Tuesday, December 20, 2022

How The World Really Works

There's a lot of stuff out there about how we're on the verge of a climate disaster and therefore must stop all new fossil fuel projects. But it would also be a disaster if we stopped extracting this energy source as well. So says Vaclav Smil in his new book How The World Really Works

Smil is no climate denier; he recognizes that the burning of fossil fuels are causing and will continue to cause climate change. But he also recognizes how important fossil fuels are to civilization. We cannot do without some things (e.g. air/naval transportation, concrete/steel) and so we are likely to be dependent on fossil fuels for a long period of time, even if we anticipate the improvements in technology that are sure to come.

In the past I've found some of Smil's books too heavy on data to slog through. This one didn't feel that way. It is, of course, still heavy on data, but it isn't overly so; Smil gets his points across without burying the reader in hard-to-fathom giga-numbers.

I recommend the book if the topic interests you.

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