Our industrial civilization was made possible by easily available coal and then by easily available oil.
All the easy fossil fuels, not to mention the easy metal oils, have been used up, but advanced technology makes it possible to extract fuel from shale oil, shale gas and tar sands, drill in the Arctic and under the oceans and move whole mountains to get at coal.
Lewis Dartnell, a UK Space Agency research fellow and author of The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch, said it would be possible, but very, very difficult.
The most likely places for a rebirth of industrial civilization, he has written, are Norway and Labrador, which have forests for making charcoal and fast-flowing rivers for water power. These pre-industrial…
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