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The alternative is nonsensical - do you imagine that the world will succeed in replacing oil, coal and gas and then just go "Rather than pave over another 30 square kilometers of the Sahara desert, we are going to leave two billion africans in energy penury" ?
This is not a possible outcome. If renewables work, they will also work for a growing global economy at a minimum until the entire world reaches something recognizable as first world standards.
If renewables cannot deliver this result, then people who are dying at thirty due to lack of electricity will go with the 1960's tech that can, and we get a fast-breeder fission powered world.
Under no circumstances other than "We all die in global war" will the future be short on energy. And even that future will be short on energy because it is short on people, rather than due to any physical restraints.
I am not as convinced as you that fossil fuels will be replaced in their totality by other sources. Honestly I do not have an opinion on that: not convinced either-way. They might be a total replacement or they might only mitigate part of the problem, we will see.
I can only hope you are correct. But we will put the theory to the test around now.
And no, I do not think that renewables would save the planet activity as it is now. Some downsizing is bound to happen, as extraction of oil and aluminum will require more investments of the same energy. The only thing that might keep the bonanza going is a determined jump towards a type II civilization, perhaps.
And with electricity, all else is possible.
Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
And what is political impossibility nowadays? Dishing Social Security was the the third rail of American politics - no politician with touch it. By now Social Security is about to be done. Is the austerity in Greece and Spain supposed to be politically possible? All you need is one set of stories for the political and media class, other stories for the vanishing middle class (those with high skills, still workable business, or financial fish), and a few stories for loosers. The process of gradual cut of resources from the bottom is clearly under way.
Actually, lets put some numbers on this. National happiness correlates very strongly with gdp up until 15-20 k per capita - in order for the world to be above this point, at least one more doubling of incomes (eh, specifically, several doublings in the third world) is nessesary. Real Growth will certainly not be allowed to stop before this point, because that would imply collosal unnessesary suffering for ever. (the corrolation is probably what it is because those 15-20 k is what it takes to be reasonably assured that you will see your kids grow up and graduate highschool.)
Looking for more numbers (well, following links off wiki) it appears that wealth grants some returns to life satisfaction up until 70k /year. Assuming a very flat income distribution, that is 3 doublings of global gdp. It isnt 8 times current energy use because a lot of that represents low-energy use activities, but that is the point where a steady-state real economy could halt and not piss off everyone who wants a better life.
However, I suspect that the elites are increasingly coordinated in their wealth power quest. The coordination center might be very small - a core of Bilderbergers, say. And if the coordination is driven by peak oil concerns, that is very significant.
In brief, the idea is that once we enter a decline phase in fossil fuel availability--first in petroleum--our growth-based economic system will struggle to cope with a contraction of its very lifeblood. Fuel prices will skyrocket, some individuals and exporting nations will react by hoarding, and energy scarcity will quickly become the new norm. The invisible hand of the market will slap us silly demanding a new energy infrastructure based on non-fossil solutions. But here's the rub. The construction of that shiny new infrastructure requires not just money, but...energy. And that's the very commodity in short supply. Will we really be willing to sacrifice additional energy in the short term--effectively steepening the decline--for a long-term energy plan? It's a trap!
That is not a politically possible outcome. either renewables can, in fact, do the job, or the power will be found elsewhere.
is simply not true.
A vote for PES is a vote for EPP!
A vote for EPP is a vote for PES!
Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
... which is to say, unless the energy supply, material supply, and waste disposal/recycling are all sustainable, the economy in question is not sustainable.
Te fact that there is sufficient sustainable energy supply to provide a sufficient energy budget to sustain an industrial economy does not imply that there is a sufficient sustainable energy supply to supply ongoing, unlimited exponential growth in energy consumption per capita.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
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