...if I knew it would cause this energy crisis!
So the point of the article is that it'd be very hard to scale up current renewable technologies (including nuclear) to cover all our energy needs, because of limited supplies of rare metals, etc. A fair enough point.
But then it dips into the more philosophical argument that if we keep expending 2.3% more energy every year we'll eventually run out of sunlight. But assuming a constant geometric increase in energy expenditures seems ridiculous. Especially when coupled with the concluding paragraph's assertion that the best solution is to eat less meat and drive less. Problem solved!
Here's the thing: human behavior is determined by economic realities. I live half an hour from work instead of within biking distance because houses are unaffordable in the downtown area - so I drive to work. I (probably) drink orange juice flown across the country from Florida instead of from here in California because global capitalism (and the incentives corporations have coerced from our government) make it "cheaper" to ship over some pre-pulped Florida's Best than to set up a factory here. If I can't afford to pay $80 for a shirt, I'll have to buy a new one in a few months because it's "cheaper" to have kids sew it together in Indonesia out of crappy materials and sell it at the Gap than it is for someone to make it here, out of quality materials by adult workers making at least minimum wage. So I get trapped in a cycle of wasting tons of crappy worn clothes and the fuel it takes to ship around the materials for NEW crappy clothes to replace them.
The "good" news: since we're at or near Peak Oil, the stuff's only going to get more expensive, so it'll gradually become less economically feasible to ship oranges across the country, or figs from Peru, or whatever. And at some point it'll be worth the cash for me to move closer to my work (or ride the smelly dangerous unreliable bus) rather than pay $20 a gallon to commute. And they won't save enough money underpaying Indonesian children to make it worth shipping fabric back and forth across the globe.
So overall, we're GOING to expend less non-renewable energy eventually, but we're all such short-sighted assholes it probably won't be until oil scarcity forces us to. So building renewables isn't just an eco-hippie priority; it's also about not screwing ourselves over in a decade or two when the Chinese are running on 50% solar (or whatever) and we're stuck paying through the nose to keep our gas cars and coal-burning power plants running.
If we want to help the environment in the meantime, why the heck wouldn't we invest in renewables AND in consumption-reducing infrastructure? Change around the Farm Bill and international trade agreements and all the other laws that corporations have paid for to make it easier for them to profit on the backs of poor people in other countries while making us fatter and more wasteful. (People eat more meat than they used to because it didn't USED to be cheaper to buy a double cheeseburger than fish or a head of lettuce.) Build some damn train tracks and buy some new buses so public transit is actually a viable option outside of Manhattan. And yes, stop building coal and oil power plants, if for no other reason than because they'll cost more than they're worth long before they're due to be retired. Give more tax credits for solar panels and insulation and double-pane windows. Tell people to properly inflate their tires.
But don't pretend that simply NOT building more power plants is a viable option. What does that do, exactly? Jacks up the price of electricity and gas, which the corporations and farms that use most of that electricity and gas will pay for with another tax writeoff, and which will further screw the growing lower class in the First World by making us pay an even higher portion of our income to keep our houses heated and our lights on.