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Houston Matters

How Did Humankind Weather Past Energy Transitions?

Writer Richard Rhodes went digging through history for examples in his latest book, Energy: A Human History.

Texas’ largest generator of coal-powered energy, Luminant..


Writer Richard Rhodes says it takes about a hundred years for a society to transition from one energy source to another.

"And we don't have a hundred years," he said, referring to our changing climate.

For his latest book, Energy: A Human History, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, went digging through history to find examples of other times humans had to change their sources of fuel for various reasons.

Along the way he learned a lot about what factors influenced those changes and how long they took – all in hopes of learning some lessons that might apply to our current situation.

In the audio above, he tells Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty about some of those examples and what might be learned from them.

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