Global Energy, Sustainability, and the Conventional Development Paradigm

Paul Raskin, Robert Margolis

The conventional development paradigm assumes that the values, consumption patterns, and dynamics of the Western industrial system will be progressively played out on a global scale. This article explores the implications of the conventional paradigm for the evolution of global energy patterns, and the compatibility with notions of sustainability. It presents a global long-range conventional development scenario to the year 2050 and identifies major environmental, resource, and social pressures and uncertainties. By clarifying the stress points in a conventional picture of energy development, the scenario provides a useful point of departure for examining alternative long-range scenarios for sustainable energy development.

Originally published in Energy Sources 20 (January 1998): 363-383,