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Energy and development

The pursuit of a development path primarily driven by abundant, cheap fossil fuels is coming up against diminishing reserves, rising prices and global warming. Managing the growing tensions resulting from this situation requires increased cooperation on the part of industrialised countries, emerging economies and poor countries, with each country haveing different responsibilities, and different financial and technological capacities.

The authors discuss the centrality of fossil fuels in the economic growth of the Western world since the nineteenth century and the key role of oil in the twentieth century and question the future of this development model in the face of geological and climatic constraints. They examine the gaps and misunderstandings that separate social sciences and natural sciences as well as recent attempts to establish interdisciplinary dialogue around ecological economics and industrial ecology. The authors then analyse what is at stake for developing countries, inequalities in access to energy resources, the failure of the global governance system to deal with mounting tensions associated with the depletion of oil and the environmental consequences of an ever increasing consumption of non-renewable resources.