The 32nd annual conference of the International Association For Impact Assessement, Energy Future: The Role of Impact Assessment will take place in Porto, Portugal from 27 May - 1 June 2012.
A defining issue throughout human history has been how societies have pursued the supply and management of energy. Our view of the world and the world economy over the last 3-4 human generations has been shaped by assumptions of infinite energy supplied primarily by fossil fuels. Impact assessments have scrutinized thousands of energy projects, but few have considered the long-term future supply and sources of non-renewable and renewable energy as critical to decision-making. Now, however, the basic principle of limitless energy is under challenge.
Impact assessment has proven to be a powerful evolving tool able to incorporate environmental, social and health concerns, among others, in decision-making processes. More integrated approaches are being tested for biodiversity and climate change. Understanding the future of energy must also be one of the highest priorities for impact assessment professionals.
What is the role of impact assessment on future global, national and local energy decisions and choices? How can we tackle the environmental and social risks that will appear as a result of our quest for the development, production and management of new energy sources?