Anthropocene Blues: Abundance, Energy, Limits


Energy history offers one way of trying to understand the Anthropocene and link the histories of capital and climate. Fossil fuel consumption has been integral to the project of modernity; the energy content of coal and oil lent legitimacy and practical force to the ambitions of reformers and revolutionaries across the political spectrum. In industrializing Britain, coal became not only a driver of social change and a constant feature of everyday life, but also the subject of reflections about resource scarcity and economizing. Furthermore, fossils from coal seams spurred religious and historical debate as geologists developed the idea of deep time and prehistoric climate change.