Stephenson's Rocket
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Carbon: The looming energy crunch

We look at how the industrial revolution was really an energy revolution driven by carbon-based fossil fuels.

Chemistry professor Andrea Sella of University College London and his colleague, geology professor Mark Maslin, explain the chemical wizardry that makes carbon the ultimate fuel.

We hear from Dr Paul Warde, an industrial historian at the University of East Anglia, about how the "C" element has powered the longest and most sustained economic boom in the history of humanity.

But how long can it last? Can we expect the mother of all crashes when we run out of fuels we can safely burn?

Two former oilmen, Chris Mottershead, former head of energy security at BP and now vice principal for research at King's College in London, and John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, give us their perspectives on the whether the world is ready to tackle its addiction to fossil fuels.

  • 21 Feb 2014