On September 25, 2017, the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) held a roundtable discussion on the potential of today’s frontier scientific research to disrupt tomorrow’s energy system.
Civilization Far From Equilibrium - Energy, Complexity, and Human Survival
Human societies use complexity – within their institutions and technologies – to address their various problems, and they need high-quality energy to create and sustain this complexity. But now greater complexity is producing diminishing returns in wellbeing, while the energetic cost of key sources of energy is rising fast. Simultaneously, humankind’s problems are becoming vastly harder, which requires societies to deliver yet more complexity and thus consume yet more energy. Resolving this paradox is the central challenge of the 21st century. Thomas Homer-Dixon holds the CIGI Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada, and is a Professor at the University of Waterloo.