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This paper examines the history of energy transitions in developed countries, primarily the United States, to identify lessons for future energy transitions that are likely to occur or are occurring in developing countries. Its focus is not on high-level policy decisions or actions of major stakeholders, but on the provision of energy services to the population, such as heating, cooling, lighting, mechanical power, and information. Factors that led to the replacement of one fuel by another, or one energy converter by another, are discussed, as are the overall market conditions that lend themselves to energy transitions. The paper also explores instances in which promising new technologies did not spark an energy transition, or in which a resource that appeared to be on its way out found new life.
This repository item contains a single issue of The Pardee Papers, a series papers that began publishing in 2008 by the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. The Pardee Papers series features working papers by Pardee Center Fellows and other invited authors. Papers in this series explore current and future challenges by anticipating the pathways to human progress, human development, and human well-being. This series includes papers on a wide range of topics, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary perspectives and a development orientation.