We can meet all of our electricity and heating needs without burning anything.
A December 2012 study from the University of Delaware has determined that renewables could economically fully power a utility scale electric grid 99.9% of the time by 2030 - and without government subsidies, if the proper mix is implemented. We can meet our energy needs with conservation, efficiency, wind, solar and energy storage... and it'll be reliable and cheaper than our status quo. See the press release or the full study.
The potential for 100% clean energy has also been documented worldwide for all energy (electricity, heating and transportation) in 2009 and 2011 studies out of Stanford University, which you can find in more detail here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/susenergy2030.html
These studies say it can be done by 2030, but with enough political will and a shifting of subsidies from dirty energy and militarism to clean solutions, it can likely be done much sooner.
When it comes to materials management, the simplified solution can be summed up as the three R's --
The equivalent in the energy world is:
Conservation, Efficiency and Clean* Renewables
*Clean means technologies which don't create pollution while generating energy
These solutions have the potential to fill all of our energy needs, without needing nuclear power, fossil fuels, biomass/incineration, or even large hydro dams. The technology exists, and the money exists (yet it's being directed towards bailouts for the nuclear industry, investment in gas-fired power plants and other bad ideas). What's missing is the political will to enact the solutions. We need politicians without connections to dirty power industries so that we can direct public and private investment dollars towards clean energy solutions, rather than a continued reliance on dirty, unsustainable energy sources.
Please use the information on this page, and our platform to influence anything in your power, from the energy choices in your home, school, workplace or local government to the energy policies in your state or on the national level.