Beyond scarcity perspectives on energy transition
Geerts, Robert Jan - \ 2018
Relations 6 (2018)1. - ISSN 2283-3196 - p. 49 - 68.
Abundance - Energy debates - Energy discourse - Energy ethics - Energy transition - Good life - Prosperity - Quality of life - Scarcity - Simplicity
Two dominant lines of reasoning in the philosophical debate on energy transition can be described as boundless consumerism (we should find ways to keep growing) and eco-frugality (we should reduce our impact as much as possible). This paper problematizes both approaches via their implicit understanding of the good life, and proposes a third alternative: qualitative abundance. Society is not interested in any sustainable energy system, but in one that caters to our needs and enables us to flourish as human beings. Because the dominant lines in the current debate share a concern for scarcity, they fail to raise the question of a "good" energy system, and therefore the possibility of a positive energy ethics. Qualitative abundance initiates discourse around prosperity (with boundless consumerism) and simplicity (with ecofrugality), thus expanding and enriching debates on energy transition.