By Andreas Malm

How capitalism first promoted fossil fuels with the increase of steam power

The extra we all know concerning the catastrophic implications of weather switch, the extra fossil fuels we burn. How did we turn out during this mess? In this masterful new historical past, Andreas Malm claims all of it started in Britain with the increase of steam strength. yet why did brands flip from conventional resources of strength, significantly water turbines, to an engine fired by way of coal?

Contrary to tested perspectives, steam provided neither more affordable nor extra ample energy—but relatively more advantageous keep an eye on of subordinate labour. lively by way of fossil fuels, capital may perhaps focus construction on the so much ecocnomic websites and through the handiest hours, because it keeps to do this present day.

Sweeping from nineteenth-century Manchester to the emissions explosion in China, from the unique triumph of coal to the stalled shift to renewables, this learn hones in at the burning middle of capital and demonstrates, in remarkable intensity, that turning down the warmth will suggest an intensive overthrow of the present monetary order.

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Extra info for Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming

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At any rate, when cosmologists speak of the cosmic ‘mass density’, it is significant they make it constitute only around a third of the whole, including in it only baryonic and dark matter (see, for example, Peebles and Ratra, 2003). It does not include dark energy. Also, the implications of the term ‘vacuum’ ought not to be forgotten: it presumably means that the relevant space is ‘empty’. Empty of what? Presumably of rest mass. To all appearances, dark energy as a property of the vacuum would have been present in the ‘vacuum’ even if there had never been any rest mass at all.

2 Phase two: transformation The seventeenth century marked a transformation in the concept of matter; one in which the burgeoning science of mechanics played the principal role. With the shift of focus from the world of living things to the more generic topic of bodies in motion came the rejection of the Aristotelian category of substance that had depended so much on the organism as paradigm. And with the disappearance of substantial form came the removal of the barrier to regarding change as involving ‘stuff’ with specific properties.

There are clearly quantitative constraints on such a change; the quantity of some ‘stuff’ otherwise indeterminate must be conserved. Richard Swineshead suggested, on intuitive grounds, that the quantity of this stuff, the quantity of matter, should be proportionate to the volume as well as to the density of the body concerned: the defi nition that Newton would later adopt as his own. Parallel to this but in the very different context of motion, Jean Buridan postulated an ‘impetus’ in the case of moving bodies that is conserved in unimpeded motion and is a measure of resistance to change of motion.

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