Understanding the Challenges of Energy-Society Relations

cordially invites you to a talk on
Understanding the Challenges of
Energy-Society Relations:
The European energy scene vs. the Turkish boom from
a societal metabolism perspective
convened by
Dr. Ethemcan Turhan
(Mercator-IPC Fellow)
Dr. Alevgül H. Şorman
(Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Istanbul Policy Center
(Minerva Han, Bankalar Caddesi No: 2, Karaköy)
Socio-economic systems are open systems, highly dependent on the ecological system in which they
are embedded. As such, energy flows bear a leading role in the formation, composition and
functioning of societies. Societal metabolism is a methodological framework used to characterize how
and what type of energy flows are supplied to and consumed by the distinct socio-economic
processes of a modern societies. Until now, social complexity has been achieved through the
abundance of primary energy sources with high surplus value. However, the bonanza of the past is
over and we are facing a global crisis with many challenges to overcome. Socio-economic systems are
ever increasingly constrained by biophysical limits, with peaking fossil reserves, decreasing energetic
returns and climate change impacts. This seminar will present insights on socio-economic transitions
experienced in European Union (EU-15) over a 15-year period on past and current trends of energysociety relations. It will reflect upon the reallocation of energy intensive economic activities to
emerging countries and the consequent increasing GDP share of the tertiary sector within the
European context. Comparatively, Turkey’s position on fossil fuel dependent growth policies in the
light of developmental surge will be highlighted. Turkey’s motives behind its extractivist boom,
supplying raw materials to motor its industrial and constructive sectors and its rampant extension on
energy production capacities fueled through carbon-intensive fossil sources are among policy
preferences that remain to be challenged. This seminar will discuss Turkey’s position vis-à-vis EU-15
energy context through the perspective of societal metabolism.
Bio: Dr. Alevgül Şorman is currently a postdoctoral researcher within the Integrated Assessment group at the
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). She
received her PhD from the same institute in 2011 focusing on the “Energetic Metabolism of Societies”. She holds
a M.Sc. in Sustainability Science from Lund University (LUMES) and a B.Sc in environmental engineering from the
Middle East Technical University (METU). She has previously been a visiting researcher at Universidad Federal do
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Instituto de Altos Estudios (Ecuador) and the Italian National Institute for Statistics (Italy).
She has co-authored two books on the energy metabolism of societies published by Routledge, contributed to
“Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era” (Routledge, 2014) and published extensively in outlets such as Global
Environmental Change, Energy, Journal of Cleaner Production, Ecological Modelling and International
Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics.