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Five Carbon Pools

Five Carbon Pools

Wes Jackson

October 31, 2012

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The invention of agriculture ten millennia ago was the first step towards the current problem of climate change. Humans then began a way of life that would exploit the first of five relatively nonrenewable pools of energy-rich carbon–soil. Trees, coal, oil, and natural gas would follow as additional pools to rob from. We are the first species in this multibillion-year journey of life on Earth that will have to practice restraint after years of reckless use of the five carbon pools.

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This is a chapter from The ENERGY Reader: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth (2012).