In the face of the global climate crisis and the depletion of natural resources, most experts and policy makers agree that a reduction of fossil fuel energy consumption is essential. The majority of countries have now set or are considering a target of reducing emissions to net zero by mid-century. Reaching these targets will demand a significant investment in renewable energy. But some are arguing that such action is not enough. The goal, they claim, should not only be net zero emissions; it should be zero-growth. In other words, global consumption and production should be reduced and the paradigm of growth itself should be called into question. But can we move toward such a goal, and if not, what should we aim for? How can energy transition be best managed in order to meet environmental as well as socio-economic goals? What can we learn from the history of efforts to achieve energy transition? Can a “Green New Deal” constitute an effective template to achieve the right balance between safeguarding a livable climate, achieving greater socio-economic equality, and guaranteeing sustainable growth? What should be done to reach a consensus among policy makers, corporate actors, and public opinion to attain those goals?
This event is co-sponsored by Columbia Maison Française, the European Institute, Columbia Global Center | Paris, and the Alliance Program. It is part of New Utopias, a series of panel discussions on the world to come presented by The European Institute, Columbia Global Center | Paris, and the Alliance Program.