Backward into the future: The shift to coal and implications for the next energy transition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This history of the transition from organic to mineral fuels suggests a number of conclusions that may have parallels in the future: People respond to price incentives; science is important but not sufficient; human capital is important; cooperation is as important as competition; path breaking technologies take a long time to mature. The future, however, will not - and should not! - be a replay of the past. One of the greatest differences is the externality issues raised by global warming. The choice of fuels and technologies has ramifications far beyond the profit and loss statements of the people deciding them. In that case, decentralized decision making will not reach a desirable overall result. Planning and coordination are essential to tackle these problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Coal
  • Energy transition
  • History

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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