The problem with plentiful solar energy.. or any other

Over the past 50+ years there have been regular announcements of limitless affordable energy soon becoming available, such as Paul Krugman’s recent article “Here comes Solar”, with the consequences of that happening never getting discussed.   The following is as posted to the more cautions Washington Post article yesterday 11/12/11.

One of the most overlooked drawbacks of creating affordable and plentiful solar energy, or ANY other form of energy, is what we’d do with it, the consequences of mankind having access to continually doubling amounts of energy.   What if the improbable “cheap energy” solution were actually discovered?

Would cheap energy eliminate or worsen our other impact problems?

Energy is far from our only constraint on economic growth.   Energy is actually what let us do the destruction of our environment as we have already done, none of which yet result from the CO2 and other GHG’s.    Because we are already at the destructive threshold of many other environmental impact pressures we could expect growing energy use to cause even faster growing impact repercussions than we’ve experienced.   They will not come with a neat technological fixes, either.

The core unrecognized problem is that growth is a construction process.   It’s a mechanism for using the profits of a system to build a bigger and bigger system.   That involves our using our (limited imagination) to take ever expanding control of our environment to do ever more things to our environment. Continue reading The problem with plentiful solar energy.. or any other