Alexandre Rojey, TUCK Foundation
Humanity has to deal with major challenges: rarefaction of resources, global warming, and economic crisis. The present organization of the world economic system appears as non sustainable. Environment degradation, loss of biodiversity, local pollution, rarefaction of natural resources and global warming lead to a major risk of collapse at a global level, if appropriate decisions are not taken in due time. The present economic and financial system, which is based upon short term profit criteria, makes difficult to follow the required orientations and contributes to increase social tensions. A global transition is required, involving major changes in economy and the social life. Disruptive changes are needed, in order to provide appropriate solutions to the present economic, social and environmental challenges.
The main options for trying to overcome these challenges are presented and discussed. A first option is based upon the idea that technological progress will be able to solve the problems which are encountered by the human society. For those who support this view, Nanotechnologies, Biotechnologies together with Information and Cognition technologies (NBIC) converge towards a new paradigm, which will enable humanity to overcome the main problems it encounters.
A quite different position is held that those who fear that technology could lead to an irreversible destruction of our environment. Their priority is to reduce our needs and our consumption level. The degrowth movement recommends to limit the consumption of energy and raw materials, while raising the efforts to protect the environment.
The progression towards an increasing complexity is needed, as it is a prerequisite for finding the appropriate solutions which can make the present evolution viable. It will continue, due to a continuous increase of knowledge and the permanent creation of new devices. Society will evolve through the formation of new connections with surrounding devices and new links between people, which can help to create a better understanding and to develop a collective intelligence. The role of creativity will increase in all areas and will help to achieve personal fulfilment. Thus, it will contribute to drive society towards a more open and collaborative organization, not only based upon the search of profit. It can contribute also to bring more democracy and more empathy between citizens from different nations.
Such an evolution can remain compatible with the environment preservation, if it does not imply a similar progression of the GDP and of the consumption of natural resources. In order to achieve an evolution operating in symbiotic relationship with the environment, an appropriate policy must be defined and implemented, as it is not possible to rely only upon the market mechanism. Such a policy implies to reduce the consumption of non renewable resources and to get as close as possible to a “zero waste” situation, by reducing the consumption of non renewable raw materials, recycling used materials whenever possible, achieving an integration of energy and mass fluxes and optimizing the use of bio-resources.
Alexandre Rojey has been working for many years at IFP, a large R&D organization in France, where he has been Director for Sustainable Development, coordinating activities related to global climate change, long term energy supply and environment protection.
Previously he was in charge of natural gas activities and has initiated new developments in the area of natural gas processing. He has been also chairman of CEDIGAZ, an international association in the area of natural gas and chairman of the ECRIN Club “Alternative energies” for the promotion of links between research and industry. He has written a book entitled « Energy and climate- How to achieve a successful energy transition » published by Wiley.
He is presently active within the Tuck Foundation, which is dealing in the area of Energy and Sustainable Development, where he is leading a think tank entitled IDEES. Based upon the work done within this t