I think we would just continue to research until we could develop new sources of energy. I think we already have enough options of renewable sources that we don’t have to worry about that. We have, at the very least, wind power, solar power, ocean turbines, etc.
It’s nearly always a good idea to reduce infrastructure to a small scale. Without renewable energy, the best way to reduce environmental impact that I can think of would be to equip each city and town with their own source of energy. This would at least reduce how far energy had to travel, and therefore reduce energy usage, while reducing infrastructure. It is not a solution to the energy crisis though because this move alone would not make fossil fuels sustainable.
Have you seen Mad Max? Find an oil-well, some leather outfits and defend it with your life. I think we are almost at a point where we as a planet have to develop renewable resources. Once fossil fuels become economically untenable, there will be no choice to use alternative energy sources to fuel different vehicles. Humans as a species have been very adaptable, when non-renewable sources do run out, we will have to adapt once again.
Here is a link for a peak oil organization to discuss when and what may happen if oil production declines.
The main problem with this question is that there are many sources of renewable energy, even those that run off of excreta and compost! Biogas is an amazing source of energy! This question does lose its validity when you can find energy in our own wastes. Check it out.
I do not think it is a matter of what we should do if we cannot develop renewable sources, the question is how we can promote the production of renewable sources. The answer to that is federal incentives. When companies like Chevron got a tax incentive to develop alternative forms of oil that runs cars, they quickly developed and built a car that runs on algal oil. We should really combine all the various forms of renewable sources and use each one, where it could be used to its maximum capability, most efficiently.
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