The 1973 oil shock was the first energy crisis modern industrialized economies experienced. The disruption exposed the limitations of energy systems that rely on fossil fuels, creating a demand for experimentation of energy alternatives. In their book, Renewables: The Politics of a Global Energy Transition, Michaël Aklin, and Johannes Urpelainen provide a framework to analyze this transitionary period for selected countries, as well as the events that provoke the need for change in the form of the 1970s external shocks in oil prices. In this paper, for the first time, Aklin & Urpelainen's framework will be applied to Australia to help explain the "Australian Paradox." The Australian Paradox refers to the misalignment of Australia's climate change policy and exposure to climate change disruption. Though Australia is particularly vulnerable to climate change in several ways, the country is noted among rich industrialized nations for having done very little to promote alternative energies and reduce its carbon footprint. While the oil crises of the 1970s have catalyzed a search for alternative energy sources in some countries, it created a business opportunity for Australia in the form of expanding coal and gas exports, thereby further committing the country to carbon-cased energies. I conclude by reflecting on whether other forms of energy shocks could lead Australia into taking a more aggressive approach to climate change in the near future.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Marien, Daniel


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date