UK energy crisis: causes, effects and solutions in the Scottish context

Several recent events have created a very unexpected and worrying energy crisis. Prices for consumers have shot up and are expected to continue to rise fast, creating a severe burden for the less well-off and the vulnerable in society. The phenomenon of ‘fuel poverty’ has spread and acquired a new challenge for public policy. At the same time, the causes of this crisis are unclear. Is it due to an energy shortage? Is it caused by UK or international events such as the Ukraine conflict or the links in the global supply chain? Is it the fault of the energy companies that supply this vital resource? It is hardly surprising then that there is confusion about what to do to mitigate the crisis. For some it is a signal that we need to accelerate the shift to different kinds of energy, and for others, it is about changing the international links we have to other countries. Others think that its effects can be reduced by imposing a windfall tax on energy providers. There is also the important question of how this energy crisis relates to the issue of how to make a transition from fossil fuels to low carbon emitting resources in our economy and so address the climate crisis.

The idea of this discussion is to provide a guide that informs the public about the issues, what lies behind them and what the pros and cons are of the main solutions that are under discussion.

This event is being run in collaboration with the Scottish Government as part of their Evidence in Policy theme. However, views presented do not constitute those of ministers.


Professor Peter Cameron FRSE smiling wearing a suit and tie.
Professor Peter Cameron FRSE


Professor Peter Cameron FRSE

Professor of International Energy Law and Director of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee.

Peter Cameron is one of the world’s leading authorities on energy law. He is currently Professor of International Energy Law and Director of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Peter is a barrister (England & Wales) and sits as an arbitrator at various international dispute settlement bodies, working closely with the Scottish Arbitration Centre. Peter is currently researching on issues that arise from the Just Energy Transition to a low carbon economy and how legal commitments to make this happen can be implemented in ways that impose the least costs to citizens, especially the many people around the world without access to regular supplies of electricity.

Professor Stuart Haszeldine is smiling and looking at the camera.
Professor Stuart Haszeldine
Dr Esther K. Papies smiling and looking at the camera.
Dr Esther K. Papies
Dr Louise Reid smiling and looking at the camera.
Dr Louise Reid


Professor Stuart Haszeldine, FRSE

Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage, University of Edinburgh

Stuart Haszeldine trained as a geologist, and has over 40 years research experience in energy innovation. He worked initially to understand fossil fuel resources, and secure radioactive waste disposal. Since 2004 he has focused on climate change mitigation creating research groups on carbon capture and storage, and biochar. He is the world’s first Professor of CCS. Stuart has examined fracking of the UK for gas supply, and is evaluating the supply and storage of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier. Current investigations are contrasting nature-based to engineered removals of CO2 from the atmosphere. Stuart has been elected FRSE, and appointed OBE.

Dr Esther K. Papies

Associate Professor in the Psychology of Behaviour Change, University of Glasgow

Dr Esther K. Papies is a Reader (Associate Professor) in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow, where she heads the Healthy Cognition Lab and teaches the Psychology of Climate Change.

Dr Papies is a social and health psychologist, and an expert in behaviour change in the domains of health and sustainability. Her research examines the social and psychological processes in the transition to a healthier, more sustainable and more equitable society. Dr Papies’ research is currently funded by the ESRC. She has published more than 65 articles in international journals and serves on various editorial boards. She is Associate Editor of Global Environmental Psychology, and a member of the Young Academy of Scotland.

Dr Louise Reid

Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

Dr Louise Reid is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography & Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews. Her work explores the role of digital and smart technologies at home for sustainability and wellbeing. For instance, Dr Reid has led projects on Low Carbon Smart Homes (ESRC Future Research Leaders Project) and ‘Homes that Care’ (RSE Fellowship). Dr Reid is member of the RSE’s Young Academy of Scotland, vice-chair of the Board of Hanover Scotland and is a member of the University of St Andrews’ Environmental Sustainability Board.


This event is designed for people who require British Sign Language (BSL). Both the live stream and the in-person event will offer these services.

We aim to make events as accessible as possible. If you have any accessibility requirements or questions about how we can support this event, please contact the RSE Public Engagement team at: [email protected]

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Monday February 6th, 2023 12:00-13:00