No one is going to repeal the second law of thermodynamics, not even the Democrats.
-- Kenneth Boulding, 1970
Energy is the ultimate resource and, at the same time, the ultimate pollutant. The solar energy continuously intercepted by Earth drives the geophysical and ecological machinery that make the planet's surface habitable by human beings. The remarkable growth of the human population and the development of civilizations are attributable largely to the singular progress of our species in learning to harness natural flows and accumulations of energy and turn them to human ends. Human beings have learned to tame fire for warmth and light and protection; to organize (and later subsidize) photosynthesis as agriculture, thus allowing people to specialize and thereby promoting the growth of cities; to tap the energy of wind and running water for transportation and mechanical work; and to unlock the concentrated energy of coal and oil for extracting, concentrating, transporting, and applying the many other resources upon which society depends.
Yet, no means of harnessing energy--and no means of applying it--is completely free of adverse environmental