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Energy at the Crossroads : Global Perspectives and Uncertainties - Vaclav Smil

Energy at the Crossroads

Global Perspectives and Uncertainties

Paperback Published: 1st April 2005
ISBN: 9780262693240
Number Of Pages: 444
For Ages: 18+ years old

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Winner in the cover category of the AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2003 competition presented by the American Institute of Graphic Arts In "Energy at the Crossroads," Vaclav Smil considers the twenty-first century's crucial question: how to reconcile the modern world's unceasing demand for energy with the absolute necessity to preserve the integrity of the biosphere. With this book, he offers a comprehensive, accessible guide to today's complex energy issues--how to think clearly and logically about what is possible and what is desirable in our energy future. After a century of unprecedented production growth, technical innovation, and expanded consumption, the world faces a number of critical energy challenges arising from unequal resource distribution, changing demand patterns, and environmental limitations. The fundamental message of "Energy at the Crossroads" is that our dependence on fossil fuels must be reduced not because of any imminent resource shortages but because the widespread burning of oil, coal, and natural gas damages the biosphere and presents increasing economic and security problems as the world relies on more expensive supplies and Middle Eastern crude oil. Smil begins with an overview of the twentieth century's long-term trends and achievements in energy production. He then discusses energy prices, the real cost of energy, and "energy linkages"--the effect energy issues have on the economy, on quality of life, on the environment, and in wartime. He discusses the pitfalls of forecasting, giving many examples of failed predictions and showing that unexpected events can disprove complex models. And he examines the pros and cons not only of fossil fuels but also of alternative fuels such as hydroenergy, biomass energy, wind power, and solar power. Finally, he considers the future, focusing on what really matters, what works, what is realistic, and which outcomes are most desirable.

"The most sober, thorough, and thoughtful integrated text on energy available, and it embodies core facts and some fundamental truths that any analyst of energy issues should ponder." - Michael Grubb, Nature"

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Reflections on a Life of Energy Studiesp. ix
Long-Term Trends and Achievementsp. 1
A Unique Centuryp. 3
Changing Resource Basep. 10
Technical Innovationsp. 21
The Rising Importance of Electricityp. 31
Trading Energyp. 44
Consumption Trendsp. 49
Looking Back and Looking Aheadp. 60
Energy Linkagesp. 63
Energy and the Economyp. 65
Deconstructing Energy Intensitiesp. 71
Energy Pricesp. 81
Real Costs of Energyp. 88
Energy and the Quality of Lifep. 97
Energy and the Environmentp. 105
Energy and Warp. 116
Against Forecastingp. 121
Falling Endeavorsp. 122
Conversion Techniquesp. 124
Primary Energy Requirementsp. 137
Demand for Electricityp. 145
Energy Prices and Intensitiesp. 149
Substitutions of Energy Resourcesp. 161
Complex Models and Realitiesp. 167
Unexpected Happeningsp. 172
In Favor of Normative Scenariosp. 178
Fossil Fuel Futuresp. 181
Is the Decline of Global Crude Oil Production Imminent?p. 184
Different Perspectives on the Oil Erap. 195
How Far Can Natural Gas Go?p. 213
What Will Be Coal's Role?p. 229
Nonfossil Energiesp. 239
Hydroenergy's Potential and Limitsp. 246
Biomass Energiesp. 259
Electricity from Windp. 272
Direct Solar Conversionsp. 284
How Promising Are Other Renewables?p. 290
Infrastructural Changes and the Future Hydrogen Economyp. 296
Is There a Future for Nuclear Electricity?p. 309
Possible Futuresp. 317
Efficient Use of Energyp. 318
Beyond Higher Efficiencyp. 332
Energy and the Future of the Biospherep. 339
What Really Mattersp. 349
What Does, and Does Not, Helpp. 354
Realities and a Wish Listp. 362
Units and Abbreviationsp. 375
Prefixesp. 377
Acronymsp. 379
Referencesp. 383
Indexp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262693240
ISBN-10: 0262693240
Series: The MIT Press
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 444
Published: 1st April 2005
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 17.8  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.77