Article

Energy Resources and Use

Barry D. Solomon

in Geography

ISBN: 9780199874002
Published online February 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0021
Energy Resources and Use

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Human societies have depended on access to ample supplies of energy resources since the earliest civilizations, because people need energy to conduct work and to survive. This dependence has been an important factor in the location of communities. The earliest sources of energy were animal and human muscle power, including slaves, and various forms of biomass, solar, and wind power. As technology advanced, especially since the Industrial Revolution, an increasing variety of energy resources and use patterns emerged that have allowed human societies to consume energy on a much larger scale. Given the central role of energy use and efficiency in society, geographers have long recognized the importance of this subject, though they have not studied it in a unified way and also have relied on insights and methods from many other disciplines. The perspectives and methods of economic, transportation, political, and cultural geography, technological hazards, and geographic information systems have been common among geographers’ study of energy, though several other approaches can be found in the literature. Studies in developed countries focus on the growth and leading role of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and electric power, while in developing countries biomass energy sources still dominate as these societies struggle to develop and modernize. The most recent works address energy and the challenges of climate change, renewable energy, and sustainable development.

Article.  8956 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Human Geography

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