Futuribles Journal n° 315

Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

The Outlook for Energy and the Reality Principle


An energy crisis threatens: while scientists disagree about when it will happen, most of them agree that a shortage of fossil fuels is likely to occur before the end of this century. Faced with this threat, some propose to trust in technology to come up with new solutions on the production side (using hydrogen, improving nuclear methods, etc.): "technological utopias", according to Benjamin Dessus. Others try to think of ways in which lifestyles might be changed - and hence consumption - in order to bring them into line with existing resources within varying time-scales (a systemic approach), and so showing how much room for manoeuvre there is.
Benjamin Dessus, who has long argued strongly in favour of policies to check energy consumption, outlines the main points in the debate about energy prospects and ways of limiting CO2 emissions. The worst outcome (rampant climate change), he says, is likely but not unavoidable. There is an alternative: not the development of new production methods that are supposed to be less damaging for the environment, though sometimes utopian, but the mobilization of the whole population in support of a change in patterns of consumption and - why not? - in the longer term, of a transformation of production methods.

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