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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 caused by the world's reliance on more expensive supplies of 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 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
The MIT Press
"...[Zeroes] in on the issue of reconciling the world's accelerating demand for energy..." Peter D. Blair American Scientist
The MIT Press
|Reflections on a Life of Energy Studies|
|1||Long-term Trends and Achievements||1|
|4||Fossil Fuel Futures||181|
|Units and Abbreviations||375|