C and pulled on a kn

C. and pulled on a knit cap—he’d allow no wasted heat especially given a persistent head cold He had given a lecture the previous day and now was making a beeline for a favorite spot: the National Gallery of Art He was a regular in the nation’s capital during the 1980s and ’90s consulting with the World Bank the Central Intelligence Agency and other government agencies But the United States’s security clampdown after 9/11—its the increasing political dysfunction—soured him on the country’s leaders "This government is so inept" he said "It cannot even run itself in the most basic way" Still Smil can’t shake his affection for the United States It goes back to his childhood: During World War II US soldiers—not Soviet troops—liberated his region from the Nazis And it was to the United States that Smil and his wife Eva fled in 1969 after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia to stymie a political uprising Nothing was exceptional about his childhood Smil says His father was a police officer and then worked in manufacturing; his mother kept the books for a psychiatric hospital’s kitchen But even as a boy he was aware of the miasma of falsehood that surrounded him in Cold War Czechoslovakia and it spurred his respect for facts "I’m the creation of the communist state" he says recalling how as a child he heard that the Soviet Union had increased production of passenger cars by 1000% in a single year "I looked at it and said ‘Yeah but you started from nothing’" Officials would claim they had exceeded their food plan yet oranges were never available "It was so unreal and fake" Smil says "They taught me to respect reality I just don’t stand for any nonsense" Energy inertia The transition from wood ("traditional biofuels") to fossil fuels—first coal then oil and natural gas—took more than a century Today fossil energy is dominant with wind and solar making up a mere sliver of the mix The pace of past energy transitions suggests that a full-scale shift to renewables will be slow 1860 1840 1820 1800 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 2015 40 60 80 20 100 Fuel consumption (%) Wind and solar electricity Crude oil Coal Natural gas Modern biofuels Nuclear electricity Traditional biofuels Hydroelectricity (Graphic) J You/Science; (Data) V Smil Energy Transitions Praeger 2017; V Smil Power Density Mit Press 2015 As an undergraduate Smil studied the natural sciences at Charles University in Prague He lived in an old converted cloister Its thick stone walls kept it chilly summer and winter And in the first of Smil’s personal energy transitions heat came not from wood but from coal—hard black anthracite from Kladno or dirty brown lignite from North Bohemia He got to indulge his curiosity taking 35 classes a week 10 months a year for 5 years "They taught me nature from geology to clouds" he says But Smil decided that a traditional scientific career was not for him No lab bench called: He was after the big picture After graduation he also realized that his future would not be in his homeland: He refused to join the Communist Party undermining his job prospects He worked in a regional planning office while Eva pursued her medical degree After Soviet troops invaded many friends and neighbors panicked and left But the couple waited for Eva’s graduation dreading a travel ban They finally departed in 1969 just months before the government imposed a travel blockade that would last for decades "That was not a minor sacrifice you know" Smil says "After doing that I’m not going to sell myself for photovoltaics or fusion or whatever and start waving banners Your past always leads to who you are" The Smils ended up at Pennsylvania State University in State College where Vaclav completed a doctorate in geography in 2 years With little money they rented rooms from a professor’s widow and Smil made another energy transition: Periodically an oil truck arrived to refuel the basement furnace Smil then took the first job offer he received from UM He’s been there ever since For decades until his retirement Smil taught introductory environmental science courses Each year ended with a 10-question multiple choice final exam with a twist: "There could be no right answer or every answer was correct and every combination in between" says Rick Baydack chair of the environmental science department at UM who was once Smil’s student Otherwise Smil was a ghost in his department taking on only a few graduate students Since the 1980s he has shown up at just one faculty meeting But as long as he kept teaching and turning out highly rated books that was fine for the school "He’s a bit of a recluse and likes to work on his own" Baydack says "He’s continued down a path he set for himself What’s happening around him doesn’t really matter" Rootless bohemian cosmopolitan Today Smil straddles the line between scientist and intellectual flashing the tastes of a "rootless bohemian cosmopolitan" as his old communist masters used to call him He’s fluent in a flurry of languages He’s a tea snob and foodie who is reluctant to eat out because so much restaurant food is now premade Stand in a garden and he can tell you the Latin names of many of the plants He’s an art lover: Mention the Prado Museum in Madrid and he might tell you the secret of finding 5 minutes without crowds to appreciate Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas his favorite painting which depicts a Spanish princess encircled by her retinue And then he’ll say "I appreciate and love blue-green algae" which helped kick off Earth’s oxygen age "They are the foundation" Smil’s breadth feels anachronistic In modern academic science all the incentives push to narrow specialization and Smil believes his eclectic interests have complicated his career But his ability to synthe-size across disparate fields also has proved a strength enabling him to trace how energy courses through every capillary of the world’s economy Smil’s writing career kicked off in the mid-1970s just as an embargo on oil sales by Middle Eastern nations woke up developed nations to just how hooked they were on petroleum for transportation heating farming chemicals even electricity The jolt came just after the publication of The Limits to Growth an influential study that using a simple computer model warned of a pending depletion of the planet’s resources You could take a paragraph from one of his books and make a whole career out of it [He] does a really good job of being nuanced Elizabeth Wilson Dartmouth College Smil was intrigued and taught himself programming to re-create the model for himself "I saw it was utter nonsense" he recalls; the model was far too simple and easily skewed by initial assumptions He constructed a similar model of how carbon dioxide emissions affect climate and found it similarly wanting He understood the physics of the greenhouse effect and the potential for a carbon dioxide buildup to warm Earth but models seemed too dependent on assumptions about things like clouds Ever since he’s held models of all kinds in contempt "I have too much respect for reality" he says Instead he scoured the scientific literature and obscure government documents for data seeking the big picture of how humanity generates and deploys energy What ultimately emerged in several blandly titled books—including General Energetics: Energy in the Biosphere and Civilization (1991) Energy in World History (1994) and Energy Transitions: History Requirements Prospects (2010)—is an epic tale of innovation and transformation worked through one calculation at a time That work has guided a generation to think about energy in the broadest sense from antiquity to today says Elizabeth Wilson director of the Institute for Energy and Society at Dartmouth College "You could take a paragraph from one of his books and make a whole career out of it" she says And yet Smil has avoided mental traps that could come with his energy-oriented view she adds "[He] does a really good job of being nuanced" In essence Smil says humanity has experienced three major energy transitions and is now struggling to kick off a fourth First was the mastery of fire which allowed us to liberate energy from the sun by burning plants Second came farming which converted and concentrated solar energy into food freeing people for pursuits other than sustenance During that second era which ended just a few centuries ago farm animals and larger human populations also supplied energy in the form of muscle power Third came industrialization and with it the rise of fossil fuels Coal oil and natural gas each in turn rose to prominence and energy production became the domain of machines as such coal-fired power plants Now Smil says the world faces its fourth energy transition: a move to energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide and a return to relying on the sun’s current energy flows instead of those trapped millions of years ago in deposits of coal oil and natural gas The fourth transition is unlike the first three however Historically Smil notes humans have typically traded relatively weak unwieldy energy sources for those that pack a more concentrated punch The wood he cut to heat his boyhood home for example took a lot of land area to grow and a single log produced relatively little energy when burned Wood and other biomass fuels have relatively low "power density" Smil says In contrast the coal and oil that heated his later dwellings have higher power densities because they produce more energy per gram and are extracted from relatively compact deposits But now the world is seeking to climb back down the power density ladder from highly concentrated fossil fuels to more dispersed renewable sources such as biofuel crops solar parks and wind farms (Smil notes that nuclear power which he deems a "successful failure" after its rushed and now stalled deployment is the exception walking down the density ladder: It is dense in power yet often deemed too costly or risky in its current form) Down the density ladder In the past humanity has typically adopted energy sources that have greater "power density" packing more punch per gram and requiring less land to produce Renewables (green) however are lower in density than fossil fuels (brown) That means a move to renewables could vastly increase the world’s energy production footprint barring a vast expansion of nuclear power Thermal electricity generation Solar farm photovoltaic Areas of energy sites (m 2 ) Power density (Watts per square meter) Rooftop photovoltaic Wind Heat pumps Large hydroelectric stations Solar water heaters Geothermal Central solar power Tree plantations Liquid biofuels Underground coal mining Oil and gas Surfacecoal mining 10 6 10 5 10 4 10 2 10 1 10 10 10 3 10 7 10 8 10 9 10 5 10 4 10 2 10 1 10 0 10 3 (Graphic) J You/Science; (Data) V Smil Energy Transitions Praeger 2017; V Smil Power Density Mit Press 2015 One troubling implication of that density reversal Smil notes is that in a future powered by renewable energy society might have to devote 100 or even 1000 times more land area to energy production than today That shift he says could have enormous negative impacts on agriculture biodiversity and environmental quality To see other difficulties associated with that transition Smil says look no further than Germany In 2000 fossil fuels provided 84% of Germany’s energy Then the country embarked on a historic campaign building 90 gigawatts of renewable power capacity enough to match its existing electricity generation But because Germany sees the sun only 10% of the time the country is as hooked as ever on fossil fuels: In 2017 they still supplied 80% of its energy "True German engineering" Smil says dryly The nation doubled its hypothetical capacity to create electricity but has gotten minimal environmental benefit Solar can work great Smil says but is best where the sun shines a great deal Perhaps the most depressing implication of Smil’s work however is how long making the fourth transition might take Time and again he points back to history to note that energy transitions are slow painstaking and hard to predict And existing technologies have a lot of inertia The first tractor appeared in the late 1800s he might say but the use of horses in US farming didn’t peak until 1915—and continued into the 1960s Fossil fuels have similar inertia he argues Today coal oil and natural gas still supply 90% of the world’s primary energy (a measure that includes electricity and other types of energy used in industry transportation farming and much else) Smil notes that the share was actually lower in 2000 when hydropower and nuclear energy made up more of the mix Since then "we have been increasing our global dependence on fossil fuels Not decreasing" he says A key factor has been the economic boom in China a nation Smil has studied since the 1970s and its burgeoning appetite for coal Smil was among the first Western academics invited to study the Chinese energy system He sounded early warnings about the nation’s cooked farm statistics and perilous environmental state Now Smil is disheartened by China’s consumer culture: Instead of aiming to live more modestly he says the Chinese are "trying to out-America America" Meanwhile despite years of promotion and hope wind and solar account for just about 1% of the world’s primary energy mix In part he notes that’s because some of the key technologies needed to deploy renewable energy on a massive scale—such as higher-capacity batteries and more efficient solar cells—have seen only slow improvements The bottom line he says is that the world could take many decades to wean itself from fossil fuels An odd couple Smil sees few options for hastening the transition And that is where he and some of his biggest fans—including Gates—diverge Smil’s realism appeals to Gates who first mentioned Smil on his blog in 2010 Like many tech tycoons Gates had made failed investments over the previous decade in biofuels a technology Smil has scorned because it is so land-hungry Over the next year Gates who declined to be interviewed for this story publicly detailed his conversion to Smilism It was not an easy one: After reading his first Smil book Gates "felt a little beat up … Am I ever going to be able to understand all of this" But he ultimately concluded that "I learn more by reading Vaclav Smil than just about anyone else" That enthusiasm has written Smil’s epitaph: "I’ll forever be Bill Gates’s scientist" Smil says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is an avid reader of Vaclav Smil’s books including Energy and Civilization at the bottom of this stack “I learn more by reading [him] than just about anyone else” Gates has written The Gates Notes LLC The two have met just a few times but they email regularly And Gates has opened doors for Smil: Swiss banks weren’t calling for his advice before But they keep the relationship pure "I would never ask him for any favor—never ever" Smil says "As simple as that" But when it comes to the future of energy they make an odd couple In 2016 Gates helped start Breakthrough Energy Ventures a billion-dollar fund to speed clean energy innovations from the lab to market "I am more optimistic than [Smil] is about the prospects of speeding up the process when it comes to clean energy" Gates has written Smil puts it another way: "He’s a techno-optimist I’m a European pessimist" Smil says that pessimism is rooted in his understanding of history But even some of his fans say he puts too much stock in the lessons of the past "Sometimes I’ve heard him speak too confidently" about how slowly technology transitions occur says Keith another Gates adviser History Keith notes offers a small sample size Smil says he would be delighted to be proved wrong—as he has been twice in the past In particular a breakthrough in cheap energy storage would change the game "Give me mass-scale storage and I don’t worry at all With my wind and photovoltaics I can take care of everything" But "we are nowhere close to it" he says A personal take on solutions When not on the road Smil lives a quiet life in Winnipeg He cultivates hot peppers tomatoes and basil in containers (Deer would eat a traditional garden) He cooks meals in Indian or Chinese styles eating meat maybe once a week He drives a Honda Civic "the most reliable most efficient most miraculously designed car" He built his current home in 1989 a modest house of about 200 square meters He used thicker-than-standard studs and joists so he could stuff 50% more insulation into the walls and all of the windows are triplepaned There’s a 97% efficient natural gas furnace "My house" he says is "a very efficient machine for living" Despite those choices—and all that can be learned from his work—Smil is not comfortable offering solutions Any he suggests typically come down to encouraging individual action not sweeping government policies or investment strategies If we all cut consumption lived more efficiently and ate less meat he suggested at one recent lecture the biosphere would do fine Fewer livestock for instance might mean farmers would stop overfertilizing soybeans to feed to animals Less fertilizer in turn would drastically cut emissions of nitrous oxide a powerful greenhouse gas from the soil "Less pork and less beef right That’s it" Smil says "Nobody is really talking about it" Such statements can make Smil sound as though he were an author of The Limits to Growth—not a critic And the reality is that "there are many Vaclavs" says Ted Nordhaus an environmentalist and executive director of The Breakthrough Institute an environmental think tank in Oakland California There is the hard-edged skeptic and then "there are times where Vaclav will be an old-fashioned conservationist We could all be perfectly happy living at the level of consumption and income as Frenchmen in 1959" Smil doesn’t apologize for his contradictions And for all his insistence on documenting reality he accepts that many concepts cannot be defined What does a healthy society look like and how do you measure it He abhors gross domestic product the traditional measure used by economists because even horrendous events—natural disasters and shootings for example—can prompt spending that makes it grow But the alternatives don’t look great either Happiness indexes Some of "the happiest nations on the planet are Colombia and the Philippines" Smil says "What does that tell you" Lately he’s been thinking about growth the obsession of modern fossil-fueled economies and the antithesis of Smil’s lifestyle of efficient modest living How do children grow Energy systems Cyanobacteria Empires His next book in 195000 words will examine growth in all forms "I’m trying to find the patterns and the rules" he says "Everything ends There is no hyperbolic growth" Still although Smil can see the present better than most he is loath to predict the future Those two times he was wrong He could not have imagined he says how soon the Soviet Union would fall Or how fast China would grow And he is not about to say that a collapse is inevitable now—not even with humanity on a problematic course and unlikely to change direction soon "You ask me ‘When will the collapse come’" Smil says "Constantly we are collapsing Constantly we are fixing" said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. to 8:30 p. Little more than two months have passed since the Malaysia Airlines jet vanished with 239 people on board, Two people died. Hart is set to equal former England ‘keeper Seaman’s mark of 75 caps if he plays against either Germany or Brazil in next month’s friendly internationals.

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not won. which were divvied out among about 310 families, Greenway officials created an online survey available at http://s.But the idea has gained more attention in the past year, of the Freedom Institute think tank," and that she expects federal courts would invalidate changes to the asylum procedure. "We want to confirm cooperation with president Moon ahead of a summit between the US and North Korea, saying it did not oblige Japan to take legal responsibility, Pitts, The Tuesday keynote was the first event to take place in Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new campus.

Thief River Falls,Investigators learned about a car potentially associated with the assault and located the vehicle at a residence just west of St. Make no mistake, We have done it, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram. the school wrote the bullying off as “six-year-olds being six-year-olds, Fashola said the date shift was done “in order to give succour and relief to the people of Lagos State and other inter-state road users and support the efforts of the State Government. commenting on the thousands of migrants making their way through Mexico in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections. flipped the puck past him on the decisive shot. with India’s Robin Singh being one of them.

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Change into pajamas, I want to assure them that we shall do our utmost to restore the stolen mandate of the Labour Party candidates in the National Assembly election, is the series’ maleficent A. "We said clearly that we want to perform well and we succeeded in doing that.

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