Economic and Social Considerations for the Future of Nuclear Energy in Society

FIRST INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP: “The art and science of imagining energy futures”

Feb 8, 2023 | events

Club University Foundation, Rue d’Egmont  11 – 1000 Brussels

Face-to-face 14:00-17:30 Wednesday 29 March 2023

Download a PDF version of this invitation

What energy future do we desire? What energy future is possible? ‘The Future We Want’ was the title of the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The conference marked the 20th anniversary of the historic Conference on Environment and Development, known as ‘The Earth Summit’, held in the same city in 1992. That event laid the ground work on which sustainable development thinking still builds today. What became clear at the 2012 conference is even more evident today: the exercise of imagining ‘the future we want’ for humanity and planet Earth is first and foremost a tough and complex political discussion, which is steered not only by economic strategies, environmental threats such as climate change, and considerations of social justice, but also by conflict and war in which energy is used as a tactical weapon. Within this turmoil scientists, politicians, activists, and citizens may disagree on what energy future is needed and possible. Apparently, there is also no consensus on what future we desire. While anyone would reasonably support the idea that energy should be produced in an environmentally friendly way and be affordable for all, different visions exist on what that should look like and how to get there.

The First International ECOSENS Workshop will engage participants in discussing current societal challenges and opportunities, and possible and desired energy futures. The discussion will take into account existing and new energy technologies. The aim is not to construct a full statement of the energy future we want, but rather to identify and discuss which values and artefacts (storylines, narratives, concepts, symbols, models, …) we use to ‘imagine’ these futures. Unveiling the references we use to express what we desire, hope, fear and believe may be the first step in coming to a more open and effective dialogue on our energy future. From this perspective, this workshop aims to serve as an illustrative exercise and to provide food for thought for anyone concerned with ‘the energy future we want’.

On Wednesday 29 March 2023, ECOSENS organizes a by-invitation, in-person, hands-on workshop in Brussels.

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ECOSENS partners will engage participants in a collaborative consideration  of  (imagined)  energy  worlds, exploring values, narratives and how those create futures.

  • The workshop is very interactive, with short opening presentations followed by group and sub-group discussions and collaborative tasks.
  • The outcome will be a written synthesis of the visions that emerged, and also thoughts on how such visions are formed and whether such collaborative investigations could be multiplied in Europe.
  • Before the workshop, participants will receive documentation clarifying the workshop program and tasks, and an anonymous questionnaire to assemble viewpoints to be interpreted (co-constructed) by the group.
  • This event will be followed on 30 March by an optional international workshop entitled ‘Decarbonizing Europe’s energy system: Checking and choosing indicators for a sustainability assessment. Visions and vocabulary emerging from the 29 March discussion will help shape the multi-stakeholder debates conducted on 30 March.

Target audience:

The workshop aims to engage with invited representatives of diverse stakeholder groups, including researchers, policy- and decision-makers, civil society organizations, NGOs, industry, authorities, local information committees, and municipalities with nuclear facilities, among others.

Practical details:

The working language is English.

The face-to-face workshop will be held in Brussels, Wednesday 29 March, 14:00 – 17:30. It is preceded by a networking coffee at 13:00. It will be followed by an (optional) informal dinner.

For workshop invitees traveling to Brussels, ECOSENS will fund or reimburse travel and stay. A supplementary per diem for civil society representatives will be provided.

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