France’s Environment Minister, Segolene Royal, warned Saturday that governments must “prepare the post-petroleum era, and have the will and courage to say it.” Readying for a visit this week with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and other government officials, Royal knows she faces resistance from much of Congress. 

“If everyone realizes ... that the cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of action, then I think we can convince some members of Congress who are still reticent,” Royal told The Associated Press in an interview in Paris on Saturday. She intends to remind her US counterparts that preparing now for a post-petroleum world isn’t just about environmental issues. “The climate question is also at the heart of the security question,” she said, citing the growing number of refugees fleeing climatic disasters and chronic shortages.

Royal is also part of the French initiative to bring corporations—including oil companies—into an international climate deal. Her stance has brought resistance from some NGOs that argue that oil companies shouldn’t be invited to participate. However, oil companies would be wise to prepare—and some are—our post-petroleum future as well.

And finally, it's no small thing that Royal said, "prepare the post-petroleum era" and not "prepare for the post-petroleum era." Apparently, the Environment Minister advocates a proactive rather than reactive approach to our future, just as I do in Post-Petroleum Design.

Image: Washington Post