skip to primary navigationskip to content

New Thinking on the Demand for Energy

Current thinking on energy is focused on supply rather than demand. This is misplaced according to Julian Allwood, Professor of Engineering and the Environment at Cambridge. Efforts to plan a response to climate change are largely stuck, having been driven by conventional economic thinking and over-stated engineering optimism about innovation.

Reducing our demand for energy is essential to any serious efforts at mitigation, but is currently below the political and public horizon. It challenges widely held assumptions about economic growth and can be considered only if we activate the humanities and wider social sciences as a complement to engineering and economic thinking.

In November 2015 academics from different disciplines across the humanities and social scientists responded to Professor Allwood’s challenge to draw on their own research and expertise to explore and analyse strategies for demand reduction in relation to climate change.

The report summaries each of the contributions to provide new thinking on demand for energy. Do we need more politics around climate change? Should we reduce demand for meat? Should we charge differently for energy use? What role do beliefs play in our demand for energy?

These and other suggestions are examined in this introduction to new thinking on the problem of rising demand for energy.



Slides from the session can be downloaded here:

Demand Reduction: An engineering necessity, and a trans-disciplinary voyage (Julian Allwood)

Reducing Demand for Meat Lessons from Tobacco, Alcohol and Sugar? (Professor Theresa Marteau)

Demand reduction for climate change policy: some dietary implications (Pablo Monsivais)

Economics of Energy Demand Reduction (Hamish Low)

Photo: Agustín Ruiz via Creative Commons.

RSS Feed Latest news


Mar 12, 2019

The Bennett Institute is recruiting for Visiting Fellow from within the University for the academic year 2019/20.

Post-Brexit Options for the UK: New Legal Analysis

Nov 22, 2018

On 16 November 2018 the Cambridge Public Policy SRI (Strategic Research Initiative) and the CBR, the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, held a conference at Peterhouse College in Cambridge on Brexit with the aim of encouraging interdisciplinary discussion amongst academics and further research on the implications of the UK leaving the EU for public policy.

Britain’s Broken Economic Model and Why Brexit isn’t the Cure

Nov 15, 2018

Simon Deakin, Director of the Centre for Business Research and Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge, tells the Cambridge Public Policy SRI (Strategic Research Initiative) why Brexit isn’t the cure for Britain’s broken economic model.

View all news

About Us

We aim to support public policy research across Cambridge University, working with colleagues in science, social science, the arts and humanities, to apply new thinking to public policy problems and promote research and analysis into the public policy process. We hope to connect and raise the profile of existing public policy related work across the University and support collaborative research that includes policy development in a range of subject areas. 

Contact us if you are interested in joining the initiative or would like to know more.