Energy in Nature and Society General Energetics of Complex Systems

ISBN-10: 0262693569

ISBN-13: 9780262693561

Edition: 2008

Authors: Vaclav Smil

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Energy in Nature and Societyis a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the major energy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere and civilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density and energy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (the study 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 from hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies through modern-day industrial civilization. Included are chapters on heterotrophic conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification, fossil fuels, fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of energetics for the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general patterns, trends, and socioeconomic 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, Smil chooses to emphasize the complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitive outcomes of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Societyprovides a unique, 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 possible energy futures, and can serve as a text for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systems science, biology, and chemistry.
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Book details

List price: $40.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 12/21/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 494
Size: 7.75" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.892

Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics and Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has served as a consultant on energy and the economy for a wide range of organizations and institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Program (UNIDO), and numerous non-governmental organizations. He is author of Back to Full Employment (MIT Press), also in the Boston Review series, and Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Austerity.Vaclav Smil is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of more than thirty books, including <I>Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature</I> and, most recently, <I>Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing,</I> both published by the MIT Press. In 2010 he was named by <I>Foreign Policy</I> as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2013 Bill Gates wrote on his website that "there is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil."

The Universal Link
Energetics, Energy, and Power
Evolution of Energetics
From Aristotle to Einstein
Approaches to Understanding
Concepts, Variables, Units
Planetary Energetics
Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Lithosphere
Sun: The Star and Its Radiation
Energy Balance of the Earth
Radiation and Fluxes
Hydrosphere and Atmosphere
Thermal and Mass Fluxes
Water and Air in Motion
Kinetic Fluxes
Geoenergetics: Heat, Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, Earthquakes
Bioenergetics of Primary Production
Photosynthetic Pathways
Global Primary Productivity
Productivities of Ecosystems and Plants
Phytomass Stores
Autotrophic Scaling
Heterotrophic Conversions
Consumer Bioenergetics
Metabolic Capabilities
Ectotherms and Endotherms
Biomass and Productivites
Heterotrophs in Ecosystems
Human Energetics
People as Simple Heterotrophs
Energy Sources and Basal Metabolism
Requirements and Uncertainties
Limits of Human Performance
Gathering, Hunting, and Fishing
Traditional Food Production
Humans as Solar Farmers
Extensive Practices
Permanent Cropping
Muscles, Implements, Machines
Cropping Intensification
Traditional Argricultures
Preindustrial Complexification
Prime Movers and Fuels in Traditional Societies
Animate Power
Human and Animal Muscles
Water and Wind
Wheels and Millls
Phytomass Fuels and Metallurgy
Wood, Charcoal, Crop Residues
Construction: Methods and Structures
Transportation: Roads and Ships
Fossil Fuels
Heat, Light, and Prime Movers
Coals: The Earliest Modern Fuels
Hydrocarbons: Crude Oil and Natural Gases
From Extraction to Combustion
Modern Fossil Fuel Industries
Mechanical Prime Movers
Engines and Turbines
Fossil-Fueled Electricity
Generation and Transmission
Fossil-Fueled Civilization
Patterns and Trends
Fuels and Fossil-Fueled Electricity
Energy Production and Trade
Nonfossil Contributions
Biomass and Primary Electricity
Global Consumption Patterns
Growth and Inequality
Qualitative Changes
Transitions and Efficiencies
Energy Conservation
Gains and Rebounds
Energy Costs
Energy Cost of Energy: Net Gains
Basic Materials
From Concrete to Fertilizers
Structures and Products
From Buildings to Computers
Crops and Animal Foods
Subsidized Diets
Modern Food System
Gains, Costs, Efficiencies
Environmental Consequences
Metabolism of Fossil-Fueled Civilization
Power Densities
Energy and Land
Energy Conversions and Heat Rejection
Energy and Water
Energy and the Atmosphere
Interference in Grand Biospheric Cycles
Energetic Correlates
Complexities of High-Energy Civilization
Energy and the Economy
Energy and Value
Energy and the Quality of Life
Energy and War
Energy and the Future
Grand Patterns
Energetic and Other Essentials
Energy in the Biosphere
Energy and Civilization
The Challenges Ahead
Selected Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Symbols
Name Index
Subject Index
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