28 Jul What Comes After Oil?
Moderator: Todd Hirsch (Chief Economist, ATB Financial)
Guest Speaker: Jennifer Jacquet (Environmental Studies, New York University)
Simon O’Byrne (Vice-President, Urban Planning, Stantec)
Eddy Isaacs (Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions)
Sheena Wilson (Petrocultures, University of Alberta)
Imre Szeman (Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies – University of Alberta)
Trevor Harrison (Director, Parkland Institute, University of Alberta)
What comes after oil, for Alberta, for Canada and for the World? How will our societies continue to thrive and prosper once our dominant source of energy becomes expensive, no longer readily accessible, or too damaging to the environment to use in ways that we do today?
In “What Comes After Oil?” members of the public are invited to come together to engage in big picture thinking about the importance of energy for our societies, and to consider together the difficult question of energy transition. The recent election victory of the New Democratic Party in Alberta likely means that many believe the very real challenges of living in an oil province will finally start to be addressed, including greater attention to the environmental repercussions of extracting the resource and a change in royalty rates to ensure that this public good beefs up the public purse. It also opens up the opportunity to pose questions about the deeper significance of oil for the shape and character of contemporary society, and to start figuring out answers to these difficult questions before it’s too late. Famed historian Dipesh Chakrabarty has pointed out that “the mansion of modern freedoms stands on an ever-expanding base of fossil fuel use. Most of our freedoms are energy intensive.” What do we need to do to make sure that the freedoms that we value will continue when the oil is all gone? What comes next for us when we have to start living in societies shaped by a very different relationship to energy than what we have been accustomed to over the past 150 years? What do we need to do to make that transition smooth and successful?
This roundtable will be lead off by Professor Jennifer Jacquet, an environmental social scientist who explores large-scale cooperation dilemmas, especially overfishing and climate change. We have invited Dr. Jacquet to put the issues raised in her compelling new book Is Shame Necessary? into the context of oil and Alberta. We are hoping that this event will kick off the challenge of shaping the world we want—both the one we want now and the one we would like in a future after oil.