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The Future Is Not What It Used to Be - 9780262019248

Un libro in lingua di Jörg Friedrichs edito da Mit Pr, 2013

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The future is not what it used to be because we can no longer rely on the comfortingassumption that it will resemble the past. Past abundance of fuel, for example, does not implyunending abundance. Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible.

In thisbook, Jörg Friedrichs argues that industrial society itself is transitory, and he examines theprospects for our civilization's coming to terms with its two most imminent choke points: climatechange and energy scarcity. He offers a thorough and accessible account of these two challenges aswell as the linkages between them.

Friedrichs contends that industrialcivilization cannot outlast our ability to burn fossil fuels and that the demise of industrialsociety would entail cataclysmic change, including population decreases. To understand the socialand political implications, he examines historical cases of climate stress and energy scarcity:devastating droughts in the ancient Near East; the Little Ice Age in the medieval Far North; theJapanese struggle to prevent "fuel starvation" from 1918 to 1945; the "totalitarianretrenchment" of the North Korean governing class after the end of Soviet oil deliveries; andCuba's socioeconomic adaptation to fuel scarcity in the 1990s. He draws important lessons about thelikely effects of climate and energy disruptions on different kinds ofsocieties.

The warnings of climate scientists are met by denial and inaction,while energy experts offer little guidance on the effects of future scarcity. Friedrichs suggeststhat to confront our predicament we must affirm our core values and take action to transform our wayof life. Whether we are private citizens or public officials, complacency is not an option: climatechange and energy scarcity are emerging facts of life.

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