin, A., 2022. Max Power: Implementing the Capabilities Approach to Identify Thresholds and Ceilings in Energy Justice, Science and Engineering Ethics.

In this article Patrik Baard and Anders Melin investigate the capabilities approach, supplemented with ceilings, applied to energy justice. Available open access:

ABSTRACT: In this paper, we apply the capabilities approach—with the addition of capability ceilings—to energy justice. We argue that, to ensure energy justice, energy policies and scenarios should consider enabling not only minimal capability thresholds but also maximum capability ceilings. It is permissible, perhaps even morally required, to limit the capabilities of those above the threshold if it is necessary for enabling those below the threshold to reach the level required by justice. We make a distinction between tragic and non-tragic conflicts of capabilities: tragic conflicts are instances when one cannot raise an agent’s capabilities above the threshold that justice requires without pushing someone else below the threshold or restricting someone from reaching the threshold. In contrast, a non-tragic choice is when increasing someone above the threshold required by justice does not entail pushing someone else’s capabilities below the threshold. We utilise this framework to discuss energy justice and emissions of greenhouse gases. Drawing on the relation between points on the human development index and levels of energy consumption, we conclude that non-tragic mitigation policies now are highly preferable to tragic policies later.

Project description

The project will contribute to the scientific debate of how issues of justice can be considered in a more systematic manner in connection with the construction and evaluation of energy scenarios. The project is divided into two work packages.

The first will be conducted during 2020 and is a study of how issues of justice are recognized within contemporary Swedish energy politics, built on an analysis of policy documents and interviews with politicians and civil servants.

The second will be conducted during 2021-2022 and aims to develop methods for how issues of justice can be considered in connection with energy scenario construction through a series of focus groups at the regional and national level.

New project

This is the blog for the project “Energy scenarios and justice: the case of Sweden”, funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). Associate Professor Anders Melin is the principal investigator. The co-workers within the project are Associate Professor Gunnhildur Magnusdottir and Post Doc researcher Patrik Baard.