The following quote was a forum response of mine to someone who derided long-term thinking in terms of energy sourcing. I think it sums up my thoughts in this crucial area quite well.
"I'm not even envisioning an utopia either, just a place that uses less dirty fuel or hell, less fuel.
Considering the massive riots caused by mounting food prices (largely caused by the fact that our food infrastructure is entirely based on subsidies and unsustainable use of resources) and fuel prices, one has to wonder what happens during peak oil?
Narrow short-term thinking with regards to this will lead to many deaths (if it hasn't already with the pressing food shortages in the Third World) and the greatest epoch of human suffering. just trace the implications of sky-high oil prices through and through. Add the fact that governments, either through political pressure or fiscal imbalance, will be unable to tamper these effects eventually. look, oil prices now are causing people to starve and riot, what happens when you increase them 200%? What happens when the resources simply run out? Are you ready for an age of climate migrants, and resource migrants? apathy works for the moment since only millions are dying (6 million annual child deaths linked to malnutrition for example) but what happens when these millions become billions?
We have to plan for this eventuality. While I am normally not a fan of subsidies, sometimes enterprise is slow and stuck on whatever makes them profits in the interim, even if it is to the detriment of all of us. Congress subsidized telegraph lines, and then when change was needed, subsidized telephone lines, such that private enterprise could be re-shifted to adapt to pressing, and needed changes. Hell, it doesn't even have to be active subsidies for clean energy, I'll settle for Congress dismantling the system that currently keeps the oil industry so well insulated from the winds of change that are battering at its' doors."