As humans, we have developed technologies to control energy
transformations from agriculture to nuclear weapons. Increasing
technological ability has co-evolved with increasing intensity of energy
use and growing complexity of our civilization. These forces have
shaped our environmental footprint and our very conception of nature.
It's tempting to believe that physical limits constrain our energy
and environmental choices as never before; but Dr. Keith argues
precisely the opposite: our growing technological leverage makes access
to energy and materials cheaper, opening up our options for co-existing
with the natural world. These options force us to confront hard choices
about our values. Should we treasure nature as it is, or purely as an
instrument to human welfare? Our growing ability to engineer the planet
makes these choices ever more pressing.
David Keith holds the Canada Research Chair in Energy and
Environment, and is a Professor at the University of Calgary and Adjunct
Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked near the
interface between climate science, energy technology and public policy
for twenty years. His work in technology and policy assessment has
centered on the capture and storage of CO2, the technology and
implications of global climate engineering the economics and climatic
impacts of large-scale wind power and, most recently, the land footprint
of energy technologies.