Neither economic growth nor environmental sustainability are mutually exclusive; on the contrary, these can go hand in hand, and quickly if the market is allowed to move freely.
if people want alternative energy cars, then businesses should be allowed to build them in a level and free competitive market. Demand alone, if consumers will practice what they preach, should see new auto manufacturers with new propulsion technologies. That won't happen as long as government bails out the likes of General Motors.
A Carbon tax, as a prior post noted, is precisely the wrong way to go. Why give more power to government? It doesn't create wealth, but it can certainly delay or destroy its creation. If government is to do anything, why not reduce corporate taxes on businesses that meet green criteria? The demand for green products is huge -- what company wouldn't reinvest to meet the demand?
The problem is not in achieving the twin goals of economic growth or environmental sustainability; they are accomplishable, but the problem resides in removing the restrictions that forbid progress towards these goals. The vested businesses in government with their polluting practices have to go. Until they do so, and allow for newer businesses to take their place, nothing will change. This is a political problem, not an economic nor ecologic one.
Because government has no responsibility, yet possesses the legal power to alter economies and ecologies, the "worst of all worlds" situation is unfortunately and sadly quite possibly going to occur instead, that of continued economic contraction and ecologic destruction.