This book presents a global and historical perspective of energy flows during the last millennium. The search for sustainable energy is a key issue dominating today’s energy regime. This book details the historical evolution of energy, following the overlapping and slow flowing transitions from one regime to another. In doing so it seeks to provide insight into future energy transitions and the means of utilizing sustainable energy sources to reduce humanity’s fossil fuel footprint. The book begins with an examination of the earliest and most basic forms of energy use, namely, that of humans metabolizing food in order to work, with the first transition following the domestication and breeding of horses and other animals. The book also examines energy sources key to development during the industrialization and mechanization, such as wood and coal, as well as more recent sources, such as crude oil and nuclear energy. The book then assesses energy flows that are at the forefront of sustainability, by examining green sources, such as solar, wind power and hydropower. While it is easy to see energy flows in terms of “revolutions,” transitions have taken centuries to evolve, and transitions are never fully global, as, for example, wood remains the primary fuel source for cooking in much of the developing world. This book not only demonstrates the longevity of energy transitions but also discusses the possibility for reducing transition times when technological developments provide inexpensive and safe energy sources that can reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of energy transitions, sustainable energy and environmental and energy history.
This book details the historical evolution of energy, follwoing the overlapping and slow transition from one regime to another. In doing so it seeks to provide insight into future energy flows and the means of utilising sustainable energy sources to reduce fossil fuel footprints.
A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel–driven civilization. "I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. —Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel–driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts—from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.
This monograph develops a generalised energy flow theory to investigate non-linear dynamical systems governed by ordinary differential equations in phase space and often met in various science and engineering fields. Important nonlinear phenomena such as, stabilities, periodical orbits, bifurcations and chaos are tack-led and the corresponding energy flow behaviors are revealed using the proposed energy flow approach. As examples, the common interested nonlinear dynamical systems, such as, Duffing’s oscillator, Van der Pol’s equation, Lorenz attractor, Rössler one and SD oscillator, etc, are discussed. This monograph lights a new energy flow research direction for nonlinear dynamics. A generalised Matlab code with User Manuel is provided for readers to conduct the energy flow analysis of their nonlinear dynamical systems. Throughout the monograph the author continuously returns to some examples in each chapter to illustrate the applications of the discussed theory and approaches. The book can be used as an undergraduate or graduate textbook or a comprehensive source for scientists, researchers and engineers, providing the statement of the art on energy flow or power flow theory and methods.
This bold and controversial argument shows why energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and how ignoring this fact raises unrealistic expectations that the United States and other global economies can be weaned quickly from a primary dependency on fossil fuels. * Includes case studies of energy transitions in eight nations * Presents graphs of energy transitions on global and national scales, showing both common features and idiosyncratic patterns * Features photographs of the containment vessel of America's first nuclear reactor and of a stationary gas turbine * Provides a thorough bibliography
This book starts by discussing the global flows of energy and materials and changes caused by human activities. It then examines the limitations of anthropogenic energy and material flows and the consequences for the development of human society. Different scenarios for lifestyle patterns are correlated with the future development of the global energy supply and climate. As it provides a process engineering approach to the Earth system and global development, readers should have a basic understanding of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. This second edition also reflects new developments since the original publication: increases in anthropogenic energy and material flows due to significant economic growth in certain parts of the world, and recent changes in energy policy and technological development countries, such as Germany (the Energiewende, or transition to renewable energy sources), where goals have been defined and measures initiated for a future energy supply without fossil and nuclear sources. As such, it offers a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate students as well as practicing experts alike.
Demonstrates how the second law of thermodynamics--which refers to energy's tendency to change from being concentrated in one place to being spread out over time--is behind evolution, ecology, economics, and even the origins of life itself in this scientific tour de force that explores how complex systems emerge, enlarge, and reproduce in a chaotic world.
World Civilizations and History of Human Development is a component of Encyclopedia of Social Sciences and Humanities in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty Encyclopedias. The Theme on World Civilizations and History of Human Development discusses the essential aspects such as Civilizational Analysis: A Paradigm in the Making; The European Civilizational Constellation: A Historical Sociology, African Civilizations: From the Pre-colonial to the Modern Day; Industrial Civilization; Global Civilization - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Islamic Civilizations; War, Peace And Civilizations; History: The Meaning and Role of History in Human Development; Role of Human Societies in the History of The Biosphere; Environmentalism; Role of Gender and Family Identities in Human History; Modern Approaches to the Teaching of History; Developing Dialogues: The Value of Oral History; Historical Knowledge. Nature and Man: Orientations to Historical Time; Big History This volume is aimed at the following five major target audiences: University and College Students Educators, Professional Practitioners, Research Personnel and Policy Analysts, Managers, and Decision Makers, NGOs and GOs.
This single-volume resource explores the five major oceans of the world, addressing current issues such as sea rise and climate change and explaining the significance of the oceans from historical, geographic, and cultural perspectives. • Introduces readers to the five major oceans of the world and provides ready-reference entries relating to geography, the environment, science, history, and culture • Entries are engaging and accessible to all readers from high school to university students to general readers • Includes sidebars of "fun facts" throughout the text that highlight interesting oceanic subtopics
This book explores the intrinsically multiscale issue of renewable energy transition from a local, national and transnational perspective, and provides insights into current developments in the Upper Rhine Region that can serve as an international model. Organised around the exploration of stakeholder issues, the volume first describes a framework for public action and modelling and then articulates a triple complementary focus from the viewpoint of law, economics and sociology. This multidisciplinary approach is anchored in the social sciences, but also explores the ways in which technological issues are increasingly debated in the implementation of the ecological transition. With a focus on the Upper Rhine Region of France, Germany and Switzerland, the contributions throughout analyse how concrete regional projects emerge, and whether they are carried out by local authorities, private energy groups, network associations or committed citizens. From this, it appears that real-world energy transition modes can be best understood as permanent transactional processes involving institutional regulations, economic levers and barriers and social interactions. This book will be of interest to advanced students and scholars focusing on renewable energy transition, stakeholder issues, environment and sustainability studies, as well as those who are interested in the methodological aspects of the social sciences, especially within the fields of sociology, law, economy, geography, political science, urbanism and planning.
Before the UN Sustainable Development Goals enables professionals, scholars, and students engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to develop a richer understanding of the legacies and historical complexities of the policy fields behind each goal. Each of the seventeen chapters tells the decades- or centuries-old backstory of one SDG and reveals the global human connections, governance tools and frameworks, and the actors involved in past efforts to address sustainable development challenges. Collectively, the seventeen chapters build a historical latticework that reveals the multiple and often interwoven sources that have shaped the challenges later encompassed in the SDGs. Engaging and insightfully written, the book's chapters are authored by international experts from multiple disciplines. The book is an indispensable resource and a vital foundation for understanding the past's indelible footprint on our contemporary sustainable development challenges.
This book introduces a 'Big History' perspective to understand the acceleration of social, technological and economic trends towards a near-term singularity, marking a radical turning point in the evolution of our planet. It traces the emergence of accelerating innovation rates through global history and highlights major historical transformations throughout the evolution of life, humans, and civilization. The authors pursue an interdisciplinary approach, also drawing on concepts from physics and evolutionary biology, to offer potential models of the underlying mechanisms driving this acceleration, along with potential clues on how it might progress. The contributions gathered here are divided into five parts, the first of which studies historical mega-trends in relation to a variety of aspects including technology, population, energy, and information. The second part is dedicated to a variety of models that can help understand the potential mechanisms, and support extrapolation. In turn, the third part explores various potential future scenarios, along with the paths and decisions that are required. The fourth part presents philosophical perspectives on the potential deeper meaning and implications of the trend towards singularity, while the fifth and last part discusses the implications of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Given its scope, the book will appeal to scholars from various disciplines interested in historical trends, technological change and evolutionary processes.