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Twin transitions of decarbonisation and digitalisation: a historical perspective on energy and information in European economies

Fouquet, Roger and Hippe, Ralph (2022) Twin transitions of decarbonisation and digitalisation: a historical perspective on energy and information in European economies. Energy Research and Social Science, 91. ISSN 2214-6296

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.erss.2022.102736

Abstract

This paper investigates the structural transformation associated with the ‘twin transition’ of decarbonisation and digitalisation in European economies by placing it in a broader historical perspective. With this in mind, this paper analyses the long run trends in energy intensity and communication intensity since 1850. The evidence indicates that these economies experienced a coevolution of energy and communication intensities during their industrialisation phase, followed by a divergence in the energy and communication intensities associated with the development of high tech and ICT. Overall, this reflects the dematerialisation of these European economies. The paper also analyses the speed of historical energy transitions and communication technology transitions in these economies, finding that communication transitions appear to be substantially faster than energy transitions. The evidence suggests that twin transitions of the decarbonisation and digitalisation of economies are likely to experience a process of imbalanced structural transformation (with ICT continuing to forge ahead). This expectation should guide policy recommendations – increasing the need for low carbon industry to develop and create synergies between the two industries in order to avoid the new industrial revolution being high-carbon.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/energy-resea...
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
JEL classification: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q4 - Energy > Q40 - General
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2022 11:27
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2022 10:24
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115544

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