Veronika Kiss, GreenFormation expert presented at the World Resources Forum 2023 Rethinking Value – Resources for Planetary Wellbeing that took place on 4-6 September 2023 in a hybrid format in Geneva (Switzerland) and online. Veronika showed why limiting energy resource use is so pressing, and how it should be delivered in a socially just manner to enhance the well-being of those most in need. To contribute to the scientific discourse surrounding how this can be realised, Veronika conducted an analysis of energy consumption patterns in Hungarian households and explored energy use related justice theories.
According to the assessment results, households primarily reliant on solid fuel face the worst living and dwelling conditions. They also allocate a larger proportion of their household expenses to energy costs than households in the other three clusters using predominantly 1) piped gas, 2) central heating or 3) gas and electricity for heating. Notably, solid fuel-using households consume slightly more energy than the Hungarian average. This implies that if an energy capping scheme based on equal per capita quota distribution were to be implemented, it would not automatically benefit the households.
Findings also indicate that the poor and marginalized are more often exposed to pollution and environmental problems, while being excluded from opportunities aiming to reduce household energy use. Their bad dwelling and equipment conditions impose a higher financial burden when it comes to cover energy related costs. This results in enhanced energy poverty, limited capabilities and consequently, energy injustice. Unfortunately, the violations of capabilities are not recognised by society leading to recognitional injustice.
Based on the results, we propose that when planning an energy capping scheme, factors such as social justice and dwelling conditions are considered, instead of solely relying on equal per capita quota distribution. Furthermore, procedural justice meaning the access to proper information on opportunities as well as education from childhood on energy use needs to be granted. Moreover, mitigating illegal energy source use, and ensuring adequate data collection revealing the underlying causes of energy use are necessary to reach sufficiency for all in energy use. Read more about the session, where we presented here or about the whole event here.