Our Predicament - The Way Out . . .
Caption: "Sadly, the only proven way to achieve global GHG reductions so far has been economic recession."
Comment: This unfortunate and not so humorous truth reflects our society's dependence on fossil fuel as its energy source. It will continue until we transform our economy to run on renewable energy.
The route to transformation is strategic sustainability, natural capitalism and it's four strategies, and RMI's Reinventing Fire [energy] Program, or something like it, which would get the US off fossil fuels by 2050 AND grow the economy 50%.
This transition is inevitable if we are to avoid fossil-fuel-driven catastrophic climate change by 2050. Climate change will undermine the economy sooner than the absolute supply effects of peak oil, although increasing scarcity will continue to drive up prices to always unimaginable heights due to the lack of realistic market alternatives even as we depend on the free market to reinforce our dysfunctional dependence with every increase in price.
By the time the free market realizes the need for renewables, it will be too late to make the transition because of the lag times and magnitude of investment involved in shifting the global economy from oil to renewables.
The reason for this unfortunate state of affairs is that market failure is under pricing oil. The effects of market failure are reinforced through public policy subsidies. Finally, they are reinforced because society does not understand that for "directional" and contextual decisions, such as renewable energy, sustainability, etc., informed collective political choice, not the incremental optimization of a powerful, but ultimately short-term resource allocation institution (the free market) is required.