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Energy In Nature And Society

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262693569
Size: 40.43 MB
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Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the majorenergy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere andcivilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density andenergy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (thestudy of energy flows and their transformations). The book explores not only planetary energetics(such as solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis, for example)but also human energetics (such as metabolism and thermoregulation), tracing them fromhunter-gatherer and agricultural societies through modern-day industrial civilization. Included arechapters on heterotrophic conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification,fossil fuels, fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of energeticsfor the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general patterns, trends, andsocioeconomic considerations of energy use today, looking at correlations between energy and value,energy and the economy, energy and quality of life, and energy futures. Throughout the book, Smilchooses to emphasize the complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitiveoutcomes of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Society provides aunique, comprehensive, single-volume analysis and reference source on all important energy matters,from natural to industrial energy flows, from fuels to food, from the Earth's formation to possibleenergy futures, and can serve as a text for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systemsscience, biology, and chemistry. Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University ofManitoba and the author of many books, including Energy at the Crossroads (2003), The Earth'sBiosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (2002), and Energies: An Illustrated Guide to theBiosphere and Civilization (1998), all of which are published by The MIT Press.

Crisis Without End

Author: Andrew Gamble
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
ISBN: 113742964X
Size: 26.65 MB
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The 2008 crash was no ordinary crisis, but the harbinger of a much deeper convulsion. This major re-assessment shows how it was initially contained but that the more fundamental challenges to western leadership, democracy and prosperity, unless addressed, will preclude sustained recovery and pave the way for recurrent crises.

Energy And Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262338319
Size: 38.33 MB
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"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.

The Energy System

Author: Travis Bradford
Publisher: Mit Press
ISBN: 9780262037525
Size: 58.37 MB
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A comprehensive textbook that integrates tools from technology, economics, markets, and policy to approach energy issues using a dynamic systems and capital-centric perspective. The global energy system is the vital foundation of modern human industrial society. Traditionally studied through separate disciplines of engineering, economics, environment, or public policy, this system can be fully understood only by using an approach that integrates these tools. This textbook is the first to take a dynamic systems perspective on understanding energy systems, tracking energy from primary resource to final energy services through a long and capital-intensive supply chain bounded by both macroeconomic and natural resource systems. The book begins with a framework for understanding how energy is transformed as it moves through the system with the aid of various types of capital, its movement influenced by a combination of the technical, market, and policy conditions at the time. It then examines the three primary energy subsystems of electricity, transportation, and thermal energy, explaining such relevant topics as systems thinking, cost estimation, capital formation, market design, and policy tools. Finally, the book reintegrates these subsystems and looks at their relation to the economic system and the ecosystem that they inhabit. Practitioners and theorists from any field will benefit from a deeper understanding of both existing dynamic energy system processes and potential tools for intervention.

Global Catastrophes And Trends

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262195860
Size: 73.89 MB
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Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a "fatal discontinuity," a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. Smil first looks at rare but cataclysmic events, both natural and human-produced, then at trends of global importance, including the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources and growing economic and social inequality. He also considers environmental change -- in some ways an amalgam of sudden discontinuities and gradual change -- and assesses the often misunderstood complexities of global warming. Global Catastrophes and Trends does not come down on the side of either doom-and-gloom scenarios or techno-euphoria. Instead, Smil argues that understanding change will help us reverse negative trends and minimize the risk of catastrophe.

General Energetics

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
ISBN:
Size: 79.13 MB
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Presented here for the first time is a comprehensive, single-volume treatment of all the important aspects of biospheric civilizational energetics. The author uses measurements of energy and power densities and intensities throughout to provide an integrated framework of analysis. All segments of energetics are examined, including planetary energetics (solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis) to human energetics (metabolism and thermoregulation) traced from hunting-gathering and agricultural societies through modern day industrial civilization. Concludes with general patterns, trends and socio-economic considerations of energy use today plus their impact on the environment.

Energy In World History

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Westview Press
ISBN: 9780813319025
Size: 76.24 MB
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Every human activity entails the conversion of energy. Changes in the fundamental sources of energy, and in the use of energy sources, are a basic dimension of the evolution of society. Our appreciation of the significance of these processes is essential to a fuller understanding of world history.Vaclav Smil offers a comprehensive look at the role of energy in world history, ranging from human muscle-power in foraging societies and animal-power in traditional farming to preindustrial hydraulic techniques and modern fossil-fueled civilization. The book combines a vast historical sweep with cross-cultural comparisons and is enhanced by illustrations and accessible quantitative material. Students and general readers alike will gain an understanding of energy's fundamental role in human progress.Smil illuminates the role played by various means of harnessing energy in different societies and provides new insights by explaining the impact and limitations of these fundamental physical inputs—whether it is in the cultivation of crops, smelting of metals, waging of war, or the mass production of goods. While examining the energetic foundations of historical changes, Energy in World History avoids simplistic, deterministic views of energy needs and recognizes the complex interplay of physical and social realities.

Complex Systems And Social Practices In Energy Transitions

Author: Nicola Labanca
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 331933753X
Size: 10.92 MB
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This book offers an interdisciplinary discussion of the fundamental issues concerning policies for sustainable transition to renewable energies from the perspectives of sociologists, physicists, engineers, economists, anthropologists, biologists, ecologists and policy analysts. Adopting a combined approach, these are analysed taking both complex systems and social practice theories into consideration to provide deeper insights into the evolution of energy systems. The book then draws a series of important conclusions and makes recommendations for the research community and policy makers involved in the design and implementation of policies for sustainable energy transitions.

Socio Metabolic Perspectives On The Sustainability Of Local Food Systems

Author: Eva Fraňková
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319692364
Size: 76.26 MB
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This book delves into diverse local food systems and critically assesses their ecological and societal benefits and trade-offs, their limits and opportunities for improving sustainability of food production, and framework conditions which either hinder or promote their development. More and more people with gradually meat heavier diets will demand growth in food production, whilst our increasingly industrialized and globalized agri-food system has already caused serious sustainability problems in the past. This calls for a change in the way we produce, distribute and consume food. A re-emerging debate on food security and food sovereignty seems to support this quest. But what are the promising alternatives to mainstream developments? Such a discussion regarding sustainability of local food systems requires a sound systemic understanding and thus invites a socio-metabolic reading of local cases by analyzing the nexus between material and energy flows as well as land and time use. This approach is needed to complement the so far mostly qualitatively-based local food studies. Applying socio-metabolic approaches to local food systems fosters a better understanding of promises and pitfalls for sustainable pathways in the future.