Energy is a vital ingredient of every aspect of life. It is the source of the food, warmth and light that makes life itself possible; it powers the instruments and machines upon which our complex industrial economy depends; and by driving the means of modern transport it provides us with unprecedented levels of personal mobility and thereby exerts a fundamental influence upon our home, work and recreational locations. The quest to harness and transform energy has been a major source of technological and economic progress. At the same time, however, our very dependence upon particular sources has posed serious problems. The world’s reliance upon Middle East oil and the disruption that results if these supplies are threatened, the sensitivity of successive British governments to strike threats by coalminers or power workers, and the controversy over the safety of nuclear power, are all examples of energy-related issues that have played a prominent part in policy debates during the 1970s and 80s. In short, energy both makes life possible and exerts a fundamental influence upon its form.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.