In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the citizens of Great Britain faced a formidable challenge: coal resources seemed destined to run out and commentators were unable to foresee a viable alternative fuel. To address the crisis, military strategists were urged to seize control of coal in foreign lands, and companies were encouraged to increase domestic production of the resource. In Global Energy Shifts, Bruce Podobnik draws intriguing parallels between the \u0022coal panics\u0022 that once swept through Britain and the \u0022oil panics\u0022 that grip the world today. His concise history of global energy use contextualizes the coal and oil scares, demonstrating how the convergence of specific geopolitical, commercial, and social conditions can generate rapid and far-reaching transformations in the energy foundations of our world. Ultimately, Podobnik informs readers on how a \u0022crisis\u0022 of one fuel system is quickly averted with the introduction of another, and describes opportunities for shifting our problematic, oil-based system toward a renewable energy system.
Publisher: Temple University Press,U.S.
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 327 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
"Energy transitions are inherently complex and long-drawn affairs, extending over generations. That is why any serious appraisal of future options and changes should be informed by the history of past shifts, concerns and accomplishments: Podobnik's book is a wide-ranging and well-written contribution to this critical understanding."-Vaclav Smil, Distinguished Professor, University of Manitoba
"Global Energy Shifts aims to recover the role of geopolitical rivalry, corporate competition, and social movements in shaping patterns of energy production and consumption via a grand historical survey. Podobnik is successful at de-naturalizing these transitions: they are shown to the negotiated/contested outcomes of interactions between states, capital and society as opposed to emerging from any 'inherent' properties of coal or oil. This is a significant contribution, and one made all the more forceful by the innovative use of diverse data sources."-Gavin Bridge, University of Manchester