Elemental Business: Carbon Energy
Carbon is the fundamental building block of life, the source of virtually all our energy and world-wide wealth. But what will happen when we hit a carbon crunch?
In our series examining the world economy from the perspective of the chemical elements, 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 geology colleague 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 the carbon crunch finally comes?
Two former oil men, 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, before the fuel runs out and in time to avert a looming climate change disaster.