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HOME > PAST ISSUE > May-June 2011 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Global Energy: The Latest Infatuations

In energy matters, what goes around, comes around—but perhaps should go away

Vaclav Smil

2011-05SmilF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageThe United States and Canada have a long history of shifting from one energy fad to the next—and sometimes back again—while rarely addressing the core issue of how much energy we use. As a result, the two nations have the dubious distinction of using twice as much energy per capita as the richest European nations and orders of magnitude more than most developing nations. The author argues that new energy sources such as renewables and new nuclear have no chance of proving up to the task unless we can curb our wasteful ways. Likewise, he argues that carbon sequestration and climate engineering will fall far short of heading off drastic changes in global climate unless we turn down the tap.


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