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Articles by Vaclav Smil

Do the Locomotive Saturday, October 4, 2014
Fifty years after the first rapid train began its scheduled service, this comfortable, safe, and efficient mode of transport still has not caught on in North ...
How Green Is Europe? Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A superficial look might indicate great achievements. Yet a closer view reveals how far European renewables have to go, and what irrational choices are made to ...
The Natural Gas Boom: Questions and Complications Sunday, June 15, 2014
Complex changes do not bring unalloyed benefits, and rather than adhering to a simplistic infatuation with new riches, we should recognize a number of already ...
Hoping for China's Success Friday, March 28, 2014
There is one effort in which everybody should wish to see China successful: preservation of the country’s farmland. It has already been reduced to well below ...
Germany's Energy Goals Backfire Friday, February 14, 2014
Germany’s radical initiative to subsidize renewable electricity generation has resulted in higher carbon dioxide emissions and the most expensive electricity ...
Memories of Peak Oil Thursday, February 21, 2013
Is it too much to hope that even some catastrophists and peak-oil cultists will find it impossible to ignore the latest numbers?
Just How Polluted Is China Anyway? Thursday, January 31, 2013
Decades ago, I wrote the first comprehensive books on China’s energy and environment. I have not been surprised by the country’s continuing environmental ...
Jeremy Grantham, Starving for Facts Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A column by legendary asset manager Jeremy Grantham is more suitable for the tabloids than for one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific weekly ...
Far from Electrifying Monday, November 26, 2012
Electric car hopes never die — but electric realities keep intervening.
A Son of Europe Reflects on the EU’s Nobel Prize Monday, October 15, 2012
The Nobel Committee should have named the U.S. and NATO as equal co-recipients for their role in transforming Europe ‘from a continent of war to a continent of ...
Anticipating the World’s Most Expensive Natural Disaster Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The next Tokyo earthquake will be the most expensive disaster in history.
Placing the American Gas Boom in Perspective Thursday, May 3, 2012
Natural gas will continue its conquest of global and national energy supplies.
Obama's Indefensible Pipeline Punt Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Obama’s delaying consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline is what is called a spherically perfect decision, because no matter from which angle you look at it, ...
Why Jobs Is No Edison Friday, September 30, 2011
It takes nothing away from Steve Jobs to say he is no Thomas Edison. You only need to understand what Edison accomplished.
Japan’s Crisis: Context and Outlook Saturday, April 16, 2011
Once, many observers thought Japan should be feared. Now, many fear that Japan should be pitied because natural disasters will accelerate its economic retreat. ...
Two Decades Later: Nikkei and Lessons from the Fall Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Twenty years ago this week, Japan’s Nikkei index reached its historic peak of 38,916. There are lessons from the fall for America and the world.
Moore’s Curse and the Great Energy Delusion Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Our transition away from fossil fuels will take decades—if it happens at all.