Transitions in Energy History. History in Energy Transitions


The impossible transition? The fatality of coal in the United Kingdom

Université Bordeaux Montaigne, CEMMC, EA 2958, F-33607 Pessac, France

This article seeks to understand the reasons for Victorian fatalism towards coal dependency – which led to in an inability to abandon this energy – in an effort to better understand what an energy transition would actually entail. The article depicts a providential form of thought in relation to…

Black Gas, Blue Gas, Green Gas: In Search of Gas-Related Transitions

Sorbonne Université, Faculté des Lettres, UMR Sirice

Exploring the notion of an energy transition by way of specific energy calls for reconsidering the history of each energy individually, with gas being no exception over the long term. Three sequences have been observed since the early 19th C., which can be represented by three colors…

Lost in transition. The world’s energy past, present and future at the 1981 United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy

Ca' Foscari University of Venice

After four years of preparations, in the summer of 1981 Nairobi hosted the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy. A diplomatic exercise bringing together more than one-hundred governments from North and South and East and West, the conference did not produce either…

Toward histories of saving energy: Erich Walter Zimmermann and the struggle against “one-sided materialistic determinism”

Research Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin

While energy use has appeared historically consequent for most of human history, it now seems energy non-use may determine our future. It is clear that the worst effects of climate change can only be averted if vast quantities of fossil fuels go unburnt. Accordingly, this paper argues…