International Handbook of Energy Security
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International Handbook of Energy Security

Edited by Hugh Dyer and Maria Julia Trombetta

This Handbook brings together energy security experts to explore the implications of framing the energy debate in security terms, both in respect of the governance of energy systems and the practices associated with energy security.
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Chapter 23: Human security and energy security: a sustainable energy system as a public good

Sylvia I. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and Nigel Jollands


This chapter is dedicated to the concept of human security and its link to energy and energy governance, particularly global energy governance. Through this focus emerges the need to look at the links between the concept of public goods and energy. Our starting argument is that conventional notions of energy security that are centred on the nation state are insufficient to ensure human security at an individual level (across the globe). Rather, what we refer to as ‘deep energy security’ is a necessary condition for human security and such security in turn requires a sustainable energy system. We further argue that one approach to strengthen deep energy security is to use the lens of the public goods concept to consider how aspects of a sustainable energy system should be provided. The chapter is structured as follows. We start by exploring the evolution of the concept of human security and its major components and then analyse the various ways through which energy is linked to this concept. We look at the links between energy and human well-being and security and between energy and human ill-being and insecurity. We then explore the contrast between the concept of human security and the conventional way in which energy security has been framed, contrasting the individual with the collective perspective.

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