Olympia, WA - John Tierney had an interesting post in his NYTimes science column earlier this week where he predicted, somewhat dystopianly, that people would never have the will to enact some great energy revolution.
Tierney cites Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University.
Over the past century, he says, nothing has drastically altered the long-term trends in the way Americans produce or use energy — not the Great Depression, not the world wars, not the energy crisis of the 1970s or the grand programs to produce alternative energy.
But he also predicted that, as the world gains wealth our environmental problems will fix themselves, notably citing the Kuznets Curve that predicts a Laffer-like scenario where the wealthier a country becomes, the more dramatically it will curb its atmospheric pollutants.
America, btw, is that the top of its game. Good job, us!
Who is to say if that curve really works (does anyone even talk about Laffer any more?), and certainly it works only in cooperation with cultural attitudes, but an economist can hope.