The Sustainability of `Sustainable´ Energy Use: Historical Evidence on the Relationship between Economic Growth and Renewable Energy
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Understandably, focus on a transition to a low carbon economy has overshadowed what happens when the transition has been completed. This paper tries to offer lessons about the very long run aspects of a future economy reliant predominantly on renewable energy sources. The evidence is based on past economies and civilizations and their experiences of economic expansion driven by renewable energy resources. The paper proposes that economies around the world, since antiquity, have managed to survive, and even develop and grow driven by renewable energy sources. Successful long run economic growth depended on sound management of demand, supply and trade of woodfuel. Where governments failed to develop appropriate policies, growth and development was severely constrained. Despite the uncertainty about the future, this paper proposes that researchers start to consider the nature of long run economic growth and appropriate policies within renewable energy systems.