Carbon Technology

Byadmin

Dated

May 22, 2022

Carbon Technology

Book Review

The book “Carbon Technology” is an exploration of the effects of intensive coal mining on the evolution of East Asian energy systems. The author examines the effects of fossil fuel energy on global Chinese and Japanese markets in the early to mid-20th century. His analysis of Japan’s modern industrialization centers specifically on a “colossal open pit” in Fushun, China—a locale the author repeatedly visited, which was the former site of East Asia’s largest coal-mining operation. His extensive research probes the rise of fossil fuel use in East Asia and globally, showing how it was used to realize industrialization goals; he also argues that it was used as a means to strengthen socialist states. The author sees the steep increase of Carbon Technology in coal-mining operations as related to a trio of modern industrialization objectives: the technological taming of nature, the mechanization of labor, and the voracious pursuit of production. He also assesses why the fossil fuel transition occurred and how our increasing dependency on this type of energy comes with numerous societal and environmental ramifications, including regional ecological deterioration and terrible labor conditions. The author builds his thesis with extensive source materials, including illustrations, travelogues, coal miners’ oral histories, mining engineers’ testimonials, and company records. Overall, the author’s prose is accessible and his research soundly delivered. However, the book is not a casual read; although it’s immensely informative and comprehensive, it’s essentially an academic text, dense with statistical data, cultural and geopolitical analysis, historical examination, and industry analysis. Still, the book is not only an erudite history but also—perhaps most critically—an urgent call for environmental intervention, as when the author laments that “unless radical transformations take place,” his offspring’s generation will inherit the “world that carbon made, so deeply despoiled and unjust.” TW

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