Part 1 was somewhat of a mad romp through history, with the author's particular spin, and Part 2 extended, somewhat, the lessons extracted from Part 1. This is a worthy approach.
Even though the 'lessons' were far from comprehensive, it is always good to get a new take in case one has missed something critical. Several of the 'lessons' were not things I had heard elsewhere nor thought of myself.
The pacing was so slow I had to listen to the whole thing on 2X speed. That worked though.
Geography and associated geographic political power has always been important in providing the context in which ideas and industries have interacted in the past. This might prove, as the author suggests, to be a less important factor in the future, meaning that the story lines of 'future history' will not follow geographic political lines so much going forward. On the other hand, corporations, including insurance companies, are creatures of the geographic political power, and are likely never to rise to the level of, much less usurp wholesale in the way described in this audiobook, the powers invested in government. This is particularly true as the power of the rich (esp. corporations) to buy elections through marketing is weakened over time (as is all marketing efforts) due to the 'news noise' level of the internet. Couple this with the ability of anyone/everyone who is interested to get all of the sides of an issue rather than rely on 4th estate opinion leaders, and it will become more difficult over time for the few to dominate the many (at the moment the 2 party system in the USA is a key remaining factor in this domination).
But that is just my take... buy the book and think about the author's approach and the limitations thereof and you will benefit. No book about the future is easy or light or has any possibility of being 'right', but most books represent a point of view that will itself be a factor. This book included.
Welcome to the Carbon Future, at least as far as energy for transportation is concerned. The author clearly and unequivocally sets for the case that carbon is an optimum store of chemical energy, and that we humans just better get our heads around that.
I greatly respect the author's credentials and mastery of the subject, but I would have like a good deal more detail in various points. He seems to possibly be somewhat over focused on the pure energetics and doesn't allow for the fact that fuels come from a value chain with lots of factors... aggregation, processing, distribution, etc. And it's the 'output' of this process that determines the winner, not the fundamental nature of the product itself, although this is a very important part of the story. This is manifest in his doubts about the ability of bio sourced coal proxies (he names many, algae and miscanthus being a couple of the stronger competitors) to compete in a world where coal, as abundant as it is, naturally is getting more expensive to mine and transport while the bio side is busy moving up learning curves... such as for example the development of algae that 'produce' an oily product that will separate directly, so the algae itself can be left in it's watery, sunlit soup.
All this is at the margin though, and the basic case, that we should plan to live in a world with a lot more, not less, fossil fuel burning, is compelling.
This is not a book about the greenhouse effect and it's consequences per se, but I would certainly have enjoyed more from this author on this topic, as it is fundamental to understanding how the 'externalities'.... if any other than a warmer Siberia and Canada... will affect the costs implicit to the fossil vs. bio competition.
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