With the emergence of the Degrowth movement, the call for transitions towards sustainable “post-growth societies” is now consolidating into a multifaceted political project. Yet, such a project raises numerous questions, for instance: what concrete proposals could initiate such a transition? What could they induce in terms of employment, public debt, energy consumption, environmental impact? Etc. In this paper, we try to shed some light on these questions through an innovative prospective modelling approach. Our approach builds upon a series of interviews, aimed at collecting various detailed and quantified visions and narratives, about what Degrowth ─ and more broadly speaking, “transitions towards sustainable and desirable societies” ─ could look like for France, especially in terms of institutions, lifestyles and consumption patterns. These visions, which include many proposals and strategies discussed within the degrowth movement, are turned into scenarios. We investigate these scenarios over the long term (2060), using two advanced numerical models: a specific dynamic input-output simulation model of the French economy, and a bottom-up (technology rich) energy system optimization model, of the MarkAl-TIMES family. By coupling these two models, we explore the possible outcomes of the different scenarios, in terms of employment, public debt, energy demand, waste and atmospheric emissions (including GHG), and we offer detailed prospects about their potential implications for the French energy sector (including an analysis of technical options to meet ambitious renewable targets). Our approach provides a powerful tool for common understanding and collective deliberation.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Exploring Degrowth pathways through prospective modeling“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.