Energy Sources: 1750 and Earlier

The Middle Ages, and indeed the first half of the 18th century, had water power, wind power, and biofuelled organic engines.

The water power ran various kinds of mills, most notably for grinding cereals. Wind power was used for windmills only in flat parts of the country, bereft of water power.
For transportation, at sea, wind power was pre-eminent, and empires were built on fleets of sailing ships. For the British Empire, the Royal Navy ruled the world using wind power and, according to a famous First Lord of the Admiralty, a tradition of "Rum, buggery, and the lash."

Most metal working, especially iron, used charcoal, obtained from woods -- a biofuel. There was a wide variety of other biofuelled machines: horses, elephants, camels, peasants, serfs, slaves. All of these machines pose the same pollution problems, which modern man tends to overlook.
Lighting was available, in the form of tallow candles (smelly), beeswax candles(expensive) and whale oil, or vegetable oil, lamps.
But the population was smaller than nowadays, and only the most wealthy could afford transportation that would be as rapid as a bicycle.
Actually, a bicycle goes faster than a horse, and is extraordinarily efficient. But it doesn't do so well on open fields. It is in fact dependent upon the infrastructure of good smooth roads, preferably without too many motor cars upon them.

The Question

Can the world use only the 18th century's energy resources to support the world's current population, at even the minimum level of comfort of people in the USA who are not in poverty?

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