AAG Sponsored Sessions

EESG SPONSORED SESSIONS at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers


April 21-15, Chicago, Illinois


Plenary Lecture

Subterranean Territories of Oil Regionalism

Dr. Gabriela Valdivia, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 4:40 PM - 6:20 PM in Gold Coast, Hyatt, West Tower, Bronze Level

Abstract:

Geographers have sought to broaden energy research agendas by highlighting the importance of the political economy of fossil fuels and by paying attention to how fossil fuels move across space to assemble politico-economic structures, industrial cultures, and ways of life. Drawing on research concerning the subterranean frictions of oil and highlighting the various spatial axes of power at work in the operation of Amazonian oilfields in Ecuador, this presentation examines how subterranean territories contribute to the configuration of twenty-first century energy geopolitics in Latin America.


Business Meeting

The Energy and Environment Specialty Group Business Meeting

Thursday, 4/23/2015, from 11:50 AM - 1:10 PM in Regency A, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level


Tuesday Sessions


Paper Session

Title: Pathways to decarbonisation 1: Problematising low carbon

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in Columbian, Hyatt, West Tower, Bronze Level

Organizers:
Andres Luque-Ayala - Durham University, UK
Harriet Bulkeley - University of Durham
Matthew Hoffmann

Abstract: 

This session seeks to examine, compare and contrast different approaches towards understanding the politics and geographies of pathways to decarbonisation. It focuses on the rationalities, techniques, practices, artefacts, and subjectivities that are being shaped and promoted in the configuration of low carbon sites and spaces. Whilst formal pathways to decarbonisation appear elusive, there is a growing set of dispersed initiatives experimenting with innovative ways of 'becoming low carbon'. Analysing these initiatives has revealed that decarbonisation is largely a political —rather than technical— process, which is not likely to be achieved through individual agency alone but through strategies that alter larger socio-political-economic structures and socio-technical systems. Taking pathways to decarbonisation seriously means a shift from an 'extractive' model of low carbon transitions (reducing emissions/point source pollution) to an 'embedded' model of decarbonisation as requiring systemic change. It also means an acknowledgment of decarbonisation as contingent and often unplanned, non-linear and uncertain, yet with an understanding of the need to foster supportive conditions and specific policies that facilitate imagining and implementing a low carbon future. The session examines how decarbonisation pathways are being made, both at material as well as discursive levels.

This specific sub-session (1) focuses on conceptual understandings and broad frameworks towards problematising low carbon. It examines, among other things how the process of promoting decarbonisation results in a change in the operation of power in society, in the nature of socio-political and economic systems, and has implications for issues of development and justice.


Paper Session

Title: Pathways to decarbonisation 2: the scalar re-making of low carbon

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 10:00 AM - 11:40 AM in Columbian, Hyatt, West Tower, Bronze Level

Organizers:

Andres Luque-Ayala - Durham University, UK
Harriet Bulkeley - University of Durham
Matthew Hoffmann

Abstract:

This session seeks to examine, compare and contrast different approaches towards understanding the politics and geographies of pathways to decarbonisation. It focuses on the rationalities, techniques, practices, artefacts, and subjectivities that are being shaped and promoted in the configuration of low carbon sites and spaces. Whilst formal pathways to decarbonisation appear elusive, there is a growing set of dispersed initiatives experimenting with innovative ways of 'becoming low carbon'. Analysing these initiatives has revealed that decarbonisation is largely a political —rather than technical— process, which is not likely to be achieved through individual agency alone but through strategies that alter larger socio-political-economic structures and socio-technical systems. Taking pathways to decarbonisation seriously means a shift from an 'extractive' model of low carbon transitions (reducing emissions/point source pollution) to an 'embedded' model of decarbonisation as requiring systemic change. It also means an acknowledgment of decarbonisation as contingent and often unplanned, non-linear and uncertain, yet with an understanding of the need to foster supportive conditions and specific policies that facilitate imagining and implementing a low carbon future. The session examines how decarbonisation pathways are being made, both at material as well as discursive levels.

This sub-session (2) focuses on the varied geographies of pathways to decarbonisation, with an emphasis on the scalar re-making of low carbon. It examines how agents and authorities operating at different scales are re-making infrastructures in more or less low carbon ways. As part of this, the sub-session looks at how low carbon is made at neighbourhood, city and regional levels.


Paper Session

Title: Accessing the North: Environmental and Economic Change in the Arctic

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 10:00 AM - 11:40 AM in Stetson E, Hyatt, West Tower, Purple Level

Organizers:

Scott Stephenson - University of Connecticut
Kelsey Nyland - George Washington University

Abstract:

This session will explore recent developments in the co-evolution of environmental change and human activities in the circumpolar north.


Paper Session

Title: Pathways to decarbonisation 3: Translating and re-assembling low carbon

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 12:40 PM - 2:20 PM in Columbian, Hyatt, West Tower, Bronze Level

Organizers:

Andres Luque-Ayala - Durham University, UK
Harriet Bulkeley - University of Durham
Matthew Hoffmann

Abstract:

This session seeks to examine, compare and contrast different approaches towards understanding the politics and geographies of pathways to decarbonisation. It focuses on the rationalities, techniques, practices, artefacts, and subjectivities that are being shaped and promoted in the configuration of low carbon sites and spaces. Whilst formal pathways to decarbonisation appear elusive, there is a growing set of dispersed initiatives experimenting with innovative ways of 'becoming low carbon'. Analysing these initiatives has revealed that decarbonisation is largely a political —rather than technical— process, which is not likely to be achieved through individual agency alone but through strategies that alter larger socio-political-economic structures and socio-technical systems. Taking pathways to decarbonisation seriously means a shift from an 'extractive' model of low carbon transitions (reducing emissions/point source pollution) to an 'embedded' model of decarbonisation as requiring systemic change. It also means an acknowledgment of decarbonisation as contingent and often unplanned, non-linear and uncertain, yet with an understanding of the need to foster supportive conditions and specific policies that facilitate imagining and implementing a low carbon future. The session examines how decarbonisation pathways are being made, both at material as well as discursive levels.

This specific sub-session (2) focuses on the processes associated to translating and re-assembling low carbon. It examines the blurred interfaces at play and the role of intermediation, focusing on the organisations and agents which, operating in particular contexts or across them (as e.g. national agencies, transnational networks), are serving as 'intermediaries' for low carbon transitions.

Paper Session

Title: Energy Mapping and Modeling I

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 12:40 PM - 2:20 PM in Stetson D, Hyatt, West Tower, Purple Level

Organizers:
Olufemi Omitaomu - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Kirby Calvert

Abstract:

Ensuring access to abundant and reliable sources of energy is a vital aspect in improving the safety, quality of life, and economic health of the modern world. Energy-related geospatial research allows stakeholders to efficiently identify new and existing energy resources, as well as the infrastructures necessary to deliver these resources to various end-users. Geospatial information and technologies are increasingly playing a vital role in integrated supply-demand modeling and energy system planning at local, regional, and national scales.  At the same time, geospatial research enables spatially explicit assessments of the social and environmental impacts and trade-offs associated with particular patterns of energy production, distribution, and use.  In these ways, energy mapping and geospatial modeling can bring together multiple stakeholders and are critical to facilitating informed decisions in the energy sector writ large.


Panel Session

Title: Forging Green Path Creation: EEG, GPNs and Sustainability Transitions

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 2:40 PM - 4:20 PM in Columbus H, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level

Organizer:
Stuart Dawley - CURDS, Newcastle University

Abstract:

Over the last decade or so considerable attention has been paid to the potential for innovation and industrial development in low-carbon energy and cleantech as a key source of regional economic growth. Policy is increasingly interested in supporting these industries and attracting them to specific regions and places. Yet, existing scholarly work is still rather unclear about the basic determinants of successful path creation in these sectors.
However, opportunities exist to bring together several parallel strands of work within economic geography to help better frame our understanding of the "new geographies of winners and losers" of energy transitions (Bridge et al 2013 p 337).  First, approaches within evolutionary economic geography (EEG) provide the explicit local and regional dimension so far lacking in the national-level focus of transitions work (Essletzbichler 2012).  Second, understanding the institutional contexts of enabling or constraining environments of growth paths in EEG may connect to notions of 'transitions spaces', niches and regimes as conceptualised in MLP transition approaches. Third, the development of local and regional growth paths within local-carbon energy technologies is not only a product of processes operating within regions. Links to Global Production Networks (GPNs) maybe crucial sources of extra-regional investment, technology and knowledge in developing the 'strategic couplings' involved (Mackinnon 2012). GPNs offer important insights for regional development as networks of energy production, knowledge and ownership become increasingly globalised.  
In conceptual terms, these parallel strands of work overlap but are rarely brought together. This panel session aims at bringing together experts from economic geography and transition studies to identify the new conceptual challenges arising from energy transition sectors and to discuss whether and how a more comprehensive approach to path creation in energy transition could be developed. It will address some of the questions posed below and identify key elements of an agenda that integrates theoretical and conceptual ideas from economic geography and transition studies.
How do path creation processes in energy sectors differ from other emergent sectors that have been in the focus of economic geography for a long time (such as biotech or cultural industries)? How can existing path creation concepts better reflect (embedded) agency in the path creation process? What role do place-dependent and extra-regional processes, such as GPNs, play in stages of path creation and development? How are the coupling processes between GPNs and localities forged? How do multi-scalar institutional contexts, environments and policy interventions in enabling/constraining growth? Why do cleantech sectors emerge in specific places while they fail in others? What explains their increasingly complex spatial setup and a recent shift of production (and innovation) activities to Asia?


Paper Session

Title: Energy Mapping and Modeling II

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 2:40 PM - 4:20 PM in Stetson D, Hyatt, West Tower, Purple Level

Organizers:

Olufemi Omitaomu - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Kirby Calvert

Abstract:

Ensuring access to abundant and reliable sources of energy is a vital aspect in improving the safety, quality of life, and economic health of the modern world. Energy-related geospatial research allows stakeholders to efficiently identify new and existing energy resources, as well as the infrastructures necessary to deliver these resources to various end-users. Geospatial information and technologies are increasingly playing a vital role in integrated supply-demand modeling and energy system planning at local, regional, and national scales.  At the same time, geospatial research enables spatially explicit assessments of the social and environmental impacts and trade-offs associated with particular patterns of energy production, distribution, and use.  In these ways, energy mapping and geospatial modeling can bring together multiple stakeholders and are critical to facilitating informed decisions in the energy sector writ large


Paper Session

Title: Mapping the Changing Arctic Environment

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 2:40 PM - 4:20 PM in Stetson E, Hyatt, West Tower, Purple Level

Organizers: Scott Stephenson - University of Connecticut
Kelsey Nyland - George Washington University

Abstract:

This session will explore new geospatial techniques for understanding the changing physical and social landscape of the Arctic.


Paper Session:

Title: Energy Mapping and Modeling III

Tuesday, 4/21/2015, from 4:40 PM - 6:20 PM in Stetson D, Hyatt, West Tower, Purple Level

Organizers:

Olufemi Omitaomu - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Kirby Calvert

Abstract:

Ensuring access to abundant and reliable sources of energy is a vital aspect in improving the safety, quality of life, and economic health of the modern world. Energy-related geospatial research allows stakeholders to efficiently identify new and existing energy resources, as well as the infrastructures necessary to deliver these resources to various end-users. Geospatial information and technologies are increasingly playing a vital role in integrated supply-demand modeling and energy system planning at local, regional, and national scales.  At the same time, geospatial research enables spatially explicit assessments of the social and environmental impacts and trade-offs associated with particular patterns of energy production, distribution, and use.  In these ways, energy mapping and geospatial modeling can bring together multiple stakeholders and are critical to facilitating informed decisions in the energy sector writ large.


 Wednesday Sessions


Paper Session: 

Title: Peer-Effects and Renewable Energy Technologies: Models, Policies, and Case Studies

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in Skyway 284, Hyatt, East Tower, Blue Level

Organizer:

Marcello Graziano - Scottish Association for Marine Science - UHI

Abstract:

Peer-effects have been recognized as one of the major drivers influencing the diffusion of new technologies, whether these effects appear in the form of spatial proximity (neighborhood effect) or social interaction (network effect; Rogers, 1962; Bollinger and Gillingham, 2013).
In recent years, several authors have been researching the role of peer-effects in the context of renewable energy technologies (RETs), such as McEachern and Hanson, 2008; Bollinger and Gillingham, 2012; Graziano and Gillingham, 2014; Müller and Rode, 2013; Rode and Weber, 2013. Using peer-effects, policymakers, marketers and, at last, communities, can improve the pace of their transition towards sustainable energy generation processes.
Because of their spatial and temporal aspect, neighborhood and peer-effects would greatly benefit from insights from geographical methods, whether these belong to spatial analysis, social geography or network analysis.
The suggested session offers an opportunity for researches to present new models, approaches, policy tools, and case studies on peer-effects in relation to the diffusion of RETs, whether centralized or distributed in nature. The works presented can either aim at identifying the existence of peer-effects, or at exploiting it to ease the diffusion of green technologies. No preference will be given to one technology over another.
Potential research topics may include but are not limited to:
•      Statistical modelling of neighborhood effects;
•      Case studies highlighting the presence of network or neighborhood effects in the context of RETs;
•      The role of peer-effects at different diffusion stages of RETs;
•      Analyses of policies exploiting peer-effects;
•      Policy tools aimed at identifying and exploiting peer-effects; and
•      Findings of peer-effects effects for specific RETs

 

Paper Session

Title: Geographies of Resilience 1

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in Grand A, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:

Sara Meerow - University of Michigan
Joshua P. Newell - University of Michigan
Emily Boyd

Abstract:

The concept of resilience has exploded in both academic and popular discourse on global environmental change. This rapid rise of resilience has been met with some critique, especially by geographers. Much of this criticism stems from a perceived failure to adequately address questions of resilience of what to what and for whom, thereby neglecting concerns about spatio-temporalities and power. Moreover, within the rapidly growing body of research on resilience there are many inconsistencies in how the concept is defined and measured. The papers in this session unpack the geographies of resilience and critically examine the theory.

Paper Session

Title: Energy Transitions I: Analysis

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in San Francisco, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:
Michael Minn - University of Illinois

Abstract:

Energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and there are numerous unanswered questions about the timing and nature of the transition to whatever comes after the fossil fuel era. These questions cross disciplinary and epistemological lines, making them particularly suited to exploration from the perspectives of geography. These sessions present research related to transitions in energy sources and uses, along with the social, political and/or economic implications of those transitions.

Paper Session

Title: Biofuels, Bioenergy, and the Emerging Bio-Economy I: Visions

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in 203 Classroom, University of Chicago Gleacher Center, 2nd Floor

Organizers:
Peter Kedron - Ryerson University
Jennifer Baka - London School of Economics
Kirby Calvert

Abstract:

The 'bio-economy' represents a socio-ecological system in which biological
material (e.g. plants) replaces fossil fuels as the underpinning natural
resource base for our societies and economies. The bio-economy includes
new forms of energy (e.g. biofuels), new intermediate inputs (e.g.
biochemicals) and new products (e.g. bioplastics). According to governments,
policy-makers and others promoting the bio-economy, it represents an
important sustainable transition pathway based on the renewable qualities of
ecological systems and the fact it does not compromise the longevity of
current ecosystem services.

At first glance then, the bio-economy promises a win-win solution to
ecological, economic and societal challenges, even if it does necessitate the widespread geographical reorganization of agriculture, natural resource
management, energy production and distribution, transport, innovation,
manufacturing and consumption. However, critics of the bio-economy have
noted a number of socially and environmentally regressive outcomes.

The purpose of this session series is to explore these issues from whichever
perspective. This session will focus on Visions of the Bio-economy:

· How and with what effect is space (scale, nature, ecology) politicized in
the construction and negotiation of the bio-economy?
· How are hybrid environmental-industrial policies used to promote the
bio-economy as a technological fix for climate change and a vehicle for
low-carbon growth?
· What are the links between the bio-economy and other socio-political
spatial strategies and transformations (e.g., the post-staples economic
transition; landscape conservatism; neo-liberalism; urbanization)?

Paper Session

Title: Geographies of Resilience 2

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in 203 Classroom, University of Chicago Gleacher Center, 2nd Floor

Organizers:
Peter Kedron - Ryerson University
Jennifer Baka - London School of Economics
Kirby Calvert

Abstract:

The 'bio-economy' represents a socio-ecological system in which biological
material (e.g. plants) replaces fossil fuels as the underpinning natural
resource base for our societies and economies. The bio-economy includes
new forms of energy (e.g. biofuels), new intermediate inputs (e.g.
biochemicals) and new products (e.g. bioplastics). According to governments,
policy-makers and others promoting the bio-economy, it represents an
important sustainable transition pathway based on the renewable qualities of
ecological systems and the fact it does not compromise the longevity of
current ecosystem services.

At first glance then, the bio-economy promises a win-win solution to
ecological, economic and societal challenges, even if it does necessitate the widespread geographical reorganization of agriculture, natural resource
management, energy production and distribution, transport, innovation,
manufacturing and consumption. However, critics of the bio-economy have
noted a number of socially and environmentally regressive outcomes.

The purpose of this session series is to explore these issues from whichever
perspective. This session will focus on Visions of the Bio-economy:

· How and with what effect is space (scale, nature, ecology) politicized in
the construction and negotiation of the bio-economy?
· How are hybrid environmental-industrial policies used to promote the
bio-economy as a technological fix for climate change and a vehicle for
low-carbon growth?
· What are the links between the bio-economy and other socio-political
spatial strategies and transformations (e.g., the post-staples economic
transition; landscape conservatism; neo-liberalism; urbanization)?

Paper Session

Title: Energy Transitions II: Analysis

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 10:00 AM - 11:40 AM in San Francisco, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

Organizer: Michael Minn - University of Illinois

Abstract:

Energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and there are numerous unanswered questions about the timing and nature of the transition to whatever comes after the fossil fuel era. These questions cross disciplinary and epistemological lines, making them particularly suited to exploration from the perspectives of geography. These sessions present research related to transitions in energy sources and uses, along with the social, political and/or economic implications of those transitions.


Paper Session

Title: Environment, Economy and Energy: Value of Regional and Local Solutions to Global Challenges

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 10:00 AM - 11:40 AM in Roosevelt, Hyatt, East Tower, Ped Path

Organizers: Pankaj Lal - Montclair State University

Abstract:

The patterns of use and management of natural resources can have a profound impact on the environment. A set of regional and local studies is needed to delineate environmental impacts across rural and urban communities, and to develop appropriate policies to mitigate these impacts (Lal et al., 2011). However, public policies largely dictate the patterns of use and management of natural resources thereby influencing the lives of diverse stakeholders including future generations. This paper session attempts to highlight some of the environmental issues and concerns that have an affect on all of us. Bridge (2008) characterized this grouping of research activities as a desire to apply the theories and methods of economic geography to environmental issues. The session encompasses research papers that use a case study approach to discuss recent environmental works ranging from local to international scales. Emergent themes include the waste management and rapidly changing socio-ecological setting, environmental health and education activities geared towards environmental management, contributions of ecosystem services to the economy, the nature of biophysical limits to economic growth, the limits of energy savings through technological advances and renewable sources, the design of products and production processes that are eco-friendly and the evaluation of product and material life cycles, the interactions between the biosphere and the human economy and the design of physical indicators of sustainability and the physical symptoms of unsustainable systems.  We welcome theoretical or empirical papers pertaining to any of the above themes.

Paper Session

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 10:00 AM - 11:40 AM in 203 Classroom, University of Chicago Gleacher Center, 2nd Floor

Title: Biofuels, Bioenergy, and the Emerging Bio-Economy II: Landscapes

Organizers:
Peter Kedron - Ryerson University
Jennifer Baka - London School of Economics
Kean Birch - York University

Abstract:

The 'bio-economy' represents a socio-ecological system in which biological
material (e.g. plants) replaces fossil fuels as the underpinning natural
resource base for our societies and economies. The bio-economy includes
new forms of energy (e.g. biofuels), new intermediate inputs (e.g.
biochemicals) and new products (e.g. bioplastics). According to governments,
policy-makers and others promoting the bio-economy, it represents an
important sustainable transition pathway based on the renewable qualities of
ecological systems and the fact it does not compromise the longevity of
current ecosystem services.

At first glance then, the bio-economy promises a win-win solution to
ecological, economic and societal challenges, even if it does necessitate the widespread geographical reorganization of agriculture, natural resource
management, energy production and distribution, transport, innovation,
manufacturing and consumption. However, critics of the bio-economy have
noted a number of socially and environmentally regressive outcomes.

The purpose of this session series is to explore these issues from whichever
perspective. This session will focus on Landscapes of the Bioeconomy

• What do bioenergy and biofuels landscapes look like, where are they emerging, what are their impacts?
• How might new technologies and new policies re-configure energy landscapes generally, and bioenergy landscapes in particular?
• Under what conditions, if any, is the bio-economy sustainable

Paper Session

Title: Geographies of Resilience 3

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 1:20 PM - 3:00 PM in Grand A, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:
Sara Meerow - University of Michigan
Joshua P. Newell - University of Michigan
Emily Boyd

Abstract:

The concept of resilience has exploded in both academic and popular discourse on global environmental change. This rapid rise of resilience has been met with some critique, especially by geographers. Much of this criticism stems from a perceived failure to adequately address questions of resilience of what to what and for whom, thereby neglecting concerns about spatio-temporalities and power. Moreover, within the rapidly growing body of research on resilience there are many inconsistencies in how the concept is defined and measured. The papers in this session unpack the geographies of resilience and critically examine the theory.

Paper Session

Title: Urban Power, Urban Politics: Reconnecting Electricity and the City (1)

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 1:20 PM - 3:00 PM in Grand E/F, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:
Jonathan Rutherford
Harriet Bulkeley - University of Durham

Abstract:

Electrification and urbanisation have a tangled and intimate history. Ever since the emergence of electric lighting and the Great Exhibitions of the late C19th, electricity has by turns illuminated and cast shadow over the urban landscape. At the same time, as historians of electrification have so clearly demonstrated, electricity systems have been shaped by, through and of the urban, spotlighting the mutual constitution of networks of light and power and of urban capitalist modernities and cultures (Hughes 1983, Nye 1990). Nowhere was this co-evolution more apparent than in Chicago where the development and expansion of a dense electricity grid went hand in hand with the production and reproduction of an energy-intensive Midwest urban industrial economy (Platt 1991).

Yet, once forged into the modern infrastructure ideal of uniform and integrated provision, such systems, and especially their undergirding power and politics, have tended to disappear from view (Graham and Marvin 2001). As a result, both in the public imagination and in our interrogation of the urban arena, it has traditionally been their absence, rupture and lack that have caused research and policy communities to turn to questions of how to plan the urban for electricity, and how such networks can provide for the city. Yet, in response to questions of climate change, decarbonisation, energy security, and new technologies for electricity provision on the one hand, alongside shifting forms of electricity use and practice on the other - from mobile telephones to electric cars, air conditioning to aquariums - it is now electricity's excess in the city which is also coming under question. This excess is framed as both a problem (cf. 'overconsumption', energy 'inefficiency') and a solution (cf. prospective benefits of all electric futures), prompting further interrogation over the work accomplished by competing visions and practices of the grid. Exercising power through electricity in the city involves not only providing access and service, but also managing demand; building grids, but also maintaining, dismantling and reconfiguring them in relation to constantly shifting forms, levels, times and rhythms of use and consumption. This politics of power enrols a wealth of actors and artifacts in new formations, whether these are termed 'smart grids', 'decentralised networks', 'prosumers' or 'practices'.

In this session, we welcome papers seeking to interrogate the politics of power in the city, manifest through forms of electricity infrastructure, provision, practice, culture and economy. The session will consider the ways in which urban politics and urban power around the globe are being reconfigured together in response to both the excess and absence of electricity in the city, in relation to wider problematics of climate change, security, inequality and demand, and the consequences for how we might understand the sites and spaces of the urban politics of transition and resistance.

Paper Session

Title: Energy Transitions III: Energy Justice

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 1:20 PM - 3:00 PM in San Francisco, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:
Michael Minn - University of Illinois

Abstract:

Energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and there are numerous unanswered questions about the timing and nature of the transition to whatever comes after the fossil fuel era. These questions cross disciplinary and epistemological lines, making them particularly suited to exploration from the perspectives of geography. These sessions present research related to transitions in energy sources and uses, along with the social, political and/or economic implications of those transitions.

Paper Session

Title: Biofuels, Bioenergy, and the Emerging Bio-Economy III: Transitions I

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 1:20 PM - 3:00 PM in 203 Classroom, University of Chicago Gleacher Center, 2nd Floor

Organizers:
Peter Kedron - Ryerson University
Kean Birch - York University
Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen - SUNY-Buffalo https://sites.google.com/site/eesgaag/aag-sponsored-sessions

Abstract:

The 'bio-economy' represents a socio-ecological system in which biological
material (e.g. plants) replaces fossil fuels as the underpinning natural
resource base for our societies and economies. The bio-economy includes
new forms of energy (e.g. biofuels), new intermediate inputs (e.g.
biochemicals) and new products (e.g. bioplastics). According to governments,
policy-makers and others promoting the bio-economy, it represents an
important sustainable transition pathway based on the renewable qualities of
ecological systems and the fact it does not compromise the longevity of
current ecosystem services.

At first glance then, the bio-economy promises a win-win solution to
ecological, economic and societal challenges, even if it does necessitate the widespread geographical reorganization of agriculture, natural resource
management, energy production and distribution, transport, innovation,
manufacturing and consumption. However, critics of the bio-economy have
noted a number of socially and environmentally regressive outcomes.

The purpose of this session series is to explore these issues from whichever
perspective. This session will focus on Transition to the Bio-economy:

· What are the factors shaping the spatial dispersion or concentration of
bioenergy, biofuels and the bio-economy?
· How are regional clusters of expertise converging / diverging as they
pursue innovations necessary for bioenergy and biofuels?
· What are the path-dependent, path-breaking and path-shaping
characteristics of biofuels, bioenergy and other biotechnologies?

Paper Session

Title: Urban Power, Urban Politics: Reconnecting Electricity and the City (2)

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 3:20 PM - 5:00 PM in Grand E/F, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:
Jonathan Rutherford
Harriet Bulkeley - University of Durham

Abstract:

Electrification and urbanisation have a tangled and intimate history. Ever since the emergence of electric lighting and the Great Exhibitions of the late C19th, electricity has by turns illuminated and cast shadow over the urban landscape. At the same time, as historians of electrification have so clearly demonstrated, electricity systems have been shaped by, through and of the urban, spotlighting the mutual constitution of networks of light and power and of urban capitalist modernities and cultures (Hughes 1983, Nye 1990). Nowhere was this co-evolution more apparent than in Chicago where the development and expansion of a dense electricity grid went hand in hand with the production and reproduction of an energy-intensive Midwest urban industrial economy (Platt 1991).

Yet, once forged into the modern infrastructure ideal of uniform and integrated provision, such systems, and especially their undergirding power and politics, have tended to disappear from view (Graham and Marvin 2001). As a result, both in the public imagination and in our interrogation of the urban arena, it has traditionally been their absence, rupture and lack that have caused research and policy communities to turn to questions of how to plan the urban for electricity, and how such networks can provide for the city. Yet, in response to questions of climate change, decarbonisation, energy security, and new technologies for electricity provision on the one hand, alongside shifting forms of electricity use and practice on the other - from mobile telephones to electric cars, air conditioning to aquariums - it is now electricity's excess in the city which is also coming under question. This excess is framed as both a problem (cf. 'overconsumption', energy 'inefficiency') and a solution (cf. prospective benefits of all electric futures), prompting further interrogation over the work accomplished by competing visions and practices of the grid. Exercising power through electricity in the city involves not only providing access and service, but also managing demand; building grids, but also maintaining, dismantling and reconfiguring them in relation to constantly shifting forms, levels, times and rhythms of use and consumption. This politics of power enrols a wealth of actors and artefacts in new formations, whether these are termed 'smart grids', 'decentralised networks', 'prosumers' or 'practices'.

In this session, we welcome papers seeking to interrogate the politics of power in the city, manifest through forms of electricity infrastructure, provision, practice, culture and economy. The session will consider the ways in which urban politics and urban power around the globe are being reconfigured together in response to both the excess and absence of electricity in the city, in relation to wider problematics of climate change, security, inequality and demand, and the consequences for how we might understand the sites and spaces of the urban politics of transition and resistance.

Paper Session

Title: Energy Transitions IV: Policy and Planning

Wednesday, 4/22/2015, from 3:20 PM - 5:00 PM in San Francisco, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

Organizers:
Michael Minn - University of Illinois

Abstract:

Energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and there are numerous unanswered questions about the timing and nature of the transition to whatever comes after the fossil fuel era. These questions cross disciplinary and epistemological lines, making them particularly suited to exploration from the perspectives of geography. These sessions present research related to transitions in energy sources and uses, along with the social, political and/or economic implications of those transitions.



 




 





 




 













 

 

 

 

 

 

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