06 August 2011

Our Fossil Fuel Legacy

Our ancestors had hunted and gathered for hundreds of thousands of years, then farmed for thousands more before they started burning coal and oil to power industries. During those interminable pre-industrial millennia our numbers increased slowly, haltingly, vulnerably, until there were a billion of us spread across the planet. That milestone was reached about two hundred years ago - soon after James Watt invented his steam engine. Now there are seven billion of us, and most of us can expect to live longer, less painful, more enjoyable lives than our ancestors ever dreamed possible.
Our fossil fuel legacy, by John Dawson