Review: Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties

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Review: Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties By Vaclav Smil Review by Umar Karim Mirza Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Pakistan Vaclav Smil. Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. 427 pp. ISBN 0-262-19492-9 (hardcover). US$34.95. Alkaline paper.

Dr. Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of Manitoba, Canada. His Ph.D. work, completed in 1971 at Pennsylvania State University, focused on long-range forecasting of energy and environment developments. Dr. Smil is the author of 18 books and has published over 250 papers in more than 80 different energy, environmental, Asian studies, and popular science periodicals. In 2001, he was presented the Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The most crucial problem of today is, without doubt, how to preserve the environment while fulfilling the ever-increasing global demand for energy. In Energy at the Crossroads, Dr. Smil treats this very problem in a comprehensive way, detailing contemporary issues and giving an insight into our energy future.

Smil starts by providing reflections on his life as an energy analyst. He explains reasons for writing this book and describes his initial works. The book itself has been divided into six chapters. The first chapter discusses the trends and achievements related to energy that took place in the 20th century. Chapter 2 defines linkages of energy with economy, quality of life, environment and wars. …