The shift towards a sustainable trajectory compatible with the energy transition will cause a transformation of society and the productive system that is more profound than imagined.
Several points to highlight
The upheaval in the use of energies.
We must drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase the production of carbon-free energies.
The change will be radical because the world had, with oil, very concentrated energy, in volume, and very efficient. It will be replaced by less concentrated energy. The fields of wind turbines or photovoltaic panels are very large to have equivalent energy. Nuclear has a greater concentration of energy than oil, its development over time will be a major signal if it intervenes.
Do not repeat what you did in the recent past.
The threat to biodiversity, the degradation of forests or the difficulties of supplying fresh water weigh, along with other factors, on the sustainability of the current way of life. Six limits out of the 9 listed for life to last have already been exceeded. Two other areas are close to being so. (see The Limits to our Freedom) Is this the world we want? Can we still enter a world where living conditions will continue to deteriorate?
The world of tomorrow cannot resemble that of yesterday if we want to stick to a sustainable trajectory.
This world has to be invented and it is our collective challenge.
Current reflections are either on a form of resignation by invoking degrowth as the only solution. This would be a radical change in the social contract which, implicitly, calls for an improvement in living conditions.
The other option is to talk about the considerable amount of investments that will need to be made to make the transition under good conditions. It is necessary but it is a way of drowning the problem by assuming that once these investments have been made, life will return to normal.
Investment is a necessary condition for the transition, but it requires a cultural upheaval to accomplish it. It is this change in collective consciousness that will make it possible to define a new model. Joel Mokyr invoked European culture to understand the industrial revolution, it will have to be invoked again to make the coming upheaval lasting