The study of human history suggests that the sources of the energy used to sustain production and consumption are the defining determinants of the productive structure, and by implication of the social structure. This article assesses the economic and sociopolitical changes that one can expect because of the major changes in energy sources required to tackle the threat of global warming. It spells out what we know at present about the risks of climate change arising from global warming, how they are being addressed at present and how the measures that are contemplated at present to cope with the threat of climate change will transform the global energy economy and why this makes possible a substantially more decentralised economy. But it also qualifies this vision and deals with the hurdles that will be faced in the structural transition.