Originally Posted by Clueless Git
If so then even if renewable energy sources need some non-renewable resources then is it not simply
a matter of the best option being the one who's resources will run out last?
I agree with what you wrote, except for the word "simply."
There are several factors (at least) that make the situation not simple.
1) Energy options are pursued primarily by private firms seeking to make a profit
. Some of the worst
options (from the standpoint of return on energy invested) are nevertheless the most profitable for private firms and are therefore aggressively pursued. E.g., the Keystone Pipeline.
2) Energy options often have terrible environmental consequences, but these environmental costs are not borne by the private companies that pursue these projects, but rather by the affected public. Hence the incentive calculations are skewed. E.g., the Keystone Pipeline.
3) Many energy options require enormous amounts of capital to pursue and there is a shortage of capital. Hence, some of the best options will not be pursued, while some of the worst options will be pursued because the capital required to pursue them is much more modest.
4) For various reasons, the government comes into all this, and government is often unduly influenced by persons and corporations with the most money to hire lobbyists, make political contributions, etc. Hence, the logically best options will not be pursued but rather those that favor those interests with the most money and political power (like the oil companies).