|● For the moment we are faced with a range of choices over how to develop sustainable energy technology, as part of the process of moving to a sustainable future.|
The debate on global futures has a long history - going back at least to Donnella Meadows, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers' seminal Limits to Growth (Earth Island, London, 1972). These authors in effect updated their analysis in Beyond the Limits: Global Collapse or a Sustainable Future? (Earthscan, London, 1992) and since then there have been a wide range of studies of the future. One interesting text is Allen Hammond's Which World? Scenarios for the 21st Century (Earthscan, London, 1998).
The academic debate over Kondratiev long wave theory is complex, but if you wish to explore some of its implications see Andrew Tylecote's The Long Wave in the World Economy (Routledge, London, 1991). Perhaps more accessible is Chris Freeman's The Economics of Hope (Pinter, London, 1992), which makes use of some of the ideas from long wave theory, and presents an optimistic prognosis.
Much of the debate over global futures is nowadays couched in terms of policies and options for sustainable development, and certainly there is a vast and growing literature on this topic. For a useful introductory review of some of the key issues from a critical perspective see Sharon Beder's The Nature of Sustainable Development (Scribe, Melbourne, 1993). More recent overviews have been provided by Michael Carley and Phillipe Spapens in Sharing the World: Sustainable Living and Global Equity in the 21st Century (Earthscan, London, 1998), Jennifer Elliott in An Introduction to Sustainable Development (Routledge, London, 1999) and by Paul Ekins in Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability (Routledge, London, 1999). For the sake of balance you might also want to look at a book which adopts a more sceptical or contrarian viewpoint on sustainable development, for example, Julian Morris' Sustainable Development: Promoting Progress or Perpetuating Poverty (Profile Books, London, 2002).
Finally, for more on the 'contract and converge' concept of sustainable development see the Global Commons Institute's web-site: http://www.gci.org.uk/.