Probably the primary obstacle to change is the obvious one. Politics and economics. As said previously, the modern world has been built on fossil fuels, and power relations, energy usage and ‘habit’ structures have been built up around this making. Burning fossil fuels is seen as the known path to the future. The basis of any economy is directable and available energy usage and energy excess, and the way that waste products and destruction is organised. Politics and Economics cannot be separated. If they are separated in an anlysis, then that analysis is skipping important facts
One way of describing the post-1980s social order is as a ‘carbon oligopoly,’ (as opposed to, but derived from, John Mitchell’s Carbon Democracy) in which power relations are geared towards preserving and increasing the order based on fossil fuels. This incidentally preserves the order of fossil fuel companies. It is probably trite to point out that fossil fuel companies have vast amounts of money which they can spend to influence politicians and the public, own vast amounts of infrastructure which would become worthless if there was a change of society towards using renewables, and do not have a reputation for respecting democratic politics. They are largely, perhaps not entirely, engaged in opposition to real change or to greenwashing. Markets always involve power relations, as people try to constrain and curtail markets for to support what they consider to be their group interests. Regulations are necessary for markets, but regulations around a market tend to grow to support the established ways of doing things, or of ways of action which allow certain groups to become dominant. Regulations can inhibit change. In Australia, one of the main problems faced by small renewables projects is the difficulty of setting up a micro grid in competition with the main grid, or transporting energy from one site you might own to another site you might own. It is effectively illegal as it is so complex.