Dr David Toke
Dr David Toke

Dr David Toke



Room F56, Edward Wright Building, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen, King's College Regents Walk, Aberdeen AB24 3FX. Office Telephone +44 (0)1224272558


David Toke was a late starter in academia. Previously he has worked in journalism and school teaching. He studied for a PhD at the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS). He then became Research Fellow and then Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Sociology and POLSIS  

He has had over 50 papers published in refereed journals in different disciplines, and has published five single-authored monograph books. His latest book, with Routledge, (with other co-authors) is entitled 'Nuclear Power in Stagnation: A Cultural Approach to Failed Expansion'. Countries studied include USA, UK, France, China, South Korea and Russia. He has had over 2400 citations according to 'ResearchGate'. He has engaged in a number of research programmes funded by the ESRC, the EU, the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. Currently he is involved in a programme funded by Scottish Universities Insight concerned with community participation in net zero energy transition in the North East of Scotland.

He has also published two widely read public interest books on energy policy. He has written numerous influential reports for different NGOs. His work, including a report published by the World Future Council, proved to be a prime early influence (in 2007-2008) leading to the adoption of a system of feed-in tariffs for smaller renewable energy projects in the UK.  He also has produced reports published by Friends of the Earth, The Green Parties of England and Wales and Scotland and written a number of articles for newspapers and magazines ranging from The Guardian to Energy Economist. 

His 'green energy blog' has been highly regarded since 2010. Most recently he has led the formation and campaigns associated with 100percentrenewableuk, see https://100percentrenewableuk.org/. 


  • PhD Political Science 
    2001 - University of Birmingham 

    The thesis was entitled 'The Politics of Sustainable Energy'

Internal Memberships

He is the Programme Manager of the MSc in Energy Politics and Law. He is also Director for Post Graduate Research for the School of Social Science.


Research Overview

  • Energy Policy, various aspects of renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, nuclear power  and particularly onshore and offshore wind power focusing on planning issues and financial support mechanisms
  • Environmental policy, focusing on decision making and governance issues, including ecological modernisation theory
  • Particular theories of governance including policy network theory, usage of discourse, rational choice and interest group theory
  • Food and countryside issues, especially foxhunting and The Countryside Alliance

Current Research

He is currently researching and writing about:

a) The politics of advocacy for and narratives for solar power. This involves a comparison between the USA (especially the southern USA) and the UK. This is being done in collaboration with academics at Oregon State University.

b) 'Low carbon politics' in a range of countries and how cultruasl politics affects deployment of different technologies (forthcoming book with Routledge).

d) The possibilities for China helping to meet the Paris targets on climate abatement, and the relationship of ecological modernisation theory to the case of China and carbon abatement (forthcoming book with Routledge).

c) Follow-up from the ESRC funded project 'Delivering Renewable Energy Under Devolution' - featuring a paper on the impact of the case study on federalist theory

d) Renewable energy policies in different countries, including a study of the emergence of renewable energy policies in South Africa

e) Research into factors associated with success in organising community renewable energy schemes. Dr Toke organised a conference to that effect hosted by the School of Social Science in November 2013. A report of this conference was posted at http://blogs.scotland.gov.uk/coastal-monitoring/2013/12/19/community-renewable-energy-schemes-in-scotland/



there were His most recent collaborations are:

a) He worked with academics form various universities to produce a Special Issue of the journal 'Environmental Politics' on the subject of the interaction of climate change and energy security. He has co-edited this Special Issue with Sevasti-Eleni Vezirgiannidou of the University of Birmingham. The Special Issue appeared in the July edition of 'Environmental Politics', and includes two papers where he is an author. See http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fenp20/22/4#.UuzoktGPO1s


b) As mentioned earlier (see biography), he has also been collaborating with academics from Cardiff University, Queens University Belfast and Robert Gordon University on the ESRC funded project 'Delivering Renewable Energy Under Devolution' (DREUD). He is the lead author of the first output published in a journal, in the Political Quarterly. This is about renewable energy and the Scottish independence debate. See http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/scottish-renewable-energy-targets-may.html This paper received considerable press attention. However, after this significant developments occurred in the UK energy policies, especially decisions taken by the UK Government concerning Electricity Market Reform, and this prompted a re-think of these conclusions. This re-think can be seen at http://issuu.com/therobertgordonuniversity/docs/the_dreud_report_2013

 c) As mentioned above he is collaborating with political scientists from Oregon State Univeristy in the USA to research the politics of advocacy of solar power.

Funding and Grants

  • Delivering Renewable Energy Under Devolution (co-investigator in project funded by ESRC  which began in January 2011 and which finished at the end of January 2013)
  • SEANERGY 2020- investigating and disseminating best practice in marine spatial planning for offshore renewables (partner in 2 year ALTENER project funded by the EU which started in May 2010)
  • Offshore wind power planning issues (funded by ASSC small grant from University of Bimringham - 2009)
  • EU Renewable Directive (funded privately by commission from World Future Council- 2007-2008)
  • Feed in Tariffs and UK energy strategy (funded privately by commission form World Future Council - 2007)
  • The use of combined heat and power as a means of integrating high levels of fluctuating renewable energy sources into the electricity grid (funded through DESIRE EU FP6 programme, 2005-2007)
  • The Politics of the Countryside Alliance (funded through ESRC, 2005)
  • The Politics of Food and Farming (funded through Leverhulme Trust, 2004)
  • Accounting for the Outcome of  Windfarm Planning Applications (funded through ESRC, 2002-2005)
  • A comparison of GM food policies in EU and US (funded through British Academy, 2003)
  • The Politics of GM Food (funded through ESRC, 2001-2002)

Teaching Responsibilities

Dr Toke's major teaching responsibilities include:

He is Programme Manager for the MSc in Energy Politics and Law. He teaches the courses 'Energy Politics' and 'International Energy Security' which form part of this Programme and also core elements of the MSc Programme 'Strategic Studies and Energy Security'. He also supervises projects which students do for this programme. You can hear and see more about the Energy Politics and Law Programme at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJRrZfTbJT8&feature=youtu.be

An event called the 'Future of Energy Conference' was held to promote the MSC Programme on 28th March 2018. Some of the recordings and also recordings of the presentations can be seen at: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/energy/events/the-future-of-energy-222.php

A further event was held on the subject of 'Powering Oil and Gas with Marine Renewables' on September 18th 2019/. Further details can be seen at https://www.abdn.ac.uk/events/conferences/-powering-offshore-oil-and-gas-with-marine-renewables-1084.php

David Toke convenes and teaches the final year undergraduate course 'Energy and Climate Politics'.

He is also principal PhD supervisor for a) Wei See Chan who is researching into environmental issues in Malaysia and how they interact with governance b) Han Zhang who is researching environmental politics in China and c) Robert Cummins who is studying the environmental and transitions implications surrounding biorefining industrial techniques. This is funded under a Leverhulme Scholarship led by Chemical Engineering.


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  • A Fresh Start for UK Wind Power?

    Toke, D., Elliott, D.
    International Journal of Ambient Energy, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 67-76
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Green Politics and Neo-Liberalism

    Toke, D.
    Macmillan Publishers, Houndmills, Basingstoke. 213 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Green Radicalism – sideshow or new alternative?

    Toke, D.
    Political Quarterly, vol. 71, no. 4, pp. 443-450
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Policy Network Creation - The case of energy efficiency

    Toke, D.
    Public Administration, vol. 78, no. 4, pp. 835-851
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Epistemic Communities and Environmental Groups

    Toke, D.
    Politics, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 97-102
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Politics of Green Energy

    Toke, D.
    Environmental Politics, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 166-173
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Power and Environmental Pressure Groups

    Toke, D.
    Talking Politics, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 107-115
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • The Low Cost Planet: Energy and Environmental Problems, Solutions and Cost

    Toke, D.
    Pluto Press, London. 216 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Green Energy: Non-nuclear Response to the Greenhouse Effect

    Toke, D.
    Greenprint/Merlin Press. 136 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
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Books and Reports

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications