“The energy transition has never existed”, estimates the historian of techniques and the environment Jean-Baptiste Fressoz

The New Factory. – “The problem with energy transition is that it projects a past that does not exist onto a future that remains ghostly”, you write in an article in “Annales des mines”. Why ?

Jean Baptiste Fressoz. – The classic way to tell the story of energy is to focus on the transitions: from wood to charcoal during the industrial revolution, from charcoal to oil in the 20th century. And today we are witnessing a third transition, towards renewables and / or nuclear. The problem is, this story is totally false. In the 19th century, the more coal economies consumed, the more wood they consumed, especially in coal mines and railroads. The English coal mines used more wood to support galleries in 1900 than England burned in 1750. Consumption has increased sixfold. As energy transition we do better … Same phenomenon for oil, which absolutely does not replace coal. Cars, concrete roads are coal sinks in the twentieth century. In short, the material history of humanity is not a history of transition, but of symbiotic dynamics of accumulation of all materials. Moreover, the theme of transition was completely absent among experts – geologists, economists, foresters – until the 1960s.


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Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.

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