The lives and labour of Australia’s energy workforce

Presenter: Beck Pearson

In this talk, Beck Pearse provides notes from the field and initial insights from a labour study of the industrial transformations set in train by the ‘net zero’ climate mitigation goal. The decarbonisation of Australia’s economy involves major workforce transitions. The closures of coal fired power stations and mines creates concentrated job losses and regional economic restructuring. Meanwhile, the renewable energy rollout is sparking major growth in the renewable energy sector across all locations in the new energy value chains. The project uses a comparative industrial sociology of workers in different segments of the NSW and ACT energy sector to shed light on lives and livelihoods enrolled in an important and contested sector in the Australian economy. It applies and elaborates the conceptual framework developed by Beck Pearse and Gareth Bryant to theorise the value relations of energy labour in transition (Pearse & Bryant, 2021). Insights from this study will be important for government, industry and civil society institutions seeking to support workers through industrial transformation on an equitable basis.

Beck Pearse is a sociologist with a background researching the political economy of climate and energy policy, inequalities and rural issues. Beck’s current research projects investigate labour and land relations in the industrial transition to a 'net zero' economy. Beck's doctoral thesis was published as a monograph Pricing Carbon in Australia (Routledge/Earthscan, 2018).

Society and Climate Change Seminar Series 

Connect with researchers studying similar topics. Present your research in a supportive multidisciplinary environment. Held every six weeks on a Wednesday, from 9:00am to 10:30am at ANU. PhD and Master students welcome. Proudly supported by the Institute of Climate, Energy, and Disaster Solutions.

Seminars run from 9-10:30am: 30 minute presentation, 30 minute Q&A and 30 minutes for coffee and cake.

Building 39 (Psychology),  Seminar Room 217, University Avenue, Canberra ACT 2601

Morning tea is included so don’t forget your mug!

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Dates for 2023      

  • Wednesday 20 September 9-10:30am     Urban policy and equity by Lee White
  • Wednesday 8 November 9-10:30am        TBC
  • Wednesday 13 December 9-10:30am      Ecoanxiety by Teaghan Hogg and Tanja Russell