Thanks to Charlie Hall for this article from The Economist. Also, see a paper by Lindsey Grant showing that peak oil occurred in 2005. You can link to Lindsey’s September 16 article at http://www.npg.org/.
Many factors were responsible for the industrial revolution. But the use of fossil fuels was clearly vital in driving a step change in rates of economic and population growth. So the current rise in the cost of extracting such fuels should be the subject of considerable concern.
Until the 18th century mankind’s output had been restricted by the amount of physical force that humans (and domesticated animals) could exert and by the amount of wood that people could chop down. Fossil fuels delivered a massive productivity boost.
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