Chapter 1: Energy capture and modernity
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This chapter begins with a brief history of energy capture - the human capability to harness vast primary energy resources and use them well - and the emergence of modern societies through two industrial revolutions enabled by accumulating scientific and engineering knowledge. They transformed societies and lifted living standards to unprecedented heights. Almost all firms and households in advanced industrialized countries and many in developing ones now depend on modern energy supplies derived primarily from fossil resources for their economic and household activities. The two industrial revolutions and more recent innovations also provide valuable insights into market-based dynamics of these technological changes. For example, innovations that proved commercially successful emerged initially in countries with capacity for innovation and economic specializations in primary industries and manufacturing. The pace of initial market penetration is shaped by incumbent technology characteristics and those of alternatives. They then diffused widely across countries over time, with some acceleration.