The Petroleum Revolution
Coal was the life blood of the Industrial Revolution,
though its use did not come without a high price. Killer fogs swept through London and other cities, laborers toiled
long hours for meager wages in coal mines, and gains in life expectancy were compromised in the interests of
economic growth. For decades coal reigned supreme; seemingly nothing could diminish its importance to industry.
However, after the First World War, a newer product quickly gained market share. The fledgling fuel-petroleum industry
was blossoming despite an uphill battle against the powerful coal lobby. It soon became evident to politicians,
military strategists, and manufacturers that the gains provided by the shift from coal to cleaner-burning oil far outweighed
the political clout of coal.
Today we face a similar opportunity, one that will
offer benefits dwarfing the gains from switching away from coal. We stand on the brink of another energy revolution:
the shift from oil to renewable energy. No more will we have to worry about securing vital fuel from bellicose
foreign nations. Along with our newly regained independence, we can expect unparalleled gains in efficiency without
sacrificing our environment or trading economic growth for quality of life. Sure, the battle against oil interests
will be tough, and inconvenient changes will be necessary, but the effort will be well worth it.
Continued: Saving rainforests
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