A guide to making sense of the inquiry: Beyond ‘energy futures’

I’ve been invited by Mike McAllum and Marcus Bussey to speak to the University of the Sunshine Coast Futures Collective next week, which was a handy prompt to bring things up to date here on recent work.

Before I get to that in a follow-up post though, I figured this also presented a timely opportunity to situate the inquiry for folks who are more deeply ensconced in the futures and foresight field than readers who arrive here by other paths. In Marcus’s invitation email for the meeting next week, I’m billed as an “Energy Futurist”. I kind of winced and smiled at that simultaneously. I can see how what I’m doing here would naturally be seen in those terms, especially from within the futures field. At the same time, as soon as the energy descriptor gets appended, it feels like it has an unfortunate narrowing effect that the approach I’ve tried to take to this inquiry was intended to head off. An “energy futurist” sounds on face value like a person you might call up when you’re specifically interested the future(s) of [insert here something specifically related to energy supply or use, like PV technology, or oil price, or motor vehicles]. Continue reading

Pathways to the Post-Carbon Economy

Back in June, Nafeez Ahmed published an article, 3 ways Clean Energy will make Big Oil extinct in 12 to 32 Years — without subsidies, that provoked critical feedback from a reader. True to his stated mission to redesign investigative journalism for the 21st century based on ‘generative dialogue’, Nafeez responded with an offer to run a symposium via his online publication Insurge Intelligence, to explore a wider spectrum of perspectives on his article’s theme. The symposium, Pathways to the Post-Carbon Economy, responds to the framing question ‘how do we transition away from fossil fuels toward societies that are both environmentally sound and prosperous, allowing their members to live fulfilling, meaningful lives?’ So far it has featured eight articles, from Mark Disendorf, Graham Palmer, Saral Sarkar, Ted Trainer, Jonathan Rutherford, Felix Fitzroy and me.

My contribution, which Resilience.org also ran as it’s feature article, is reproduced in full below, including Nafeez’s editorial intro.

Continue reading