Sustainable Energy: Economics, Uncertainties, and Challenges

October 30, 2012

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Listen in to this Fête de la Science! The Alliance Francaise hosts a round table discussion on the economic challenges of sustainable energy. Our special guests are: Sophie Meritet, professor of cconomics and researcher at the Centre Géopolitique de l’Energie et des Matières Premières; Robert H. Topel, professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and co-director of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago; Stephen Brick, senior fellow on energy and climate at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Antoine Chulia, vice president of finance for North America at Schneider Electric. The discussion is moderated by Emmanuel Dupouy, economic counselor for the Midwest at the Consulate of France in Chicago.

The world energy situation is still characterized by the dominance of fossil fuels. However, national energy balances differ from one country to another due to countries' different domestic resources, national history, level of development, and energy choices. Access to energy resources has become highly strategic. Cheap and abundant energy has become a thing of the past, and energy is becoming expensive and scarce. This raises the question, what price are we willing to pay for energy in the future?

In the European Union, the debate on a common energy policy, its necessity, and its implementation has been ongoing for decades due to the evolution of energy markets and the need for environmental protection. In the United States, the exploitation of unconventional resources may radically change the energy situation and the development of renewable energy. The equation to solve became complex for every country as they try to supply the economy with reliable and “cheap” energy in order to remain competitive, while managing to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The presentation is divided into three parts, part one focusing on the world energy situation, part two focusing on the European situation, and part three focusing on key challenges for the U.S. and France.

This program is presented as part of Chicago’s Fête de la Science, an initiative from the Scientific Office of the French Consulate in Chicago to promote exchanges between the public and the scientific community. This lecture is made possible thanks to the support of the Délégation Générale des Alliances Françaises-USA, the Institut Français, the Sciences and Technology mission of the French Ambassy, based in Chicago, and the French American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago.

Recorded Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at Alliance Française de Chicago.