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A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption
Coal, gas and oil have been capitalism's main fuels since the industrial revolution. And yet, of all the fossil fuels ever consumed, more than half were burned in the last 50 years. Most alarming of all, fossil fuel consumption has grown fastest in the last three decades, since scientists confirmed that it is the main cause of potentially devastating global warming.
In Burning Up, Simon Pirani recounts the history of fossil fuels' relentless rise since the mid twentieth century. Dispelling explanations foregrounding Western consumerism, and arguments that population growth is the main problem, Pirani shows how fossil fuels are consumed through technological, social and economic systems, and that these systems must change.
This is a major contribution to understanding the greatest crisis of our time.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Burning Up is a vital contribution to the climate movement. A first step to organizing around its insights will be to ensure it is widely read in the movement, and by those whose lives will be affected by climate change' -- Climate and Capitalism 'Explains the technological, social and economic processes that have prioritised a particular way of satisfying society's demand for energy services' -- Michael Bradshaw, Professor of Global Energy, Warwick Business School, UK, author of Global Energy Dilemmas (2013) 'This meticulous depiction of how fossil fuels are woven into our human systems - not only technological but also economic, social and political - is an invaluable aid to getting them back under control' -- Walt Patterson, author of Electricity vs Fire (2015) 'Insightful, precise and well-written, Burning Up turns energy consumption on its head. Pirani fills a crucial gap left by a mountain of shiny but vacuous reports and not enough solid history ... Anybody fighting climate change should read this' -- Mika Minio-Paluello, campaigner at Platform London and co-author of The Oil Road: journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London (Verso, 2013)