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Physics and Technology of Sustainable Energy$
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E. L. Wolf

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198769804.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Physics and Technology of Sustainable Energy
Author(s):

E. L. Wolf

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198769804.003.0001

An introduction to long-term climate-neutral energy makes clear that most arises from the Sun or the motions of the Sun-Earth system. Quantum physics is an essential part of understanding the Sun’s energy source, nuclear fusion. The expected depletion times of oil and other fossil fuels are discussed. The most recent 500,000 years of Earth temperature and sea level are surveyed and shown to correlate closely with carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Sea level and temperature are correlated and move together on time scales of five thousand years. The definition of sustainable energy, the topic of this textbook, is very straightforward. This is the energy that will be available on (after) a timescale set by the earliest benchmarks of our civilization, let us say the timescale of the earliest pyramids or the Chinese Wall, visible from space.

Keywords:   carbon dioxide, coal, nuclear fusion, carbon emission, ice age, ice core, sea level, megatons carbon

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