A Plan

By now, you realize that non-renewable energy sources will be fully consumed. Some suggest that it might occur within 50 years; some sooner; some later. But it will occur and it will occur relatively soon. And yes, their burning will add to the existing noxious pollutants. After, we will have no more fossil fuels and a dirty atmosphere.

What then? We will gather energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. But, these sources currently amount to less than 20% of global energy consumption. And there’s little to no chance that they can provide all of our desired energy. We suggest that there will never again be a source of energy as utile and promiscuous as today’s fossil fuels.

Let’s look to the future and consider the usage of the finite amount of fossil fuels remaining. Do we continue apportioning energy consumption to maximize the human population? Do we drastically limit the amount used to avoid pollutants and re-learn to live simply? Or do we flame-out and use the remaining stores in one last hurrah? We could settle humans on the Earth’s moon. We could battle each other into extermination. We could build fusion reactors. What is the plan for civilization?
Dead Man Finger Fungi

Gradually Abrupt

So we’re realizing that our species needs copious quantities of energy to sustain our technical wonders. How do we know? Well, even with all the recent research and reports on warming climate and species extinction, we’ve still increased our energy consumption by 50% since year 2000. Though renewable energy sources exist, their contributions remain trivial compared to the energy we extract from burning fossil fuels. If we maintain this trend then by year 2100, our consumption will increase by over 250%. Our consumption; mostly for our technology.

There is a desire, even an expectation, that energy reserves remain sufficient and that no actual harm will come to our ecosystem. This desire allows us to continue to burn oil, coal and biomass. If our expectation is met, then we are on a path of continual, immediate rewards. And we need care little about consequences.

Imagine if we are wrong. Let’s say that the energy reserves empty abruptly. And let’s say that the climate becomes unpredictable, and the weather varies enough to make living difficult. And let’s say that a homogeneous ecosystem covers the Earth’s surface, with the remaining species being overly susceptible to disease. Given these, will our species realize that our technical wonders do not provide the desired lifestyles?
Redwing Blackbird