The dominant factor in anthropogenic climate change is unsustainable energy usage.  Addressing and mitigating this Climate Change requires not just incremental improvements in efficiency and emissions intensity, but fundamental shifts in our energy systems. Historically, shifts of comparable scale have been defined as ‘transition events’. 

Various analytical approaches, within various technical and social sciences, bound these events as protracted and gradual processes. Some literature on the temporal dynamics of such processes extend this concept to propose accelerated change can be driven by resource scarcity and public policy. 

This review notes the potential of singular (or condensed) meaningful disruptive events as a trigger for radical and rapid transition. Under the assumption that climate change will provide significant increases in the magnitude and frequency of severe climatic events, such as drought, bushfire and destructive storms. 

As a model for this ‘disaster driven’ change, the Great Tōhoku​ earthquake, tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear event are presented as a trigger for energy transition, and learnings extracted for how Australian policy and network management can be optimally prepared to capitalize on disruptive events in progressing energy transition to more sustainable energy generation and consumption profiles.

Advisor:  Assoc Prof Paul Dargusch

Project members

Kelly D'Alessandro

PhD candidate