We have also seen that energy use and economic prosperity can and have been decoupled, which is encouraging. Still, current worldwide trends are not sustainable. Our societies still keep focusing on economic growth as the primary indicator for prosperity and while we reduce energy intensity, global energy use is still growing with potentially catastrophic consequences.
We seem to be in a philosophical crisis where our societies fail to address the problems that threaten their survival. The world needs a ‘new enlightenment’, one that is not based solely on doctrine but instead addresses a balance between humans and nature, as well as a balance between markets and the state and the short- versus long-term. To do this, we need to leave behind working in ‘silos’ in favour of a more systemic approach, which will
require us to rethink the organisation of science and education.