In the pursuit of socialism, Cuba became Latin America’s most oil-dependent economy. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the country lost 86 percent of its crude oil supplies, resulting in a severe energy crisis. In the face of this shock, Cuba started to develop a low-carbon economy based on economic and social reform rather than high-tech innovation. The Low-Carbon Contradiction examines this period of rapid low-carbon energy transition, which many have described as a “Cuban miracle” or even a real-life case of successful “degrowth.” Working with original research from inside households, workplaces, universities, and government offices, Gustav Cederlöf retells the history of the Cuban Revolution as one of profound environmental and infrastructural change. In doing so, he opens up new questions about energy transitions, their politics, and the conditions of a socially just low-carbon future. The Cuban experience shows how a society can transform itself while rapidly cutting carbon emissions in the search for sustainability.
The Low-Carbon Contradiction Energy Transition, Geopolitics, and the Infrastructural State in Cuba
About the Book
Reviews"In this important study, Gustav Cederlöf explores what a radical energy transition might mean in practice. His analysis of the Cuban experience has multiple implications for our understanding of low-carbon futures and alternative forms of environmental discourse."—Matthew Gandy, Professor of Geography, University of Cambridge
"A cutting-edge analysis of the shifting and sometimes contradictory relation between the modernist growth imperative of Cuban socialism and the country’s fluctuating geopolitical access to energy. Supremely relevant to current deliberations on degrowth, eco-socialism, and low-carbon energy transitions."—Alf Hornborg, Professor Emeritus of Human Ecology, Lund University
"A remarkable book for the study of the 1959 Cuban revolution. Cederlöf analyzes the country’s electrification as core to the socialist development policies and the infrastructural and sociopolitical arrangements under the period of degrowth after 1991. His research enriches debates about transitions to a post-carbon society."—Reinaldo Funes-Monzote, author of From Rainforest to Cane Field in Cuba: An Environmental History since 1492
"The future of energy will be wrought with contradiction and this important contribution to just transitions brings us insights into possibilities of moving from fossil fuel dependence towards a low-carbon economy. This rich environmental history of Cuba’s special period tells a story that will inform ongoing debates about eco-socialism and degrowth."—Dustin Mulvaney, author of Solar Power: Innovation, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice